UAE

Dana Gas and partners start arbitration case against MOL over #Kurdistan settlement

Dana Gas and its partner Crescent Petroleum have begun arbitration proceedings against Hungary's MOL Group over Dana's settlement agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The KRG agreed to pay $1 billion to the consortium and to reclassify some additional $1.24 billion from debt to outstanding costs. MOL is unsatisfied with the way Dana Gas, Crescent Petroleum and the Pearl consortium handled the settlement and would have pursued a final litigation and enforcement outcome against KRG instead. Dana and Crescent Petroleum own a combined 70% stake in the Pearl consortium, while Austria's OMV, Germany's RWE, and MOL each own 10%. The KRG settlement boosted Dana's cash balance and lifted the company's stock on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange by 14%. Last week Dana bondholders requested a $300 million cash paydown, but Dana refused the proposal and the case is now being disputed in a London High Court.

#DIFC #Wealth and #Asset Management Report 2017

DIFC published a report about the Wealth and Asset Management industry.

From the abstract:

"Continued growth in Islamic asset management

Islamic asset management [IF: Islamic mutual fund business only] continues to grow, at a moderate CAGR of 2.44% since 2012 to reach US$58.89 billion in AuM by the end of 2016, despite the economic challenges in the GCC caused by falling oil prices. The industry is still highly concentrated in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, however.

Shariah-compliant investments have strong demographic demand but remain under-utilised. Targeting different
market sectors and regions has been largely ineffective, due mainly to poor marketing strategies. Inadequate government support and recent market conditions have also impaired market performance.

Despite developments in Islamic finance and growth in Islamic assets, Islamic wealth management remains a niche market, and with local services still largely underdeveloped, most Middle East investors continue to invest overseas. Islamic pension funds’ potential scarcely tapped Pension funds in particular present one way to add scale

#China-#UAE moot on Islamic banking, finance explores int’l cooperation in support of #OBOR Initiative

The Dubai Center for Islamic Banking and Finance in Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) concluded the 2nd China-UAE Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance. The two-day event focused on the objectives of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which aims to revitalize the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe. The event was organized in cooperation with China Islamic Finance Club, ZhiShang Intercultural Communication, and Knowledge Partner Thomson Reuters. Talks focused on challenges and prospects for Islamic finance in achieving the goals of the ambitious Chinese initiative. The agenda comprised a series of panel discussions moderated by key international figures such as Prof. Baydoun; Mr. Gao Lin, Vice Director, Shenzhen Municipal Commission of Economy, Trade and Information Technology, and Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank.

Dubai Islamic Bank hits the 'billion dollar profits club', what's next?

In this interview, Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank, reflects on the bank’s performance in the last couple of years and prospects for future growth. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has entered the billion dollar profits club and the challenge is to keep up the pace of exponential growth. Chilwan says a billion dollars is just a start and he wants to find the right way of replicating the successful strategy. He hopes the bank will be able to keep up that good work, making sure the customers are happy, the regulator is happy, the ratings agencies, research analysts and shareholders are all happy with what they get from the bank. He is grateful for the board of directors and for the team behind him that made this billion dollar profit possible.

Rise of #Islamic #finance meets #human #capital #gap

The strongly growing popularity of Islamic banking and Islamic finance and its increasing global spread has led to a considerable undersupply of talent in this sector. Both the Middle East and Southeast Asia, but also new regions currently adapting to the alternative finance system such as in Africa and Central Asia are effected.

Estimations are that there is a shortfall of between 8,000 and 10,000 in main Islamic finance fields in Gulf Cooperation Council countries alone, plus more in peripheral sectors such as law and regulatory affairs, financial technology, insurance and others. Altogether, as the industry continues to grow, at least 56,000 people will be needed to serve the Islamic financial sector in the coming years, according to the Finance Accreditation Agency of Malaysia.
“Islamic banking assets in six core markets – Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the UAE and Turkey – are estimated to reach a combined asset volume of $1.8tn by 2019,” says Dr. Amat Taap Manshor, the FAA’s CEO. “But the human capital meant to support the industry is still in its infancy, and shortages will be felt most acutely in the capital market sector,” he added.

#Kurdistan pays $1 billion to Dana Gas, partners to settle London case

#Iraq’s Kurdistan region will immediately pay $1 billion to UAE-based Dana Gas and its partners to settle a long-running London court case. The full and final settlement of the $2.24 billion case is the latest effort by the semi-autonomous region to put its finances in order ahead of a referendum seeking independence from the government in Baghdad. Kurdistan has ramped up oil sales independent from Baghdad and is hoping to raise gas exports. The settlement is significant for both parties, with Kurdistan settling the dispute at a time it is working on reshaping public finances. For Dana, the Kurdish settlement will be eagerly watched by its bond holders which are disputing Dana's move to restructure its $700 million sukuk on the grounds it is no longer sharia-compliant.

