Americas

Purification Calculator Helps Investors Avoid Unethical Profits

Azzad Asset Management has announced the launch of an online tool intended to help American Muslims observe Halal investing guidelines. Using input provided by shareholders of the Azzad Mutual Funds, an online Purification Calculator will provide a user-specific dollar amount that represents unintentional earnings that were potentially derived from religiously impermissible sources. Purification totals are calculated on a per share basis using Azzad's methodology for calculating unethical income. Azzad advises shareholders to give the indicated amounts to the charity or charities of their choice in order to avoid profiting from any activities deemed potentially harmful to society.

Equity Crowdfunding is in Need of Leadership

The American President's leadership is needed in a matter of removing an ongoing source of inequality which continues to disfigure both democracy and capitalism in America and worldwide. In many ways Crowdfunding is the embodiment of ‘The American Dream’. A dream of independence, self-reliance and freedom, without rules and regulations designed to keep people down. In both the UK and the USA government has expressed it’s explicit approval and support for equity crowdfunding. Yet two years on, in each case, the financial regulator – your SEC and our FCA – have sought to veto the will of the legislature. We need to ensure that the vested interests who prefer the status quo step aside at last and allow ordinary people to participate.

Federated to sub-advise 1st Shari’ah-compliant, US fixed-income fund

Representatives from Azzad Asset Management announced the selection of Federated Investment Management Company as sub-advisor for the Azzad Wise Capital Fund, America's first Halal fixed-income mutual fund. The Federated team has researched and purchased Sukuk, a significant holding in the Azzad Wise Capital Fund, for US and European mutual funds, as well as in separately managed accounts for large pension and institutional clients, said Azzad Senior Investment Strategist Fatima Iqbal. In addition, they have extensive experience managing fixed-income securities, generally. Much of the same analysis will be implemented in their management of the Azzad Wise Capital Fund.

Islamic banking solutions gain ground in US

Muslims in America are becoming a significant demographic force, and with that comes significant votes, which in turn translates into influence wielded in the social world they inhabit. And if Muslims in America today want to see interest payments prohibited on loans, then banks must find alternative ways to do business with them. These banks get around the prohibition of interest on loans by treating loans more like leases or profit-sharing arrangements. Giant financial institutions in the US now have their own Sharia advisory boards, while banks with relatively small assets rely on opinions from the Sharia Advisory Board of America.

Islamic banking solutions gain ground in US

Islamic banks are beginning to make inroads into the banking scene in the US. Chicago-based Devon bank, for example, has transformed itself into an interest-free financing establishment, with Islamic financing accounting for more than 75 percent of the bank's mortgage portfolio. Giant financial institutions in the US now have their own Sharia advisory boards, while banks like Devon Bank in Chicago, with relatively small assets, rely on opinions from the Sharia Advisory Board of America. Muslims in America are becoming a significant demographic force, so Islamic banking is here to stay and offers a lot of potential.

Sharia trial of Iranian billionaire:

An Iranian trial and execution raised questions about corruption at high levels in various countries. Reports said that Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, a billionaire businessman was executed in a prison, North of Tehran for being involved in a $2.6 billion state bank scam, the largest fraud case since 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The public in America, Britain and other European countries reacted with surprisingly many comments on social media platform. They wish such a harsh punishment for their nations in order to deal with corruption amongst politician and businessmen.

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Relaunch IslamicFinance.de Newsletter - Free Download

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Worldwide study shows religious investors can ally faith and finance

Religious investors, in economic terms the third largest group to invest on the world’s stock markets, can post high placement profits and remain faithful to their religious creed. This is the message of the third biennial world report on religious investors, the only report of its kind.

The report highlights the profile of religious investors who respect this balance and thus can have a major influence on company ethics:
- Their principles of faith can serve as a road map for investment choices;
- By nature, these investors have a long-term view which is key to the notion of responsible investment;
- They can call on the support of what is often a worldwide community;
- They have set up networks that offer the chance to work together on stakeholder actions and therefore increase their impact.

Even though a certain number of religious organisations invest responsibly and use their role as shareholder-activists to promote change this sort of profile is far from the majority.

