Australia / NZ

Muslim woman turns to financial institutions for Islam-friendly mortgages

Sara Jawadi, a Muslim woman who unsuccessfully lobbied New Zealand's big banks for interest-free mortgages, is turning her attention to other financial institutions. Jawadi said she had approached Kiwibank, ANZ, BNZ and Westpac but she was either met with no response or was told to send an email. The next step was to approach private investors and finance companies in the hope of a better response, she said. Jawadi and other Kiwi Muslims in similar situations could be in luck as New Zealand's first Islam-friendly KiwiSaver provider plans to offer interest-free mortgages to Muslims. Amanah Ethical launched the country's first Sharia-compliant KiwiSaver earlier this year.

Gassner's picture

Short European fixed-income trade. A loss of a lifetime?

Bill Gross, well known fixed income fund manager twittered (https://twitter.com/januscapital/status/590519759797530624) and moved markets with his idea to sell German sovereign bonds short (selling without having them) to buy them back later cheaper. He called it "The Short of a lifetime"; the only issue would be the "timing"...

Interest rates will be once raising again but will short seller stay solvent long enough to benefit? The German economy is doing fine, but other EURO zone countries do not perform as well and need low interest rates for a prolonged period of time. Japan has so far not convincingly ended their easy money policy.

Australia's Waratah Resources to launch Islamic commodities venture

Sydney-based Waratah Resources Limited plans to launch an Islamic commodities trading business as it shifts focus from Asian markets to the Middle East. The move adds to a growing number of firms keen to tap into an Islamic finance market that is developing beyond its traditional homes in the Middle East and southeast Asia. Waratah will setup a company domiciled in the Malaysian offshore finance centre of Labuan under a 50/50 joint venture agreement with Malaysia's Amanie Holdings, an Islamic finance advisory firm. The firm's next goal is to secure funding arrangements with partners who have been introduced by its sharia partners over the past few months, to provide the required capital for its joint venture vehicle, said executive chairman Ben Kirkpatrick.

Countries with very high religious diversity - including China - outpace world in economic growth

The Weekly Number's analysis of a new Pew Research Center report - a study based on methodology developed by Brian J. Grim - finds that the 12 countries identified in the study as having very high religious diversity each outpaced the world's economic growth between 2008 and 2012.

Full Report: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/04/04/global-religious-diversity/

Current job offers

Gassner's picture

Relaunch IslamicFinance.de Newsletter - Free Download

Dear Reader,

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of IslamicFinance.de please find at the hyperlink below the relaunch of the newsletter.

http://www.islamicfinance.de/files/20140529%20IslamicFinance%20dot%20de%...

Any new issues will be announced to our registered users of IslamicFinance.de and to the members of the related LinkedIn Group of IslamicFinance.de.

If you wish to register please go to http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=newsletter/subscriptions or become member of the LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=147616&trk=my_groups-tile...

Enjoy reading! And if you do, please consider sharing the free newsletter with your friends & colleagues by forwarding or subscribing an internal email address to forward it your entire firm.

NB: I appreciate feedback to improve the content and better understand what readers are looking for. Please allow time for reply, which I may not be able to give to all enquiries after sending out the newsletter.

All the best,

Michael Saleh Gassner

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.

11th IFSB Summit, 19-22 May 2014, Mauritius

The theme for this 2014 Summit is New Markets and Frontiers for Islamic Finance: Innovation and the Regulatory Perimeter.

Please refer to http://www.ifsb.org/preess_full.php?id=240&submit=more for the announcement of the 11th IFSB Summit.

For any queries regarding the Summit, please contact the secretariat:

- Participants' registration

Ms. Yazmin Aziz at yazmin@ifsb.org

Mrs. Ida Shafinaz Ab. Malek at ida.shafinaz@ifsb.org

- Sponsorship and Media

Ms. Rosmawatie Abdul Halim at rosmawatie@ifsb.org

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

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).

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

MICROFINANCE EVENT: No-Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) New South Wales (NSW) Conference 2013, October 22-23, 2013, Sydney, Australia

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) New South Wales (NSW) Conference 2013 will take place in Sydney, Australia on October 22-23, 2013. The event will highlight NILS and microfinance topics including energy efficiency programs, impact investing and social innovation, strategies to facilitate best practices in microfinance, and integration, collaboration and consolidation of NILS in microfinance institutions and community organizations in eight territories of Australia. NILS is a community-based program that provides interest-free loans for individuals or families living on low incomes to purchase essential goods and services in Australia.The cost to attend the two-day event is AUS 360 (USD 335), additional discounts are available. For more information visit the event website http://www.nilsnsw.org.au/latest-news/events.

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.

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.

Amanie plans sukuk for Australian business

Amanie Advisors Australia Pte Ltd, which is part of the Malaysian Amanie Advisors Group, has proposed to raise multiple short-term sukuk to cover Australia’s manufacturing ecosystem as part of the strategy to win funds from the Gulf area. Amanie founder and group chairman Dr Mohd Daud Bakar said the structures used in Islamic finance transactions mirror very closely the types of funding that are currently in demand in Australia, particular with respect to real economic activity which include leasing, financing of mining activities and farming. Amanie's idea involves funding from the whole value chain of any business, for examples electricity production. This is a totally new way of approach in the Islamic finance industry, which seems to have been well accepted in Australia. The short-term sukuk will involve the banks in the value chain, reduce the dependency of farmers and producers from conventional or private funds though the risk is quite high but the third party acts as the underwriter.

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

[...]

Wealth management firm Crescent Wealth has launched a new ultra-ethical, Shariah-compliant superannuation fund.

Crescent Wealth has developed its own platform for its four investment options and has appointed Corporate Combined Superannuation (CCSL) as trustee. The Shariah-compliant funds - Australian equities, international equities, income fund and Australian infrastructure and property - were previously only available on the Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners Personal Choice Private e-wrap platform, after they were launched late last year. The company is also in talks with industry super funds to white-label the product as an ultra-ethical investment option. Although the product follows Islamic finance principles, the company expects the majority of its clients to be attracted to its ultra-ethical investing philosophy

Australian Islamic finance presents opportunities

Less than one per cent of investment products in Australia are Shariah compliant, suggesting huge opportunities for fund managers in this segment. The Muslim Community Co-operative Australia (MCCA) manages a Shariah compliant property income fund which has just surpassed $30 million in assets under management. MCCA chairman Dr. Akhtar Kalam said this growth shows strong support for IBF products within Australia. MCCA is also reported to be in advanced discussions with an unnamed Middle Eastern company with a view to setting up a $180 million mortgage fund, a $150 million property fund, a $180 million Sukuk fund and a $5 million asset-leasing fund. Kalam said that this deal could signal the start of an exciting growth story driven by overseas interest in investment in Australia.

Islamic bonds find favour in Australia

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is growing in Asia, but also interested in Australia. Its chief executive Mike Wilkins recommended Australia pull down tax barriers in order to encourage Islamic finance. The federal government is yet to respond to a subsequent Board of Taxation review. Indonesia is also a target market for IAG. In order to fund its takaful liabilities, IAG would need to invest the cash flows received from policyholders into sharia-compliant products such as sukuk. At present however, because sukuk is based on several transfers of assets into and out of an SPV, the cost of issuance os well above a conventional bond.

Syndicate content