Central Asia

We intend to make use of the interest in Shariah-compliant products: Secura Investment Management MD

Two successful investment funds have facilitated the Secura Investment Management, the first SEBI registered and Shariah compliant venture capital fund, to come out with a third fund – Realty AIF – with a target to raise 200 crore. The first scheme Secura India Real Estate fund Domestic Scheme 1 has completed with a pay back record of 18%, while the second fund is in the investment stage and its tenure will be over next year. Managing Director M.A.Mahaboob said funds will be invested in equity modes, quasi-equity and equity related instruments, investment in a co-investment capacity with development companies and other promoters. The minimum investment under the scheme is 1 crore which is to be paid in instalments in three years with a down payment of 10% of the capital commitment.

Al Meezan launches MSAP-I

Al Meezan Investment Management (Al Meezan) announced the launch of Meezan Strategic Allocation Plan-I (MSAP-I), an allocation plan under the newly launched fund of funds scheme, Meezan Strategic Allocation Fund. According to Al Meezan CEO Mohammad Shoaib, the plan has an initial term of two years and is now open for subscription. He added that the previous plan with two years duration was very well received by the investors as it gained a cumulative return of 26.21% since its inception. He said the new MSAP-I plan was an ideal investment for those who wished an active asset allocation between Shariah-compliant equity and money market schemes. Al Meezan is the largest private sector asset management company in Pakistan with total assets under management of Rs 86.96 billion in 11 funds and has investor base of 47,000 clients.

Emirates NBD and UTI International to launch Islamic #funds in #India

Emirates NBD Asset Management (Emirates NBD) has entered into a partnership agreement with UTI International (UTI) to launch the Emirates Islamic India Equity Fund. The fund will expand Emirates NBD’s global portfolio and offer investors exposure to Shariah compliant Indian equities. Emirates NBD is looking to develop a portfolio of global funds with leading international partners, and its latest collaboration with UTI forms part of this strategy. Leo Puri, managing director of UTI, said the new fund presents an excellent opportunity for GCC investors to realise strong returns on Shariah compliant Indian equities. The rationale for the agreement is driven by Emirates NBD’s strong interest in India as a growth market. According to a recent McKinsey report, India is expected to rank in the top five global economies by 2020 and to reach the top three by 2030.

First Sharia-compliant #fund to focus on #realestate

#India’s first fully Sharia-compliant fund launched its third investment fund, Realty AIF 1 (Alternative Investment Fund). The fund is meant for the real estate sector with IL&FS Trust Company acting as trustee for the fund and Secura Investment Management as promoter. According to managing director Mehaboob, the fund will raise 200 crore and the minimum investment under the scheme is 1 crore. The tenure of the fund is seven years from the final closing. Mehaboob added that an annualised RoI of 15-20% is expected, with a profit share post hurdle of 80:20 with catch-up. Company officials said the investments under the fund will be made in the modes of investment in equity, quasi-equity and equity-related instruments. Other modes include investment in a co-investment capacity with development companies or other promoters of a portfolio company, and investment in special purpose vehicles created by the company.

#Sukuk company granted #tax exemption

In #Pakistan the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) allowed exemption from withholding tax on purchase of immovable property by the Second Pakistan International Sukuk Company. The company has already enjoyed several exemption and concessions, exemption from levy of various advance taxes, profit on debt and tax on income from property. This further exemption was granted to strengthen the Islamic debt market by attracting investors by grant of tax concessions.

Jammu and Kashmir Bank mulls Islamic banking

In #India Jammu and Kashmir Bank said it was ready to offer Islamic banking, if the Reserve Bank of India approved the move. The bank's newly-appointed chairman Parvez Ahmad said there was a strong demand for such banking service in Kashmir but RBI would need to examine the proposal. RBI has recently suggested to explore the modalities of introducing interest-free banking products in the country in consultation with the government.

DIBPL first Islamic Bank to sign up for PayPak cards

Dubai Islamic Bank #Pakistan Limited (DIBPL) and 1-Link signed historic agreement for the issuance of PayPak cards in Pakistan. In line with State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Vision 2020 to enhance and promote Financial Inclusion, 1LINK introduced Pakistan’s First Domestic Payment Scheme 'PayPak' which is aimed to provide efficient, cost-effective, and robust payments solutions. DIBPL remains committed to SBP vision to enhance and promote financial inclusion of unbanked population nationwide. PayPak’s strategic objective includes offering Domestic Payment Scheme to provide low cost payment services to every citizen of Pakistan.

