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Bitcoin Mania versus Tulip Mania?

Dear Reader,

regular readers may remember my critic on bitcoin from an Islamic perspective missing intrinsic value. The former blog entry you find here: http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/7840 - almost two years ago.

So far bitcoin just went up higher and higher, with wild fluctuations but nevertheless.

It reminds on how bubbles work, think about the tulip mania in 1637 a nice piece of economic history. A single tulip bulb was traded and bought on credit. Check the Wiki page on it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

As bitcoin has even less value than a tulip except for payment purposes, it is the payment functionality, which can lead to destruction. What happens if a new alternative currency is becoming en vogue, which has a better usability and faster transaction time? In my view this is most likely trigger to burst the bubble.

FT Alphaville covers now the difficulties coming up with bitcoin's increasing transaction numbers causing inconvenience in using the digital currency:

https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2017/05/17/2188961/the-currency-of-the-futur...

#UK slowly progressing towards providing Shariah compliant #student #finance

The UK Government has been thinking about the possibility of introducing Shariah compliant student finance since 2011. The Higher Education and Research Bill is currently before Parliament. However, the Bill contains no time-scale for when a Shariah compliant system is likely to be in place. When the Bill was reviewed in the House of Lords, Lord Sharkey proposed an amendment to give a deadline of the 2018-2019 academic year for the introduction of such a scheme. This proposal was rejected by the Government. Lord Sharkey instead proposed an amendment requiring quarterly progress reports from the Secretary of State. The final outcome is that the Bill will proceed forwards and once it has completed all stages, the Secretary of State for Education will have the power to implement a Shariah compliant student finance system.

Married banker from Norbiton takes Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to employment tribunal after she was 'pimped out' to secure Arab client worth £25m

A married senior banker was "pimped out" by her boss in a bid to get a wealthy Arab client to open an account with £25 million. Suemaya Gerrard, a relationship manager at the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, claimed the client bombarded her with love songs and inappropriate text messages. She added that bank CEO Jawdat Jawdat put pressure on her to go out to dinner with the man and she was threatened to lose her job if she did not go. Suemaya Gerrard resigned from the bank last November and is now suing it for sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and constructive dismissal. The bank and Mr Jawdat deny all the allegations. Mr Jawdat claimed it was normal practice to entertain clients and dine with customers.

Leading #Scottish Islamic finance expert to speak at Responsible Finance & Investment #Summit

Graham Burnside, a consultant at Shepherd and Wedderburn, is to speak at the RFI conference in Zurich. The Responsible Finance & Investment Summit (RFI Summit) is a two-day event hosted by the RFI Foundation and the Swiss Arab Network. The event is aimed at building awareness of how the social and environmentally responsible investment and Islamic finance can create a positive impact. Mr Burnside is a founding member of the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), a Scottish-based not-for-profit specialist advisory established to promote ethical finance. In 2015, the UKIFC was recognised by Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge Awards (EFICA), winning the $100,000 Islamic Finance Industry Development Award. Mr Burnside has been invited to take part in the RFI Summit panel looking at financial inclusion and responsible finance.

Introducing #sukuk bonds in #Malta

Discussion about sukuk bonds is on the increase. The government of Malta has also considered issuing this type of security. Meanwhile, many established players on the international capital markets are issuing sukuks. A sukuk has a secondary market in the same way as a typical bond has and investors may buy, hold or sell the sukuk after this has been issued in the primary market. Hence, liquidity considerations are also relevant for sukuk bonds. The buyer of a sukuk bond is indirectly buying an asset that has value rather than entering into a loan obligation with the issuer of a typical debt instrument. Importantly, the number of investors in the Islamic world cannot be ignored and therefore Sharia compliant vehicles capable of attracting their wealth are increasingly relevant. The sukuk is a good starting point for issuers to tap into this reality.

QIB-#UK finances Buy-to-Live properties in London

QIB-UK has received official licensing to provide Sharia-compliant Murabaha Facilities for London properties. The new product enables QIB-UK to finance a buy-to-live property as well as refinance customers’ existing properties in London. QIB-UK has undergone a restructuring process to focus on serving the bank’s high-net-worth clients by addressing their specific financial needs in the UK. The bank offers its customers a range of Sharia-compliant banking services including Current Accounts in GBP, inward and outward transfers, direct debits, standing orders and more. QIB-UK also provides Debit Cards which are linked to a client’s current account with a high daily allowance of £15,000. Additionally, the Bank offers Wakala Deposits, Instant Access Savings Account, Notice Accounts and other premium products and services. QIB-UK was fully authorised as an Islamic Bank by the UK Financial Services Authority in 2008 and is fully owned by Qatar Islamic Bank.

