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New York Online Investment Firm Gets Aramco Financing for Islamic Products

New York-based Wahed Invest has secured financing from oil giant Saudi Aramco to expand into the Middle East and make Riyadh its regional hub. The Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures extended the funding to the online Islamic investment platform as part of a $25 million funding round. The three-year-old Wahed Invest, which has secured a license to operate in Saudi Arabia, aims to get regulatory approval in 20 more countries. It currently has licenses to operate in nine countries. The company's Islamic Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) holds investments in Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Intel Corp. Wahed Invest is also contemplating listing its Islamic ETF on the Saudi stock exchange. Its ETF was listed on the Nasdaq last year.

El-Gamal claims lender violated sharia terms on Tribeca tower loan

Sharif El-Gamal put together one of the most unusual financing packages when he secured a sharia-compliant construction loan four years ago for his Tribeca condo tower. El-Gamal is now claiming that the Malaysian bank that made the loan has violated the sharia terms. El-Gamal argues Maybank violated the terms of their agreement by refusing to release construction funds to complete the project at 45 Park Place. He is seeking damages equal to the projected sellout of the development about $245 million. Maybank claims El-Gamal defaulted on his loan when he failed to repay the $108 million balance when it came due in April.

Elon Musk bekommt 765 Millionen US-Dollar

Elon Musk ist berechtigt, eine etwa 765 Millionen US-Dollar hohe Vergütung zu beziehen, weil der Börsenkurs von Tesla eine vorher vereinbare Zielmarke über längere Zeit gehalten hat. Auch Gewinn und Umsatz haben die vereinbarten Zielmarken erreicht. Musk erhält kein Gehalt, sondern nur Optionen, die aufgrund von vorher definierten Zielen gezogen werden können. Diese beziehen sich auf das Umsatz- und Gewinnwachstum. Die Zielvereinbarung zwischen Tesla und Elon Musk ist so ambitioniert, dass es als nahezu unmöglich gilt, dass Musk sie vollständig erfüllen kann. Tesla muss Musk allerdings den Mindestlohn von rund 37.000 US-Dollar jährlich zahlen. Die Schecks soll Musk angeblich jedoch nicht einlösen.

Gulf Islamic Investments’ Acquisition of Class A New York Office Building

Gulf Islamic Investments (GII) has announced the acquisition of 140 & 150 Grand Street Plaza, an office building in White Plains, Westchester County, New York, USA on behalf of its investors. Located just 30 minutes away from Manhattan, the Class A office building seats within the urban center of White Plains. The Property is strategically located within one block of the Federal, Supreme, District and County courthouses making it the preferred destination for government-affiliated and law-related tenants. GII is a UAE-based financial services company regulated by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA). GII was advised by a cross border Orrick team led by Düsseldorf-based M&A and private equity partner Oliver Duys.

New cat bond an important piece of #Mexico’s social protection strategy: Government

Mexico has newly issued a $485 million World Bank facilitated catastrophe bond, the IBRD / FONDEN 2020 transaction and sees it as an important part of the country’s social protection strategy. The new cat bond will provide the country with a four-year source of parametric earthquake and hurricane insurance protection, replacing the maturing coverage of the $260 million 2018 issuance IBRD CAR 118-119. The Government highlighted that Mexico is particularly exposed to natural disaster risks, with some 40% of the national territory, and about a third of its population, exposed to hurricanes, storms, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The transaction was issued in four tranches, two exposed to different levels of earthquake risks and one each to Atlantic and Pacific hurricane risks.

ShariaPortfolio rolls out portfolio management services in #Canada

ShariaPortfolio has introduced portfolio management services in Canada. The firm recently launched offices in Vancouver as well as Toronto. Plans are on to expand the employee strength of ShariaPortfolio Canada in additional provinces eventually. ShariaPortfolio imbibes halal ethical standards in its investment selection, taking a long-term perspective to wealth management. The firm has been operating in the US since 2003. It oversees $115m in assets for clients across 26 states. Besides, it delivers institutional level services to support collaborations with traditional financial services providers looking to incorporate Islamic portfolio management.

