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Michael Saleh Gassner
Growing their business remains the primary and dominant goal for high net worth business owners in the Middle East, according to a recent study on the wealth management needs and preferences of high net worth (HNW) business owners in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The report by Standard Chartered Private Bank and Campden Wealth Research showed that 82 per cent of Middle East based high net worth business owners surveyed have already internationalised their businesses, implying the need for international banking services that support the geographic reach and growth of these businesses. Increasing market share is the top growth objective (82 per cent) of participants, followed by increasing production capacity (65 per cent) and international expansion (58 per cent).
Malaysia hopes to be the first country in the world to introduce Islamic wealth management and champion new products under the Islamic financial system, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan. According to him, Islamic wealth management is an attractive sub-sector and promises good returns in the financial services industry. Ahmad said, to boost Malaysia’s aspiration to be the center of intellectual excellence in Islamic finance, the government stepped up efforts in that direction. The Islamic wealth management is expected to evolve to the next stage in the Islamic finance industry with the availability of infrastructure in terms of human resource development for the Islamic financial institutions and expertise that is existing today.
A 10 percent growth in the Malaysian Sukuk market for this and next year is in line with the positive views on the long-term growth trends in the global Sukuk market according to Philipp Lotter, Moody's Managing Director for the Corporate Finance Group in ASEAN. Malaysia will remain the world's largest Sukuk market, says Khalid Howladar, Moody's Global Head for Islamic Finance. Singapore and Hong Kong are tapping into this fast-growing asset class although Saudi Arabia is showing strong domestic potential," adds Howladar.
Such is the hype of activity about Shari’a-compliant product at the moment that even The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has now moved a step closer towards the issuance of a debut sukuk. The government presented a draft bill to parliament that could get deal going, proposing the issuance of a €200m-equivalent sovereign sukuk denominated. Euros or US-Dollars, both are welcome. Additionally, the Luxembourg government has also identified three real estate assets to underpin the transaction.
Richard Clare has been appointed as new Lending Manager at Saffron Building Society. He will take responsibility for assessment and preparation of mortgage cases as the underwriting capability.
Besides their rainge of Everyday and Special Situations Mortgages, Saffron Building Society will also consider more complex cases which are in need for bespoke lending solutions.
Richard Clare has more than 20 years of experience in financial services gained with organizations including UBS, Coutts, Ahli United Bank, United Trust Bank, Clayton Euro Risk, Pure Bridging Ltd, Rooftop Mortgages, SPML and Halifax plc. His considerable experience is as a senior lending manager.
Shari’a-compliant launches from UK based managers are growing steadily. The UK is at the forefront of Muslim investment. Even crowdfunding is becoming increasingly acceptable in the Arab world to raise capital for start-ups. But investments of any nature have to be Shari’a-compliant. Hereby Muslim communities from Bangladesh or Indonesia may differ from Arabs or Iranians. Some national governments, like Pakistan, insist on full Shari’a financing whereas others like Dubai or Bahrain have a less stringent approach to this. A lot of Shari’a money is completely untapped and is waiting on bank accounts. Most conventional products are not able to access this money due to non-Shari’a compliance.
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.
Revised Shariah Screening Methodology: 1
Expands ICM’s Global Reach
New Shariah Advisory Council Resolutions 3
Region’s First Structured Covered Sukuk 7
Royal Award for Islamic Finance Calls for Global 9
SC and Autoriti Monetari Brunei to Strengthen 9
Efforts in Greater Cross-border Activities
SC Leads Islamic Finance Taskforce to Publish a 10
Report on Enhancing Infrastructure for ICM
IFSB-IOSCO-SC Collaborate on Disclosure 11
Requirements for ICM Products
SC Revises Equity Guidelines for SPACS 12
Technical Note on the Application of SC’s 13
Guidelines In Relation to Non-Tradable and
Non-Transferable PDS and Sukuk
2013: Another Resilient Year for the Global 14
Islamic Finance Industry
Global Islamic Funds Industry: Achieving 18
Growth Under Challenging Times
Harmonisation of Shariah Rulings 22
in Islamic Finance
News Round-up 29
Malaysian ICM – Facts and Figures 32
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Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Fitch Learning concluded a three-month paradigm training course in order to enrich the banking experience of employees, and boost their productive abilities. The training course had a capacity of 90 trainees that were divided into six groups. Fitch Learning staff gave this course based on the requirements of employees. Workshops witnessed competitive performance among the trainees. The course was divided into Sukuk, Client Handling Framework, Real Estate, Traded Equity, Private Equity, Asset Allocation and Diversification. After assessing the requirements of Wealth Management, the bank collaborated with Fitch Learning, in order to address those needs.
