CIS

Islamic finance contract will be tested in courts due to increasing defaults

Increasing number of defaults will lead to test the legal framework and stability of the Islamic finance structures in centres such as Dubai, Bahrain and Malaysia. Judges will have to weigh conventional law and sharia (Islamic law) used in contracts, and legal uncertainty over key contract provisions could hurt the industry's ability to bounce back when the global economy recovers. The industry will be watching to ensure any legal disputes are settled in a transparent manner which gives certainty to the contract terms entered into, said Davide Barzilai, a London-based Islamic finance lawyer with Norton Rose.

Standard & Poor’s Publishes Islamic Finance Outlook 2009

The new yearbook includes Standard & Poor’s latest analysis and rating methodologies on almost 40 rated Islamic debt issues and issuers, and an overview of its suite of global benchmark and investable Sharia indices.

While total global sukuk issuance more than halved to $14.9 billion in 2008 from $34 billion in the previous year, Standard & Poor’s believes the outlook for Islamic finance remains strong. Sharia-compliant assets now total about $700 billion after growth exceeding 10% annually during the past decade.

Full 70+ pages report for free download at:

http://www.gcc.standardandpoors.com/islamic_finance/Islamic%20Finance%20Outlook%202009%20(12).pdf

Concept of Sharia-Compliant Hotels explained

Paul Rosenberg and Hala Matar Choufany are giving in a contribution to 4hoteliers a set of criteria for Sharia compliant hotels, distinguishing it from merely alcohol free, "dry" hotels:

In order for a hotel to be fully Sharia-compliant, it is extremely important that most of the facilities (such as floors, spa, gym and guest and function rooms) be separate for males and females. This is especially significant at the development stage when designing floor plans of the hotel. Beds and toilets should not be placed in the direction of Mecca.

Neither alcohol nor pork should be served in any of the food and beverage outlets at the hotel and there should be no minibar in the rooms.

See full article for more details as below.

Middle East covers more than half of the Islamic Finance market

Research conducted by Shariah-Fortune screened around 810 companies in 50 countries worldwide offering Shariah compliant financial services. The Middle East covers more than half (around 56 %) of the Islamic Finance market. Around 450 companies are located in this region. Leading countries are the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Asian companies compound to a market share of about 20 %. In particular. Malaysia is one of the key players, not only in Asia, but also globally.

114 companies have been screened in Europe, which accounts for around 14 % of the global market share. On top position in Europe is the UK, boosted by the FSA´s regulatory initiatives. Compared to its global importance North America takes only a small part in the listing for Islamic Finance. Around 44 companies (ca. 5 %) are located in the USA and Canada.

FT Special on Islamic finance

FT has today a 4 page special on Islamic finance. The link below leads to its pdf version (size 10 MB), discussing standardisation issues, credit crunch and other topics.

AAOIFI seeks mandate to vet products according to their Sharia Standards

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will seek a mandate from its trustees to examine the degree of sharia financial products' compliance with its 40 standards, its secretary-general, Mohamad Nedal Alchaar, said according to Liau Y-Sing from Reuters.

Lack of common standards makes it difficult to sell products across borders, while possibly enhancing innovation.

Arthur D. Little: Shariah-Compliant Banking is an Increasingly Attractive Option for Western Players

A new report released today by management consultancy Arthur D. Little entitled “Islamic Finance Comes of Age” has identified a surge in activity around Islamic finance as a promising opportunity for the global financial services industry as it emerges from the current recession. With Islamic finance assets currently standing at USD 800 bn, Arthur D. Little expects this figure to surge to as much as USD 4 trillion in the next six years, representing a major opportunity for Western financial institutions looking to develop new partnerships and global markets.

The report can be downloaded after free registration at: http://www.adlittle.com/islamic_finance

E&Y sees takaful contributions grow to USD 7.7 bn by 2012

Ernst & Young released a report saying that the takaful market may reach USD 7.7 bn contributions by 2012, compared to USD 2.5 bn in 2006 and USD 3.4 bn in 2007.

Source: 

http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/4/pages/globaltakafulmarketmayhit$77billionin2012report.aspx

Follow IslamicFinance.de with Twitter

IslamicFinance.de installed on 18 April a new service to keep you updated with Islamic finance news by sending its content to a Twitter account allowing to follow news even by mobile phone, Wikipedia the online encyclopedia explains Twitter as follows:

"Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). [...] Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees." Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

Please feel free to use just another free service related to IslamicFinance.de by following the news via Twitter:

Go to: http://twitter.com/IslamFinance

Oliver Wyman says Islamic finance industry to grow to USD 1.6 trillion by 2012

Assets of the global Islamic finance industry are estimated to grow to around USD 1.6 trillion by 2012, a report by consultancy Oliver Wyman said. Growth opportunities lie in underpenetrated markets with large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Pakistan and South East Asia. Islamic wholesale banking needs to diversify from real estate finance to include advanced treasury services, innovative asset management, balance sheet management and securitisation management.

Request form: http://www.oliverwyman.com/ow/request.htm?name=The%20Next%20Chapter%20in...

Islamic Development Bank plans Sukuk

Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to issue USD 5 bn Sukuk, over the next five years to finance its programmes.

IDB's president Mr Ali said he expected 2009 issue would be priced higher and that the new sukuk would increase the IDB’s 2009 financing programme by 15 %.

