CIS

Islamic Development Bank looks to sukuk for Yemen reconstruction

The Islamic Development Bank wants to use Islamic bonds to help finance the reconstruction of countries ravaged by conflict, with the World Bank as a potential joint issuer, the head of the multilateral lender said.
Refugee and reconstruction financing is a priority for the Jeddah-based IDB, which last month launched an initiative with the World Bank and United Nations to help more than 15 million people displaced across the region.
Work is now underway to identify specific projects for the initiative, with a priority on war torn Yemen, which could see the IDB and World Bank as issuers of the sukuk.
"We need to finalize this with the World Bank, but most likely it will be a joint issuance", IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Kuwait.
The IDB, which operates to promote economic development in Muslim communities, has 56 member countries including Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran as its largest shareholders.

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Cryptocurrencies and Islamic finance?

Bitcoin (https://bitcoin.org) started to make the idea of a cryptocurrency popular. What is missing so far is an intense discussion among Sharia scholars.

What makes Bitcoin unique is, that it is a) created by a computer program b) that it is created and verified by a decentralised process, the so-called 'Blockchain' technology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_chain_(database)), which is solving a practical problem for the first time: To enable trust and accounting without a central ledger, such as a central bank. c) that it faciliates payments quick, efficient and discreet - while the latter leads to accusation of misuse, e.g. for gaming, drugs, terror finance etc.

How it can be seen from an Islamic perspective is not widely discussed, despite it deserves the attention. What we find in search engines are some discussions and also an initiative, which calls itself a bank (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=21732.0).

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Short European fixed-income trade. A loss of a lifetime?

Bill Gross, well known fixed income fund manager twittered (https://twitter.com/januscapital/status/590519759797530624) and moved markets with his idea to sell German sovereign bonds short (selling without having them) to buy them back later cheaper. He called it "The Short of a lifetime"; the only issue would be the "timing"...

Interest rates will be once raising again but will short seller stay solvent long enough to benefit? The German economy is doing fine, but other EURO zone countries do not perform as well and need low interest rates for a prolonged period of time. Japan has so far not convincingly ended their easy money policy.

Countries with very high religious diversity - including China - outpace world in economic growth

The Weekly Number's analysis of a new Pew Research Center report - a study based on methodology developed by Brian J. Grim - finds that the 12 countries identified in the study as having very high religious diversity each outpaced the world's economic growth between 2008 and 2012.

Full Report: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/04/04/global-religious-diversity/

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Relaunch IslamicFinance.de Newsletter - Free Download

Dear Reader,

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of IslamicFinance.de please find at the hyperlink below the relaunch of the newsletter.

http://www.islamicfinance.de/files/20140529%20IslamicFinance%20dot%20de%...

Any new issues will be announced to our registered users of IslamicFinance.de and to the members of the related LinkedIn Group of IslamicFinance.de.

If you wish to register please go to http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=newsletter/subscriptions or become member of the LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=147616&trk=my_groups-tile...

Enjoy reading! And if you do, please consider sharing the free newsletter with your friends & colleagues by forwarding or subscribing an internal email address to forward it your entire firm.

NB: I appreciate feedback to improve the content and better understand what readers are looking for. Please allow time for reply, which I may not be able to give to all enquiries after sending out the newsletter.

All the best,

Michael Saleh Gassner

Worldwide study shows religious investors can ally faith and finance

Religious investors, in economic terms the third largest group to invest on the world’s stock markets, can post high placement profits and remain faithful to their religious creed. This is the message of the third biennial world report on religious investors, the only report of its kind.

The report highlights the profile of religious investors who respect this balance and thus can have a major influence on company ethics:
- Their principles of faith can serve as a road map for investment choices;
- By nature, these investors have a long-term view which is key to the notion of responsible investment;
- They can call on the support of what is often a worldwide community;
- They have set up networks that offer the chance to work together on stakeholder actions and therefore increase their impact.

Even though a certain number of religious organisations invest responsibly and use their role as shareholder-activists to promote change this sort of profile is far from the majority.

11th IFSB Summit, 19-22 May 2014, Mauritius

The theme for this 2014 Summit is New Markets and Frontiers for Islamic Finance: Innovation and the Regulatory Perimeter.

Please refer to http://www.ifsb.org/preess_full.php?id=240&submit=more for the announcement of the 11th IFSB Summit.