The Shariah-focused independent wealth organisation Mahal Thqa has opened in Dubai. The firm is a joint venture between Middle Eastern financial consultants Mondial and US-based venture capital organisation Shariah Capital. It will be lead by chief executive Sadi Hassouneh and will focus on the Middle East’s Arabic-speaking population offering Islamic investment solutions and fund alternatives. Thqa’s investment approach will be based on protecting and growing its client’s capital over the medium-to-long-term and seeks to avoid the “boom-and-bust” results associated with specific asset class risk.
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):
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:
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).
Emirates Islamic Bank has launched a four year Wakala investment option for customers, with an expected profit rate of 2.57 per cent per annum. Available on investment amounts ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 5 million, Emirates Islamic Bank’s latest product closely follows the launch of the three-year special Ramadan Wakala, introduced earlier this year. The four year Wakala investment option differs from conventional Wakala investments, with the profits being paid out on an annual basis to customers. Faisal Aqil, the bank's Deputy CEO - Consumer Wealth Management, said that customers are encouraged to develop a culture of saving through the launch of the bank's Sharia-compliant savings products.
IslamicFinance.de is still edited by myself, Michael Saleh Gassner. In the same time the website became part of the family's publishing house, Al Kitab.
Myself I moved to Geneva for professional reasons, working as Islamic private banker. IslamicFinance.de remains to be a private passion.
Kuwait Finance House KFH Wealth Management General Manager Matthew Welch stated that reinforcing the Bank's private banking and wealth management service is a key pillar of the restructuring and transformation plan that the Bank is presently implementing. Matthew noted the rising competition in the high net worth segment and that clients are increasingly discerning in selecting the institution with whom they choose to invest. He explained that KFH is keen on harnessing the investment capabilities of the wider KFH group to bring new opportunities and investment ideas for the benefit of the Bank's high net worth client base. In addition, he noted that clients now expect increased access to investment advisory and discretionary management services to help them navigate the present volatile market conditions.
A more systematic endowment management would enhance the strength and potential of Muslims to use their wealth to help the community. The administration of endowment property ought to be conducted in a professional manner to protect its value for the benefit of the Muslim community. It could be done by setting up a special organisation, instead of the current practise of having these properties managed temporarily by various Islamic welfare bodies. The administration of endowment property would need to be re-examined in line with the global economic context to fully maximise its value and to avoid deterioration.
The Securities Commission (SC) aims to position Malaysia as an Islamic wealth management centre, a target that is highly feasible because of the country's high savings rate. Steps are being taken to create a certain number of intermediaries in the area. As of July 2013, there were 19 licensed Islamic fund management companies in Malaysia. The country's assets under management of Islamic funds are expected to hit RM322 billion by 2020 from RM80 billion end-2012. Generating broader approach with regional countries can help Malaysia to continue innovating and expanding the Islamic market place.
A majority of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in the Middle East believe wealth creation is faster today than in the past, according to the latest report of Barclays Wealth Insights. Over half (60%) of respondents in the Middle East agreed that wealth can be created faster today than in the past, in comparison to 43 per cent in Europe and 31 per cent in North America. Interestingly, more than half (54%) of Middle Eastern respondents stated that personal investments have contributed largely to their overall wealth portfolio, compared to other sources of income such as inheritance at 49 per cent. In terms of how this wealth is used, HNWIs in the Middle East have a tendency to allocate more of their resources to personal property than to tangible assets and collectibles. Many HNWIs around the world now prefer to give their money to family and friends and charitable causes in their lifetime rather than as inheritance, the report revealed.
Crescent Wealth has developed its own platform for its four investment options and has appointed Corporate Combined Superannuation (CCSL) as trustee. The Shariah-compliant funds - Australian equities, international equities, income fund and Australian infrastructure and property - were previously only available on the Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners Personal Choice Private e-wrap platform, after they were launched late last year. The company is also in talks with industry super funds to white-label the product as an ultra-ethical investment option. Although the product follows Islamic finance principles, the company expects the majority of its clients to be attracted to its ultra-ethical investing philosophy