J&K Bank willing to offer Islamic banking, says chairman Parvez Ahmad

In #India Jammu and Kashmir Bank is willing to offer Islamic banking to its customers. Chairman Parvez Ahmad said there was great demand for Islamic Banking in the state, so the bank would examine the proposal after taking the Reserve Bank on board. As far as the JK Bank positioning is concerned, it has 63% share on the asset side, 62% share on the deposit side, out of 862 branches, 745 are in the state, out of 1030 ATMs, 950 in JK state, 90% of the population is dealing with JK Bank. Ahmad added that other banks were only offering products and services, JK Bank was more concerned about the development of JK state as a whole.

IDB’s endowment fund to boost NGOs in #India

Muslim NGOs in India will be able to make use of Islamic Development Bank’s Awqaf Properties Investment Fund (APIF) to develop their endowments and generate funds for their various community development projects. According to Zafar Javeed, IDB’s national convener for India, APIF is in the process of identifying viable endowment projects. Javeed commended IDB group for financing about 300 educational and health-related projects across India over the past three decades. He said that the IDB was a big blessing for the Muslim community in India and there were many projects in the pipeline awaiting IDB aid. Referring to ongoing efforts to introduce interest-free banking in India, Javeed said former RBI governor Reghuram Rajan had hinted at introducing the system to achieve inclusive development.

#Sukuk auction criticised

In #Pakistan Chair­man of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance Senator Saleem Mandvi­walla has strongly criticized the issuance of $1 billion sukuk. He said that the hurried decision was an act of im­­maturity by the government and it was expected that the rates would be high. Senator Mandviwalla is surprised that Eurobonds which carry sovereign guarantees were sold at 8.25pc interest rate and sukuk, which are guaranteed by assets, are sold at 5.5pc. He said that the federal government also blamed the higher rate on Pak-India border tensions. He added that it would have been better to wait with the issuance for a more suitable time.

#Sukuk issuance to lure foreign investment

The re-entry of #Pakistan into the international Islamic bond market after a gap of two years with the issuance of one billion dollars Sukuk will help the country bolster its external account position. According to analyst Saad Hashemy at Topline Securities, Pakistan's ability to raise funds from the global financial markets at the historic low rates shows investors' optimism about the economic prospects. The government raised $1.0 billion through the issuance of five-year dollar-denominated Sukuk at the historic low rate of 5.5%. The investors across the world showed interest in parking around $2.4 billion in the bonds. Pakistan’s credit rating has remained stable or improved during the last few years. International credit rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rated Pakistan as B3 (stable), B (stable) and B (positive), respectively in their last ratings.

SBP aims to achieve 50pc financial inclusion by 2020: deputy governor

The State Bank of #Pakistan (SBP) is pursuing a three-pronged strategy to achieve the goal of 50% financial inclusion by the year 2020. According to Saeed Ahmed, deputy governor of the central bank, twenty million households need microfinance in Pakistan. The forum, organised by Shamrock Conferences International was held to strive for the expansion of financial services. Dr Mohammad Amjad Saqib, chairman of Akhuwat Foundation, delivered the keynote address and stressed the importance of microfinance. Speakers agreed that the microfinance specialists must create a sustainable model by offering competitive microfinance products, reducing costs and expanding their outreach.

Moody's assigns (P)B3 to #Pakistan's sovereign #sukuk

Moody's Investors Service has today assigned a provisional (P)B3 rating to the proposed US dollar Trust Certificates to be issued by The Third Pakistan International Sukuk Company. The (P)B3 rating reflects Moody's view that the sukuk certificate holders will effectively be exposed to the sovereign credit risk incorporated in the government's issuer rating. Payment obligations represented by the securities are ranked pari passu with other senior, unsecured debt issuances of the Government of Pakistan. The rating for the Government of Pakistan captures moderate economic strength, structurally large fiscal imbalances, a high government debt burden and high susceptibility to political event risks.

