Guyana possibly joining Islamic Development Bank

Guyana is currently exploring the option of fostering closer cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank, including giving active consideration to the possibility of joining that Bank. Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh recently met with the leadership of the Bank. Guyana is already a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and is home to a large and vibrant Muslim population.

FAAIF Brings Islamic Finance to the United States

FAAIF CEO Camille Paldi says the potential for Islamic finance, sukuk, and takaful is huge in the United States. Paldi conducts two Islamic Finance, Banking, and Sukuk workshops in New Orleans and New York, USA in association with Al Huda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics and University of New Orleans. Paldi says that the USA participants were enthusiastic about learning Islamic finance concepts despite negative imagery in the media. Paldi explains that in general, educated Americans are excited to learn about new alternative financial structures and investment opportunities.

Islamic Microfinance an effective tool of Financial Inclusion

4th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum Logo Inaugurated in New York - USA
Islamic finance is the best suited system for poverty alleviation that can be utilized both by Muslims and non-Muslims as a system to cut down poverty dilemma from all over the world, it can also be utilized as an effective tool of financial inclusion as Millions of Muslims are financially excluded due to religious reasons, according to Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics.

Investing on principle – asia asset management

Sukuk issuance and investing is expanding outside of the Islamic world. The asset holders range from sovereign wealth funds and high-net-worth-individuals in the Arab Gulf, to retail investors in other Muslim majority countries such as Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia. According to Moody’s Investors Service, Malaysia at present dominates the sukuk market when it comes to both sovereign and corporate issuance. Other major issuers include the governments of Indonesia and Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The overall outstanding amount of sukuk will probably reach around $115 billion this year.

Portfolios: Azzad Asset Management likes non-conventional sukuk

Sukuk, Islamic equivalent bonds, are beyond the boundaries of many portfolio managers of advanced economies. But in the Islamic finance world, it's the non-Islamic sukuk issuers that are non-conventional, and this is where Azzad Asset Management sees value. Ihab Salib, the lead portfolio manager for the firm's sukuk fund, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund (WISEX) said, "Currently we see value in some of the non-conventional issuers". "As maiden issuers in the market, they need to price the sukuk generously so as to tempt investors," he commented. South Africa's September issuance was a case in point.

US firm’s new Islamic ETF looks to test investor demand

Seattle-based Falah Capital is preparing to launch an Islamic exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks large U.S. stocks, the latest sharia-compliant product in a market. The ETF will be advised by Exchange Traded Concepts and Mellon Capital Management, with Bahrain-based Shariyah Review Bureau acting as sharia advisor, according to a filing with the SEC.

A Bank, a Bankruptcy, and the World of Shariah Law

The $1.6 billion restructuring of Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank B.S.C. has a significance that extends far beyond simply returning value to its creditors. Arcapita was established in 1996 as the world's first Islamic investment bank. This means it had to comply with principles set out by Islamic law. The Chapter 11 restructuring of Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank, led by Gibson Dunn, saw U.S. bankruptcy courts faced for the first time with the world of Shariah law.

Middle East Banks Buy Vast Majority Of Landmark Goldman Sachs Sukuk

Middle Eastern banks bought the vast majority of a debut $500 million sukuk issue by Goldman Sachs, a positive sign for other conventional banks hoping to tap the region’s liquidity by issuing Islamic debt. Goldman priced its five-year sukuk on Tuesday at a profit rate of 2.844 per cent, drawing about $1.5 billion of investor orders, after roadshows in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Middle East investors bought 87 per cent of the Goldman sukuk, while 11 per cent went to Europe and two per cent to Asian investors. Banks bought 77 per cent of the bonds, asset managers bought 22 per cent and private banks bought one per cent. Meanwhile, France’s Societe Generale and Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ set up sukuk programmes in Malaysia, but have not issued yet.

Goldman Learns From Debut Flop in Islamic Finance Market

Three years after its first foray into the Islamic capital markets ended without a sale, investors piled in to buy sukuk debt from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) yesterday. The New York-based lender attracted bids for three times the $500 million of sukuk it sold. The five-year sukuk was priced to yield 90 basis points, or 0.9 percentage point, over the benchmark midswap rate. After failing to sell sukuk bonds in 2011 amid criticism the deal didn’t ensure debt would be traded at par, as required by Islamic law, Goldman adjusted the structure this time in a bid to appeal to more investors. The new issue is a Sukuk al Wakala. Standard & Poor’s rated the issue A-, the seventh-highest investment grade.

New White Paper Outlines Performance of Islamic Investment Strategies

Azzad Asset Management has announced the release of a white paper detailing the impact of Halal investing guidelines on investment performance. Examining historical data over the last two decades, the white paper offers evidence that Shari'ah-screened indices, which favor industries like information technology and health care and exclude financial services, can outperform their broad-based conventional counterparts over the long term. The paper also shows that the most significant divergence between conventional and Shari'ah-screened indices is the almost complete lack of financials in the latter due to the Islamic prohibition on interest. Azzad's findings follow other research indicating that socially responsible investing strategies can deliver competitive risk-adjusted returns over the long run.

New Issue- JANY Sukuk Company prices $500 mln 2019 bond

JANY Sukuk Company Limited priced a bond on Tuesday, with the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc as Guarantor. The Issue Amount is $500 million, its Maturity Date is September 23, 2019. Following are terms and conditions of the bond: Coupon 2.844 pct; Issue price Par; Spread 90 basis points; Underlying govt bond over the midswaps; Payment Date September 23, 2014. Lead Managers are Goldman Sachs International, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, NCB Capital and QInvest. Fitch has assigned a rating of A, and Standard & Poor's A-.

