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Michael Saleh Gassner
There is evidence both in the Quran and Hadith that supports wealth succession planning and management. A starting point for a discussion on Islamic wealth management would be the Quranic verses in Surah al-Kahf (Surah no. 18). There are lessons that we may draw from these Quranic verses. These verses indicate that although a person cannot foresee future events, he/she should take measures and have plans to manage their unfavourable effects on life and family welfare. That parents may have a succession plan through which the wealth earned could be transferred to children in the safest possible way.
A few weeks ago we saw the launch of a Sharia-compliant mobile phone-based loan service. The new service, called Trust Network Finance was rolled out by Allianz in Indonesia. TNF reflects the big opportunities in Indonesia for mobile money and for Sharia-compliant services.
Although roughly 60% of Indonesians have a mobile phone, only 3% of the population is reportedly aware of mobile money. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, and Sharia-compliant finance has grown over the past few decades in the country; however by the end of 2016 Islamic financial institutions in Indonesia are only expected to hold 5% of the nation’s total banking assets.
Of the country’s roughly 250 million citizens, 60% are unbanked. It’s estimated that there are 50 million MSMEs in Indonesia, which make up about 97% of the country’s enterprises.
Fisch Asset Management says Middle East credit ratings are likely to come under further pressure due to low oil prices and an increase in primary issuance will support market liquidity. According to Philipp Good, head of portfolio management at Fisch, the region has the highest average ratings globally, but budget deficits need to be addressed through a combination of investment and reform.
Singapore charged a former wealth manager at Swiss private bank with forgery as part of a money laundering investigation related to 1Malaysia Development. The forgery charge is the seventh filed against Yeo Jiawei, a 33-year-old Singaporean banker. While the charges didn't mention 1MDB by name, they stem from investigations into the fund's money flows. The prosecutors charged Yeo with "fraudulently" signing a reference letter to the head of anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance of Citigroup Inc in Europe.
OCBC Malaysia head of consumer financial services Lim Wyson said increasing the number of products under the Islamic asset class will appeal to a broader range of investors. The size of Malaysia’s Islamic capital market had more than tripled over the last 10 years, with an average growth of 11.7% per annum and accounted 60% of the entire capital market in the country.
On the 10th anniversary of its presence in the Middle East, Lombard Odier demonstrates its long term commitment to the region by expanding its activities and services in the UAE. The team is also celebrating by moving its office location to the Conrad Business Tower. Patrick Odier, Senior Managing Partner of the Lombard Odier Group, said the bank maintains focus on wealth and investment management for private and institutional clients across the region.
The General Council of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions launched its Global Forum 'Rethinking Values for Sustainable Growth' in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. The Forum was attended by delegates from more than 28 countries. Special keynote guest Dr. Mark Mobius covered expert views on MENA and emerging markets including the impact of oil prices on economies, as well as what structural reforms are required for sustainable growth.
#Debt continues to be a major source of instability for the global economy. Since 2007, global debt has grown by $57trillion or 17 % of GDP. Since 2007, no major economies and only five developing economies have reduced the ratio of debt to GDP in the real economy. In contrast, 14 countries have increased their total debt-to-GDP ratios by more than 50 percentage points. Over 20 countries now have debt-to-GDP ratios above 200 per cent, led by Japan (400 %).
What if the hundreds, even thousands of existing local currency initiatives were interoperable? Could they constitute a global system of exchange and offer at least a partial alternative to a dominant parasitic financial system? What are the social and technical obstacles to scaling grassroots initiatives which grow out of local community action?
The Credit Commons is a proposal from the builders of two of the largest blocs of community currencies in the world. Tim Jenkin, developer of Community Exchange Systems and Matthew Slater, developer of Hamlets and cofounder of Community Forge. A new white paper introduces the a backbone accounting infrastructure, touches on the economics and the technology, and describes the parts already in place. A small but diverse group has formed around the initiative and set up creditcommons.net where the paper is hosted and developments can be recorded.
In the years since the 2008 global financial crisis, austerity and balance-sheet repair have been the watchwords of the global economy. And yet today debt is fueling concern about growth prospects worldwide. The McKinsey Global Institute notes in a study that gross debt has increased about $60 trillion – or 75% of global GDP – since 2008. China’s debt, for example, has increased fourfold since 2007, and its debt-to-GDP ratio is some 282% – higher than in many other major economies, including the United States. A global economy that is levering up, while unable to generate enough aggregate demand to achieve potential growth, is on a risky path. But to assess how risky, several factors must be considered.
