Americas

Islamic portfolios attract ethical investors in US

Ethical investment which has similarities with Islamic based investments has reached US$32 trillion (RM105.6 trillion) in size in the US and the European Unión, according to Nicholas Kaiser, a global investment manager specialising in the issues of ethical and Islamic investment. Though the number of very wealthy Islamic investors in the US were scarce compared to investors in conventional funds, he said his Amana funds are doing very well in the US. The funds attracted American citizens from all backgrounds and Muslim investors are only a small number of the investors in the Amana fund, he added. Nevertheless, it appears that while Amana’s success is the result of the discipline of its Islamic investment nature, investing in Islamic stocks does not necessarily bring profit to the investors.

Court orders HDG Mansur to pay $5.8M in dispute with Islamic funds

A judge has ruled that HDG Mansur Investment Services must return $5.8 million in fees it paid itself from two equity funds it managed under Islamic law. The Indianapolis real estate fund asset manager didn’t have the right to recalculate its fees to claim a higher take for itself, according to federal Judge Colleen McMahon of New York. The lawsuit contends that, starting in early 2012, HDG Mansur began paying itself fees in advance for future real estate transactions. When those deals never happened, the Indianapolis company came up with the underbilling rationale in an effort to cover up the unearned payments that they had been making to themselves. HDG Mansur was dropped as the funds’ manager earlier this year. The judge also ordered HDG Mansur to pay 9 percent interest on the fees that are to be returned.

Industry body launches manual for Islamic credit unions

The US-based World Council of Credit Unions has launched a manual discussing how to establish and operate sharia-compliant credit unions in developing countries, which could help to broaden the Islamic finance industry's retail customer base. The council hopes the manual will help to develop Islamic credit unions across a wide range of markets. The guide is considered complete but the council also recognises that this is an ongoing project as Islamic finance spreads to other credit union systems. The council used its nine-year experience establishing cooperatives in Afghanistan to create a manual that follows Islamic principles. According to the council, there are now 30 sharia-compliant credit unions in Afghanistan, comprising the world's youngest credit union movement and the only one to claim full compliance with Islamic law.

Islamic Finance Industry Development Challenge

The shift in global banking is not a trend, and the challenge for all of us is to bridge the gap in financial practice and seize the opportunities that lie ahead, bringing ethics back into finance.

Thomson Reuters and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) are partnering to launch the world’s first Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge and Awards (EFICA). In the dawn of a new economic world, these awards are designed to inspire and recognise a fresh way of thinking by promoting some of the most dynamic, innovative ideas and solutions around integrity and growth.

Harvard Forum: TAKAFUL AND ALTERNATIVE COOPERATIVE FINANCE: Challenges and Opportunities

The Eleventh Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance titled "Takaful and alternative cooperative finance: Challenges and Opportunities" will take place at the Harvard University, USA on April 26-27, 2014. The forum seeks to reassess and critically engage with issues of risk sharing, mutuality, solidarity, and socio-economic welfare in the context of a discussion about takaful and other types of cooperative financial solutions. Papers are requested in the following areas: MUTUALITY: CHALLENGES AND ISSUES; RISK-SHARING; MARKET PENETRATION: STRATEGIES AND ACTIONS; SOCIO-ECONOMIC BENEFITS. Find detailed information and deadlines in the attached pdf-file.

Hult Prize Competition for Student teams worldwide to solve food crisis

Over the past three years, the Hult Prize has taken on some of the planet's toughest challenges. These have included Education, Energy, Housing, and Water. For the 2013 Prize, President Clinton has personally selected the challenge: the Global Food Crisis.

A detailed case study, narrated by President Bill Clinton, will be released to all selected participants in early January to set the framework for this year's challenge. Competitors will then be asked to develop social enterprises that answer the President's Challenge.

The global food crisis can be approached through multiple lenses, such as: distribution, manufacturing, production, technology and many others. Each, represents an opportunity for innovation. Nearly 1 Billion people in the World are Hungry, that is over 1 out of every 4 children. Ironically, our global economy produces enough food each year to feed everyone, however more than one-third of the food generated for human consumption continues to be lost or wasted.