Goldman Sachs sets IPT in 95 bps area over M/S for USD sukuk

Goldman Sachs has set initial price thoughts in the 95 basis points area over midswaps for its debut five-year, benchmark-sized U.S. dollar Islamic bond issue. The investment bank finished two days of investor meetings in the Middle East on Sept. 11. Goldman picked itself, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, QInvest and IPO-NACO.SE to arrange the investor meetings. The sukuk is being issued through a vehicle called JANY Sukuk Co and will be guaranteed by Goldman Sachs. The issue is expected to be rated A-minus by Standard & Poor's and A by Fitch Ratings, identical to the ratings of the investment bank. It will be listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

XL adds fine art and specie to suite of Shariah compliant products

XL Group has extended its support for Shariah compliant managing general agency, Cobalt Underwriting, by adding fine art & specie coverage to its suite of products. The insurer already provides cover for property, construction and financial lines. The coverage, which spans precious metals, cash, fine art and rare collectibles, particularly complements XL Group’s Shariah compliant Financial Lines offering. In practice this means financial institutions and collectors can now buy cover with significant limits for a range of assets and their exposures, including gold and other valuable assets both in situ and transit. XL sees growth in the arts market in the Middle East and Asia with the opening of new galleries.

XL Group Expands Cyber Insurance & Shariah Compliant

XL Group's global and professional unit formed the cyber and technology risk business unit named North America Cyber & Technology Risk business unit, to capitalize on the rising demand for cyber insurance in the U.S. and Canada. Moreover, XL Group has extended its Shariah compliant cover to Financial Lines and entered into a collaboration with Citation Jet Pilots (CJP) in August. The tie-up will provide competitive insurance policies to Citation owners and pilots who finish the safety education seminars. These expansion initiatives are expected to help it in many ways such as strengthening of operational capacity, increasing competitiveness, and increasing the scope for revenue generation.

GFH acquires Texas properties worth $75m

Gulf Finance House has announced the acquisition of two multi-family residential properties in Houston, Texas, as part of the Diversified US Residential Portfolio, which the bank has recently agreed to acquire. The properties — located in Houston, and Atlanta — have an overall occupancy of 94 per cent, and nearly 1,300 apartments. They have been selected due to their proximity to the large infrastructure assets in the cities, and are expected to benefit from the economic recovery in the US. The total size of the assets is $75 million (Dh275.4 million).

Muslim advisors help observant clients invest the Islamic way

Naushad Virji's firm Sharia Portfolio is a financial-planning practice. Virji, CEO of the firm, helps clients to calculate the right amount of their Zakat. He also constructs portfolios of individual stocks, mutual funds and bonds that adhere to Islamic law. And he researches mortgages that don't violate Islam's prohibition against interest and helps clients find suitable investments in their 401(k) plans. When he started his firm in 2003, he reached out to his own network as potential clients and soon found that the Muslims he knew didn't have much experience working with a financial advisor. There are more and more financial options for observant Muslims, choices that didn't exist just a few years ago.

Treasury hits Iran with new, wide-ranging sanctions

The Obama administration unveiled a host of new sanctions Friday against more than 30 companies and individuals doing business in or with Iran, seeking to thwart that nation’s nuclear ambitions, its support for organizations the United States deems as terrorist groups and mute its support for the embattled regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad. The sanctions come at a period where the United States needs Iran’s help in trying to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Friday’s additions to the list include more banks, providers of equipment to Iran’s state oil company, banks that help to funnel U.S. currency to Iran’s central bank and transport-related businesses that have helped the Syrian and Iranian governments.

Two HDG Mansur creditors seek liquidation of the firm

A pair of creditors of troubled Indianapolis developer HDG Mansur want a federal bankruptcy court to force the firm into liquidation, claiming it has no hope of reorganizing and is using Chapter 11 as a stall tactic to fend off a $5.8 million judgment. Two affiliates of HDG Mansur, HDG Mansur Investment Services Inc. and HDGM Advisory Services LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. The creditors, KFH Capital Investment Co. and Kuwait Finance House Real Estate Co., on Aug. 14 asked the bankruptcy court to convert the case from a Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation. KFH's court filing requesting liquidation mentions a criminal probe launched by the U.S. Attorney’s office. A trial has been set for Oct. 6.

Gatehouse Bank completes purchase of Marriott Residence Inn, New York

London-based Gatehouse Bank has purchased the leasehold interest in the Marriott Residence Inn ("Residence Inn"), Manhattan, New York for an undisclosed amount. The Bank, assisted by Arch Street Capital Advisors, LLC, has acquired the property in partnership with a US-based hotel operator. The Residence Inn is a 17-storey, recently redeveloped building located on 48th Street in Midtown East, Manhattan. The property features 211 guestrooms of multiple room configurations including studios, suites and a penthouse. All rooms include a fully equipped kitchen. The Residence Inn is an extended stay, select service brand of Marriott International that is among the strongest performing brands under the Marriott umbrella.

The Success of the Peterborough Social Impact Bond

Yesterday, the first results for the Peterborough social impact bond (SIB) were released and the outcomes are promising. Through a program related investment (PRI), The Rockefeller Foundation supported the Peterborough SIB pilot aimed at reducing prisoner recidivism—and now, four years later, we can point to tangible success for this new innovative finance mechanism. The first ever SIB project reduced reoffending by 8.4 percent when compared to a control group. While a reduction of 10 percent was needed to trigger immediate repayment to investors, the performance of this first group indicates that investors are on track to receive positive returns in 2016. If the reduction in reoffending remains above 7.5 percent, the Ministry of Justice will make payments to investors.

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