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.

Ahlibank CEO clarifies on Islamic banking strategy

Abdul Aziz al Balushi, CEO of Ahlibank, said that the bank may convert some of the existing conventional branches to Islamic banking ones or may open more new Islamic banking branches. He added that services, products and dealing of Ahlibank's Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services are built on the tenets of truth and transparency, and are in accordance with sharia principles. Ahlibank is confident that Islamic banking will be a great success in Oman.

Ahlibank may switch to Islamic banking

Oman's Ahlibank, which launched its Al Hilal Islamic banking services in the sultanate, is considering to convert all its conventional branches to Islamic banking. According to Abdullah al Jabri, DGM and head of Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services, the bank is planning to start with branches in Ibra, Nizwa and Sur in the coming month.

Vision launches Sharia-compliant GCC fund in Oman

The first Sharia-compliant fund will be introduced in Oman by Vision Investment Services. All financial instruments of the fund are in compliance with Sharia principles and policies. It is the perfect tool for conventional investors who are seeking capital appreciation with lower risk.

Oman rules may spur reform of Islamic finance scholars

Oman is the last of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to introduce Islamic banking, thus being able to encourage the development of sharia scholars. The highly detailed rules for the Islamic banking sector include the plan to enlarge the pool of qualified scholars as a scholar can only be appointed for two three-year terms in the Sharia Board. The higher demand for scholars calls for a scholar development program that needs to be developed in parallel with the initiative.

Ahlibank launches five Islamic banking branches in the Oman

The Al Hilal Islamic Banking services launched their first branches that provide Islamic banking products and services. The chairman Hamdan bin Ali bin Nasser al Hinai said the goal of the new services is to meet the needs of all customers in terms of truth, transparency and being fully sharia compliant as the integration of ethical and moral values with the banking operations is a unique and salient characteristic of Islamic banking.
An implemented independent Sharia Supervisory Board has the power to audit all contracts and transactions, give opinion and guidance and the bank´s management shall strictly follow the guidelines outlined by the board.
Shaikh Aflah bin Ahmed bin Hamad al Khalili, member of the Sharia Supervisory Board of the bank said that the products on offer will contribute to the efforts made by the Sultanate´s government to enhance the role played by Islamic banking in achieving sustainable development as well as more progress and prosperity for the Omani people.

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.



Manager, Product Development and Research - Islamic Banking

•To start, structure and drive the asset management business, products and services.
•Analyze potential fixed income and real estate (residential, commercial, or industrial) opportunities in order to assist in business development or growth of the real estate portfolio.
•Prepare and review the offer documents.


Meethaq opens first branch in Ghubra

Last Sunday, Meethaq, the Islamic banking window of bank muscat opened its first branch in Ghubra. More branch openings are planned in all major cities across Oman this year aiming to reach customers and attract them through Sharia-based products and services. The final amount of capital for the bank’s operations will be determined by business opportunities.

Promoting SMEs in a big way need of the hour

Sharakah is Oman’s fund that supports prospective entrepreneurs in the establishment and running of their own businesses in the Sultanate. It provides capital and assistance in order to develop the SME sector and generate job opportunities. So far, Sharakah has supported more than 50 businesses in 13 years. It also regularly takes part in exhibitions, among which the annual Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Exhibition and Conference aiming to help it reach out to budding entrepreneurs.

BankDhofar’s Islamic branch opening soon

According to an announcement by BankDhofar, its Maisarah Islamic banking branch in Azaiba is planned to be opened in the coming weeks. The new branch shall further cement its commitment to putting its customers first, Oman's community and economic stability. A team of highly skilled Islamic banking specialists will operate at the new branch. Most advanced technology aiming to ensure Maisarah operates smoothly will be utilized and a complete suite of services compliant with the Sharia-law will be offered.

Bank Muscat hosts ESRA workshop

Bank Muscat together with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) were hosts of a workshop on January 15th. The topic of the workshop was Environmental and Social Risk Analysis (ESRA). The event was held under the auspices of Sheikh Mohammed bin Said Al Kalbani, minister of Social Development. The goal of the two-day event at the headquarters of the bank is to identify environmental and social risks in lending and investment projects as a consequence of the activities of the financial and banking sector. Among the participants there were risk managers and analysts from banks, CSR and sustainability professionals, government representatives and consultants.

Corporate Governance Key To Gulf Country Success: Deutsche Bank

The countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have a very high chance of success in the development of their financial markets and promoting their competitiveness. This is shown in a recent research by Deutsche Bank. One of the key factors stressed on in the research report is progress made in corporate governance-related matters. The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf countries has made significant advances in establishing effective financial market regulation and oversight as well as a strong grip on market abuse and financial fraud. Continuing to follow this direction and committing the resources needed to achieve optimal consistency and effectiveness in regulation and market supervision is seen as crucial for achieving the goals of financial development and economic diversification.

Meethaq to begin operations on Jan. 21

Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has given its final approval to the Islamic banking arm of Bank Muscat - Meethaq - to start full-fledged operations. The starting date of the bank's operations is January 21st. Meethaq will begin functioning as a bank with 150-million-rial capital at its disposal. The money is intended to be used to boost growth opportunities. A full suite of regulated Islamic banking products will be offered.

UK-based Islamic bank seeks tie-up with Oman banks

Gatehouse Bank is making efforts to attract Oman's Sharia-compliant institutions to invest their funds in the UK and vice-versa. They are showing keen interest in establishing a business relationship with all Islamic banks. Gatehouse already have treasury services, capital market products like sukuk and real estate financing. There will be an official meeting between Gatehouse Bank's officials and such of Bank Nizwa and Bank Muscat. The goal of the meeting will be to explore cooperation possibilities and opportunities.

Bank Nizwa begins operations

The headquarters of Bank Nizwa will open today at Al Qurum. At the same time, its branches in Sohar and Nizwa will be opened as well. Gradually, several further branches will be opened. The launch of the bank was announced after the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) released the Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework (IBRF). It is expected that Bank Nizwas launch will push Islamic banking and economy in Oman and attract more deposits from Omanis, who have their deposits outside the country.

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