GCC

Dubai-based Fintech, Beehive, Releases State of the SME Ecosystem Report

Peer-to-peer lending platform Beehive has released an insightful new report revealing the state of MENA's SME ecosystem. The report is based on a survey of 175 SME owners and senior management and a roundtable of 13 prominent SME founders / CEOs. Key findings from the report include: surveyed MENA SMEs have more women in senior positions than the global average. 28% of respondents see innovation as a priority for growth, yet only 2% of business owners are currently trying to access finance to fund it. SMEs offer young people a great opportunity for development. 48% of SMEs would hire someone under 25 with no experience. The report focused on key areas that impact SMEs such as talent acquisition, innovation and growth factors. The survey results showed positive indicators such as SME appetite for market expansion and the opportunity for women in business.

Dubai Islamic Bank proposes Noor Bank acquisition via share swap

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has proposed the acquisition of Noor Bank through a strategic investment via a share swap. Noor Investment Group and Emirates Investment Authority will become strategic investors in DIB. The share swap ratio is 1 new DIB share for every 5.49 shares of Noor Bank through the issuance of 651,159,198 new DIB shares in aggregate. UAE’s largest standalone Islamic bank will convene a general assembly on December 17 to seek shareholder approval for the proposal. Dubai Islamic Bank was designated by the UAE central bank in 2018 as systematically important. It is the only standalone and full-fledged Islamic bank out of four financial institutions the regulator considers "too big to fail".

#Oman hires local banks for domestic #sukuk programme

Oman has hired local lenders Bank Muscat, Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank to set up a sukuk issuance programme. It plans to issue five-year and seven-year Omani rial denominated sukuk, which will be open for subscriptions starting from Monday until Dec. 8.

Wethaq launches first ‘fintech’ #Sukuk on its market infrastructure using SWIFT gpi Link

UAE-based fintech company Wethaq has issued the first pilot sukuk on its securities market infrastructure. Al Ghurair Investments acted as the issuer advised by Mashreqbank acting as lead arranger, R3 as protocol provider, Clifford Chance as legal counsel and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre as mentor. Wethaq’s fintech infrastructure is developed on R3’s Corda Protocol integrating SWIFT global payments innovation, gpi Link platform. By using the gpi Link, Wethaq will be able to seamlessly integrate SWIFT’s gpi service into its platforms, opening itself up to more than 3,500 banks around the world. SWIFT gpi Link is a gateway to interlink ecommerce and trading platforms and enables a fast, secure and transparent settlement.

United Arab Emirates: Fintech (2nd Edition)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of "onshore" and financial free zone jurisdictions, to which different sources of payments law apply. There are currently two financial free zones in the UAE: the Dubai International Financial Centre (the DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (the ADGM). Payment services can be provided by non-banks. The 2017 Payment Regulations limits the scope of non-bank payment services, imposing ownership restrictions in many cases. Payment by way of cash remains the most prevalent method of payment in the UAE. However, an increasing number of UAE residents are opting to pay by way of debit and credit cards. Online payments are increasingly common and various other digital initiatives are increasingly utilized. Such initiatives include the government's Mobile Wallet, Etisalat Wallet, NOL Cards, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Alipay. Dubai introduced plans to launch its own wallet emCash which can be used as a digital currency and cryptocurrency as well.

#UAE's largest Shariah-compliant bank is about to get bigger: Dubai Islamic board to meet Nov 25 re Noor Bank acquisition

The United Arab Emirates' largest standalone Islamic bank plans to acquire Shariah-compliant Noor Bank. The board of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) will meet on November 25 to discuss the acquisition. DIB said that assets post-acquisition will reach nearly 275 billion dirhams ($75 billion). UAE's oldest Islamic bank currently has operations in Kenya, Pakistan and Indonesia and holds a stake in Bank of Khartoum. Dubai Islamic Bank was designated by the UAE central bank in 2018 as systematically important. The bank posted 0.08% increase in net profit to 1.262 billion dirhams ($343.6 million) for the three months ending September 30 compared to the same quarter a year ago.

