The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) expressed dismay at the recent changes that took place at Islami Bank Bangladesh (IBBL). In a letter to Finance Minister Ama Muhith, IDB said the foreign shareholders feel that the governance of the bank has been taken away from them, although they own more than 52% of the shares, while IDB has a 7.5%. The IDB also criticised the way a board meeting at IBBL is convened. Furthermore, the IDB voiced its concern about the recent changes, about appointing the new managing director in an abrupt manner, not following the rigorous recruitment process. As a response to IDB's letter, Islami Bank said in a statement that all banking rules have been followed properly.
Dubai Islamic Bank will meet fixed income investors in London on Feb. 6 ahead of a potential sukuk issuance. A five-year benchmark issue, which usually means upwards of $500 million, might follow. The lender has appointed Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, KFH Capital, Maybank Investment Bank Berhard, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank as joint lead managers and bookrunners.
The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) announced the launch of its refreshed strategy for 2017-2021. Making the announcement, Sheikh Hamdan said the first part of the strategy includes identifying new key performance indicators (KPIs) for monitoring the growth of important sectors. The second component is enhancing Dubai’s status as a reference for Islamic finance, Halal sector and Islamic lifestyle that includes culture, art, fashion and family tourism. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said the DIEDC’s latest goal is to demonstrate the positive impact of Islamic economy. It is necessary to establish the structural framework of the ecosystem. Finance, production and consumption must feature in it as integrated systems aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Al Mansouri pointed out the need for universally accepted standards across Islamic economy sectors and stressed that the UAE will focus on refining these standards.
Turkey's privately-owned Aktif Bank has received regulatory approval to sell up to $120 million via sukuk. Turkey has seen steady issuance of sukuk from the government and the country's Islamic banks, but corporate issuance remains rare. Aktif Bank will sell the sukuk through its asset leasing company, Aktif Bank Sukuk Varlk Kiralama. Companies can sell sukuk directly by setting up their own asset leasing companies, but the process can be onerous for smaller firms. The government has previously granted tax exemptions for lease-based sukuk, but in August it extended those incentives to all other types of sukuk contracts.
The government of Indonesia plans to sell another series of sharia-compliant government retail bonds (Sukri). The offering period is planned for 4 February-2 March 2017. In last year's Sukri issuance the Indonesian government set an indicative target of IDR 30 trillion (approx. USD $2.2 billion) for its SR-008 series. However, due to robust demand authorities raised a total of IDR 31 trillion. The three year SR-008 bonds carry a fixed coupon of 8.3% per year. It was the government's biggest ever sale of Sukri bonds. In 2017 the Indonesian government plans to sell IDR 597 trillion worth of bonds, mostly rupiah-denominated government bonds. Robert Pakpahan, Head of the Debt Office within Indonesia's Finance Ministry, earlier said Indonesia will offer retail bonds twice this year, consisting of Sukri and Indonesian Retail Government Bonds.
Al Rayan Bank has revealed that applications for two of its home finance plans reached an all-time high in 2016, as demand for Islamic finance soared. Both the bank’s home purchase and buy-to-let purchase plans received a record number of eligible enquiries last year. This surge follows a 9% rise in applications to the bank in 2016, marking a 99% increase over the past five years. Keith Leach, chief commercial officer at Al Rayan, said there was still substantial room for growth in the market and the bank expects demand to continue to rise in the coming years. Al Rayan estimates that 94% of its fixed-term deposit customers who joined last year are not of the Muslim faith. The announcement comes just weeks after Al Rayan launched a Sharia-compliant buy-to-let range in Scotland.
The Emir of Gwandu Muhammad Iliyasu Bashar has commended Jaiz Bank for its banking policies and principles of making life better for people. The royal father made the commendation at his palace when the Managing Director of the bank, Malan Hassan Usman, the Regional Manager, Dr. Nurudeen Liman and Habibu Isa Muhammad, the branch Manager of Birnin Kebbi paid him a courtesy call. Malan Hassan Usman expressed his appreciation of the support rendered by the Emir towards the establishment of the bank. He said the bank started operation 5 years ago with provisional approval to open three branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano but now the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given full approval to the bank to open its branches nationwide. Currently the bank has 27 branches with 3 new ones coming next week.