Different approach pays off for Al Rayan Bank

Sultan Choudhury, CEO of Al Rayan Bank, talks about Islamic finance in Britain and its appeal to non-Muslims. He says, Islamic finance appeals to anyone who agrees with the underlying principles: equitable distribution for everyone, prudent spending and the well-being of the community as a whole. It also provides an ethical alternative to traditional banking. Al Rayan Bank is structured to ensure that it operates ethically on a day-to-day basis. The bank's home-purchase plans (HPP) are structured differently to conventional mortgages. HPPs are based on the Islamic finance principles of ijara and diminishing musharaka. Currently the bank estimates that more than a quarter of customers are non-Muslim and the customer base is expected to grow in the coming years.

Bosna Bank International's 2016 net profit rises

Bosna Bank International's net profit increased to 6.4 million marka ($3.5 million/3.3 million euro) last year from 5.6 million marka in 2015. Net interest income grew 22.5% year-on-year to 22.3 million marka in 2016, while net fee and commission income rose to 10.9 million marka from 9.6 million marka. The bank's total assets stood at 895.4 million marka at the end of 2016.

Islamic lender shows #UK appeal of Sharia finance

In Great Britain there are currently six Islamic banks, while another 20 lenders offer Islamic financial products and services. Al Rayan is Britain’s largest Sharia-compliant bank with 70,000 customers and 13 offices and branches. The bank underwent a major overhaul in 2014 when it was acquired by its Qatari parent, Masraf Al Rayan. Since that point, the brand was made more accessible, the imagery is no longer just Arabic, the bank uses British imagery as it is targeting all Brits. CEO Sultan Choudhury says about 25% of the bank’s customers are non-Muslim. Mr Choudhury also has his eyes fixed on the potential of the wider international market. In particular, he highlights the GCC national and expat market and HPPs (mortgages with an interest-free and Sharia-compliant structure). He says, Al Rayan's ambition is to be the number one bank for HPPs for GCC nationals and expats.

London Stock Exchange Welcomes Islamic Development Bank #Sukuk Bond – Largest Issuance By A Supranational In

London Stock Exchange welcomes the largest Sukuk issued by a supranational globally in 2017, raising $1.25bn. The isssuance is listed by the Saudi Arabia based Islamic Development Bank and is a five-year bond with a 2.393 % yield. This listing adds to the broad range of Islamic finance products available to investors on London Stock Exchange. According to Nikhil Rathi, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, the listing demonstrates London’s standing as the world’s most international financial centre and confirms the UK as the key destination for Shariah-compliant financial products. The CFO of Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Ahmet Tiktik, said choosing London as the location for the new $1.25bn Sukuk shows the bank's continuous support for London Stock Exchange.

Baker McKenzie wins major #litigation case for Dubai Islamic Bank

Global law firm Baker McKenzie has successfully acted for Dubai Islamic Bank in its defence of a $2 billion claim brought against it in the English Commercial Court. The claim was brought by Plantation Holdings, a holding company owned by an Argentinian-resident property developer. The allegation was breach of contract related to plot of land on the outskirts of Dubai, which Plantation had planned to develop into a high-end luxury lifestyle and equestrian complex. The Bank took security over the project as part of the restructuring of a $500 million debt owed to it as a result of a complex receivables financing fraud. The case was heard in an eight week trial, with evidence from witnesses from seven jurisdictions. The court ruled that Plantation's principal director had made up evidence and that another of Plantation's witnesses had manufactured documents, Plantation has been ordered to pay 70% of the Bank's costs on the indemnity basis. The nature of the case also resulted in examining the volatility of the Dubai property market and the functionality of its property registration system, as well as the Dubai authorities' approach to financial misconduct.

#Kuwait's Warba Bank boosts its #realestate investments portfolio & acquires a facility of KIA Motors in #UK

Warba Bank has recently purchased a newly constructed UK vehicle imports-exports facility strategically located next to Immingham port. The property is leased to KIA Motors UK for unbreakable lease term of 20 years. The facility has a capacity of over 15,550 cars and totalling 86.68 acres (35.08 hectares) of land. In addition, the site also includes a warehouse space of 63,515 ft.² (5,901 m²), facilitating distribution, refurbishment, valet, inspection, refuelling, offices and gatehouses. The site receives on average c.1,200 vehicles a week. KIA anticipate 100,000 UK car sales target by 2020. Warba Bank’s CEO, Shaheen Hamed Al Ghanem, said this acquisition was one of the best risks mitigated real estate investment of the bank, generating a steady and secured return from unbreakable long lease. He elaborated that the investment plan for 2017 is highly ambitious and the bank is looking for more international real estate investment opportunities in USA, UK and other continental European countries.

