United Kingdom

The #continuing allure of #Islamic #finance

The total Islamic finance industry was estimated at around $ 1.9 trillion in assets for the year end of 2016, and it pales into insignificance compared with traditional finance. However of special interest is the growing popularity of Islamic finance from both the Muslim and non-Muslim financial institutions and investors. Islamic assets are very much concentrated in the banking sector which holds $1.5 trillion in total, with the Islamic bonds or sukuks worth $320 billion, and investment funds and insurance or so called takaful worth $56 billion and $25 billion respectively.
The majority are purchase and sale or murabaha and leasing or ijara transactions. Some major Gulf companies are turning to the sukuk market to raise funds, with Saudi Aramco and the Government of Saudi Arabia both successfully launching sukuk tranches which were heavily oversubscribed.

#Satyajit #Das: Despite #appearances, the idea of #social #progress is a #myth

The world cannot acknowledge the idea that human progress might be at an end or even have stopped. The belief that science, technology advances as well as social and political systems can provide continuous improvement in life of humans is perhaps the most important idea in Western civilisation. Yet attempts to measure the actual progress are oddly vague. In January 2016, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi dispensed with practicalities arguing that “Europe cannot just be a grey technical debate about constraints, but must again be a great dream”.

#Abu #Dhabi #Islamic #Bank praises #UAE #Central #Bank clampdown on mis-selling #investments

Central Bank issued a notificaiton in May this year about mis-selling of investments. The UAE‘s largest Sharia-compliant lender, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, has welcomed efforts by the central bank to clamp down on unscrupulous sales of investment plans to UAE expats It said, the reputation of the industry as a whole had been damaged by dishonest brokers.
“More regulation is a good thing and we work very closely with the central bank” and other wealth management institutions who wish to improve their services, said Daffer Luqman of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. “At the end of the day the reputation of the business affects everybody. If an institution does a bad job of promoting or marketing a service it affects the whole industry so it’s very important that this business is regulated, that it’s regulated effectively and that everybody plays by the rules.”

Yielders #pioneering #Islamic #intech in the #UK

Yielders, a UK based equity crowdfunding provider, has just attained the first Islamic Banking certification and become the first FinTech firm in the West to do so. Yielders have developed something that looks pretty innovative, pragmatic and could prove tob e competitive in a low yield environment. Islamic banking has been around for more than 60 years. However, Sharia compliant Financial institutions only manage 1% of the global assets.

#NCB Capital #launches Pan European #Real #Estate #Fund

NCB Capital, Saudi Arabia’s leading provider of wealth management and investment services, and the Kingdom’s largest asset manager, has announced the launch of its Pan European Real Estate Fund with more than $150 million raised through a private placement.
NCB Capital has partnered with Fidelity International, a leading global asset manager, to invest in commercial properties, including office, retail, logistics/industrial and mixed use, located in key European property markets including France, Germany, Benelux and the United Kingdom. Favorable currency conversion rates, robust legal and regulatory environments, coupled with consistent growth expectations of the core European economies make this an opportune time to invest in a solid real estate market.

Discussion - Islamic Finance: what it means & the opportunities for the UK post-Brexit

Wednsday 5th April 2017: 18:00 – 20:30. Discussion starts promptly at 18.30

PwC, 1 Embankment Place, London WC2N 6RH, United Kingdom.

The Committee of IoD City of London in partnership with The British Malaysian Society invites IoD members
and guests to a discussion on ‘Islamic Finance: what it means & the opportunities for the UK post- Brexit.

The Islamic Finance Industry is predicted to reach $2.7 trillion in 2017. Islamic Banking contributes
80% to a total of $2.3 trillion. Other components of Islamic Finance include Sukuk Bonds (14%), Asset
Management (3%), Insurance (2%) and Micro finance (1%). Source for all figures – Centre of Islamic
Banking and Economics.

Our speakers are:
• Dato’ Faiz Azmi – Chairman, PwC Malaysia and Global lead
• on Islamic Finance for PwC
• Andrew Gosnay, Head of Banking and Finance,
Laytons Solicitors LLP
• Iqbal Asaria CBE , Islamic Finance expert and
Special Advisor to the Muslim Council of Britain
on business and economics affairs

After the panel presentations there will be opportunities for Q & A and discussion, followed by a drinks reception.

The evening is kindly hosted by PwC London. Dress code is business wear.

#Launchgood raises funds for the victims of the #londonattack

Please consider participating in the fundraising campaign for the victims of the #londonattack: https://www.launchgood.com/project/muslims_united_for_london#/

And also share and distribute further the letter to baghdadi http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/ - the fatwa concerning the movement calling itself "ISIS".