Dubai Exports promotes Dubai's expertise in Islamic economy to Canadian firms in Vancouver and Toronto

Dubai Exports , the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED), recently showcased the emirate's expertise and resources in Islamic economic services to the business community in Toronto and Vancouver across a series of seminars. The seminars, jointly organised by Dubai Exports and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP focussed on encouraging linkages between Islamic financial and advisory firms in Dubai and their counterparts in Canada. Participants in the seminar also discussed the changes required in Canada's taxation and regulatory system regarding Islamic financial products. Opportunities are especially seen in the connection of the sophisticated financial and business communities in Dubai with leading edge Canadian technology companies and entrepreneurs in such areas as clean tech, life sciences, advanced materials and information technology, which are all shari'a compliant.

'Shariah' Bankruptcy Gets An OK

A U.S. judge Tuesday approved Arcapita Bank B.S.C.'s plan to gradually liquidate itself in a process that conforms with Islamic Shariah law, which generally prohibits borrowing money with interest. The Bahrain-based investment firm entered bankruptcy protection last year with a goal of restructuring itself but ended up with a plan to orderly liquidate its private-equity investments. The modified proposal solved several concerns from creditors, including creating a new entity that will retain the firm’s management, and setting a minimum valuation for the company’s remaining assets. Arcapita manages infrastructure, real-estate, private-equity and venture-capital investments that are compliant with Shariah.

Arcapita Bank Judge Greenlights Ch. 11 Plan

Arcapita Bank on Tuesday secured a New York bankruptcy judge’s approval of Chapter 11 reorganization plan, allowing it to exit bankruptcy, pay off its creditors and turn over its assets to a new entity that will manage and dispose of them over time. Sixteen months after it entered bankruptcy, the Bahraini investment bank sailed through a confirmation hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane with substantial support from creditors and shareholders.

Account Executive

At Guidance Residential, the nation’s leading provider of Islamic home financing, our sales division is our most valued company resource. Our Field Account Executives (AEs) are considered to be the front lines for our company’s brand. Field AEs meet regularly with potential home buyers and home owners to assist them with their home financing needs. They schedule and give presentations at local mosques and community centers in an effort to educate our target market about how our unique home financing products work. Our Field AEs also educate and build referral channels from professionals such as real estate agents in order to achieve their monthly production volume goals.

IDB: Young Professionals Program (YPP)

ABOUT YPP:

The Young Professionals Program (YPP) is the strategic talent pipeline for the professional career in the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The Program is designed for outstanding young graduates who can significantly help the IDB Group to carry out its mission and attain its objectives.

This Program enables each Young Professional (YP) to receive extensive exposure and experience of the IDB Group’s various activities through job rotations in different departments. Participants will initially spend two weeks Orientation stage in HRMD. Then, 27 months in Foundation stage which will be split into three rotations of 9 months each in IDB Group departments.

Participants will also benefit from a coaching/mentoring arrangement and a wide range of relevant training and developmental opportunities.

Upon successful program completion, the participant will gradually climb up the professional grades in the IDB Group

[...]

UPDATE: Arcapita Creditors Want to Go After Millions in Claims

In a Tuesday filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Arcapita's official committee of unsecured creditors said it wants to challenge three sets of claims that it says could unlock millions of dollars for creditors of the liquidating firm. The creditors think they can recover more than $33 million owed to Arcapita being held by three Bahrain banks and save Arcapita from $100 million in liabilities stemming from a 2011 transaction with its subsidiary Arcapita Investment Holdings that may have been insolvent. The creditors also think they can get $1.2 million more related to a "preference" claim, which typically refers to claims from the 90-day period before a company files for bankruptcy. In their filing, the creditors said they didn't think litigation would be overly expensive.

Goldman Breaks Drought With Saudi Property Bond: Islamic Finance

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) led its first sukuk in more than three years after helping a Saudi property developer raise $450 million. The bank was a lead arranger on Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. (ALARKAN)’s sukuk on May 21, reforging links with the Riyadh-based real estate company after helping arrange the sale of its $450 million five-year bonds in February 2010. The New York-based bank is seeking to catch up with U.S. competitors as demand accelerates for securities that conform to Islamic principles. Increased competition in the industry could work in banks’ favor, as lower fees increase the chances borrowers will come to market and more banks means a greater profile for the Islamic industry.

