Central Asia

Burj Bank CSR initiative

Burj Bank has launched an employee driven CSR initiative called “Giving beyond the Workplace Campaign”. As part of the programme, Burj Bank Employees along with the Senior Management team visited the TCF (The Citizen’s Foundation) Qayyumabad campus. Burj Bank members adopted one class each for the day where they spent their time in storytelling, book reading and educating the students about the importance of Earth Day. Moreover, Mr. Ahmed Khizer Khan, President & CEO of Burj Bank also presented a donation cheque from Burj Bank’s Charity Fund to Asaad Ayub Ahmad, President & CEO of TCF. This marked the beginning of a new relationship between the two organizations.

Burj Bank celebrates Earth Day

Burj Bank has launched an employee driven CSR initiative called "Giving beyond the Workplace Campaign". As part of the program, Burj Bank Employees along with the Senior Management team visited the TCF (The Citizen's Foundation) Qayyumabad campus as an Earth Day CSR Activity. Burj Bank members adopted one class each for the day where they spent their time in storytelling, book reading and educating the students about the importance of Earth Day. Ahmed Khizer Khan, President & CEO of Burj Bank also presented a donation cheque from Burj Bank's Charity Fund to Asaad Ayub Ahmad, President & CEO of TCF.

Why Islamic banking is growing rapidly in Pakistan

Islamic banking is the fastest growing segment of Pakistan’s financial services sector, with an average anual growth rate of 59.6%. However, 67% of Islamic banking customers also use conventional banks, largely due to a wider range of services offered by conventional banks. Ultimately, however, the Islamic banks seem to have caught on the need to compete on their service breadth and quality. Islamic bank CEOs have all emphasised the fact that their banks now offer the full complement of services offered at conventional banks. A study revealed that deposits in Islamic banks appear to be growing mostly due to customers switching from conventional to Islamic banks. Very few customers start out from scratch at an Islamic bank.

UBL Islamic Principal Preservation Fund launched

UBL Funds introduced the UBL Islamic Principal Preservation Fund on April 01, 2013. For the first time in Pakistan, investments can be made in a Shariah Compliant investment scheme with 100 percent exposure into the stock market while benefiting from the principal preservation advantage. According to UBL Funds' CEO Mir Muhammad Ali, the investors benefit with the fund's pioneer methodology of Constant Proportion Portfolio Insurance (CPPI) in Shariah compliant investments. The CPPI method is intended to control risk and protect capital via daily valuation of risk budget available and daily portfolio rebalancing thus aiming to preserve the principal investment.

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance Interviews Akhuwat, the World's First Completely Interest-Free Microfinance Program

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance in Dubai interviewed Pakistan-based Akhuwat, a microfinance program that has given loans to over 1 million people, without charging interest. Akhuwat-founder Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib explained that they rely on 4 core principles: giving up interest, volunteerism, localization, and empowerment. Akhuwat started a decade ago with a $100 loan, and until now has dispersed $30 million. 99.8% of the loans were paid back in full. Dr. Saqib said that financial institutions began their activities on the basis of doubt, but they started their activities on the basis of trust.

Burj Bank deposits grows 70pc

In 2012, Burj Bank’s deposit base grew from Rs.20 billion to Rs.36 billion reflecting a deposit growth of 77pc whereas the total assets grew from Rs.27.6b to Rs.47b reflecting 70pc growth during the year. During the year, the Bank launched and established several products and services such as Carsaaz Auto financing, Home Musharaka, Investment Banking, Islamic Debit MasterCard and an efficient internet banking platform. Morover, the Bank has grown its nationwide branches from 50 to 75.

Dubai Islamic Bank reports Rs 501m profit

Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited has reported a year end profit before tax of Rs501 million. Furthermore, a 38 per cent deposit growth was achieved in comparison to 2011, taking total deposits to Rs53.11 billion in 2012. DIBPL’s asset base rose by 32% in contrast to 2011 increasing the asset base to Rs63.5 billion in 2012. The Bank’s investments grew substantially by 65% over the year, taking total investments to Rs21.33 billion.DIBPL opened 25 new branches in 2012, increasing the total branch network to 100 in 35 cities. The Bank added over 20,000 more customers in 2012, taking full customer base to over 100,000.

Arab world urged to close food supply gap

UAE's Minister of Finance called upon the Arab world to invest more than US$80 billion (Dh293.84bn) in agriculture to help to bridge a widening food gap. Without investment to increase output, the shortfall in food in the region would rise from a value of $41bn in 2010 to $89bn in 2020. Poor infrastructure, instability in parts of the region and lack of investment in scientific research were among the factors why agriculture projects in the Arab world were not achieving the targeted rises in production. In an effort to help tackle food security, officials agreed to double the capital of the Arab Authority for Agriculture Investment and Development, a multilateral lender aimed at promoting investment in agriculture.

Kuveyt Turk to raise capital, open Iraq, Qatar branches

The Turkish unit of the Kuwait Finance House, Kuveyt Turk, will raise its capital by TL 960 million in the next three months and another TL 360 million will be added over the following 15 months, according to its General Manager Ufuk Uyan. Moreover, the bank is planning to issue a sukuk worth TL 100 million ($55.40 million) in September or October. Besides, Kuveyt Turk expects to open a new overseas branch in Qatar and Iraq.