DFSA pens Hong Kong #fintech innovation deal

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) have signed an agreement to cooperate on Fintech innovation. The two public entities said the agreement will further strengthen the efforts of both authorities to develop an innovation-friendly ecosystem and regulatory environment. This continues a trend by both countries to ink bilateral relationships to boost emerging technology within the financial sector. The agreement was signed in Hong Kong by DFSA chief executive Ian Johnston and Ashley Alder, chief executive of the SFC. This step follows the introduction of regulations formalising a tailored regime for loan and investment crowdfunding platforms earlier this month. It also follows the launch of the FinTech Hive at DIFC and its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL).

Moody’s Upgrades Dubai Islamic Bank Ratings

Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Dubai Islamic Bank’s (DIB) local and foreign currency long-term issuer ratings to A3 from Baa1. The outlook for the bank has been changed from positive to stable. Moody's also upgraded the bank’s baseline credit assessment (BCA), adjusted BCA as well as the long and short-term counterparty risk assessment. The primary driver for the BCA upgrade is the bank’s significant improvement in its asset quality and provisioning coverage. The upgrade also captures DIB’s improving profitability in recent years, with return on assets (ROA) improving to 2.0% for 2016. DIB said that its net income rose 13.8% in the second quarter to Dh1.1 billion compared with Dh929 million in the same period last year. Going forward, the rating agency expects that the bank’s net profitability may face modest pressure, due to increased funding costs, but that it will remain above the domestic average and global median.

Applying VAT to Islamic finance products can get complicated

Some countries have introduced laws to level the playing field between Islamic and conventional finance when it comes to the relationship between VAT and financial products. Whereas countries like Malaysia and Singapore have legislated to level the playing field between conventional and Islamic finance by recognising its religious underpinning, the United Kingdom have dealt with the issue in a not dissimilar manner but with a secular approach. Customers have enough difficulty understanding conventional finance. Investment in training to ensure product sales persons can comfortably communicate their Islamic finance offerings will be essential.

DFSA launches #crowdfunding framework

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) launched its regulatory framework for loan and investment-based crowdfunding platforms. The DFSA crowdfunding regulations have the ability to catalyse growth in the FinTech industry by targeting the specific requirements of crowdfunding platforms. The regulations ensure clear governance for FinTech businesses and provide appropriate protection for their customers. They also formalise the DFSA’s approach to regulating crowdfunding platforms which had operated since 2016. Data provided by the Khalifa Fund shows that approximately 50-70% of SMEs have had their applications for funding from conventional banks rejected. Crowdfunding is expected to grow further in importance in the UAE as entrepreneurs seek alternative sources of funding.

DGCX to launch region’s first Sharia compliant Spot #Gold contract

The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) and Ayedh Dejem Group have agreed to develop and launch the Middle East’s first Sharia compliant Spot Gold contract to be traded on an international exchange. This development is reflective of the growing potential of the Saudi Arabian and wider GCC regions Sharia compliant gold markets. Ayedh Bin Dejem, Chairman for the Group, said this cross-border collaboration offered access to the regional gold and commodities market. It provides customers with improved hedging and investment solutions in compliance with Sharia law. DGCX Chief Executive Gaurang Desai added that Amanie Advisors LLC, the leading global Islamic Finance advisory firm, have been selected to advise on the initiative. The launch of this product appealing to a wider range of investors in the region is an ideal way for the Exchange to extend its reach.

Abu Dhabi Global Market launches first #foundations regime in the #UAE

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has launched a Foundations regime in support of more effective structures for wealth preservation and wealth management. The new ADGM Foundations regime provides a strategic platform for financial planning and structuring, serving as an alternative to trusts and corporate vehicles. The platform offers a variety of services, including family succession planning, tax planning, asset protection, wealth management and corporate structuring, without relying on foreign regimes and practises. Both local and foreign entities will benefit from the ease-of-doing-business environment. The ADGM Foundations Regime creates a new type of legal structure with its own distinct attributes. It combines compliance regime with a high degree of operational autonomy to the founder and offers access to the double tax treaty network of the United Arab Emirates.

Dana Gas bondholders could be liable for ‘unlawful’ #Sukuk

Holders of Dana Gas’s sukuk could be liable to repay the company excess on account profit payments. The company said it had sought legal advice on the matter. Advisers said that the terms of the Sukuk are not compliant with Shari’a principles and are unlawful under the laws of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company is now pursuing the litigation route to resolve the matter and is confident pursuant to independent legal advice of prevailing in its interpretation of the outcome.