The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have organised a regional consultation workshop on the Sukuk Model Law Project. Partner of the workshop was the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). The workshop was held at the BCEAO headquarters in Dakar, Senegal from 23-24 January 2017. The objective of the Project is to create a model Sukuk law and guidelines that leverage global best practises for creating a legal framework for Sukuk issuance and regulation. Subsequent regional consultations are planned for South East Asia, Central Asia and the MENA regions. IRTI Director General, Prof. Mohamed Azmi Omar, said the workshop reaffirmed the importance of Sukuk as an emerging instrument of resource mobilisation.
#Singapore's Sabana Shariah Compliant Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) clarifies the article published by Straits Times titled "Angry investors want REIT manager kicked out". Sabana REIT stated that the closing price of its unit was 37 cents on 24 Jan 2017. Sabana REIT clarified that the manager's fee structure is in line with market practice in Singapore's REIT sector. All acquisitions were approved by board of directors in accordance with property funds appendix and sgx-st listing manual.
Yinson Holdings' subsidiary Yinson Production (West Africa) has converted its existing US$780mil conventional loan to an Islamic Murabahah term financing facility. Group executive chairman Lim Han Weng said this was the largest Islamic facility for floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) financing to-date. Maybank Investment Bank acted as the coordinating bank for the conversion while Maybank Islamic acted as the syariah adviser. Upon completion of the conversion, Yinson is expected to meet the debt over total assets financial ratio benchmark required by the Securities Commission for a syariah-compliant security.
The Canadian fintech company Goldmoney has certified its gold-based financial products as sharia-compliant. The move illustrates how fintechs are broadening their footprint to include the core markets for Islamic finance in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Goldmoney provides financial products that are fully-backed by reserved gold. Goldmoney says it has more than 1.3 million users across 150 countries and administers $1.7 billion in client assets. Several other fintech ventures were launched in 2016. In February, a group of six Islamic lenders launched an internet-based investment platform to serve as a central marketplace to finance small and medium-sized businesses. Malaysia-based HelloGold has also launched a sharia-compliant online platform that uses blockchain. HelloGold is currently rolling out its product in Malaysia with plans to enter Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand later this year, and China by 2019.
Before handing over his charge to present Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel, former Governor Raghuram Rajan had proposed working with the Government to introduce Islamic Banking. Most recently, Union Finance Ministry said that Islamic banking was not relevant any more as the Government has already introduced several programmes for all citizens towards financial inclusion. Finance Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said various legal changes are needed if even limited products were to be introduced under Islamic banking. It is estimated that 180 million Muslims in India are unable to access Islamic banking because of non-availability of interest free banking. RBI in its report had said it would explore to introduce interest-free banking products in consultation with the government, but before the consultation could be held, the Government of India derailed this whole process.
Shariah-compliant pension funds are entering the wealth and asset management segment worldwide. One example for a state-backed Shariah-compliant pension fund is the Islamic savings scheme option introduced in Malaysia. Here $25bn of the fund’s entire assets of $160bn have been dedicated to the new Shariah-compliant investment line. According to Moody’s global head of Islamic finance, Khalid Howladar, Shariah-compliant investments now represent 15% of the fund’s entire investment, which makes it the largest standalone Islamic pension fund globally. Another country where Islamic pension funds are in growing demand is Pakistan. A number of banks, financial service providers and fund managers offer private or voluntary state-supported retirement savings schemes whose investments are made strictly in Shariah-compliant instruments. In the Western World, the UK and Australia were the first to offer Islamic pension schemes. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Islamic pension funds are yet comparably small, particularly state-backed ones.
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a pan-African development finance institution, has issued its maiden Sukuk as the first Sukuk to be issued by an African supranational entity. The initial target of US$100 million was more than twice oversubscribed, resulting in the transaction being upsized to US$150 million and a final order book of approximately US$230 million. The privately placed Murabaha Sukuk has a three year tenor and will mature on 24 January 2020. Emirates NBD Capital, MUFG and RMB acted as Joint Bookrunners and Joint Lead Managers with Emirates NBD Capital also acting as the Sole Global Coordinator. Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC, said this Sukuk represents a milestone for AFC and helps to diversify its portfolio to continue delivering real impact across the continent.
Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to collaborate in areas related to endowment services enhancing the prosperity of Muslim societies. Tayeb Al-Rais, Secretary General of AMAF, and Dr Bandar Al Hajjar, Chairman and President of IDB, signed the MoU in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The two parties will work towards maximising the availability of Islamic banking services to the endowment sector. AMAF and IDB will also explore the possibilities of forging endowment partnerships and engaging third parties. Other areas of cooperation include building successful marketing strategies and providing advanced endowment tools for banking, finance, and investment.
The Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance (CEIF) IBA held an International Forum on 'Unlocking Islamic Finance Potential in CPEC and Beyond'. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of $45 billion worth of domestic infrastructure projects planned by the government of Pakistan. The Forum analyzed the effects and impact of CPEC on the Islamic Finance industry in Pakistan. In his keynote address Irfan Siddiqui, President & CEO Meezan Bank, highlighted that CPEC is not just a need of China but also of Pakistan. From the government Chief Economist Nadeem Javaid stated that there are four main components of CPEC: Energy, Infrastructure Development, Economic Incentives and Industrial Cooperation. He said that CPEC will greatly lower the per unit cost of energy, incentives such as exemption from local duties and materials, whereas suspension of trade union activities will give opportunities to investors. Therefore, designing cost-effective, Shariah compliant finance options is the need of the hour.
The UN appointed Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty in the Gulf has concluded his mission on 19th January. In his report Dr. Mohamed Ramady highlights that poverty encompasses non-financial targets that encompasses women’s right to work and move freely, inhibiting factors that lead to family poverty. It is meaningless to adopt an absolute line given a large variance in GCC GDP per capita, ranging from around $ 25,000 in Saudi Arabia to $ 95,000 in Qatar. National poverty line figures accordingly vary from $ 1,300 per month to $ 5,000 levels. Cash payment handouts to reduce subsidies to balance national budgets are short-term measures. The key to poverty eradication is education, access to work and removal of social restrictions. To varying degrees, all the Gulf countries have given emphasis to ensuring more female work and civil and political participation. The UN Report also highlighted an uneven corporate social responsibility to carry out effective training and offer more opportunities for female workers and handicapped employees.
#Saudi-based Alinma Bank’s chief executive officer, Abdul Mohsen Al Fares discusses the bank's earnings and lending growth. Alinma Bank achieved a new record in the last quarter. Growth drivers include the infrastructure projects that started two years ago and will take other three of five years to complete. In terms of net interest margins, Al Fares believes that the recovery will come gradually. As interest rate is rising, the margin will also go up. Alinma Bank has expansion plans for 2017, it currently has 164 branches across the kingdom and it plans to open 12 new branches this year.
Goldmoney announced that Goldmoney Network Accounts and Wealth Holdings have been endorsed as Shariah-compliant by the Shariah Supervisory Board of Amanie Advisors. Islamic investors can now instantly purchase, save, and transact in gold globally on the Goldmoney platform. Goldmoney's chief strategy officer Josh Crumb said that the company's platform democratizes access to 100% reserved and allocated gold-based savings, payments, and investment solutions. CEO Roy Sebag stated that compliance with Shariah law was an important step in the company's growth, enabling Goldmoney to expand its offerings to the Islamic market.
Summit will explore intersection of #fintech, #ESG and #Islamicfinance. #RFISummit17
January 24, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland –
Bringing together a diversity of perspectives is critical for continuing the growth occurring within responsible finance. On this premise, the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2017 will convene in Zurich, Switzerland from 3-4 May 2017 around the theme “Building Bridges, Expanding Impact”.
Recent estimates from industry stakeholders show continued growth in responsible finance assets in many geographies and sectors. Responsible investment in Europe grew by 42% during the past 2 years, while in the U.S., assets grew by 33%. In Islamic finance, which has a global presence with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, growth in the last 2 years has been 21%. Identifying actionable areas for collaboration will support continued growth towards a more sustainable financial system.