"The attack on Westminster

At around 2:40 pm on the 22nd of March, an attacker drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer within the grounds of the Houses of Parliament. At least 4 people have been killed, including officer PC Keith Palmer, and about 40 were wounded (BBC News). The alleged attacker, apparently a British citizen, has been shot and killed by police. A full investigation has been launched.

London - Public Lecture: FinTech in Islamic finance, 22 Feb 2017, Wednesday, 6.30-8.00 pm

Venue: University of East London, Main Lecture Theathre, University Square Stratford.
Speaker: Professor Volker Nienhaus

FinTech is disruptive. Existing regulations do not fit well with new products. “Islamic” FinTech adds the requirement of Shariah compliance to the legal complexity of financial innovations. Islamic jurists and Shariah standard setters have not yet systematically dealt with issues such as “cryptocurrencies,” risk mitigation in crowdfunding, smart contracts, or the status of decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs). Is there a need for “Shariah sandboxes” to reduce Shariah non-compliance risks for innovators?

Dr. Volker Nienhaus was a Professor of Economics at the University of Bochum and President of the University of Marburg. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor at the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) in Malaysia, consultant to the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and a member of the International Advisory Panel of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).

#New major #sources of #capital #emerge #from the #Middle #East

Middle Eastern syndicate and real estate asset management platforms are emerging as major and increasing sources of outbound capital from the region with new figures showing an increase in volumes.
“Typically, they exist to pool equity from multiple private and medium-size institutional investors to real estate assets on a deal-by-deal basis,” said Fadi Moussalli head of JLL’s International Capital Group, MENA. “In the first three quarters of 2016 the volume has already reached $5.1bn and we expect the end-year figure to reach around 7bn.”

Bahrain's GFH sells remaining 18 pct of Leeds United

A Dubai-based subsidiary of Islamic investment bank GFH Financial Group has sold its remaining 18 % stake in English football club Leeds United, ending nearly 4 years of Middle Eastern involvement in the club. GFH Capital sold the stake to Eleonora Sport, operated by Italian businessman Massimo Cellino. Eleonora now owns 100 % of the club, Leeds United said.

GFH bought Leeds United in December 2012 but within months began looking for new investment in the club, and in 2014 Cellino bought a majority stake in it. GFH Financial did not reveal the price at which it sold its remaining stake but said the deal would reflect positively on its financials and liquidity for 2016. Crippled during the global credit crisis in 2008, GFH Financial went through several debt restructurings but has resumed expanding in the financial services sector. In August it signed a memorandum of understanding to buy most of Bahrain's Bank Al Khair.

Is the Current Model of Shari’ah Governance Fit for Purpose?

IFC & ISRA Thematic Workshop 2016, in association with K&L Gates
Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) and the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), in association wih K&L Gates invite you to an event addressing the Shari’ah governance model. The event will include the UK launch of the IFC and ISRA External Shari’ah Audit Report 2016.

Location: K&L Gates, One New Change (Watling Street entrance), London

Presenters: Jonathan Lawrence

Sponsors: K&L Gates, IFC, ISRA

REGISTER
http://www.klgates.com/resources/xpqEventRegistrationKNLG.aspx?xpST=Even...

9.30am - Registration and breakfast
10.00am - Morning sessions
12.00pm - Networking lunch
1.00pm - Afternoon sessions
3.00pm - Event concludes

The event will cover several key themes including:
How the current Shari’ah governance model works; its gaps and limitations
Examining the role of scholars alongside areas of potential conflict and impairment
The role of external Shari’ah audit
Regulatory differences in approach – is there a ‘best practice’?

What a #Brexit could mean for the UK’s aspiring #Islamic #finance #market

As the referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union looms in the UK, voices are getting louder, particularly in the country’s financial industry that it would not necessarily be a good idea to vote for a Brexit. Since the weight of the UK in the global financial market is substantial – the financial sector of the City of London has a 20% share in the global market for trading foreign securities and a sizeable part of it depends on the UK’s access to the internal EU market – such a strong position would be certainly threatened.
This could have serious impact on the growing role of Islamic finance in Europe which is entrenched in the UK and from there makes its way into the continent. Since the 1990s, when the first mortgages in the UK were set up in line with Shariah law, the country has aggregated the most advanced experience in Shariah-compliant finance in the Western world. Corporate sukuk followed a decade later, and in 2014, the UK became the first country in the EU to issue some sovereign sukuk and listed them on the London stock exchange. From then on, Islamic finance steadily entered the rest of Europe.