Global finance structures must be revamped, says UN expert panel

International finance structures must be drastically overhauled in the face of the current global economic crisis, a panel of experts convened by the United Nations General Assembly chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics said.

The expert panel made a number of suggestions to support developing nations and creating an international infrastruture for the global markets led by the United Nations.

The panel included Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia.

Gassner's picture

Sustainability, Islamic Finance and Managing Risk While Seizing Opportunities

I just published an article with the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes Newsletter, giving an overview about the lines of arguments regarding performance and ethical screens, be it Islamic or Sustainability and what empiricial findings have been published.

It is claimed by critics that the reduction of the universe through ethical screens shall reduce the performance, likewise corporate social responsiblity comes against a cost. Similar counterarguments have been raised regarding Islamic screening criteria.

Bank Sarasin published a study doing own research with partners and reviewing published empirical analyses in the literature. It shows that there is no negative impact on performance. My review of empirical analyses in regard to Islamic finance concluded the same and all publications let conclude that ethical screens add value by way of risk management. An example is the debt limitation of the Sharia tolerance criteria.

Ethical screens may therefore improve the investment decision process and more research shall determine, which factors add value to the portfolio and therefore form part of a professional process.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Address The Growing Takaful Market

Press Release

LONDON, March 30, 2009 -- In a report published today, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services explains the way that its rating approach has been adapted to meet the growth of takaful insurance.

The article, "Standard & Poor's Approach To Rating Takaful And Retakaful (Islamic Re/Insurance) Companies," says that the last five years have seen takaful (Islamic insurance) grow from a niche product servicing relatively limited demand to become a mainstream risk management offering.

"In particular, we have seen rapid growth in the Arab world and an expansion across Europe. A further market development has been the growth of retakaful as a Sharia-compliant version of reinsurance," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Kevin Willis.

Standard & Poor's has rated a number of Islamic insurers and reinsurers and so is able to comment on the way that the rating criteria have been adapted to address the specifics of this product.

Amanie Business Solutions LLC. launches its Shariah compliant stocks screening service

Amanie Business Solutions LLC. officially launched its web integrated Shariah stock screening service, the service will target new entrants into the Islamic fund management industry.

The web delivery platform of Amanie Screening can be accessed through http://www.amaniescreening.com . Investors and fund managers will be able to view the details and features of the Shariah Stock Screening service.

Amanie is a Shariah advisory and education company seeking to serve the global Islamic finance community.

2nd World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists: Fostering Partnerships

PRESS RELEASE

Conventional to Strategic: A New Paradigm in Giving

March 22-23, 2009 • Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The 2nd World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) concluded today after several key developments had been achieved that indicate an evolution in Muslim giving. The WCMP is a high-level network of donors and foundations established to promote informed and effective giving. The annual Congress itself is a unique event which brings together a diverse set of participants, with the hope that enhanced cooperation between different philanthropies through strategic partnerships will add profound value to address global challenges that affect both humanity and the environment.

Dr. Tariq Cheema, the founder of the WCMP, affirms that the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP)' brings together leaders who understand the risks and opportunities they have are common as global citizens, and therefore realize that collaboration across the lines of faith and race is a necessity and not merely a choice'.

Developments

Global sukuk sales to fall again in 2009

Experts are expecting further drop in Sukuk isssuance in 2009. Local currencies help to support the markets, K. Salman Younis, head of Kuwait Finance House's Asian operations was cited.

UNEP FI Insurance Working Group conducts first-of-a-kind global survey on ESG factors and insurance

The UNEP FI Insurance Working Group, supported by leading academic institutions from the United States and Europe, is conducting a landmark global survey on the understanding and integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in insurance underwriting and product development. The nature and scope of this survey makes it the first of its kind.

The core objectives are to:

- Assess the understanding and integration of ESG factors in insurance underwriting and product development globally
- Assess the financial materiality of ESG factors in insurance underwriting and product development
- Provide recommendations for sustainable insurance underwriting
- Provide research input for potential projects on other core insurance processes (e.g. investment, claims management, and sales & marketing)
- Establish a solid business case for the development of "Principles for Sustainable Insurance"

Visit http://www.unepfi.org/events/2009/survey to find out more and participate.

Vatican related newspaper: Islamic finance suggests ideas for Western financial crisis

Loretta Napoleoni and Claudia Segre suggesting in the Vatican related L'Osservatore Romano, that Islamic finance offers ideas for the Western financial crisis. Citing the main concepts of Islamic finance and emphasizing specifically Sukuk.

The original article is in Italian linked via Source.

President of IDB addresses the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum

Press Release

Jakarta, 3rd March, 2009

The Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB Group) provided “Gold Sponsorship” to the 5th World Islamic Forum WIEF being held in Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia. In his speech in the Leadership Panel on “Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges”, HE Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the IDB Group praised WIEF for addressing these critical topics, and emphasized three avenues to new innovative solutions to meet global challenges, namely, ethics-based rather than rule-based financial governance structure, investment partnership with the poor and the vulnerable, and unleashing the God-given potential and innate strength of the full human resources. In his speech, he briefed the participants on IDB Group activities in meeting global challenges.

The first day of the Forum included two panel sessions titled “Leadership Panel” and “Global CEO Panel” followed by four plenary sessions namely; Beyond Scarcity: Overcoming the Global Food Crisis, Paving Greener World: Creating a Future for Alternative Energy, Stemming the Tide of the Global Financial Crisis, and Global SMEs: Business Beyond Boundaries.

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