Al Madina Insurance plans IPO to convert itself into takaful firm

Al Madina Insurance Company is planning to float an initial public offering (IPO) in the fourth quarter of this year in an attempt to change its status to a Sharia-compliant takaful firm. As per the draft takaful regulation, insurance companies have to be public firms to function as takaful companies. The promoters will reportedly divest 40 per cent of their holding in the company in favour of investing public through the IPO, which will be a premium issue. Al Madina Insurance, which has branch operations in several parts of the country, has a capital base of OMR10 million. Besides, three other companies made similar proposals: Al Maha Ceramics, Sembcorp Salalah Power and Oman Arab Bank. Al Madina has received an 'in principle' approval from the Capital Market Authority for converting its status into an Islamic insurance firm and a final approval will be given only after the company lists its shares on the Muscat Securities Market (MSM).

Corporate Analyst Officer – Islamic Banking

Corporate Analyst Officer – Salalah Branch, Islamic Banking

•Maintenance of lending portfolio aimed at quality customer service and maximizing contribution to Maisarah profitability.
•Analyzing financial statements, business processes of customers and preparing credit proposals as per standards defined by Maisarah Islamic Banking.
•Recommend facilities / excesses to the appropriate authority /Management as per authority matrix for approval through defined channels.

Senior Officer Reporting – Finance (Islamic Banking)

Responsible to ensure timely & prompt preparation of all Finance reporting within Bank for MIS purposes and to external authorities for Regulatory purposes. Ensure all transactions are complied with IFRS, AAOIFI and local regulatory requirements. Ensure reconciliation of all bank’s reconciliation via NOSTRO accounts, CBO, and Inter Branches etc. Responsible to update bank’s General Ledger and Chart of Account. Review of Bank’s financial performance and its comparison with approved budget. Ensure timely and accurate charging of Fixed Assets Depreciation, staff salaries payments & bills payments etc. Assist Financial Controller in managing day to day Finance Department operations.

Head of Treasury - Islamic Banking

Responsible for Islamic treasury products and has in-depth understanding of liquidity management, bank funding strategy and the money markets. Able to demonstrate strong understanding of funding strategy and can translate into a tactical issuance plan.

Tax Law amendment proposal for Islamic banks submitted

KPMG has submitted its recommendations for amending the country's tax law to the Ministry of Finance. The recommendations aim to ensure that Islamic financial institutions are on a level playing field with their conventional counterparts. According to Ashok Hariharan, partner and head of Tax for KPMG in Oman, the recommendations aim to ensure that Islamic financial institutions are put in neither an advantageous nor a disadvantageous position compared to its conventional peers. The recommendations of the international audit firm will circulate among different ministries and agencies to finalise the amendments. Apart from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Legal Affairs Majlis A'Shura will also look into the KPMG report and put forward their recommendations. If everything goes well, the amendments will be announced sometime towards the end of the year.

Bank Nizwa teams with INCEIF

Bank Nizwa and INCEIF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), under which the institutions will collaborate to jointly provide structured training and development initiatives for Omani nationals working in the Islamic Finance Industry. The MoU was signed at the Oman Islamic Economic Forum (OIEF), held recently at the Al Bustan Palace. The OIEF, the brainchild of Amjaad Development and Bank Nizwa, took the theme of 'The Islamic Economy: a Culture of Excellence'. INCEIF, The Global University of Islamic Finance, was set up by Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) to develop human capital for the global Islamic finance industry. The collaboration aims to provide thought leadership training to the Omani Islamic finance industry in order for the regional and global industry to benefit.

Oman’s Alizz Islamic Bank Eyes Q3 Launch -COO

Omani lender Alizz Islamic Bank, the second full-fledged Islamic bank in the sultanate, plans to begin operations in the third quarter of this year, according to its chief operating officer Jamal Darwiche. Last October, the bank raised OMR40 million ($104 million) by selling 40 per cent of its capital through a month-long initial public offer of shares. It is targeting a 3.5 per cent share of financing and a 3.6 per cent share of deposits in Oman’s banking sector by 2017. Moreover, it aims for annual growth in total assets, financing and deposits of 15-20 per cent, and to build a customer base of between 65,000 and 100,000 accounts over five years.

Islamic banks need comprehensive marketing approach

Omani Islamic banks are expected to follow a comprehensive marketing approach to promote themselves as an alternative for traditional Banks. In other words, Islamic banks need to apply Sharia-compliant recent banking applications. At the meantime, they should consider the risks of financing goods and assets according to Murabaha and Musharakah basics. Islamic banks in Oman will only succeed in introducing and marketing their services/products by satisfying clients’ requirements through saving and financing means. Thus, they should start to conduct studies as well as R&D for Islamic products. Moreover, flexibility is an effective factor to successful banking processes.

Oman approves two sukuk issues

Oman's market regulator has given its initial approval for two local firms to issue sukuk. The Islamic bonds will hit the market after clearing the formalities for final approval, said the chief executive of the Capital Market Authority, Abdullah bin Salim al Salmi, without revealing the names of the companies.

Meethaq Sharia Board inducts 2 more members

The Sharia Supervisory Board of Meethaq conducted its first meeting of 2013 under the chairmanship of Shaikh Dr Ali Qaradaghi. The board inducted two new members — Abdulqader Thomas and Dr Saeed al Muharrami. The two experts in the field of Islamic banking will serve as non-Shari’a members and assist the Shari’a voting members, providing insights on various Islamic banking issues. The board reviewed Meethaq activities during 2012 and discussed the strategy for the coming period.

