Asia

#Malaysia’s First #Green #Sukuk Under Securities Commission Malaysia’s Sustainable Responsible Investment Sukuk

Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) announced the issuance of Malaysia’s first green sukuk under its Sustainable & Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk framework. To complement SRI Sukuk framework, several incentives are in place to attract green issuers. They include tax deduction until year of assessment 2020 on issuance costs; tax incentives for green technology activities in energy, transportation, building, waste management and supporting services; financing incentives under the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) with total funds allocation of RM5 billion until 2022. To be eligible for tax deductions, issuers must ensure that proceeds are used to fund SRI projects in the natural resources, renewable energy and/or energy efficiency sectors. The framework underlying this first green sukuk is the result of collaboration between SC, Bank Negara Malaysia and the World Bank Group to introduce innovative financial instruments to tackle global infrastructure needs and green financing.

More Chinese companies to raise funds via #sukuk?

As a China state-owned enterprise (SOE) issued its first ringgit sukuk in the domestic bond market, many are wondering if other China companies would be doing the same. Beijing Enterprises Water Group (BEWG) issued RM400mil worth of medium-term notes on July 19 to finance its water treatment project in Kemaman, Terengganu. The sukuk issuance also marks the first ringgit-denominated sukuk by a China state-owned company for water infrastructure funding in Malaysia. According to analysts, China-based entities do not prefer to tap into the domestic sukuk market, as they are backed by strong financing sources from their home country. BEWG chief executive officer Datuk Vence Ong Kian Min noted that this was BEWG’s first-ever debt capital market instrument and the issuance has enabled the group to diversify its funding sources. The RM687mil project is expected to be completed in 2018.

KFH is planning #expansion in #China

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is considering expanding into China and Egypt as the region’s banking sector nears saturation. According to bank's CEO, Mazin Saad al-Nahedh, there are opportunities for a Kuwaiti bank to operate in China. He added that the bank was looking at options to buy a license to operate in Egypt as well. KFH is cautiously optimistic about its operations in Turkey. Its subsidiary Kuveyt Turk contributes 22% to the group’s bottom line as of the end of June. The bank expects credit growth of no less than 20% to 25% over the next three to four years as long as base rates remain where they are. As KFH continues its restructuring and sale of non-core assets, the bank is studying offers for its stake in Aref Investment Group, which it aims to sell by the end of the year. KFH is also planning to buy Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank, but hasn't started negotiations yet.

Do more to boost Islamic #trade finance

As the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reaffirmed commitment to its Aid for Trade initiative, the outlook for global trade over the next two years is indeed mixed. WTO is forecasting that global trade will expand by 2.4% this year and between 2.1 to 4% next year, reflecting the continued uncertainty of the global economy. In Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Muhammed Ibrahim wants Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry to boost trade finance to increase largely untapped business opportunities using technological capture. BNM is keen for Syariah-compliant trade financing to support 10% of total trade in the next three years. Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry has assets under management totalling RM742 billion. BNM wants the industry to leverage this pole position and to account for 40% of total financing in Malaysia by 2020.

#Fintech: First robo-adviser in Asia to offer shariah-compliant #investments

Robo-advisers are seen as a more transparent, convenient and low-cost alternative to human financial advisers. However, these platforms have limited options when it comes to shariah-compliant investments. To solve this problem, Malaysian Farringdon Group has recently launched its new robo-adviser called Algebra. According to CEO Stuart Yeomans, the company’s Virtual Mutual Fund Technology (VMFT) allows robo-advisory services for shariah-compliant investments to be offered at a lower price. Algebra can offer a wider range of investments and asset classes than other robo-advisory platforms. It adopts a smart beta strategy, which uses algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio before blending with fixed-income ETFs or sukuk funds. The shariah-compliant strategy used by the platform has been approved by Kuala Lumpur-based shariah advisory firm Amanie Advisors.

#Malaysia's Lead in Shariah #Funds

Malaysia remains a frontrunner in Southeast Asia's Shariah fund market, with $24 billion in Islamic mutual fund assets under management for the year ending May 2017. Global analytics firm Cerulli believes that Malaysia will preserve its pole position in Southeast Asia, while Indonesia will take a longer time to catch up, given the bias toward domestic investments. Malaysia's lead is largely due to its government's support of expertise in regional and Shariah investments. In January 2017, the Malaysian Securities Commission unveiled a five-year Islamic and wealth management blueprint to become an international Islamic finance center. Global firms have been encouraged to set up Islamic units in Malaysia through tax incentives and signing mutual recognition agreements with Dubai, Hong Kong, Ireland, and Luxembourg. The country is also embracing financial technology with new initiatives and regulatory support. Kuala Lumpur-based Farringdon Group recently launched a Robo-adviser service which follows Shariah investment guidelines.