#China-#Bahrain venture fund targets Middle East tech market

China’s MSA Capital and Al Salam Bank-Bahrain launched a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in sectors such as e-commerce and financial technology in the Middle East. The fund also plans to target big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and logistics and networking systems. The $50 million MEC Ventures was raised from seed money, Chinese entrepreneurs and institutional investors and family offices from Gulf Cooperation Council countries. MSA Capital has existing investments in Chinese entrepreneurs who have taken the Chinese model into the MENA region.

Pope signs Joint Declaration of Global Health with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince

Pope Francis has become a signatory to the Joint Declaration on Global Health. The Declaration comes just ahead of a major summit on global health, Reaching the Last Mile, hosted in Abu Dhabi. The event brings together world leaders, health care experts and philanthropists in order to study current medical challenges across the globe. The Declaration highlights areas of focus which still require attention and greater efforts, such as the fight to end Neglected Tropical Diseases. It is estimated that up to 1.5 billion people suffer from such diseases around the world. The declaration was signed on the Pope’s behalf by Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Arab Emirates and on Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed’s behalf by Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi.

Dubai Islamic Bank issues $750 mln #sukuk

UAE’s largest standalone Islamic bank has just closed a $750 million sukuk. Dubai Islamic Bank’s 5-year $750 million sukuk sold with a a profit rate of 2.95% and is the bank’s second $750 million sukuk this year. The first was an additional Tier 1 perpetual non-call 6-year sukuk with a profit rate of 6.25% per annum. The bank's lates sukuk attracted orders in excess of $2 billion, representing an oversubscription rate of 2.7 times. Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Maybank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners on this transaction. The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector acted as a Joint Lead Manager and Kuwait International Bank acted as a Co-manager.

Saudi insurer Malath to capture greater efficiencies in managing Sharia Compliance

Malath Insurance announced today the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) certification and Sharia audit services to help maintain and supervise Sharia compliance. Malath offers comprehensive solutions covering classes of insurances like property, engineering, construction, health and medical for its retail and corporate customers. It currently has about 336 employees and 5 offices throughout Saudi Arabia. Malath CEO Fawaz A. Al Hijji believes that bringing Shariyah Review Bureau on board will strengthen trust in stakeholders and will provide significant scale with low input costs for certifying and auditing Sharia compliant products and investments.

Dar Al-Arkan lists $600m #Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

Saudi Arabia's Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development announced the listing of a $600 million Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The five-year Sukuk was more than 2.5 times oversubscribed and received significant interest from Middle Eastern, European and Asian investors. This issue was Dar Al Arkan’s 10th issue since 2007 and the 6th tranche of its current $2 billion program. The issue is for a 5 year term due in February 2025 with a coupon rate of 6.75%. Dar Al-Arkan’s assets include about 12.4 million square meters of projects under development. The company has handed over 15,000 residential units in Saudi Arabia and holds a land bank with a book value of around SR17 billion.

Source: 

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/582710/BUSINESS/Dar-Al-Arkan-lists-$600m-Sukuk-on-Nasdaq-Dubai

SAMA updates actuarial regulations for insurance sector

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has updated actuarial regulations of insurance and reinsurance companies and is calling on the public and interested parties to provide their comments and views on the draft project. The regulator seeks to protect policyholders as well as develop and regulate the performance of actuaries in addition to the development of promising career and professional opportunities for young Saudis. Saudi Arabia said that actuary plays an important role in the design and pricing of products, in addition to work on financial reports and risk management and internal audit.

Beit Al Khair Society spends AED 53 million on ‘Aman Programme’

The Bait Al Khair Society donated AED 53.3 million to the "Aman Programme" through four major projects, titled "Monthly Cash Assistance for Families," "Monthly Food Assistance," "Families of Orphans" and "Families of People of Determination." According to Director-General Abdin Tahir Al Awadhi, the Society selects the neediest families among the thousands registered in its database numbering over 52,000, including 4,194 registered families receiving monthly assistance. These families receive cash assistance on a monthly basis, and the Society has adopted an integrated system of social research to assess their needs in terms of debt and the assistance required to improve their conditions.