Oman to consider licences for foreign Islamic banks in 2-3 years

According to the executive president of Oman's central bank, Hamood Sangour al Zadjali, the country has no plans to allow foreign Islamic lenders to set up operations in the sultanate. Opportunity will be given to local banks first to see how the market develops. He mentioned that they will observe the market for two to three years and then decide whether to add more banks or not. Currently, two Islamic banks and six Islamic banking windows are operating in Oman.

Oman urges consolidation of banks to be competitive

Oman's Capital Market Authority (CMA) is encouraging consolidation in the country’s crowded financial sector, aiming in the long term for local banks to build a regional presence in the Gulf region. There are now 18 banks in the sultanate, whereas Oman’s three largest lenders account for approximately two-thirds of banking assets. According to Abdullah Salem Al Salmi, CMA’s executive president, the crowded field could lead to cutthroat competition, which would be unhealthy for the market and cause new entrants to struggle. However, he did not specify any ways in which the CMA might encourage consolidation.

Bank Nizwa seeks relaxation for investing funds overseas

Bank Nizwa is going to request the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) for allowing the bank to get relaxation in deploying funds in overseas markets for a certain period, until Sharia-compliant products are available within the domestic market. Dr Jamil Jaroudi, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Nizwa said there are restrictions in the new law that do not allow Islamic banks to achieve their full potential. The law for sukuk and takaful need to be issued, and the banking regulations have to be adjusted in order to attract Islamic investment, he added. The CBO needs to frame regulation for short-term instruments, which will allow Islamic banks to deploy their excess liquidity.

Sohar Islami, the independent Shariah Compliant Islamic Bank within Bank Sohar holds its first Shariah Supervisory Board Meeting

The senior management of Sohar Islamic held its first Shariah Supervisory Board (SSB) meeting, chaired by Dr. Hussain Hamed Hassan, and attended by the other SSB members. The SSB of Sohar Islamic comprises of leading Islamic scholars from Islamic finance and academic sectors from across the world. During the course of the meeting, the SSB considered and approved product structures, contracts and policies in order to generate a workable strategy for a range of Islamic Banking products and services that Bank Sohar will soon offer. The SSB members commended Bank Sohar for addressing the need for Islamic banking and for their diligence in assuring Shariah compliance in all products.

Thomson Reuters to host forum on Oman as preferred destination for Sukuk

Thomson Reuters will be discussing Oman's leading position as a preferred investment destination for Sukuk during an upcoming forum set to take place on February 24, 2013. It will be investigated what needs to be done to facilitate the country's entry to global Islamic financial markets by Thomson Reuters with support from the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) and Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI). Thought leaders, bankers, and Shariah scholars will discuss the opportunities of setting up Islamic financial markets operations in Oman, how to capitalize on the global Islamic financial markets interest, and explore prospects to develop a strong Islamic interbank and fixed income market.

NBFCs may face competition from Islamic banks, say analysts

Oman's non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) posted decent growth in income and profits in 2012. And analysts believe that the sector will see strong growth in 2013 on the back of project and infrastructure spending by the government. An analysis of the six listed NBFCs shows that aggregate income rose 11.94 per cent to RO65.30mn in 2012, while their combined net profit rose 17 per cent to RO24.14mn. NBFCs expect some competition for the leasing sector from Islamic banks, especially in auto financing.

"Shariyah Review Bureau hired by Al Khonji Real Estate & Development to deliver Shari'a Advisory Services".

Al Khonji Real Estate & Development (Aqar) signed today that it has hired the services of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), to advice and supervise its future course of actions and transactions in light of Shari'a principles. Mohamed Al Khonji, Chairman/CEO, said that it has decided to spread its wings in the real estate market while ensuring it is truly Shari'a compliant. The assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau is expected to help developing an enterprise-wide Shari'a compliant framework, which will cover compliance with Islamic finance across all function streams in Aqar.

Ahlibank Oman Live on iMAL running on Microsoft Windows OS and Sybase Database

Path Solutions, provider of Islamic banking software, has announced the deployment and successful rollout of iMAL Islamic core banking system at all five Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services branches of Ahlibank. iMAL was implemented using Microsoft Windows OS and Sybase Software. According to Ahlibank CEO Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, iMAL will enable the delivery of Islamic banking products and services whilst ensuring full compliance with the Sharia guidelines and local regulations.

System Implementation and Analytic Manager

Responsible to lead and coordinate the business efforts in the Islamic Core Banking implementation during various project phases such as Requirements & Gap Analysis, Business Process Definition & Parameterization, Customization, Testing and post go-live support
Coordinate the detailed requirements about various products, characteristics, control and monitoring requirements, end to end process details and expected process improvements


Head of Islamic Banking

•Manage the staff assigned to the level determined by senior management.
•Maintain revamp (Retail & Corporate) existing Asset Products to support all businesses of the Bank keeping in view the bank’s strategic focus
•Maintain & revamp (Retail & Corporate) existing Liability Products to support all businesses of the bank keeping in view the bank’s strategic focus
•Launch and implement new and innovative Shari’a compliant products (both Assets & Liabilities, retail and corporate) developed around market needs customer perceptions and the Bank’s requirement.
•Partner with Retail and Corporate Teams for strategic tie-ups with companies/organizations and prepare special Shari’a package/product offers.

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