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#Kano Gets First Islamic #Insurance Services

Islamic insurance services were formally launched yesterday in Kano, Nigeria. The launching ceremony of Jaiz Takaful Insurance was held at the premises of the palace of the Emir of Kano. The managing director of Jaiz Takaful Insurance, Mahmud Moussa Joof disclosed that the sector has currently recorded 25 to 35% global growth. He added that Takaful insurance was open to everybody as against contrary insinuations from certain quarters. At the ceremony, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sunusi II lamented over the faulty payment system by insurance service providers in Nigeria. The Emir urged operators of the Islamic Insurance business to be honest to Kano people, while urging Kano people to form cooperative groups to access the Islamic insurance services, affirming that, subscribing to insurance services is permissible in Islam.

QIIB high ratings by Moody’s, Fitch reflect #Qatar’s economic strength, says Al-Shaibei

QIIB announced that Moody’s and Fitch Ratings have affirmed its ratings at 'A2' and 'A' respectively. Moody’s said that its rating is based on several considerations, one of which is that the bank maintains high levels of liquidity and a strong capital base. Fitch explained that immediate risks from the diplomatic crisis to the bank’s overall standalone credit profile has reduced. The bank’s funding profile has generally stabilised from the back of outflows of nondomestic funding and the Qatari authorities have continued to provide funding support. QIIB's CEO Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei said this strong rating was a confirmation of the strength of the Qatari economy and its ability to overcome various types of risks. He added that the ratings of Moody’s and Fitch proved that QIIB had a solid financial position, confirmed by its financial results, as in the third quarter of 2017, when the bank achieved a growth of 5.1%.

Ibdar Bank: Islamic #fintech will foster a culture of change

In this interview Ayman Sejiny, CEO of Ibdar Bank, speaks about the future of Islamic finance. Ayman Sejiny believes that fintech is going to be one of the biggest drivers of change in the new Islamic banking era. Fintech initiatives will not only improve existing customer’s banking experience, but also have the potential to bring the two billion financially-excluded individuals into the banking system. Malaysia, Indonesia, the UAE and Bahrain, driven by an influx of start-ups in the crowdfunding and payment space, have already positioned themselves to lead the field. They started to formally regulate crowdfunding and implement sandboxes or special fintech licencing schemes. These markets should therefore see huge growth in crowdfunding, P2P and payments platforms and even an increase in the use of AI in the form of robo-advisers. The UK and even the US will also see more investment in fintech startups to meet the demand for Shari’ah products in these markets. Ibdar Bank has set out a comprehensive plan for the engagement with fintech service providers.

Top #Egyptian cleric forbids Muslims from #Bitcoin trading

The Grand Mufti of Egypt has explicitly prohibited trading in Bitcoin, explaining that it is forbidden in Islamic Sharia for the risks it holds, and its been used to fund terrorists. A Fatwa has been issued that the virtual currency should not be used to make financial transactions because it has no monetary cover by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). Mufti Allam remarked that Bitcoins undermine the legal system, as companies can evade taxes and not disclose their profits due to the fact that Bitcoins are untraceable. Furthermore, companies turn their attention to crypto currencies as it allows them to launder money or finance terrorist activities and engage in other fraudulent behaviors. The Mufti concluded that Bitcoin does not have a physical form and leads to fraud, therefore prohibited its use as it leads to more corruption.

#Qatar plans central Shariah committee for Islamic banks

Qatar is planning to set up a central Shariah committee for Islamic banks to create consistency in Islamic finance. According to Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani, this move ensures that the country’s financial regulations are benchmarked to international standards. A recent report by the World Bank and the Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions suggested further action by regulators to strengthen the sector’s governance. One of the action points of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is assessing remuneration and commission framework of financial advisers and insurance intermediaries and implementing an appropriate conduct of business regime. In 2016, the QCB issued new regulations for insurers on licensing, controls, accounting, risk management and actuaries’ reports and also stipulated minimum capitalisation levels and limits on risky asset classes. QCB's new strategy is looking at supporting the growth of the asset management sector through aligning requirements across regulatory frameworks.

Confidence, but some uncertainty remains: Islamic finance trends

In 2018 the expansion of Islamic finance into non-Muslim jurisdictions is set to continue. Conventional investors have started to appreciate the potential of Islamic finance at times of a persistent low-to-zero-interest rate environment. According to data collected by financial intelligence firm Dealogic, issuance of Islamic debt by non-Muslim countries climbed to a three-year high in 2017. Islamic finance is perceived by them as being more stable compared to the conventional banking system. However, the industry is likely to face a continued backlash in the GCC caused by the current economic woes in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia. According to rating agency Standard & Poor’s, Islamic finance assets should be back in growth mode in 2018 in the GCC, but at a slow pace of just around 5%. One impulse for growth could be the creation of Shariah-compliant pension schemes modelled after Malaysia, as well as other obligatory social insurances in GCC countries. A new trend is likely to transform into a new Islamic finance asset class in 2018: green and sustainable sukuk, as part of impact investing.