Al Hilal Bank launches #child #safety campaign by distributing car seats to new families

Al Hilal Bank has distributed car seats for newborns at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children in Abu Dhabi, as part of its new initiative for promoting child safety in the UAE. The Car Seat initiative forms part of the bank’s long-term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. Alex Coelho, the CEO of Al Hilal Bank, said the Bank takes CSR very seriously and is proud to play a role in providing support to local families. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, CEO & MD of United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) stressed on the importance of such campaigns in the UAE. Government led research found that the majority of parents still do not believe in the importance of car seats. An astonishing 34% saw no necessity to buy them, 28% do not know which seat to buy, while 15% believe that passengers holding children is safe enough. The new programme will be complemented by an extensive car seat awareness campaign on social media and across Al Hilal Bank branches, with the objective of reinforcing the importance of car safety for children.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank invests heavily in digital services

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) plans to continue its current strategy based on prudence in risk management, coupled with innovation in customer experience and products. This approach is working: over the past two years, ADIB has attracted more than 100,000 new retail customers, taking its total to more than 950,000. In the first half of 2017, net profits rose more than 14.1% year-on-year to $307m. Total revenues reached $757m, up 4.1%. CEO Khamis Buharoon says the bank has now a balanced customer base, across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the northern emirates, comprising UAE nationals, as well as Arab, Asian and Western expatriates. A number of new additions to ADIB’s range of retail and wholesale banking services are planned. According to Buharoon, ADIB's individual and corporate customer base will continue to grow and key factors remain digitisation and automation in branches.

ADGM and KPMG launch #FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and KPMG have come together to launch the first FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge on Oct. 22. The Innovation Challenge includes an intensive five-week program for innovative and mature start-ups to conceptualize and present market-ready solutions that address real business challenges in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. During the program, 10 finalist teams will work divided into six focus areas: Financial and Investment Management, Financial Inclusion, RegTech, Trade Finance, InsurTech and Private Capital Markets.The finalists will showcase their solutions at the FinTech Demo Day in Abu Dhabi to a panel of industry experts. Each finalist will benefit from mentoring sessions and fast-tracked consideration for admission to ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) program. They will also win a $15,000 cash stipend to cover any costs associated with travel matters and accommodation.

ADIB recognised for CSR initiatives from UN Global Compact subsidiary

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has been awarded for its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) from the regional CSR Network Consultancy, a member of the United Nations Global Compact initiative. The award was presented to Mohammed Al Fahim, Regional Head of Corporate Banking at ADIB. ADIB has a proven track record of CSR initiatives, including launching blood donation campaigns, sponsoring mass weddings and organising a range of activities during Ramadan. The bank adopted design principles aimed at minimising both energy and water inputs and waste outputs. In addition, ADIB Future’s Champions League was a recipient of the Gold Prize for the Best Sports CSR Initiative, and Bronze winner in the Youth Development Project of the Year at the 2017 Sports Industry Awards. ADIB also maintained its commitment to recruit, develop and promote local talent through its youth development programme.

Dana Gas #Sukuk: A red herring or cause for concern?

The recent move by Dana Gas to declare its approximately US$700 million of outstanding trust certificates unlawful has been a troubling development for the Islamic finance industry. Dana Gas has initiated proceedings in the UAE to declare the sukuk illegal and has secured a series of injunctions preventing enforcement by creditors, but the key question remains unanswered. That is whether non-compliance with Shari'a principles would have any bearing on the legal enforceability of these instruments. Any judgment in favour of Dana Gas could have wide ranging implications on the sukuk market. White & Case LLP argue that the concept of Shari'a-compliance should be treated as distinct from legal enforceability. Dar Al Sharia Legal & Financial Consultancy issued a pronouncement on the Shari'a-compliance of Dana Gas' sukuk at the time the sukuk were issued. Pronouncements of such nature are generally not open to retroactive invalidation as is being sought by Dana Gas.

#UAE Authorities Plan SMB #Crowdfunding Framework

United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulators are setting out to establish a framework to guide the small business (SMB) crowdfunding market. Reports noted that regulators are aiming to promote innovation and a broadening of small business activity. Equity crowdfunding is expected to provide $93 billion to small- and medium-sized enterprises by 2020, reports added. In the UAE, SMBs stand to gain significantly from that trend, as these businesses make up an estimated 85% of all UAE companies. In Dubai, that number is even higher, at nearly 95% of all businesses. Meanwhile, research from the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development found that as many as 70% of small business loan applications in the UAE are rejected by traditional banks. Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the Dubai International Financial Services Authority (DFSA), said the DFSA was the first in the GCC region to formalize a tailored regime for loan and investment crowdfunding platforms, which represent an important source of financing for the SME sector.

Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank issues $100million private #sukuk- sources

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank has raised $100 million through a private placement of sukuk. The issue, led by First Abu Dhabi Bank, has a two-year maturity and offers 90 basis points over three-month London Interbank Offered Rate. The bank issued a privately placed $225 million sukuk in June last year, describing the deal as the first private placement of sukuk by a United Arab Emirates financial institution. That sukuk matures in January 2019, while the new $100 million issue is due on Aug. 14 of the same year. Al Hilal Bank is rated A1 by Moody's and A+ by Fitch Ratings.

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