Americas

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.

Gassner's picture

How to achieve a soft landing of a deleveraging, while growing economy?

For many years we see in the media experts believing in inflation and even hyper inflation. However, in the same time we face proponents warning against deflation. So far we all noticed.

Only a about a week ago I read an article by Myret Zaki clarifying that unfortunately inflation and deflation co-exists.

Myret Zaki's thesis is that we face inflation on financial markets, and deflation in the real economy (in French):

http://www.bilan.ch/myret-zaki/redaction-bilan/inflation-et-deflation-co...

In my view there is a general major shift in the price matrix and I still try to figure the magnitude and implications thereof. It is a bit irritating as at University we learned about neutrality of money:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_of_money

This means any extra supply will increase prices equally, 5 % more money, all prices going up 5 %. Pretty plausible at first hand. However, it seems it does not work in reality any more (or never did).

ADEP initiates Brazil's first Shari'ah compliant livestock finance programme for $25 million

Abu Dhabi Equity Partners (ADEP) has successfully initiated Brazil's first Shari’ah-compliant livestock finance programme of $25 million, to fund fattening of 70,000 cattle heads - the metric tonne equivalent of entire U.A.E.'s annual import of beef. ADEP's Brazilian Shari’ah livestock transaction allows a select group of Brazil's "Top 40" cattle feedlot operators to increase their capacity utilization. The financing was structured as a combination of Wakala and Murabaha agreements enabling investors to buy and take title from Rancher, of liquidly traded cattle, insured and stored physically in separate feedlots inspected and supervised by a global monitoring company. Shari’ah-compliant funding of the growing multi-billion US Dollar Halal food industry is a natural yet untapped market segment.

Iran to assemble group for arresting ex-head of Bank Melli Iran

A special group of police officers will be assembled and sent to Canada for searching and arresting the former head of Bank Melli Iran, Mahmoud Reza Khavari. Since Canadian officials haven't found Khavari yet, Iranian police are asking for one week in order to search for him in Canada. The fraud case originally started in 2007 and involved the use of fraudulent documents to obtain credit for an investment company. Khavari, as the head of Bank Melli Iran, was reportedly involved in the fraud case. However, Khavari escaped to Canada. Iran requested Interpol to announce an international search for him. In June of 2012, Fars news agency reported that Interpol placed Khavari on its Red Notice Wanted list.

Cash-rich Islamic banks seek to invest in Western businesses

Cash-rich Islamic lenders are looking to partner with Western businesses that comply with Islamic law, according to a report by The New York Times. The report said there aren't enough acceptable places for Islamic banks to pour their money in, leading American investment bankers to put deals together. Real estate is a popular investment under Shariah since an agreement can be made without requiring interest payments. However, as the banks expand, they are looking to make more diversified investments. One of investments being studied by Islamic banks is that of Continental Rail, a business that focuses on running freight trains up and down the East Coast. If the cars are found to be halal, then it will be one of the first in the US to be completed following Islamic law.

EIIB-Rasmala launches Islamic trade finance fund

EIIB-Rasmala, a venture between London-based European Islamic Investment Bank and Dubai's Rasmala Group, has launched a sharia-compliant trade finance fund as a low-risk investment product. The Cayman-domiciled fund is linked to emerging market trade transactions and the firm hopes to attract $100 million into the fund over the coming year. The fund targets a return of 4 percent with low volatility as the firm continues to expand its sharia-compliant product range. Since last year, EIIB-Rasmala has launched three Islamic funds including a leasing fund and a sukuk fund seeded with $25 million of the company's own capital.

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: “CELEBRATING PHILANTHROPY IN EMERGING ECONOMIES”

Global Donors Forum 2014
“CELEBRATING PHILANTHROPY IN EMERGING ECONOMIES”
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
April 13-16, 2014

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
Deadline: December 10, 2013
Dramatic shifts in the political and economic landscape of many low and middle income countries in recent years have resulted in the emergence of a new class of wealthy individuals. This has led to a rapid growth in private and family foundations in many emerging economies. But the benefits of economic liberalization have not always resulted in an equal distribution of wealth, and income disparities have only been exacerbated by the global economic crisis. This surge in social and economic inequality pleads the need and purpose of philanthropy, both individual and institutional, to be re-examined.