Symposium on Islamic Art to open at VCUarts #Qatar

The 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art takes place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) on November 10 and 11. The Symposium takes place every two years and this year's theme is, 'The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art. Panel discussions will take place on subjects such as Islamic Art in 11th-14th century Chinese port cities, Muslim-centred design, and architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Symposium will include an exhibition at the University's Gallery titled 'The Sea is the Limit'. The exhibition will bring together works by international artists who are addressing the issues of refugees, borders, migration and national identity.

Dubai Islamic Bank hires banks for dollar #sukuk

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has hired lenders to arrange meetings with investors ahead of a potential issue of five-year dollar denominated sukuk. The selected arrangers include Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Maybank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank. Investor meetings will take place in Hong Kong and London starting on Nov. 11.

National Bank of #Bahrain offers to acquire Bahrain Islamic Bank

The National Bank of Bahrain, which owns a 29% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB), has made an offer to acquire the entire Islamic lender. Lower oil prices over the past five years are forcing Gulf lenders to consolidate for scale and to better compete in a crowded market. Subdued credit growth, competition for deposits, higher cost of funds and deteriorating asset quality are driving consolidation in the regional banking sector. In the UAE, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank merged with Union National Bank and the combined entity acquired Al Hilal Bank, creating a banking group with AED 423 billion in assets in May 2019. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, National Commercial Bank is in the process of merging with Riyad Bank to create the Gulf’s third-largest lender with $193 billion in assets.

Islamic banking penetration in the #UAE hits new high

According to the Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic, Islamic banking penetration in the UAE has reached its highest level for five years. The survey showed that three out of five respondents now have at least one Shari’a compliant product. The perception of Islamic banks has improved steadily from 26 percent in 2015, with significant improvements in key areas relating to technology and customer service. However, knowledge or awareness of Islamic banking terminology has not seen clear improvement since 2015. The 2019 edition of the Islamic Banking Index indicates that the sector continues to widen its appeal to an increasing number of both Muslim and non-Muslim customers.

Emirates Islamic: "The time for Islamic banking to come to the forefront of the finance sector is now"

The 2019 edition of the Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic demonstrates significant progress made by the Islamic banking sector. Islamic banking penetration has reached its highest level since the inception of the Index five years ago. The Islamic Banking Index is a benchmark survey revealing the progress, penetration and perception of the Shari’a-compliant banking sector in the UAE. The 2019 edition indicates that the sector continues to widen its appeal to an increasing number of both Muslim and non-Muslim customers. Knowledge of Islamic banking terminology has not seen clear improvement, but has risen for some products, such as Takaful, that have become successful in the financial sector. Perception of Islamic banks has improved steadily, with significant improvements in key areas relating to technology and customer service.

SEDCO Holding CEO talks ethical investments at WGES

The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2019 was held in Dubai and saw the attendance of over 3,000 delegates. The plenary session of the summit explored lucrative opportunities presented by green finance and how businesses can tap into this promising market. Hasan Al-Jabri, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group, highlighted the company’s Prudent Ethical Investing (PEI) strategy and stressed the significance of ethical and socially conscious investing. SEDCO Holding’s PEI-based portfolios combine the principles of responsible and Shariah-compliant finance, bringing together the many benefits of both approaches. The portfolios ensure long-term risk-adjusted returns to support the performance of businesses and promote greater sustainability.

#Saudi Arabia's new bankruptcy law faces key test in the courts

Saudi Arabia's new legislation is part of broader efforts to overhaul the economy, create employment and wean off the economy from reliance on hydrocarbons. Simeon Djankov, World Bank Senior Research Director and Founder of the Doing Business Report, said the bankruptcy law was passed and now investors are eager to see whether the courts actually understand how to implement it. Djankov believes the merit of the law should become clearer in about a year after courts handle initial cases. Only three cases were settled using the new bankruptcy law and around a dozen more are expected to be resolved over the next year. Resolving insolvency was an area of improvement for Saudi Arabia, climbing 30 places to 62nd in the World Bank report.

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