Islamic finance becomes popular for affordable #housing schemes

Home financing resembling Islamic finance structures is becoming popular to solve the housing affordability crisis in Western countries. Housing cooperatives began using profit-and-risk-sharing schemes modelled after ijara or musharaka to help home buyers purchase properties. In the UK the idea based on the Islamic contract of ijara came up in 2015. The rent-to-own scheme was proposed by the Liberal Democrats party and involves an Islamic bank or another intermediary, who purchases the property for a customer. In Canada various cooperative frameworks are providing home financing loans to members of their cooperatives in a Shariah-compliant manner. In the US the Ijara Community Development provides Shariah-compliant home financing for both US clients and customers in Canada.

BLME expands into commercial vehicle leasing sector with major new appointment

BLME Holdings has appointed James Harrowsmith as a director to the BLME leasing team. He will report to Fred Yue, head of leasing at BLME and will be responsible for leading the bank’s heavy goods and commercial vehicles funding business.
Harrowsmith has over 20 years of experience in financial services, specialising in asset finance to the commercial vehicles sector. He was most recently at Eddie Stobart where he was responsible for sourcing all of the business funding solutions for its fleet of 2,500 HGVS and 3,000 trailers.
Prior to this, he was at Close Brothers Asset Finance and also HBOS, specialising in the HGV and LCV sector and was part of a team managing a £2 billion portfolio of assets.

Islamic finance gains traction in search for alternative models

Islamic financing is gaining traction even among non-Muslim countries in a bid to use sustainable and equitable form of alternative models, the Malaysian Prime Minister said on Tuesday. London issued its second Islamic sukuk after its first bond issue was oversubscribed 14 times. In addition to London, Luxembourg and South Africa, Hong Kong has also issued sovereign sukuks.
“Ever since the global financial crisis in 2007-08 there has been a sharp demand for alternative economic and business model that reduces the level of speculation as conventional model that has inherent weakness,” Najib Razak told journalists. “Over-leveraging is believed to have been the root cause of the disaster — but again, that is prohibited in Islamic finance. As a result, Islamic banks remained strongly capitalised and resilient against financial market volatility, while continuing to contribute positively to equitable and sustainable growth,” he said.

Islamic finance captures real estate market in UK

With Islamic finance entering London’s financial market and billions of dollars of investment in the UK and global real estate coming from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other Muslim jurisdictions, the UK government was one of the first in the West that started propelling initiatives on Islamic financing vehicles for property purchases as early as in 2013. Meanwhile, Islamic financing facilities have become so popular for real estate transactions in the UK undertaken by Arab investors that the next International Real Estate Finance Summit, the premier real estate event in the UK scheduled to take place on December 1 and 2, 2015, in London, will entirely focus on the opportunities Shariah-compliant finance vehicles entail for property financing.

Cobalt targets Sharia-compliant demand

The Islamic countries of South-East Asia represent a rich potential area of growth for insurers, especially those able to offer Sharia-compliant products, Richard Bishop, chief executive officer of Cobalt Underwriting, told SIRC Today. Bishop said that counties such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan offered a plentiful source of potential business for insurers, especially those familiar with and able to offer Sharia-compliant insurance.
Cobalt Insurance Holdings and its two specialist operations, Cobalt Underwriting Services and Cobalt Advisory Services, were formed in 2012 with the objective of establishing London as a leading global centre for Sharia-compliant insurance capacity.
“When we started we principally focused our efforts on the Middle East as a market,” Bishop said. “We do business in the UK, or inward investment into the UK via Islamic investors, but we wanted to make our product available in the Islamic markets, and the closest Islamic market to the UK is the Middle East. It’s worked quite well for us as a starter market.”

Islamic securities deliver economic and social returns

“Ethical finance” is a term used to describe finance that is put to good social and environmental use. Interest in it has risen since the 2008 global financial crisis, with Islamic finance and socially responsible investment funds becoming its two fastest areas of growth. The World Bank Treasury has brought the two together by helping the International Finance Facility for Immunization issue two Sukuks in less than a year.
IFFIm is an international organization that finances child immunization and strengthens health systems related to it in some of the poorest countries of the world through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Backed by nine sovereign governments—the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Norway, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and South Africa—the organization raises money in the international capital markets.

10th Durham Islamic Finance Summer School - 24-28th August 2015

Why an Islamic Finance training programme?

The Islamic banking and finance (IBF) sector has experienced substantial and unprecedented growth in recent years: growing at a rate of 10-15% per year. Today, more than 500 IBF institutions are operating worldwide, which are claimed to manage assets worth no less than $1.2 trillion, while the assets held in IBF institutions were only less than $10 billion in 1985. In Malaysia the IBF institutions are planned to capture the 25% of the market share, in terms of assets owned, by 2012, while it is expected that Islamic finance will be the mainstream finance in the Gulf region in the next decade.

Such immense growth has brought Islamic finance to the attention of the international banking and finance community, prompting the major banks to set up Islamic financial windows to take advantage of demand for Shari'ah compliant finance.

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