For any queries regarding the Summit, please contact the secretariat:

- Participants' registration

Ms. Yazmin Aziz at yazmin@ifsb.org

Mrs. Ida Shafinaz Ab. Malek at ida.shafinaz@ifsb.org

- Sponsorship and Media

Ms. Rosmawatie Abdul Halim at rosmawatie@ifsb.org

Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

INVITATION TO A RESEARCH INQUIRY
Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropy’s Academy of Philanthropy is leading a research inquiry in collaboration with Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness. After London and Doha, the last of the three dialogues will take place in New York.

This concerns the barriers to giving for international development and relief that affect donors and recipients alike, in the light of continuing international agreements and practices enshrined in legislation. Our work is seeking to identify ways forward for international dialogues to best support and enhance accountable giving and its efficient flow between nations. The findings of the research will be reported to the WCMP’s biennial Global Donor’s Forum, to be held in Washington, DC from April 14-16, 2014.

Donors, nonprofit and development sector representatives, and financial institution executives are welcomed to participate in the dialogue and share their experiences and offer suggestions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Observer Mission to the UN

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How to achieve a soft landing of a deleveraging, while growing economy?

For many years we see in the media experts believing in inflation and even hyper inflation. However, in the same time we face proponents warning against deflation. So far we all noticed.

Only a about a week ago I read an article by Myret Zaki clarifying that unfortunately inflation and deflation co-exists.

Myret Zaki's thesis is that we face inflation on financial markets, and deflation in the real economy (in French):

http://www.bilan.ch/myret-zaki/redaction-bilan/inflation-et-deflation-co...

In my view there is a general major shift in the price matrix and I still try to figure the magnitude and implications thereof. It is a bit irritating as at University we learned about neutrality of money:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_of_money

This means any extra supply will increase prices equally, 5 % more money, all prices going up 5 %. Pretty plausible at first hand. However, it seems it does not work in reality any more (or never did).

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Venture Capital the Islamic ideal?

Dear Readers,

Venture Capital has often been regarded as the ideal tool for Islamic finance, particpating in profits and losses of innnovative companies.

Now a major assessment has been done by Cambridge Associates in terms of performance, comparing it to the wider stock market. Result: No outperformance. Considering the lack of liqudity it seems to be much less attractive to professional investors than thought.

See: http://www.cambridgeassociates.com/pdf/Venture%20Capital%20Index.pdf

The lack of success also is induced by lack of transparency and fee models taking away the eventual outperformance. This is for the US market of course. Experiences in less advanced markets could be better or even much worse.

It still has other benefits, as diversifying risk, promoting overall growth and eventuall fostering social benefits.

In order to protect the investor, proper disclosures must be integrated to grow this industry in a healty manner. Further the focus on impact investing will ensure that value is created and risk better managed. What impact investing means could be read here:

See: http://www.thegiin.org/cgi-bin/iowa/home/index.html

Islamic Finance Industry Development Challenge

The shift in global banking is not a trend, and the challenge for all of us is to bridge the gap in financial practice and seize the opportunities that lie ahead, bringing ethics back into finance.

Thomson Reuters and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) are partnering to launch the world’s first Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge and Awards (EFICA). In the dawn of a new economic world, these awards are designed to inspire and recognise a fresh way of thinking by promoting some of the most dynamic, innovative ideas and solutions around integrity and growth.

Hult Prize Competition for Student teams worldwide to solve food crisis

Over the past three years, the Hult Prize has taken on some of the planet's toughest challenges. These have included Education, Energy, Housing, and Water. For the 2013 Prize, President Clinton has personally selected the challenge: the Global Food Crisis.

A detailed case study, narrated by President Bill Clinton, will be released to all selected participants in early January to set the framework for this year's challenge. Competitors will then be asked to develop social enterprises that answer the President's Challenge.

The global food crisis can be approached through multiple lenses, such as: distribution, manufacturing, production, technology and many others. Each, represents an opportunity for innovation. Nearly 1 Billion people in the World are Hungry, that is over 1 out of every 4 children. Ironically, our global economy produces enough food each year to feed everyone, however more than one-third of the food generated for human consumption continues to be lost or wasted.

IDB: Young Professionals Program (YPP)

ABOUT YPP:

The Young Professionals Program (YPP) is the strategic talent pipeline for the professional career in the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The Program is designed for outstanding young graduates who can significantly help the IDB Group to carry out its mission and attain its objectives.