Islamic Finance has a Huge Potential in North America

Islamic finance, banking, and takaful has a large potential in the US and Canada despite several setbacks and various obstacles and hurdles. In terms of the United States, a 100% truly Shariáh compliant takaful company may not be possible at this time in the USA as many states have limited investment of collected premiums to non-Shariáh compliant investment grade rated bonds. However, the US has seen two major sukuk issuances and there is a large potential for further sukuk. In terms of Canada, there have been no sukuk issuances and there are no Islamic banks. The only positive ruling for Islamic finance in Canada thus far has been the permission of Islamic mortgages under Canadian law. Aside from constitutional hurdles and the lack of regulations and laws, which permit Islamic banking in North America, many people have a fear of Islam and the words Shariáh and Islamic.

CIFA Retail Finance Specialist Course, 11-13 June 2014 Chicago

Course overview:

- Enable participants to apply the principles of Islamic finance
- ExamiEnable participants to apply the principles of Islamic finance
- Examine in detail the different Islamic retail banking products offered by Islamic banks in
various jurisdictions including depository and wealth management solutions.
- Analyze different product structures, and other business related issues - regulatory, legal,
marketing and implementation challenges in the US market.
- Compare and contrast the various Islamic products with their conventional financial
equivalents
- At the end of the course, delegates will have a comprehensive understanding of the different
tools applied by Islamic banks to finance retail consumer needs, and will be able to structure
different solutions that are suitable for the US market.
- The course will use discussions, team exercises, and case studies to ensure delegates learn by
doing.ne in detail the different Islamic retail banking products offered by Islamic banks in
various jurisdictions including depository and wealth management solutions.
- Analyze different product structures, and other business related issues - regulatory, legal,

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Names Michael Bloomberg as Chair

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Schapiro have taken up leadership positions with the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Bloomberg has been named as board chair and Schapiro as vice-chair of the organization. SASB was launched publicly less than two years ago. The San Francisco-based nonprofit provides an industry-specific reporting framework for crucial sustainability issues that integrates with the companies’ quarterly 10-K financial disclosures, which are required by the SEC. SASB is working on reporting guidelines for 88 industries across 10 sectors.

REFILE-London-based RiverCrossing debuts with Islamic real estate fund

London-based RiverCrossing Capital Partners, a new Islamic investment firm, has launched its first product, a U.S. real estate fund, as part of a plan to offer non-traditional asset classes to institutional investors in the Gulf. The firm will develop asset-based funds with a non-cyclical nature, chairman Mohammed Abdulmalik said. RiverCrossing's first fund will have a target investment horizon of five years and focus on medical offices, self-storage facilities and senior and student housing in the United States, he added. RiverCrossing aims to raise $45 million in the first tranche of its Alternative Real Estate U.S. Fund this quarter, reaching a total of $125 million with a second tranche in the next 12 to 18 months.

First Halal, US fixed-income mutual fund celebrates 4th anniversary

The Azzad Wise Capital Fund, America's first Halal, socially responsible fixed-income mutual fund, turned four years old this month. Falls Church, Virginia-based Azzad Asset Management launched the interest-free fund in 2010. Over its four-year history, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund has proven to be an diversification and income-generating tool for investors who observe the Islamic law. Although it does not deal with debt instruments created from interest-based lending, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund shares in the gains from its ventures, which include Islamic bank deposits and Sukuk. Bashar Qasem, Azzad President and CEO, started Azzad Asset Management in 1997. In 2000, Qasem and his colleagues oversaw the launch of the Azzad Ethical Fund, and ultimately created the Azzad Wise Capital Fund to diversify client accounts.

UAE’s Souq.com raises $75m – Investment Round Up

Dubai-based Souq.com, an Arab e-commerce site, has secured a $75 million investment from Naspers, a South African media organization. Besides, Silent Herdsman, which produces wearables for cows, has received £3M ($4.9 million) in funding. Moreover, Waltham, MA-based Actifio, which provides copy data virtualization to customers, has gained $100 million in an oversubscribed investment round. Software defined storage company Amplidata has realized an $11 million investment led by Intel Capital and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has pumped about $63 million into U.K.-based energy tech company Intelligent Energy Holdings. Moreover, there have been several Mergers & Acquisitions, including Palo Alto Networks buying cybersecurity startup Cyvera.

