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Foreign banks invited to open Islamic branches in the #Philippines

With the approval of a new Islamic banking law in the Philippines doors are now open for domestic and foreign banks to open an Islamic banking window or to establish a subsidiary Islamic bank in the country. The law states that it is the responsibility of an Islamic bank, or window, to ensure its compliance with Shariah principles. Like in other Muslim nations without a central regulatory Shariah board, Islamic banks in the Philippines will have to constitute their own Shariah advisory council. Under the law, Islamic banks in the Philippines can offer current accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts and foreign currency deposits, among other financial products. They can also issue Shariah-compliant funding instruments, including sukuk, upon approval by the central bank’s monetary board.

#Philippines central bank approves preliminary Islamic banking regulations

Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas has approved preliminary regulations for Islamic banks and Islamic banking units. The preliminary policy initiatives of the central bank came after the Islamic banking law was signed by President Duterte on August 22 and became effective on September 15. The preliminary regulations are to jumpstart the implementation of the law. Banks must establish their own Shariah advisory boards to ensure Shariah compliance for their institutions. The Philippines has been accelerating the growth of its Islamic economy sectors in the last couple of years to attract foreign investments and to provide its approximately 10 million domestic Muslim population with an Islamic banking option.

Alliance Islamic Bank Launches Halal in One Programme

Alliance Islamic Bank launched its Halal in One Programme, a halal enterprise ecosystem that aims to help small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). The programme offers business owners solutions like business advisory, business matching services, and shariah-compliant financing. Alliance Islamic signed a memorandum of understanding with its strategic partner HQC Commerce Sdn Bhd (HCSB) in conjunction with the launch of Halal in One Programme. Alliance Islamic CEO Rizal IL-Ehzan Fadil Azim said SMEs in Malaysia have the advantage to tap into the global halal segment, where 90% of SMEs are not certified. He said Alliance Islamic's Halal in One Programme offers business advisory to help SMEs obtain halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.

Wahed Invest strengthens Sharia compliance management with Shariyah Review Bureau

Wahed Invest announced the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau to manage its Sharia compliance affairs. Wahed is seeking to expand geographically from its historical focus on clients in the US and now has offices strategically located in USA, UK, India, Dubai, Kazakhstan and Malaysia. Currently, Wahed serves thousands of clients from over 100 countries and with its geographical expansion and service diversification is expected to enhance its market share. Shariyah Review Bureau provides comprehensive Sharia advisory solutions from setting-up Sharia Boards to providing product consulting to Sharia review implementation and Sharia audit planning.

#Qatar Financial Centre Puts Blanket Ban on Cryptocurrency Businesses

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced that virtual asset services may not be conducted in or from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). The QFC is a business and financial center with its own legal, regulatory, tax and business infrastructure in Qatar that was created in order to attract businesses to the area and promote economic development. The regulator's decision came right after the country adopted new Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing norms. While some countries like Switzerland have opened up to the possibilities of digital assets, others see them as a threat to monetary sovereignty and have adopted a hard line.

Islamic finance industry needs a global ecosystem driven by tech

The overall macroeconomic conditions have contributed to a slowdown in economic and banking growth. To address the challenges, the industry must come together to create a global ecosystem for Islamic finance. Currently, there are several disconnected hubs that each operate at different stages of their development. Emerging and frontier Islamic finance markets have a clear disadvantage. The industry needs to work to create a global ecosystem, driven by technology, that can narrow the information gap so that institutions in Africa and America have the same access as institutions in Bahrain, Malaysia and the UAE.

Islamic finance gains ground in #UK despite confusion about offerings

According to the 2019 Islamic Finance Consumer Report from Gatehouse Bank, several new faith-based lending or savings accounts have been launched in the UK, but only 54% of Muslim consumers have tried any of them. Gatehouse Bank CEO Charles Haresnape sees that most people don’t really understand Islamic finance, even Muslims don’t understand it. He said that Gatehouse is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain. Haresnape predicts growth for the UK Islamic finance market, driven by the country’s expanding young Muslim population, but said awareness and education would be key factors in driving uptake.