#Turkey issues #detention warrants for 68 Bank Asya shareholders in post-coup probe: police

Turkish authorities have issued detention warrants for 68 shareholders of Bank Asya. The police operation targeted the network of the cleric accused for orchestrating last year’s failed coup attempt. The targeted shareholders all had voting rights to determine the bank’s administrative board. So far 49 of the 68 suspects had been detained. Bank Asya was founded by followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and was seized by the state in 2015. According to the Turkish government, Gulen masterminded the 2016 attempted coup, in which more than 240 people were killed by rogue soldiers. Gulen has denied the charges and condemned the coup. Since the abortive putsch, more than 50,000 people, including civil servants and security personnel, have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 suspended or dismissed from their jobs.

#Zakat Fund #paid JD200k to #free 386 indebted #women in 2017’

The Zakat Fund paid JD200,000 to release 386 women who were imprisoned after failing to paying back their loans in 2017. The release came as part of the fund's programme “Sahm Al Gharimat”, funds allocated for indebted women, which aims to release women who cannot pay for their freedom, the fund’s director general, Abed Smeirat, told a newspaper in Jordan.
According to Islamic law, or Sharia, Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, a tax that requires paying 2.5 % of what a Muslim owns in cash money, gold, silver, cattle, farms and rentable assets, in alms. People who are burdened with debt that has been obtained for reasonable purposes are one of the eight categories of groups entitled to receive Zakat money, which is, in principle, managed by the state and is the only type of tax Muslim citizens are required to pay.

#Nigeria: How #Islamic #Finance Can Stimulate #Economic #Recovery'

Regarding its economic situation and the quest for a solution in Nigeria, Islamic Finance is believed to be able to redeem it because of the ethical and moral values within the Islamic banking system.
Alhaji Sulaimon Yusuf, who spoke at the Muslim Association of Nigeria 34th Triennial National Conference in Lagos, said that Islamic finance is playing an important role in promoting socially desirable investments, economic empowerment, employment opportunities and resuscitation of real sector of economy. Further he said: "We have confidence in the economic packages and policies of the present administration and feel that a lot more needs to be done to alleviate the suffering of the masses"

#ICD and #Afreximbank #sign $100m line of #financing #deal

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector the private sector arm of Islamic Development Bank Group and the African Export-Import Bank signed a line of financing agreement for a $100-million facility on December 24th in Jeddah.

The $100-million line of financing facility will be utilized by Afreximbank to provide Shariah-compliant financing to small and medium-sized enterprises in its member countries in Africa. Afreximbank has a solid pipeline of projects in the industrial, communication, technology, health care, construction and agricultural sectors that would be financed by the ICD line of financing.

Source: 

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/524858/BUSINESS/ICD-and-Afreximbank-sign-$100m-line-of-financing-deal

#Al-Rajhi #REIT #shares to go on #sale next week

Al-Rajhi Capital said, the initial public offering period of Al-Rajhi REIT Fund will run from Jan. 1 to Jan. 14. The fund will have a size of $ 282 million, according to the fund manager. Some 42.67 million units will be offered to investors at SR 10 each.
“The Sharia-compliant fund aims to acquire or invest in income-generating commercial, office, and educational assets, as well as warehouses, which are mainly located in the Kingdom, except for Makkah and Madinah,” was said in a statement.
The preliminary portfolio comprises 13 assets that generate income at the end of January and July of every year.
The fund’s assets are spread across various sectors in the Kingdom: Retail 54 %, warehouses 12 %, offices 26 % and education 8 %. Eligible investors are Saudis, GCC nationals, foreigners residing in the Kingdom, institutions, companies, and investment funds operating in the Kingdom, along with other Qualified Foreign Investors.

Stronger #leadership guiding #KFH #Malaysia towards resurgence as #leading #Islamic #bank

The World’s oldest Islamic bank has strengthened its leadership to provide sharia-compliant products and services to an even broader market. Simpler, better, faster. These three key words form the cornerstone of a strategy that is seen to propel Kuwait Finance House Malaysia from its present level to a stronger position in the region. Thanks to fundamental adjustments that demonstrate efforts of Kuwait Finance House to grow its Malaysian subsidiary, the outlook for KFH Malaysia has never been better. “After making changes to the management structure in Kuwait, we came to bring the Malaysia arm in line with the group and to make sure that we drive forward to become the dominant player in Southeast Asia,” CEO David Power said.
Groomed as the regional hub for KFH in the Far East, KFH Malaysia had 18 vacant management positions when Power took over. Within a short period, he took steps to make sure that the bank had the right people on board who could assess the problems and come up with short-, medium- and long-term solutions.