Global Iman Fund: Learn about Canada's Shariah Compliant Equity Mutual Fund

Global Growth Assets Inc. has Canada’s only Shariah compliant equity mutual fund, the Global Iman Fund, which boasts a solid 10-year track record showing consistent growth. Fundata has awarded the fund its coveted FundGrade “A” rating, which places the Global Iman Fund in the top 10% of all global equity funds in Canada in risk-adjusted performance. Global Iman Fund is actively managed by the Swiss multinational financial services company UBS. The fund has been endorsed by a Fatwa from the Islamic Finance Advisory Board as being Shariah compliant. Audits by the Advisory Board find that the Fund invests in companies according to its objectives of Shariah compliance.

When Religion Tangles With Tax Law: Things to Consider (Podcast)

In this podcast Sam Brunson, professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, talks about accommodating religious practice with United States Tax Law. In his book, 'God and the IRS', he lays out a three-question framework when considering tax exceptions based on religious practice. The first is: Does an individual’s religion cause them to act in a tax disadvantaged way. The second is: If it does, what kind of accommodation would put them in a similar after-tax position as someone without the religious constraints. And third, it asks whether there’s an extrinsic reason not to grant the accommodation. The book tries to provide a basis for deciding when an accommodation makes sense and when an accommodation doesn’t make sense.

Faith-based institutions answer The Call for impact investing (audio)

Agents of Impact aligned with Catholic, Jewish and Muslim institutions found common ground in using capital to usher in a fairer economy. Last month, the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative announced a half-dozen institutions with $40 billion in assets have signed a “Catholic impact Investing pledge.” The Catholic impact pledgers are among a number of Catholic institutions carving out portions of their portfolio for direct, private impact investing strategies. Billion-dollar Catholic Relief Services allocates capital to direct investing, blended finance, technical services and capacity building. Other faith institutions are seeing impact investing as a way to complement their philanthropy. A faith-based organization that supports a nonprofit that helps poor farmers in India can complement that work by also investing in a business that buys from those farmers.

Discussing Islamic Art and Architecture

UTM assistant professor Dr. Ruba Kana’an discusses the changing field and her journey to academia. She has recently joined the UTM faculty as an assistant professor of Islamic Art and Architecture in the Department of Visual Studies. Kana’an originally studied architectural engineering at the University of Jordan but was always interested in archeology. Kana’an’s research aims to learn more about Islamic art by examining the combination of Islamic art, Islamic history, and Islamic law. When asked about contemporary Islamic art, Kana’an emphasizes that the field is young. She says that art is an opportunity to see how Muslims dealt with issues and came up with different solutions to express their diversity.

Islamic fintech pioneers test creative ways to engage consumers

Many Muslims’ reliance on community offers opportunities including halal robo-advice.

4 types of data necessary for outcome-based financing

The U.N. General Assembly is underway this week, and the global development community has descended upon New York en masse. Impact bonds are just one example of outcome-based financing, where private investors provide upfront capital, repaid conditional on the achievement of pre-determined metrics. Although evidence is sparse on the relative merits of this mechanism, millions of dollars are being invested in their design and implementation.

Libra de Facebook : une question de "sécurité nationale" pour le Trésor américain

La future cryptomonnaie du géant des réseaux sociaux pourrait être "mal utilisée pour blanchir de l'argent ou financer le terrorisme" s'inquiète le secrétaire au Trésor américain. Le promoteur du projet chez Facebook, David Marcus, sera auditionné au Sénat. David Marcus a déclaré ne pas être "très à l'aise" avec l'idée de monnaie digitale mondiale de Facebook qui aura "fort à faire pour rassurer" le Trésor et la banque centrale américaine, le Fed. Marcus avait balayé les sujets réglementaires, faisant valoir que l'Association Libra ne serait pas en contact direct avec les consommateurs et que ce serait aux portefeuilles numériques en Libra, comme le futur Calibra que compte lancer Facebook, qui devraient être régulés, notamment au titre des obligations de connaissance client et de lutte contre le blanchiment.

