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Dubai Islamic Bank completes the acquisition of Noor Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has completed the acquisition of Noor Bank through a share swap deal. As part of the agreement, DIB has issued 651 million new shares to take its issued share capital to 7.2 billion shares. The new DIB shares have been listed and admitted to trading on the Dubai Financial Market. The GCC financial services industry is witnessing a wave of consolidation as banks seek ways to improve competitiveness. Earlier this week, the National Bank of Bahrain acquired a 78.8% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank. Similarly, Alizz Islamic Bank’s Board of Directors approved a share swap ratio for the proposed merger with Oman Arab Bank.

Saudi SRC buys $67mln mortgage portfolio from Bank Aljazira

The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC), a subsidiary of the Saudi Public Investment Fund signed an agreement with Bank Aljazira to buy a SAR 250 million mortgage portfolio. The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that allows SRC to buy more mortgage portfolios from the bank. SRC seeks to inject more liquidity into the Saudi mortgage sector through the acquisition of mortgage portfolios. Bank Aljazira’s net profit increased by 3.8% to SAR 256.9 million in Q3-19, compared to SAR 247.4 million in Q3-18.

Alizz-OAB #merger to provide customers with better services

The upcoming proposed merger between Alizz Islamic Bank and Oman Arab Bank (OAB) will provide customers with better services and more outlets. Al Yusr Islamic Banking, Oman Arab Bank’s Islamic window with all its branches and staff will become part of Alizz Islamic, which will remain as a fully licensed Islamic bank. Under this merger, Alizz Islamic Bank will be fully owned under Oman Arab Bank and will see the former continue to operate as an Islamic bank, with its services available to all existing customers, as well as OAB customers. The latter, however, will continue to function as a conventional bank.

UK: Inaugural Meeting for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance

There will be an inaugural meeting for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance held on Tuesday 4th February in the Grimond Room in Portcullis House at 4pm.

At the meeting, the office bearers will be elected and a brief plan for the Group’s activities in the coming year will be put forward.

The purpose of the APPGIF is to give the Islamic finance industry a voice in Parliament; to address issues as they arise such as Sukuk issuances, inclusivity, regulation and taxation whilst positioning the UK as the European hub of Islamic financial services, and also to play a wider role in promoting ethical finance. The Group is a robust body and has enjoyed cross-party support and in addition there are over 90 stakeholders.

Kuwait Finance House Shareholders Give Green Card to AUB’s Acquisition

Kuwait Finance House has affirmed plans to purchase Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank. The merger can possibly become the Gulf’s sixth-biggest lender with $101 billion in assets. Reaching the value of about $101 billion, the acquisition will generate the largest Islamic banking entity in the world in terms of assets. Based on its past performance, the annual forecast profit of the merger is $1.5 billion. The shareholder equity of the new entity will be $10.5 billion. Besides Kuwait Finance House, Dubai Islamic Bank in the UAE has also received shareholders’ approval for purchasing Noor Bank via capital increase and share swap. The merger will potentially be valued at AED 275 billion.

One of Germany’s senior Muslim diplomats, Murad Hoffman, returns to his Lord

The well-known scholar and diplomat, Murad Hoffman, has passed to meet his Lord. May Allah have mercy upon him. Murad Hofmann was born a Catholic in 1931 in Aschaffenburg, Germany. He later studied at the University of Munich and Harvard University. Hofmann converted to Islam in 1980 as a result of witnessing the Algerian War of Independence, in addition to his admiration of Islamic art. His reversion was met with political resistance due to his high profile in the German government. Hofmann served as a diplomat for Germany for 33 years, beginning in 1961. He served as ambassador to Algeria and Morocco from 1987 to 1994, and was director of information for NATO.

Results of global family philanthropy survey released

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and Campden Wealth published the report "Global Trends and Strategic Time Horizons in Family Philanthropy 2020". The report is based on a survey of 201 families of significant wealth who are engaged in philanthropic giving. According to the report, education is the top cause families give to globally, constituting 29% of the average philanthropic portfolio, followed by health at 14%, and the arts, culture and sports at 10%. Just 8% of giving goes towards the environment global concern for climate change. According to Dr. Rebecca Gooch, Director of Research at Campden Wealth, we are in the early stages of a significant transition in which vast sums of wealth are changing hands between generations. The emerging generation is acutely aware of the largescale global challenges it will face, such as climate change.

Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education appoint Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar as CEO

The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) has appointed Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Ben Jaafar’s experience in the education development sector spans over 20 years in Canada, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Her leadership roles working on major educational development projects include engagement with the American Institute of Research, Ericsson, UNESCO, UNICEF, and War Child UK. His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said that her commitment to inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning makes her an excellent addition to the AGFE team.

Dubai’s Fajr Capital sells its stake in Bank Islam Brunei

Dubai-based Fajr Capital has completed its divestment from Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) to Brunei Investment Agency. Fajr Capital stated that this transaction marks another successful exit for the firm, following several recent high-profile divestments. The bank’s transformation journey resulted in enhanced customer experience through the introduction of internet banking and new digital platforms, international expansion and improved financial performance with the bank’s net income more than doubling.

CIMB Islamic contributes RM1 million for conservation efforts of Setiu Wetlands

CIMB Islamic Bank has committed RM1 million per year, renewable annually for up to 3 years for the conservation efforts of Setiu Wetlands, Terengganu. The three-year project with a total potential commitment of RM3 million, is in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia). The project contributes towards safeguarding Setiu Wetlands’ healthy and functioning ecosystem by establishing a critical knowledge base to guide sustainable development. This is CIMB’s third collaboration with WWF-Malaysia on strategic conservation projects, subsequent to the project in Ulu Muda, Kedah, and in Ba’ Kelalan and Long Semadoh in Sarawak.

Alizz Islamic Bank approves share swap for proposed merger with OAB

Alizz Islamic Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a share swap ratio for its proposed merger with Oman Arab Bank (OAB). The share swap ratio is around 81%: 19% for the shareholders of OAB and Alizz Islamic Bank respectively. The proposed merger and the indicative swap ration will remain subject to the approval of the shareholders. On completion of the merger, Alizz Islamic Bank will continue to operate as a dedicated Islamic banking franchise with management autonomy.

DAVOS-Capitalism seen doing "more harm than good" in global survey

A majority of people around the world believe capitalism in its current form is doing more harm than good. The survey was launched in 2000 to explore the theories of political scientist Francis Fukuyama, who after the collapse of communism declared that liberal capitalist democracy had seen off rival ideologies and so represented "the end of history". That conclusion has since been challenged by several critics. Of possible interest to corporate leaders gathering in Davos this week was the finding that trust in business outweighed that in governments and that 92% of employees said CEOs should speak out on the social and ethical issues of the day.

Boubyan Bank's profits in 2019

Boubyan Bank has reported net profit of KD 62.7 million in 2019, at a growth rate of 12% compared to 2018, with an earnings per share of 20.4 fils compared to 19.2 fils in 2018. Boubyan Bank CEO Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed said that the total equity of the bank increased to KD 575 million by the end of 2019 and the operating income increased to KD 146 million. The year 2019 witnessed the introduction of many new services and products. All-new smart phone Apps were launched in addition to the issuance, activation and use of the virtual prepaid card through Boubyan App. Additionally, the bank earned its verified badge in WhatsApp business and successfully integrated the bank’s Chatbot service, Msa3ed, with WhatsApp business.

NBB acquires 78.8% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank

The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has acquired a 78.8% controlling stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB). The offer which initially opened on 18 December 2019 was launched by NBB in a bid to develop its Islamic banking activities. NBB’s CEO Jean-Christophe Durand said that the two banks would remain independent and BisB would remain listed on Bahrain Bourse. The Islamic bank will continue to operate under its normal course of business as well as maintain its operations as a subsidiary of NBB. The settlement of the offer is expected to take place on 22 January 2020.