SECP slaps Rs20m penalty on chief executive

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has cancelled asset management and advisory service licences of Dawood Capital Management Limited (DCML) and slapped a penalty of Rs20 million on its chief executive officer for providing undue benefits to its connected persons and close relatives. Besides, it also imposed another million rupees penalty on the chief financial officer/company secretary. Redemptions were made from collective investment schemes by the connected persons before provisioning and the connected persons, the CEO and her close relatives had averted an imminent loss of Rs18.224 million.

Asset management licence of DCML cancelled

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has cancelled the Asset Management Licence of Dawood Capital Management Limited (DCML) and imposed a penalty of Rs20 million on its chief executive officer for providing “undue benefits” to his relatives and connected persons. The commission has also taken action against DCML’s chief financial controller/company secretary. The SECP found that the connected persons had made redemptions from different investment schemes before provisioning, and had averted imminent losses of Rs18.224 million.

Dell Ends Software Maintenance With Iran Bank

Dell discovered that Quest Software had supplied software maintenance to Melli Bank, subsidiary of Bank Melli in Iran. The maintenance occurred before Dell’s buyout of Quest. In a letter to the SEC, Dell disclosed Quest’s small but potentially worrisome banking engagement. It said that the company’s Form 10-K contained information about the business transaction worth US$169.90. Although not much, any dollar amount flowing to a technology company from a bank with ties to Iran could have raised some serious red flags. It's unclear what type of e-discovery software Dell used to uncover the business transaction.

Insider trading: Dawood Capital Management licence revoked, CEO fined

The Securities and Exchanges Commission of Pakistan (SECP) revoked the licence of Dawood Capital Management and imposed a Rs20 million fine on its CEO Tara Uzra Dawood for insider trading. The SECP issued its order on Friday, after having conducted a nine-month investigation into the matter. According to the SECP’s findings, Dawood Capital Management had invested in corporate bonds issued by several companies that had defaulted on their obligations to bondholders. Dawood Capital Management said they are reviewing the order and reserve the right to appeal it.

Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah, Inaugurates Doha Village for Pakistan Flood Victims

Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah Thani J. Al-Thani, Chairman of Pak-Qatar Takaful Group, inaugurated the village for Pakistani flood victims on February 27. The Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah for Humanitarian Services foundation allocated a significant sum for the establishment of the "Doha Village Project". Total area of the village is 11 Acres and total number of beneficiaries is around 1600-2000. It includes 200 residential homes, a school, shops and clean drinking water, among other services.

Iran holds 42.7% of total global Islamic banking assets

KFH-Research issued a report that stated that Iran's Islamic banking assets contributed 42.7% of the total global Islamic banking assets in 2012, followed by PGCC (34.1%) and Malaysia (10.0%). The report expected that Islamic banking will continue to grow in the PGCC region during this year, and that it will manage to enter new markets worldwide, driven by growth factors and increasing demand. Islamic banking assets are expected to reach USD 1.5 trillion by end of this year with an accumulative growth rate of up to 20%. Islamic banking represents the largest market share (80.3%) in the Islamic finance total assets.

Iran sentences 4 to death in biggest bank fraud case

Four people were sentenced to death on charges of corruption and disrupting the country’s economic system by the Iran Judiciary. The four are Mahafarid Amir-Khosravi, Behdad Behzadi, his legal advisor, Iraj Shoja, his financial solicitor and Saeed Kiani Rezazadeh, head of the Ahvaz branch of Saderat Bank. Other defendants were handed down sentences including imprisonment and cash fines. The defendants stood trial for misappropriating a total of USD2.6 billion of funds by using forged documents to obtain credit from banks to purchase state-owned companies. However, almost none of the companies involved in this case were ordered closed by the court.

Islamic banking facing regulatory challenges

The Takaful industry is growing but also facing certain challenges which include issues regarding re-Takaful, regulatory challenges, competition and lack of human capital. In order to overcome all these challenges and issues, Al Huda CIBE established a Takaful Consultancy Wing with consultant Captain Jamil Akhtar Khan. Khan has expertise on Takaful regulatory issues, establishment of Takaful companies and other related departments. Takaful Consultancy Wing will be an independent institution which will provide its services to other organizations for the establishment of new Takaful companies, research, advisory, training, re-Takaful, Shariah guidance and other Takaful related matters.

Islamic finance a boost for USAID's Afghan farm fund

Sharia-compliant loans are beginning to play a role in Afghanistan's farm sector through a U.S.-funded aid programme. In 2010, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) set up the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) which offers both conventional credit and Islamic financing. About $11 million of its loans approved between May 2011 and
April 2012, or 70 percent of them, were sharia-compliant. Juan Estrada-Valle, acting chief executive of the ADF, hopes that the credits will enable commercial farmers and other agribusinesses to grow at a rapid pace and contribute to the
growth of rural communities.

Iran bank to sue EU after winning sanction list case

The Iranian Bank Mellat plans to sue the European Union governments for damages after a European court annulled sanctions against the company. The reasons for the court's decision are that the EU failed to provide enough evidence that Bank Mellat was linked to Iran's disputed nuclear progamme. However, EU governments may appeal the decision. Bank Mellat now plans to resume trading in Europe although broader European sanctions against Iranian banks could still limit Bank Mellat's ability to function there.

EU court annuls sanctions on Iranian Bank Mellat

The European Court of Justice annulled the European Union (EU) sanctions imposed against the Iranian Bank Mellat in July 2010. According to the bank's Managing-Director Ali Divandari, the Court also required the EU to cover the costs of legal procedures. Additionally, Bank Mellat will receive all legal expenses as well as compensation from the EU for losses incurred because of these sanctions. Divandari also said vague reasons were used by the EU to impose the sanctions two and a half years ago.

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