#Iran Seven-Year #Sukuk #Issuance at $3.7b

Seven years ago the Law of Developing Financial Instruments and Entities was passed in the parliament. Since then, more than $ 3.76 billion worth of Islamic sukuk have been issued in the Iranian capital market according to the chief executive of the Capital Market Central Asset Management Company.
"From the fiscal 2010-11 up to the end of the ninth month of the current fiscal year, 47 kinds of sukuk worth more than 157 trillion rials have been released in the capital market, 17 of which worth $ 311.7 million have come to maturity," Gholamreza Abutorabi was also quoted as saying by the official website of the company: "The amount of installments and the original amount of these matured bonds have been reimbursed".
According to the CEO, 30 kinds of active sukuk worth $ 3.5 billion are currently in use and are being traded, whereas two other kinds worth a total of $ 89.9 million belonging to two companies will come to maturity. From the beginning of the current fiscal year on March 20 until now, more than $ 407.6 million worth of installments pertaining to various kinds of sukuk have been received by intermediary financial companies.

#Gulf #Islamic #Investments acquires two logistics facilities

The Gulf Islamic Investments, a Islamic financial services company based in the UAE, has revealed the acquisition of nearly one million square feet of logistics facilities on behalf of its investors, at the price of 144 million US-Dollar. The two state of the art logistics centres, are located in Dortmund Germany, and serves as key logistics centre of Amazon supplying goods to 29 other facilities. These newly built facilities are leased out to Amazon on a long-term lease that cannot be cancelled with regular rental uplifts linked to Germany CPI.

Islamic #microfinance necessary for poverty eradication

The 7th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum successfully concluded in Istanbul between 24–28 November, 2017. The first two days of the conference focused on topics like Islamic microfinance financial technology, financial inclusion, Micro Takaful, Waqf and Zakat as Supportive Elements for Islamic Microfinance. In the next two days, Islamic Agriculture and Rural Finance, the role of Islamic finance in the rural development and micro takaful came under discussion. While addressing the inaugural ceremony, Khaled Al-Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), said that Islamic microfinance was a core element of Islamic financial industry. Dr Amjad Saqib, Founder of Akhuwat Pakistan welcomed the guests and participants. He further announced that the next time such an event would be organised would be in London next year in October.

Islamic and conventional banks face almost identical transfer pricing issues

Transfer pricing sounds esoteric and many wrongly associate it with abusive behaviour by multinational corporations. In reality, all multinational corporations have to deal with transfer pricing. Profits made in different countries may suffer different amounts of corporate tax and may suffer different amounts of withholding taxes before those profits can be paid. The tax authorities of each individual country understandably seek to maximise that country’s tax revenues. The serious risk that the multinational group faces is that the tax authorities impose artificial prices for tax purposes. This can cause the underlying profits to be taxed twice. Fortunately, a growing number of countries have entered into tax treaties to solve this problem.

Halk REIT issues #Turkey's first #sukuk

Halk Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has issued Turkey's first sukuk with a nominal value of TL 100 million ($26.12 million) through Halkinvest. The return of the 87-day lease certificate will be realized at 13.25% at the end of the maturity period. Halk REIT General Manager Feyzullah Yetgin said that the widespread use of real estate-based financial products would make a great contribution to the real potential of the sector. Halkinvest General Manager Serdar Sürer said that the lease certificate issuance transaction executed on behalf of Halk REIT was their 60th capital market issuance transaction this year. He also said that they would continue to add value to their business partners with products based on the real economy.

Islamic funding becomes more attractive for the non-Muslim world

Islamic finance has traditionally been dominated by Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It has transformed from a niche corner of global banking to a growing source of funding for the rest of the world. The government of Singapore was one of the earliest non-Muslim entrants into the space, followed by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, which issued their first sukuk in 2014. African nations such as South Africa, Nigeria and Ivory Coast have made legal and tax changes to make it easier for borrowers to issue sukuk. The value of sukuk bonds issued outside the Middle East and Southeast Asia by non-Muslim countries reached 2.25 billion USD for the period from January to November. By comparison, the volume in 2016 was 2 billion USD, and in 2015 was 1 billion USD. Islamic finance is seen as a more stable alternative to the conventional banking system and offers a more ethical approach to managing money.

Storm looming over Zitouna Bank sale

The sale of Zitouna Bank, which was launched on December 5 by state holding company Al Karama, could be quickly scuttled by the investment banks and other groups which had been hoping to get involved in this major operation.

Bank Islam issues bank cards corresponding with Sharia law

Bank Islam recently presented its first Sharia-compliant bank cards to the #Kazakhstan retail market. Customers will not be able to pay for goods and services that are prohibited under the Sharia law. Therefore, the cards cannot be used in night clubs, casinos, bookmakers, tobacco and liqueur shops. Card holders can pay for goods and services in Kazakhstan and abroad, receiving a cashback of 0.5-1% from each purchase. It also allows carrying out purchases through the internet, transfers from card to card, online payment of taxes and fines. Debit cards of the bank are issued in two categories, Master Card Gold and Master Card Platinum. In the beginning of next year, the bank plans to launch its first credit cards. Cards are currently available for residents of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent.

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