Arcapita Fights $70 Million Claim as Plan Confirmation Nears

Last week, Arcapita took on Tide Natural Gas Storage LP's contention that Arcapita's bankruptcy plan shouldn't be approved by a judge because of $70 million it says it is owed.The $70 million lies in an escrow account and stems from Tide's 2010 purchase of natural-gas storage facilities from an Arcapita subsidiary. Tide has been fighting for the money in U.S. district court in Manhattan for two years saying its claim to the $70 million shouldn't be placed behind the claims of other creditors. In its filing made last week, Arcapita says the $70 million claim by Tide should be subordinated to those of other creditors. The filing comes as Arcapita tries to finalize its exit from Chapter 11. Tide lawyers have said they will most likely fight the plan at a hearing next month.

Muslim Immigration Fueling “Islamic Banking” in Canada

The majority of Muslim-Canadians strive to lead productive lives and contribute positively to their country. The rising profile of the “Islamic banking” industry is one of these ways. However, Islamic financial instruments are often very similar to interest-based lending, leading some to criticize it as dishonestly advertised for profit, or to promote Islam. The sector’s supporters say it provides a means by which people can bank in accordance with their values by avoiding lending at very high interest rates or providing funding to activities they are religiously and/or ethically opposed to. Canada’s Islamic banking sector is still relatively small compared to that of other Western countries, but it is likely it will continue to see growth in the coming years given the rising population of Canadian Muslims, which now number nearly one million.

Treasury Sanctions UAE-Based Evaders

The U.S. Treasury Department has placed sanctions on Al Hilal Exchange and Al Fida International General Trading, both based in Dubai. The two institutions were targeted for their role in providing financial services to Bank Mellat, which is itself under U.S. sanctions for being involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Both the exchange house and the trading company helped Iran maintain access to foreign currency Exchange. Moreover, Al Hilal also provided services to Bank Melli, which is also under U.S. sanctions. Representatives from each firm couldn’t be reached.

Goldman Bests Fortress In Arcapita Bank Loan Battle

Goldman Sachs International on Wednesday outbid Fortress Investment Group LLC to provide exit financing to Arcapita Bank BSC worth up to $350 million, money that will allow the Bahraini bank to meet outstanding obligations and work its way out of bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane noted that the bank was in the unusual position of having two institutions fighting over which would be able to provide the financing.

Azzad Hosts Leader in Turkish Finance

Azzad Asset Management recently hosted Dr. Mehmet Yesilyaprak of Turkiye Finans Bank at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Yesilyaprak gave the Azzad staff an update on the banking sector in Turkey and met afterwards with Azzad management to discuss areas of future collaboration. The Azzad Wise Capital Fund invests in deposits and notes from Turkiye Finans Bank, among other Islamic banks. The Fund also invests in sukuk. As of March 31, 2013, deposits from Turkiye Finans Bank represented approximately 13% of the Fund's holdings. Portfolio Manager Jamal Elbarmil recently highlighted the contribution of Turkey's Islamic banking sector to the Azzad Wise Capital Fund's first quarter results, stating that exposure to bank deposits from the four Turkish Participation Banks, including Turkiye Finans Bank, helped the Fund outperform its benchmark for the period.

S&P BSE 500 Shariah First Index Launched By Bombay Stock Exchange And S&P Dow Jones Indices Strategic Partnership

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and S&P Dow Jones Indices have announced the launch of the S&P BSE 500 Shariah index, the first new index resulting from the strategic partnership formed between the two companies in February of this year. The S&P BSE 500 consists of 500 of the largest, most liquid Indian stocks trading at the BSE. The index represents nearly 93% of the total market capitalization on the BSE and covers all 20 major industries of the economy. S&P Dow Jones Indices has contracted with Ratings Intelligence Partners (RI) to provide the Shariah screens and to filter the stocks. BSE and S&P Dow Jones Indices announced on February 19, 2013, a strategic partnership to calculate, disseminate, and license the widely followed suite of BSE indices.

Gatehouse Bank's associate realises $71m real estate investment in San Francisco with a 100% return on equity

London-based Gatehouse Bank plc (Gatehouse) has announced that its associate has successfully completed the sale of a real estate investment located in San Francisco's South Financial District in California. The total amount of the sale reached $71m (£46.4m), which yielded a profit on equity of 100% post costs and taxes. This real estate investment consists of two office buildings situated on a 15,306 sq ft parcel of land and is adjacent to the proposed Transbay Redevelopment Project. Gatehouse Bank and its associate were assisted by Arch Street Capital Advisors, L.L.C. and SKS Investments in this transaction.

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