Emirates Islamic announced the launch of Social Banking, offering banking services via Twitter, making it the first Islamic bank in the UAE to offer banking services on a social media platform. Faisal Aqil, Deputy CEO, said banking via twitter is especially relevant given the UAE’s advanced social media and mobile phone penetration. Customers will be able to perform select transactions such as balance enquiry, view their last few transactions, and make enquiries about their accounts or credit cards with a simple tweet. To maintain privacy and confidentiality, the bank will only respond to customer queries via a direct message.
Daud Vicary Abdullah, President of the International Centre for Islamic Finance discusses the role of education and specifically higher education programs in Islamic finance. Islamic finance has been growing to where it is today because it has used conventional tactics or conventional instruments. Now there is a big opportunity to use new risk-sharing instruments. The idea is that people get education early and see this not as a religious threat but as a set of options about which they can make realistic choices.
Hundreds of readers have written to The National to share their financial woes, following a series of articles in the Money section about worrying levels of personal debt in the UAE. The reason why UAE residents are building up such alarming liabilities is the lack of knowledge about the sky-high credit card interest rates in the country. According to a recent Compareit4me.com survey, about two-thirds of credit card holders are unaware of their card’s interest rate.
A global survey on the Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) of the Global Islamic Wealth Management Industry conducted by Edbiz Consulting revealed that the global Islamic wealth management industry is facing a trust deficit that is hampering the growth of the industry. 48% of the respondents said they have never used any Islamic wealth management products and services, citing lack of understanding, lack of trust and preference to manage own wealth as reasons for not subscribing. Dr Sofiza Azmi, Group CEO of HD-Edbiz Group of Companies highlighted that 40% of Islamic wealth is concentrated in non-Muslim countries.
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) plans to launch the Islamic Fund and Wealth Management Blueprint by July to strengthen Malaysia’s competitive position in the global Islamic financial sector. SC chairman Datuk Seri Ranjit Ajit Singh said the SC was in the final stages of formulating the blueprint, which would be launched by the first half of the year and the action plan rolled out over five years. First announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at Invest Malaysia in April last year, the action plan aims to chart the medium- and long-term strategic direction for the industry as well as map out strategies to strengthen the country’s Islamic capital market.
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) will launch the Islamic fund and wealth management blueprint sometime this year, in a bid to firmly establish Malaysia as an international Islamic capital market centre. The blueprint, which is formulated by the SC, will chart the medium to long term strategic direction for the industry as well as map out strategies and recommendations to strengthen Malaysia's competitive edge, said the SC. The strategies are expected to reinforce the industry's sustainability and will include, among others, strengthening global capabilities of market intermediaries and seizing new market opportunities.
Growing demand for asset-based investments in times of fiscal insecurity in major economies in the world and the fact that still only a small portion of the estimated $11.5tn worth of wealth owned by Muslim individuals, institutions and governments is managed by Islamic financial institutions has turned the attention of investors towards Islamic wealth management. According to Malaysia-based International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), there is a lot of potential to tap for Islamic wealth managers: As of the fourth quarter of 2015, total global Islamic assets under management were "just" $58bn and the number of Islamic funds worldwide stood at a meagre 1,053. This compares to $56.4tn of wealth owned by all high-net worth individuals globally combined and to more than 9,200 investment funds in the US alone.
There are nearly 500,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in the GCC alone; these clients hold roughly $1.7 trillion of assets. A large majority of them are Muslims. If you look at the larger banks, be it in Switzerland, or in other established jurisdictions, it is mainly in the conventional banking space that wealth management solutions are offered to clients. The low oil prices have had an impact on liquidity and the cost of funds. As the demand for Islamic wealth management solutions is primarily from the GCC region and the sentiments in the region are weak due to the low oil prices, investors could take the wait and watch approach.
Islamic banking and finance (IBF) is swiftly growing in countries outside the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) block, especially in the United Kingdom. The global Islamic financial services industry attained the size of $2 trillion by the end of 2015. Islamic banking segment, which accounts for 75%, dominates the industry. Sukuk, although much talked about, is only 15% of the total Islamic financial assets. Islamic fund management segment, albeit a small component, is slowly developing. Takaful and microfinance, on the other hand, have yet to attain any significant level of development.