Hong Leong Islamic Bank appoints Jasani Abdullah as CEO

Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) has appointed Jasani Abdullah as chief executive office. HLISB said Jasani has been acting CEO since December 2016. He has been in the financial industry for more than 30 years and his contribution towards the Islamic banking sector is very much valued. Jasani has been with HLISB since 2007 when he first joined as the head of shariah and product development. Jasani graduated with a Diploma in Public Administration from MARA Institute of Technology Malaysia, Bachelor in Business Administration from Ohio University, USA and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance from International Islamic University Malaysia.

#Kazakhstan, #Malaysia plant seeds for green Islamic finance

Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) has gained the support of technology financier Malaysia Debt Ventures (MDV) to develop both green and Islamic finance in Kazakhstan. Under a newly agreed MoU, AIFC and MDV will work closely with each other to share best practices, expertise and knowledge in these two areas. Apart from sharing knowledge, both parties will also explore financing green projects using Islamic financing tools. While not fully operational yet, AIFC is keeping busy by setting the groundwork. Green finance received a huge boost earlier in January when the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to launch the Green Financial System for Kazakhstan project, financed by Finland. With eyes on a comprehensive green financial system, engaging MDV could culminate in a variety of Islamic financial products for sustainable eco-friendly projects including green Sukuk.

Yeow joins Alkhair International Islamic Bank as CEO

Alkhair International Islamic Bank (AKIIB) has appointed Yeow Tiang Hui as its chief executive officer effective Aug 1.
AKIIB said in a statement that he succeeded Datuk Adissadikin Ali, who left the bank last year to head RHB Islamic Bank. Yeow has worked at several multinational banks, including managing the multinational portfolio at Deutsche Bank and being vice-president of Citibank/Citicorp’s venture capital outfit and its head of commercial banking. From 2007 to 2016 he served as head of corporate banking at Kuwait Finance House in Malaysia.

#Malaysia in bid to lift Islamic finance

The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) announced that Malaysia could become the first country to incorporate the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Islamic finance. MIA president Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi said the accounting body was looking into the prospect. He added that MIA will come out with a book on how to apply the IFRS in Islamic finance, as many countries have not adopted it yet. The book will be launched later this month with the help of the regulators and banks. According to MIA, Malaysia adopted the IFRS in 2012, in keeping pace with global trends. The IFRS brings transparency, accountability and efficiency to financial markets. Faiz said MIA’s role was assisting Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) to prepare the market for IFRS. For that, MIA carries out various workshops and courses.

Amendment of Islamic financing bill pushed

The Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) is currently pushing to fast track the institutionalization of the Islamic Financing Mechanism. MINDA assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said they are proposing the amendment in order to have specific mechanisms for full implementation of the Islamic Finance Mechanism. He added the bill in the Senate is already in the committee level and are already waiting for the same version to be filed in the House of Representatives. Montenegro said they wish to have the Islamic Financing Mechanism to pilot at Marawi to help with the reconstruction efforts in the area. It is also targeted to be a channel for the Middle Eastern countries willing to shell out financial support for the victims of the Marawi siege.

Shahjalal Bank director wants to sell holdings violating rules

Mohammed Younus, a director of Shahjalal Islami Bank, gave a newspaper advertisement to sell his holding in the bank violating securities laws. Directors of listed companies must give announcement on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website if they want to sell their shares, but Younus did not make any such announcement. The board of the bank felt embarrassment about the issue as the director has not informed it about his planned sale of shares. The bank's executive director Subhankar Saha said this type of advertisement was undesirable. The current market price of 2 percent shares of Shahjalal Islami Bank is about Tk 26 crore.

ICD and Saturna launch #sustainable Islamic #fund

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Saturna have announced the launch of the ICD Global Sustainable Fund. The fund is designed for investors who seek to align their investment goals with social values. The launch of the fund enhances Malaysia’s position as the marketplace of innovation. ICD serves as one of the Fund’s seed investors and advisor, while Saturna is the Fund’s investment manager. The Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in equities of global issuers that demonstrate sustainable characteristics. The firm uses a proprietary ESG rating system to identify issuers with sustainable characteristics. Investors can buy the Fund with no sales charge, paying only low administrative fees and transparent distribution fees.