Wealthy #philanthropists call on themselves to pay more tax

A group of wealthy Americans have written an open letter to the 2020 presidential candidates in support of a wealth tax. The letter is signed by 20 individuals including philanthropist George Soros, Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes, Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Blue Haven Initiative co-founders Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons. The group outlined six key reasons why they are in favour of a wealth tax, including using it to fight climate crisis, boosting the economy, improving public health and strengthening freedom and democracy. While the letter refers to arguments against a wealth tax, the signatories claim these are mostly technical and often overstated. The letter further shows that polls indicate that higher taxes for the wealthy is politically popular.

US startup PayJoy unlocks smartphone loans for Asia's unbanked

American startup PayJoy makes it easier for people without a bank account or credit profile to purchase a smartphone on installment. The phones and loans are provided by third parties. What PayJoy provides is proprietary software that locks the phone if payments are not made on time, making the device unusable. Once the missed installments are paid, the phone is unlocked and can be used as normal. According to PayJoy, its technology can do more than just put smartphones in users' hands. Customers' payment histories are reported back to local credit bureaus, which serves to build up credit profiles. PayJoy aims to expand in emerging markets such as Asia, particularly in India and Indonesia. In most markets, PayJoy partners up with local mobile makers, distributors and lending institutions. The company then takes a cut from every loan originated using its technology, a business model that lowers costs as well as risks for PayJoy.

For $83,000, Harvard teaches rich kids how to do good (and make money)

In collaboration with the World Economic Forum, Harvard University and the University of Zurich have launched a course called "Impact Investing for the Next Generation". In this context, that generation means the heirs to some of capitalism's greatest fortunes. Participants had to pass an interview before paying up to $US12,000 ($17,240) for a week of classes in the US and Switzerland, not including airfares and board.

Faith-Based Finance

What caused the global financial crisis? And how can the United States avoid a repeat? Those questions have sparked endless discussions among economists, policymakers, financiers, and voters over the last decade. The crisis not only entailed the worst financial shock and recession in the United States since 1929; it also shook the country’s global reputation for financial competence. Numerous explanations have been offered: the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates too low, Asia’s savings glut drove up the U.S. housing market, the banks had captured regulators and politicians in Washington, mortgage lenders made foolish loans, the credit-rating agencies willfully downplayed risks.

Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art Awards $2.4 Million in Grants

New York's Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art has announced fifteen grants totaling $2.49 million in support of arts and media projects dedicated to strengthening relationships between U.S. Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The grants are part of the foundation's Building Bridges 2018-2019 Program, which supports theatrical and literary programming, documentary films, hands-on workshops, and a "jingle truck" created by a Pakistani truck-art painter that will tour elementary schools. Senior program officer Zeyba Rahman said the projects proposed by grantees offer an inspired, inventive, arts-based approach to deepen connections between Muslims and their neighbors in the U.S. For a complete list of Building Bridges Grant Program awardees, see the DDCF website.

The Hajdari Group Unveils Newly Pioneered Sharia-Compliant Investment Strategies Option: 'InvestHalal' Wealth Management for American Muslim Investors

The Hajdari Group recently announced the creation of its newest, faith-based financial planning platform: InvestHalal. InvestHalal utilizes a strict code-of-ethics and series of standards established by prestigious global authorities like the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), and the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). Access to faith-based investment strategies has generally been unavailable in the United States to Islamic investors. President of the Hajdari Group, Zaim Hajdari said the Hajdari Group has finally remedied this oversight. InvestHalal offers asset allocation and investment diversification options, a wide variety of investment alternatives and services structured to individual needs: retirement, education, tax and estate planning, as well as other Sharia-compliant wealth allocation.

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