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Algorand Foundation announces Sharia certification for Islamic financial markets inclusivity

The Algorand Foundation, the organization that oversees the Algorand blockchain platform, announced that the network is certified for Sharia compliant financing. The foundation enlisted the Shariya Review Bureau (SRB) as an independent Sharia Advisor to ensure the network complies with the critical procedures of Sharia compliant financing. Algorand’s ecosystem has been growing substantially since launching in June of 2019. With the Sharia certification, Algorand is open to Islamic institutions using the platform for economic exchange and beyond. The Algorand Foundation is providing the trusted infrastructure needed to support the growth of a borderless economy. With research led by Dr. Tal Rabin, the Algorand Foundation is incorporated in the Republic of Singapore.

#Malaysia remains key source of Islamic debt papers

According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysia remains the main sukuk issuer this year besides countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. The increase in Malaysia’s sukuk market is largely driven by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and contributed by local currency corporate issuance. Notable corporate deals included energy service firm Serba Dinamik’s US$300 million (RM1.25 bilion) sukuk, the first dollar high-yield sukuk offering in the Asia-Pacific region. The Malaysian market shows how as the Shariah-compliant investor base grows, the cost of sukuk issuance becomes more competitive relative to conventional bonds. Fitch believes that global volumes normalised rather than declined last year after hitting record levels in 2017. Moving forward, Fitch believes macro-economic and geopolitical conditions will affect sukuk issuance. GCC debt markets are relatively developing but individual sovereign funding decisions can profoundly affect total supply.

#Oman to introduce bankruptcy and insolvency law in July 2020

Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the Sultanate’s new bankruptcy and insolvency law will come into effect from July 2020 and it will help companies to get out of the financial turmoil. The bankruptcy law allows the debtor to request a protective settlement if their financial business is disturbed which would lead to suspension of payment of debts. Heirs to the business may apply for protective reconciliation if they decide to continue trading. The debtor continues to manage his funds during the implementation phase of the restructuring plan and remains responsible for any obligations arising prior to or after the date of the adoption of the restructuring plan. Similarly, the bankruptcy law grants the right of every trader to file for bankruptcy, in case they stop paying their commercial debts following the disruption of business activities. A bankruptcy case shall not arise except by a court ruling.

Debate sparked between MEPs and philanthropists on Idea of single market philanthropy

Members of European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee discussed creating a European space for donors and fostering cross-border giving. The debate was entitled 'Single Market for Philanthropy – Helping unlock the potential for public good across Europe' and saw the emergence of a cross-party alliance between Greens, Renew, EPP and S&D. To create a European space for donors, MEPs Sven Giegold and Sergey Lagodinsky discussed a potential proposal for a 29th regime of a 'European public benefit statute'. Regulatory tax barriers, affecting cross-border philanthropy within the EU, currently undermine this. The Romanian Council Presidency issued an EESC opinion on Philanthropy, calling on the EU to promote organised philanthropy, and asking for elimination of barriers within the internal market.

International #Sukuk Issuance volumes expected to grow in coming years - Fitch

According to Fitch Ratings, international sukuk issuance from major Islamic finance markets were almost unchanged in the first nine months of 2019 year-on-year (y-o-y). Sukuk issuance with a maturity of more than 18 months from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan totalled US$30.6 billion in 9M19 compared with US$31 billion in 9M18. This supports the view that volumes normalised rather than declined last year after hitting record levels in 2017. Fitch said that GCC debt markets are still relatively developing, and individual sovereign funding decisions can profoundly affect total supply. Fitch believes that new issuance volumes in the coming years will also be supported by refinancing activity. Nearly two-thirds of the US$99.4 billion of outstanding Fitch-rated sukuk at end-1H19 mature in less than five years.

Region’s P2P lending platform Beehive funds first SME in #Bahrain

Beehive, the region’s first regulated peer-to-peer lending platform has funded its first SME in Bahrain. The funding was granted to Bahrain-based Mira Packaging Factory, which manufactures disposable cups in addition to other food packaging solutions for the GCC, and the African F&B industry. Mira Packaging Factory has a large customer base in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the regional neighbouring countries. This includes international airlines, global HORECA brands and local coffee concepts. Beehive CEO Craig Moore confirmed Mira Packaging Factory's eligibility for peer-to-peer finance after Beehive’s thorough credit assessment, which determines the company’s ability to repay the loan and provide excellent returns to its global investors.

Aldar Investments' Landmark US$500 million 10-year #Sukuk attracts strong investor demand

Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Investment Properties issued a fixed rate US dollar-denominated sukuk with a tenor of 10 years for a nominal amount of US $500 million. The sukuk carries a coupon rate of 3.875%, following strong investor demand. The transaction, which marked the first 10-year public Sukuk offering by an Abu Dhabi-based issuer, was over 6 times oversubscribed. Aldar Investments owns and manages a AED 20 billion diversified portfolio of high-quality income-generating residential, retail, commercial and hospitality assets. Aldar Investments owns and manages a AED 20 billion diversified portfolio of high-quality income-generating residential, retail, commercial and hospitality assets.