Islamic banks ready to support SMEs

According to the Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM), local SMEs are not fully utilising various solutions provided by Islamic banks despite credit availability. AIBIM has 26 members comprising of 11 domestic banks, 5 development financial institutions and 10 locally incorporated foreign banks. A recent survey of its members shows that about 10,000 SMEs received more than RM10 billion in funding. AIBIM stated several Islamic financial institutions provide supply chain financing, also known as supplier finance. Supply chain financing is a set of solutions that improves cashflow by allowing businesses to lengthen their payment terms to their suppliers while providing the option for their large and SME suppliers to get paid early.

Is return to gold standard imminent?

The Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 called for a common cryptocurrency to be implemented among Muslim nations to avoid dependence on the US dollar. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also called for the use of gold among Muslim nations particularly for trade settlement. The return to some form of gold standard globally is going to be among the greatest events that will take place in this century. The Movement for Monetary Justice Malaysia (MMJ) believes the best form of money for the modern world is gold-based cryptocurrency with a netting arrangement. Gold would bring about a fixed exchange-rate regime and eliminate speculation, manipulation and arbitrage in the foreign-exchange market and thereby would bring back stability and sustainability.

Malaysia Plans Digital Banking License Launch

Malaysia becomes the latest to capitalize on the rising trend of digital banking with plans to issue up to five licenses.

Islamic banks ready to support SMEs

The local Malayesean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not fully utilising various solutions provided by Islamic banks despite credit availability. The Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM) took a survey in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and about 10,000 SMEs received RM10 billion in funding.

Islamic finance gains ground in UK despite confusion about offerings

The UK Islamic finance sector holds an estimated £15 billion ($19 billion) of assets, the largest outside the Middle East and Asia. The Gatehouse Bank is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain.

Africa: Striking the Right Balance Between Sustainable Development and Sustainable Debt

Over the past two decades sub-Saharan Africa has made considerable economic progress, as extreme poverty levels have declined by one third; life expectancy has increased by a fifth; and real per capita income has grown by about 50 percent on average. Still sub-Saharan Africa is only half-way to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve its goals, sub-Saharan Africa will need financing.

QFC and UN Sign MoU to address global humanitarian issues

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General. The MoU, will see increased collaboration between the QFC and the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General and aims to assist with the promotion of humanitarian challenges, raise awareness amongst the greater business community, and increase mobilization of Qatar's private sector on key global humanitarian issues.

KFH signs partnership agreement with international platform to Showcase Kuwaiti Youth's initiatives

A strategic partnership agreement had been signed, between Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Entrepreneur Magazine. (KFH) asumes that they will sponsor the Entrepreneur platform for Kuwait with “Entrepreneur Middle East” which specializes in business entrepreneurship and young people’s initiatives.

Experts say the odds are against gold dinar

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad brought an idea of a gold dinar as an international reserve currency for Muslim countries in preference to the US dollar as the dollar was sometimes unstable. Nazari Ismail, a professor of economics at Universiti Malaya thinks, that the idea is not reliable, as countries as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and Indonesia would be not interested in the prime ministers proposal.

Islamic finance body IILM names new CEO

The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) has announced on monday that Dr. Umar Aimhanosi Oseni is their new CEO. (IILM) is an international consortium that issues short-term Shariah-compliant financial instruments to facilitate cross-border liquidity management for institutions that offer Islamic financial services.

Islamic finance legal framework coming

The goverment is setting up regulatory frameworks for the Islamic financing, that is growing fast. In Tanzania at the time, it is only one bank that provides sharia-compliant financial products and services but other three conventional banks habe opened a window for Islamic banking.

BIMB group restructuring to finally unfold

The BIMB Holdings Bhd group is set to finally unfold. BIMB announced a series of proposals that will ultimately see it transfer its listing status to its wholly-owned subsidiary Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd. In the first step, BIMB will undertake a private placement of new shares to raise RM800 million to fully settle outstanding sukuk held by Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH). BIMB had, December 2018, done an early partial redemption of RM609.9 million, helping reduce the outstanding amount.

Al Baraka Bank aligns to United Nations Development Programme

Al Baraka Bank, the islamic financial institution has joined several traditional banks in South Africa in aligning its Corporate Strategy and Social Investment responsibilities with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Al Baraka Bank has become part of the alignment with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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