No longer is society looking outside their communities and national borders for change. Whereas once, Aid was the only option, now regional philanthropy is increasingly positioning itself as the “game changer”. This sliding dichotomy from Aid to philanthropy has already begun and nowhere is it more pronounced than in the “Emerging Economies”

Idealratings: Twitter Stock (TWTR) is Shariah Compliant

Due to the enormous requests received during the past few weeks IdealRatings research team conducted Shariah screening on the recent Twitter, Inc. IPO and the stock is to be considered Shariah compliant and eligible for investment as per AAOIFI guidelines.

contact support@idealratings.com for further details

Gassner's picture

Venture Capital the Islamic ideal?

Dear Readers,

Venture Capital has often been regarded as the ideal tool for Islamic finance, particpating in profits and losses of innnovative companies.

Now a major assessment has been done by Cambridge Associates in terms of performance, comparing it to the wider stock market. Result: No outperformance. Considering the lack of liqudity it seems to be much less attractive to professional investors than thought.

See: http://www.cambridgeassociates.com/pdf/Venture%20Capital%20Index.pdf

The lack of success also is induced by lack of transparency and fee models taking away the eventual outperformance. This is for the US market of course. Experiences in less advanced markets could be better or even much worse.

It still has other benefits, as diversifying risk, promoting overall growth and eventuall fostering social benefits.

In order to protect the investor, proper disclosures must be integrated to grow this industry in a healty manner. Further the focus on impact investing will ensure that value is created and risk better managed. What impact investing means could be read here:

See: http://www.thegiin.org/cgi-bin/iowa/home/index.html

American Muslim financial firm launches Islamic estate planning campaign

Azzad Asset Management has announced the launch of a series of estate planning seminars across the United States aimed at helping congregants at mosques and Islamic centers create inheritance plans that comply with both U.S. and Islamic law. It is the 1st Islamically compliant waqf model consistent with U.S. law. The Azzad estate planning seminars began in early September in the Southeastern United States. As part of those sessions, certified financial planners explain the fundamentals of Islamic inheritance law, the importance of wills, and the implications of bequests—in addition to the role each plays in conjunction with a family endowment.

Unleashing Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

16th October 13 - 8:00am to 17th October 2013 - 12:00pm
Hosted by the Fung Inst. & Silatech, this conference is the first chance for top thought leaders from the Middle East, Silicon Valley, the Venture Capital community & the academic community to spur innovation, create jobs & encourage entrepreneurship throughout the middle east.

The conference is being generously supported by a donation from Silatech, a Qatar based foundation focused on expanding economic opportunity and jobs in the Middle East. This leading institution is partnering with UC Berkeley to bring in some of the world's top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Islamic Finance, Crowdfunding and Accelerators, to discuss the opportunities in the region to develop a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This conference will bring together top experts from the region, scholars and venture capitalists and innovators from Silicon Valley to explore how we can work together to create economic opportunity through entrepreneurship in the Middle East.

For more information, please contact Richard Swart: rswart@berkeley.edu

Nova Resources Swaps European Islamic Investment Bank For Tricor Stake

Nova Resources Limited has agreed to sell its entire stake in European Islamic Investment Bank to Pearce Global Investments Limited, for a total consideration of GBP663,892. The Bermuda-based company said that the consideration is to be paid by the transfer of warrants over 9.0 million shares in Tricor PLC, the AIM-list investment company focussed on the natural resources sector. Nova said that the shares can be exercised at its discretion by the end of 2017, at an exercise prices of 0.5p, although it intends to retain the warrants for the foreseeable future. Nova said the warrants are valued at 7.38p apiece, representing a premium on Tricor's current share price of 6.50p at the time of the agreement.

Iran Ruling In Europe Draws Anger From U.S.

In a setback for the United States’ attempts to isolate Iran, the General Court in Brussels threw out sanctions Friday on seven Iranian companies, including four banks, rejecting arguments that they were acting as front companies to bypass the punitive measures. The United States Treasury took the opposite tack on Friday, imposing restrictions on a network of six individuals and four businesses for links to oil sales. These actions represent a renewed crackdown to curb the use of front companies, financial institutions and businesspeople to conceal the direct involvement of the Iranian government and entities like the National Iranian Oil Company and the Naftiran Intertrade Company. European officials are expected to hold initial discussions on whether to appeal on Tuesday.

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