Don't believe media buzz about Arab buying spree in #Turkey

Turkey has been talking a lot about Arab purchases in the country. Most recently, the issue of Arab acquisitions has made headlines as part of a simmering controversy over a government plan to build an artificial waterway in Istanbul as an alternative to the Bosporus. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the mother of the Qatari emir, is among the buyers who have reportedly purchased 4.4 hectares of land in the area. While real estate sales to foreigners account for less than 3% of Turkey’s export revenues, Gulf investors hold only 9% of direct foreign investments in the country. In sum, any media buzz suggesting an Arab buying spree in Turkey is overblown.

The DFSA Signs Guiding Principles on Sustainable Finance Together With Leading Authorities in the #UAE

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has published the UAE’s first Guiding Principles on Sustainable Finance. The Guiding Principles are the result of co-operative efforts among a number of authorities in the UAE, namely the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the Central Bank, the Insurance Authority, the Securities and Commodities Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, the Dubai Financial Market, Nasdaq Dubai, and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. The Guiding Principles are based on the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development and will serve as a catalyst for the implementation of the UAE’s sustainability priorities.

Ensuring the Benefits of Capital Flows in the Middle East

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, gross capital inflows to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have remained high compared to other emerging markets, but their composition has changed significantly. There has been a surge in portfolio flows (equity and bond instruments) and a decline in foreign direct investment. The inflows to the region surged to more than $155 billion over 2016–2018. About two-thirds of the increase can be attributed to a more favorable global risk sentiment. However, with global economic risks now on the rise, MENA countries would be particularly vulnerable if global risk sentiment shifts. Improved policy frameworks are crucial not only in attracting but also in preserving capital flows, while helping mitigate the risk of outflows. Countries will also need to undertake certain key structural reforms, including measures to strengthen financial supervision and regulation.

Evolving Islamic fintech

In this interview Stalla Cox CBE, the Managing Director of DDCAP speaks about her company and the evolving Islamic fintech scene. DDCAP Group was established over twenty years ago and has always selected its global expansion strategically. DDCAP opened in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in 2008. Following the turn of 2000, there was significant repatriation of Shari'ah compliant capital to the Middle East. At a similar point in time, DDCAP was also invited by Bank Negara Malaysia to join a steering group that was formed in response to the Malaysian financial authorities granting permissions to Islamic banks from the GCC to do business locally. Consequently, a regional office was opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The global financial services industry is moving at an incredible pace. With ETHOS AFP, DDCAP managed to create an enabling platform with global reach and provides a fully integrated treasury trading workflow for Shari’ah-compliant transactions.

S&P projects $170bn #sukuk issuance in 2020; #Qatar key player in 2019

According to S&P Global Ratings, global sukuk issuance increased by 25.6% in 2019 compared with 2018. Foreign currency issuance also increased by almost 20.8% during the year, explained primarily by activity in Turkey, and also issuance by Qatari banks and Malaysian corporates. S&P anticipates a total sukuk issuance of $160bn-$170bn this year, including $40bn-$45bn of foreign currency issuance. This represents about 5% growth on the $162bn seen in 2019. S&P believes that the green sukuk market will continue to expand, aided by opportunities related to energy mix diversification in the GCC/Malaysia and investor diversification.

Source: 

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/13/01/2020/S-P-projects-$170bn-sukuk-issuance-in-2020-Qatar-key-player-in-2019

Islamic fintechs are on the rise — but how viable is this tailored offering?

Fintech is a crowded space, but a new subgenre is emerging to attract the world’s 1.8bn Muslims with a Shariah-compliant alternative. The new ecosystem includes Islamic online wealth managers like Wahed and streams of Islamic mobile-first banks, including the UK’s Niyah and Germany’s Insha. Over the last few months Insha has onboarded 12,000 users in Germany, aiming to have 1m across Europe by the end of 2023. Insha plans to draw in Turkish-born Muslims in Europe with its trilingual offering and to make speedy returns by offering mortgages immediately (supported by its partner bank). But for all its promise, Islamic fintech is still a hard sell, even for its target audience. Shariah law itself is complicated and Muslim-specific financial services aren’t always a good deal. Islamic fintechs will also need to compete with a wave of new secular, ethical banks like Bunq.

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