Examining the case for sharia-compliant alternatives to repos

Matt Smith explores how sharia-compliant repo-like structures can support liquidity management in Islamic financial markets, and considers the structural, regulatory, and legal factors that need to be addressed. Islamic finance is steadily increasing its use of sharia-compliant alternatives to repos, helping the industry better manage liquidity and enabling sukuk holders to increase returns. Central banks use repos to control money supply, while commercial banks use them to manage short-term fluctuations in their cash holdings. Such structures effectively involve paying interest and so are forbidden under Islamic law. Enabling the widespread use of repo-like structures would help expand the secondary sukuk market, which is typically dominated by buy-and-hold investors. Yet asset growth among Islamic banks has slowed, while liquidity is increasingly scarce.

Albaraka Turk issues TRL 600 million dual-tranche #Sukuk

Albaraka Turk Katilim Bankasi has issued TRL 600 million dual-tranche Sukuk through its subsidiary Bereket Varl?k Kiralama Sirketi. While the targeted total amount of the issuance was TRL 450 million, the total amount reached TRL 600 million. The certificates had two different tenors as 98 days and 147 days and the size of each tranche was TRL 450 million and TRL 150 million respectively. Malek K. Temsah, Albaraka Turk’s Assistant General Manager of Treasury, said that the uniqueness of this transaction was in its dual-tenured nature, which offered investors additional flexibility.

Inspired by the East review: British Museum looks at how Islamic world influenced western art

Over the past 15 years the British Museum has played a valuable educative role in Middle Eastern culture. It has shown us the legendary Babylon, introduced us to Persia’s great potentate, Shah Abbas, opened up the imperial court of Ashurbanipal, travelled to Afghanistan, the crossroads of ancient culture, and acted as tour guide on the Hajj. A splendid new suite of permanent galleries has also been opened to show off a world-class collection of Islamic treasures and explore their wider significance.

PTI govt decides to promote Islamic banking in #Pakistan

The federal government of Pakistan has decided to initiate a comprehensive plan for the promotion of Islamic banking in the country. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance chaired by Asad Umar announced that the State Bank of Pakistan was in the process of formulating a seven-year plan and a comprehensive framework in this regard will be introduced within two months. The SBP officials gave a briefing to the committee about the Eradication of Riba Act, 2019. The chairman advised the standing committee on finance to expedite the work on the bill and constituted a sub-committee, headed by MNA Raza Nasrullah.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Analysis of the Strategy of #Microfinance for Financial Inclusion of Refugees,” published by the European Microfinance Network

Turkey is host to an estimated 4 million refugees, more than are living in any other country. This paper assesses “the feasibility of microfinance as an appropriate strategy for the financial inclusion of refugees in Turkey.” The authors identify some of the risks of lending to refugee populations and steps that can be taken to mitigate them. Borrowed funds may be used for unapproved purposes such as to repay other debts. This may be mitigated by visiting the borrower’s place of work to assess how the credit is to be used. Excluding local residents from lending programs can create resentment. This may be mitigated by issuing loans to groups whose members span both the local and refugee populations. Refugees may move away, making recovery of loan repayments more challenging. This can be mitigated by assessing a loan applicant’s level of integration into the local community.

The Use Of Cayman Islands SPVs In Shariah Compliant Aircraft Financing

Islamic finance has grown significantly over the past few years into an estimated US$2.4 trillion industry. While the use of Shariah compliant financing for the acquisition of aircraft is not a new development, aircraft leasing firms and operators are increasingly looking at Islamic finance as a source of funding for the acquisition of aircraft , whether that be via Islamic banks or through the issuance of Shariah compliant bonds (Sukuk) to raise funds via the debt capital markets.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The Philippines Passes Law to Encourage Islamic Finance

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines recently signed a law mandating Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the nation’s central bank, to provide for the regulation and supervision of Islamic banks. An Interagency Working Group on Islamic Banking and Finance will work to develop a regulatory framework, which is intended to expand the number of banks in the country that operate in accordance with Shariah principles.

Al-Nahedh: KFH Has a Proven Track Record in Digital Transformation

Kuwait: Group Chief Executive Officer at Kuwait Finance House(KFH), Mazin Saad Al-Nahedh said that the banking and financial industry is undergoing a process of digital transformation where many processes – often transactional – are being fully automated.

Qatar Financial Center Expands Number of Licensed Fintech Activities, Releases New Rules and Guidance

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has expanded the number Fintech-related activities that will be awarded licenses and the agency plans to extend support to an increasing number of financial services firms through the QFC platform, according to a release.

Steady uptrend for Islamic finance in Pakistan: SBP

The Islamic banking and finance sector in Pakistan continues to be on an upward trajectory, with assets, deposits and the number of branches of Islamic banks all showing solid growth. According to the latest Islamic Banking Bulletin issued by the State Bank of Pakistan on September 13, assets of Pakistan’s Islamic banking industry stood at Rs2,992bn ($19.8bn) by June-end, 2019, a growth of 20.6% as compared to June-end, 2018.

Islamic fintech pioneers test creative ways to engage consumers

Many Muslims’ reliance on community offers opportunities including halal robo-advice.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation to launch first ‘African Governance Report’ in 2019

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announce the launch of the first comprehensive African Governance Report. Based on IIAG data, the report will focus on: Governance and Africa’s implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will highlight the importance of using data to analyse the growing governance challenges and opportunities that must be addressed to drive sustainable development in Africa.

4 types of data necessary for outcome-based financing

The U.N. General Assembly is underway this week, and the global development community has descended upon New York en masse. Impact bonds are just one example of outcome-based financing, where private investors provide upfront capital, repaid conditional on the achievement of pre-determined metrics. Although evidence is sparse on the relative merits of this mechanism, millions of dollars are being invested in their design and implementation.

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