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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.

#Bahrain's GFH hires banks to market five-year dollar #sukuk

Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group has hired Societe Generale and Standard Chartered to act as global coordinators and joint lead managers for the issuance of five-year dollar sukuk, The banks will market the bonds through a series of meetings starting on Jan. 15 in Asia, the United Arab Emirates and London. Emirates NBD Capital, KAMCO Investment, Mashreqbank, SHUAA Capital and Warba Bank will also serve as joint lead managers.

Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference to Host Marathon and Hackathon for African Children

Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference (DIHAD) is scheduled to take place from 6-12 March 2020 and is focusing on Africa this year. DIHAD’s two key events include a marathon and hackathon. The marathon is expected to attract participation from over 202 nationalities. The hackathon, which is likely to have 200 participants, will focus on finding technology solutions for humanitarian projects. It will focus on telehealth, tele education for developing nations, humanitarian devices, and other innovative ideas. Interested participants can register for the two events via DIHAD’s official website: www.dihad.org. Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Islamic Bank, Noor Dubai Foundation and Dubai Future Council are also collaborating in the upcoming events.

#Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat hires banks for dollar #sukuk

#Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has hired banks to arrange fixed income investor meetings ahead of a potential issue of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. The fund has picked Citi, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, National Bank of Bahrain and Standard Chartered for meetings in London, Asia and the Middle East. The deal could be the first international debt sale by a Gulf borrower this year. Mumtalakat raised $600 million in sukuk last year, having obtained orders of around $4 billion for the debt sale.

Islamic Banking & Finance: What is Holding Back Sharia Finance in #Indonesia?

Despite having the world’s largest Muslim population and despite forming a dynamic emerging economy, Indonesia plays a small role only in the global Islamic banking industry. Islamic banking apparently has a hard time taking off in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Despite the low penetration of Islamic finance in Indonesia, the country now ranks first in the Islamic Finance Country Index. The country has recently launched the Masterplan of Sharia Economy 2019-2024, with ambitious plans for the future.

Are bank mergers in the GCC as profitable as they seem?

In the past two years, we have seen a number of bank mergers take place in the GCC. While the cost synergies of a bank merger can be tempting, the strategies to execute such a consolidation vary significantly and there is no "one size fits all" approach. A number of GCC banks observe a healthy capital position, requisite scale, and supportive shareholders also provide the necessary impetus for international expansions. However, not all international expansion strategies have yielded desired returns. In the past few years, one of three GCC banks incurred losses in their international operations. Only two out of every five banks are witnessing improvement in returns compared to the previous year.

Noor Bank reshuffles board ahead of merger with DIB

UAE’s Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is progressing with the acquisition of Noor Bank whose board of directors has been reconstituted recently. Following the reshuffle, Noor Bank’s board of directors now includes Adnan Chilwan, the Group CEO of DIB and Yahya Saeed Ahmed Nasser Lootah, Hamad Buamim as well as Ahmad Mohammad Saeed Bin Humaidan and Abdulla Ali Obaid Al Hamli. DIB shareholders gave approval for the acquisition through an increase of the bank’s capital from 6.6 billion shares to 7.2 billion shares, with a share swap ratio of one new share in DIB for every 5.49 Noor Bank shares. The GCC financial services industry is witnessing a wave of consolidation as banks seek ways to improve competitiveness and boost capital amid slowing economic growth.

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.

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