Fitch Rates Bank Jambi's First #Sukuk Issuance 'A(idn)'

Fitch Ratings Indonesia has assigned a National Long-Term Rating of 'A(idn)' to PT Bank Pembangunan Daerah Jambi's proposed Sukuk issuance. The proposed issuance is the bank's first sukuk with a total amount of IDR 120 billion and a maturity of three years from the issuance date. 'A' National Ratings denote expectations of low default risk relative to other issuers or obligations in the same country. Bank Jambi's rating reflects Fitch's view that the bank is important to the regional government of Jambi province on Sumatra island. Bank Jambi is owned by the government of Jambi province and by the governments of various municipalities. Although Bank Jambi is a small bank in the Indonesian banking industry, it has a strong franchise and has an important role in supporting development in the region.

Shariah compliant #Robo #Advisor ‘Algebra’ to pilot in Asia before going global

#Malaysia-based private wealth management firm Farringdon Group is all set to launch its Shariah compliant Robo Adviser 'Algebra'. A robo-advisor is an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use of human financial planners. Farrigdon Group CEO Stuart Yeoman said that Algebra can take minimum investments worth $4000 and the launch is planned for next month. Before going global, Farringdon is piloting the product in Asia frst. Algebra is backed by smart beta trading algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio and blends it with Sukuk bond funds to derive a risk weighted portfolio. The robo-advisor will follow basic Islamic principles. It has received the approval of Shariah Scholar Datuk Dr Daud Bakar of Amanie Advisors for its shariah investment strategy.

Bursa #Malaysia-I Welcomes Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd As Islamic Participating

Bursa Malaysia added Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd (Inter-Pac Securities) to its Islamic Participating Organisations (Islamic POs) list. Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan welcomed the new company and said that with this addition investors would have a wider choice of Islamic POs to represent them. Inter-Pac Securities Director Tan Mun Choy expressed his gratitude for Bursa Malaysia's approval to carry out Islamic stockbroking services.
With the inclusion of Inter-Pac Securities, there are now 12 Islamic POs carrying out Islamic stockbroking services of which 1 is on a full-fledged basis (BIMB Securities) and the other 11 are on a window basis.

Shariah Compliant #Robo to Launch

#Malaysia's Farringdon Group is about to launch its new Robo-adviser service which follows Shariah investment guidelines. Their new system branded Algebra relies on smart beta trading algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio. It blends the data with fixed interest Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) or Sukuk bond funds to derive a risk weighted portfolio suitable for any investor. Its shariah investment strategy is approved by Shariah Scholar Datuk Dr Daud Bakar of Amanie Advisors, the official launch date is set for July 10th 2017. By asking questions online, Algebra can complete a fact find and calculate its clients risk attitude and this cuts out the need for expensive consultants. Together with the Shariah version of this platform Farrington have also built and incorporated a Non-Shariah option.

Maybank Islamic named Asia-Pacific's Islamic Bank of the Year 2017

Maybank Islamic was named the Islamic Bank of the Year 2017 in Asia-Pacific by The Banker. The bank also received recognition in the country awards category for Malaysia. The Banker noted that Tier 1 capital and total Shariah-compliant assets enjoyed notable growth, climbing by 12% and 16%, respectively. Maybank Islamic’s return on equity for the year was 15.4%, while its cost-to-income ratio was a respectable 36% and non-performing financing were just 0.8%. The bank’s steady growth pace in Singapore and Indonesia also contributed to its recognition as the best in Asia-Pacific. Maybank Islamic's CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican attributed the bank’s achievements to its employees and sound risk management practices. He said the bank intends to further enhance its global brand visibility, while also deepening its existing regional presence.

#Brunei's largest bank aims to raise up $500 mln in #Malaysian #listing -IFR

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam aims to raise as much as $500 million in an initial public offering (IPO) and the bank will be listed on the Malaysian bourse. JPMorgan and Malayan Banking (Maybank) are set to be joint global coordinators for the initial public offering of $200 million-$500 million this year. The IPO is expected to raise around $300 million but the final amount will depend on the size of the greenshoe option. Brunei is one of the world's richest countries on a per capital basis. The country does not have a stock exchange although its central bank last year announced draft rules to form one.

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