CBN, IFC To Host 2014 International Sustainable Banking Forum In Lagos

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have announced plans to host the second International Sustainable Banking Forum in Lagos from March 3 to March 4. The forum will serve as a platform to share experience and build partnerships for sustainable banking in emerging markets. It is to attract policy makers from governments, multilateral development banks, financial institutions, civil society organisations and technical institutions. The IFC said that sustainable banking helped banks and financial institutions to understand better the benefits and risks of environmental and social impacts of their investments and loans.

Sharia and start-up struggles

Building a start-up as an observant Muslim in Philadelphia presents unique challenges, from identifying financial practices acceptable under sharia law to deciding whether and how to compromise on selling forbidden wares such as pork, lottery tickets, and alcohol. But it also presents unique opportunities. Among them could be a market for the region's first Muslim credit union. The U.S. lags far behind other countries when it comes to the Islamic-finance sector. Only a handful of American banks have begun offering sharia-compliant home mortgages. A credit union could assist with many of the financial needs of Muslims in the USA.

Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

INVITATION TO A RESEARCH INQUIRY
Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropy’s Academy of Philanthropy is leading a research inquiry in collaboration with Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness. After London and Doha, the last of the three dialogues will take place in New York.

This concerns the barriers to giving for international development and relief that affect donors and recipients alike, in the light of continuing international agreements and practices enshrined in legislation. Our work is seeking to identify ways forward for international dialogues to best support and enhance accountable giving and its efficient flow between nations. The findings of the research will be reported to the WCMP’s biennial Global Donor’s Forum, to be held in Washington, DC from April 14-16, 2014.

Donors, nonprofit and development sector representatives, and financial institution executives are welcomed to participate in the dialogue and share their experiences and offer suggestions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Observer Mission to the UN

JPMorgan Said to Drop Saudi Bank Al-Rajhi Amid Controls Push

JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped Al- Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Shariah-compliant lender, as a correspondent banking client amid a push to improve risk controls. The relationship with the bank ended Dec. 31 because JPMorgan couldn’t get enough information on where payments in dollar-clearing services for Al-Rajhi had originated. JPMorgan said it cut off the service to about 500 foreign lenders last year as regulators press the world’s biggest banks to verify that transactions are used for legitimate business. The crackdown seeks to halt funds tied to money laundering, terrorism and countries covered by economic sanctions. The two banks haven’t been cited by U.S. regulators for involvement in illegal money transfers.

Charges laid in UM FINANCIAL Bankruptcy Investigation

The RCMP's GTA Financial Crime Unit in collaboration with the Ontario Region Special Investigation Unit of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB), have charged two Toronto area men with offences under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) and the Criminal Code (CC). Omar Farooq KALAIR, age 38, of Toronto and Yusuf PANCHBHAYA, age 55, of Mississauga have been charged individually and jointly with several offences, like fraud and theft among others. The charges are in relation to events surrounding the November 2011 bankruptcies of UM CAPITAL INC. and UM FINANCIAL INC. of Toronto. The allegations relate to the misappropriation of approximately $ 4.3 million in mortgage payments, the purchase & disappearance of 32kgs of gold bars, and the abuse of the bankruptcy process.

US' biggest Islamic fund to launch first plan here

US-based Islamic stock fund manager Saturna Capital Corp is selling its first plan in Malaysia, betting that Southeast Asian equities will weather a global emerging-market rout. The company, which has US$4.1 billion (RM13.6 billion) of assets under management globally, wants to raise RM100 million in the Malaysian fund's first year. The vehicle will invest in syariah-compliant companies in the region, focusing on building-material, healthcare and consumer stocks. The new ringgit-denominated fund will target local and overseas high net worth individuals and institutional investors. The outlook for Islamic fund management in Malaysia is still good, after a constant growth at an average rate of 25 per cent a year since 2009.

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