ECC waives 10 types of taxes on Islamic bonds

The #Pakistani government waived 10 taxes on the upcoming international Sukuk bond issue, which is expected to raise at least $750 million. The government is going to tap the international debt market next month to borrow $750 million to $1 billion by pledging the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway. Headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet granted tax exemptions on the Islamic bonds. This decision violated the Supreme Court judgment that barred the ECC from taking decision on fiscal matters without prior approval of the federal cabinet. The ECC also approved to reduce prices of imported urea fertiliser from Rs1,310 per bag to Rs1,200 per bag, giving Rs30.4 million subsidy.

Govt to raise up to $1bn through #sukuk issue in #US

In #Pakistan the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet finalised plans for immediate launch of $500 million to $1 billion sukuk in the US capital market. Presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ECC decided to start process for the launch of sukuk in Washington on Tuesday and wind up the transaction by Oct 5, 2016. The government has already hired a consortium of five banks – Citibank, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic and Noor Islamic – as financial advisers to complete the sukuk transaction. Being Islamic mode, the bond is being raised against Lahore-Islamabad Motorway as collateral that should keep pricing slightly lower than conventional bonds. The government would decide about the exact size of the bond on the basis of investor response and pricing but would remain within $500m-$1bn band.

State Bank’s Vice President gunned down in Karachi

Senior Vice President of State bank of Pakistan (SBP) was gunned down in the area of Gulistan –e- Johar, within the jurisdiction of Shariah Faisal police. Superintendent Police (SP) Gulshan Doctor Fahad Ahmad said that Muhammad Sadiq Siddiqui was going to a bakery when two alleged dacoits attempted to snatch his vehicle. On resistance, dacoits opened fire on him. As a result, he sustained serious injuries and died, while dacoits managed to escape from the scene with car.

Islamic Banking Will Strengthen Democracy In #India

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is getting the final touch in before setting up office in India. With introduction of Islamic banking, Indian government will certainly gain diplomatic upper hand to make financial dealings with Muslim dominated nations. Islamic Banking will clearly ameliorate the deplorable condition of the poor and marginalized segments of society. However, it won't be very surprising to see if this banking system is turned into a political issue. Certain parties might abhor the use of the word "Islamic" and could term it as anti-Indian. They might argue that the very concept of Sharia banking would go against the secular fabric of the country.

This BJP Minister is responsible for Sharia-compliant Islamic banking in #India

India's first Islamic banking service began on Friday in Maharashtra’s Solapur district. Subhash Deshmukh, a BJP MLA from Solapur and state cooperation minister has launched Sharia-compliant Islamic banking. The BJP leader said that the bank has 9 branches, including 8 in Solapur and 1 in Pune, and all of them would get a separate counter for Islamic interest-free deposits and loans. Deshmukh added that other financial institutions and banks in Maharashtra should also follow and adopt this model. Interest-free deposits will be accepted from Muslims and non-Muslims at zero rates of interest to ensure their financial inclusion.

Islamic banking is here, thanks to BJP minister Subhash Deshmukh

In #India Maharashtra state minister Subhash Deshmukh has launched Sharia-compliant Islamic banking. Interest-free deposits will be accepted from both Muslims and non-Muslims and distributed to the needy at zero rates of interest to ensure their financial inclusion. So far, the Lokmangal Cooperative Bank has distributed Rs 2.50 lakh to poor Muslims and the minister will now call on other banks to follow suit and adopt this model. Deshmukh said that depositors, however, will not be able to withdraw their deposits prematurely as the money will be lent out.

FPCCI lauds FM’s efforts for promoting Islamic Banking

The Sr. Vice President FPCCI has lauded the decision of Finance Minister for formulating a Committee for the implementation of recommendations of the Steering Committee for the promotion of Islamic Banking. The expansion and promotion of Islamic banking is the need of the hour because it is risk-sharing and asset-backed nature and was growing and unaffected in the period of global financial crisis.

Sr. Vice President FPCCI Shaikh Khalid Tawab, elaborated that Islamic Banking has become an emerging field in global financial market and the time has proved that it has tremendous potential and is growing at a very fast pace all around the world. He added that Pakistan, with more than 95 % Muslim population, and a constitutional obligation of ensuring a riba free economic system, has huge potential of expanding Islamic banking. This is, if the deposits are used on the basis of detailed analysis to get rate of return more than the conventional banks because at present the return on the Islamic banks instruments is lesser than the conventional banks.

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