This Program enables each Young Professional (YP) to receive extensive exposure and experience of the IDB Group’s various activities through job rotations in different departments. Participants will initially spend two weeks Orientation stage in HRMD. Then, 27 months in Foundation stage which will be split into three rotations of 9 months each in IDB Group departments.

Participants will also benefit from a coaching/mentoring arrangement and a wide range of relevant training and developmental opportunities.

Upon successful program completion, the participant will gradually climb up the professional grades in the IDB Group

[...]

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Outlook & Review 2012/2013

Dear Reader,

Islamic finance had another great year. Many of its market segments progressed, like for example the Sukuk market gaining more maturity. Despite the ongoing debt crisis a good sign of hope and happiness.

Nevertheless we are - as an industry - still not satisfied with the achievements. Islamic finance shall grow stronger in terms of social impact and in terms of substance:

Hence, please allow me to re-iterate my call for participating in international initiatives beyond just our own industry to learn and spread knowledge and experience:

Calling Islamic financial institutions to become member of the United Nations Finance Initiative
http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/811

Inshallah we see more Islamic financial institutions taking a lead in SRI, Social Impact Investing and other approaches while contributing with Islamic finance knowdledge to the conventional industry. The time is now; and there are signs that Malaysia aims for a lead:
http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/4151

Report “Believers in the Boardroom. Religious Organisations and their Shareholder Engagement Practices” by 3IG

The practitioners report “Believers in the Boardroom. Religious Organisations and their Shareholder Engagement Practices” by 3IG is online. Please access the practitioners report by clicking on the following link :

http://issuu.com/3ignet.org/docs/3ig_rse_practitioners_report_final_2012...

The report also remains available as hard copy: http://www.3ignet.org/documents/OrderRSEresearchnow.pdf

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Debt to Equity in Microfinance

Dear Reader,

The issue of debt vs. equity is now going to be increasingly recognised - in microfinance - as I found out today on the cfi blog:

"Debt to Equity. The demand for equity and subordinated debt is huge and continuing to grow, mainly coming from mature MFIs. More MIVs are moving away from debt toward equity, being driven in part by a desire to be more involved in governance, to play a larger role in risk management, and because the regulators are requiring more capital. Also, fund investors increasingly want to know how much of a fund’s return is coming from debt versus equity. Some of the larger DFIs need to disburse large amount of funds, so they have to make debt investments, leaving an unmet demand for equity."

http://cfi-blog.org/2012/11/19/microfinances-new-normal/

An important food for thought beyond microfinance itself in my opinion.

Best regards,

Michael Saleh Gassner

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Why the lack of profit/loss sharing?

Well, repeatedly we read and hear about the lack of profit/loss sharing (equity finance) in Islamic finance. Here my five cents about it:

1) Islamic commercial law, Fiqh Muamalat, per se has no preference of either permissible mode of finance, be it musharaka, ijara or murabaha whatsoever. All is halal. However, the call for modesty of debt in many hadith and the seriousness of being indebted upon death (withholding of death prayer) shows a call for a solid equity portion in business; let's call it a technical preference.

2) If we look up all debt financing modes (e.g.Murabaha, Ijara) there are remaining difficulties to finance wages, rents and installments on fresh debt. This is a true indicator for a required minimum amount of equity in a company.

3) Point 1) and 2) leads us to demand a sound debt/equity ratio.

Islamic finance job openings October 2012

IslamicFinance.de offers an overview about new job openings of October 2012 herewith - firms aiming to be included please send a job profile/hyperlink to newsdesk@islamicfinance.de - the full details of the advert has to be accessed by the hyperlink below the brief description:

Product Manager, Islamic Banking

Standard Chartered Bank - United Arab Emirates-SCB (United Arab Emirates)
Job Description
?Development of Islamic wealth products across CBMS, insurance and investment streams to create customer value proposition.
?Ensure successful implementation of the Islamic banking strategy across high value segment.
?Concentrated responsibility to work with the Priority/Wealth/Private/SME product/frontline teams and support functions to build on the current Islamic banking capabilities and to create seamless customer experience
?Act as a product specialist for RMs on client meetings to introduce and explain the Saadiq solutions to meet their needs
?Financial budgeting and business forecast. Evaluation of financial performance.

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