Yielders #pioneering #Islamic #intech in the #UK

Yielders, a UK based equity crowdfunding provider, has just attained the first Islamic Banking certification and become the first FinTech firm in the West to do so. Yielders have developed something that looks pretty innovative, pragmatic and could prove tob e competitive in a low yield environment. Islamic banking has been around for more than 60 years. However, Sharia compliant Financial institutions only manage 1% of the global assets.

#Bank #of #England plans liquidity tool for #Islamic #banks

The Bank of England said it would develop a sharia-compliant liquidity tool for use by Islamic banks, to attract business from the industry's core centres. London has for some time sought to position itself as a global hub for Islamic finance.
The central bank has issued a consultation paper on a fund-based deposit model, that would help Islamic lenders to meet regulatory requirements for liquid asset buffers. It was stated, that the facility is unlikely to be ready before the spring of 2018, and it has yet to decide on whether it will develop a liquidity insurance facility. However, the tool would be a welcomed development for Britain's Islamic banks. These include Gatehouse Bank, the Bank of London and the Middle East, Al Rayan Bank and a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank.
The pricing would be comparable with conventional tools, and attractive for Islamic banks.

#NCB Capital #launches Pan European #Real #Estate #Fund

NCB Capital, Saudi Arabia’s leading provider of wealth management and investment services, and the Kingdom’s largest asset manager, has announced the launch of its Pan European Real Estate Fund with more than $150 million raised through a private placement.
NCB Capital has partnered with Fidelity International, a leading global asset manager, to invest in commercial properties, including office, retail, logistics/industrial and mixed use, located in key European property markets including France, Germany, Benelux and the United Kingdom. Favorable currency conversion rates, robust legal and regulatory environments, coupled with consistent growth expectations of the core European economies make this an opportune time to invest in a solid real estate market.

Islamic bank to waive admin fee for #refinance customers

Al Rayan Bank has introduced a new range of home purchase plans (HPPs) to facilitate the move of an existing home finance product to the Sharia-compliant provider. The lender will assist customers by waiving or contributing to the fees associated with refinancing home finance to another provider. Al Rayan will waive the £399 HPP administration fee and the valuation will be paid by the bank, up to a maximum of £600, while the first monthly payment will see Al Rayan pay a cashback of £300 to the customer. The news comes after Al Rayan posted a 228% surge in home finance completions in January as it reported demand for Islamic finance was at an all-time high.

Why Islamic #mortgages normally cost more than conventional mortgages

The principal reasons are the small size of Islamic banks, and the additional legal transactions involved with Islamic mortgages. In the UK, Muslims are often surprised to find that Shariah compliant Islamic mortgages are noticeably more expensive than conventional ones. A conventional mortgage is a reasonably simple transaction to document legally. Conversely, a residential Islamic mortgage involves both the bank and the new owner occupier purchasing the property jointly. The contracts used are less standardised and there are simply more pieces of legal paperwork involved in an Islamic mortgage. Furthermore, the stand-alone Islamic banks in the UK are very small compared with the very large conventional banks. All these costs must ultimately be borne by the customers and are reflected in the higher prices Islamic banks charge for Islamic mortgages.

Discussion - Islamic Finance: what it means & the opportunities for the UK post-Brexit

Wednsday 5th April 2017: 18:00 – 20:30. Discussion starts promptly at 18.30

PwC, 1 Embankment Place, London WC2N 6RH, United Kingdom.

The Committee of IoD City of London in partnership with The British Malaysian Society invites IoD members
and guests to a discussion on ‘Islamic Finance: what it means & the opportunities for the UK post- Brexit.

The Islamic Finance Industry is predicted to reach $2.7 trillion in 2017. Islamic Banking contributes
80% to a total of $2.3 trillion. Other components of Islamic Finance include Sukuk Bonds (14%), Asset
Management (3%), Insurance (2%) and Micro finance (1%). Source for all figures – Centre of Islamic
Banking and Economics.

Our speakers are:
• Dato’ Faiz Azmi – Chairman, PwC Malaysia and Global lead
• on Islamic Finance for PwC
• Andrew Gosnay, Head of Banking and Finance,
Laytons Solicitors LLP
• Iqbal Asaria CBE , Islamic Finance expert and
Special Advisor to the Muslim Council of Britain
on business and economics affairs

After the panel presentations there will be opportunities for Q & A and discussion, followed by a drinks reception.

The evening is kindly hosted by PwC London. Dress code is business wear.

EdAid launches first ever Sharia-compliant #crowdfunding platform

EdAid has launched the first ever Sharia-compliant crowdfunding platform to finance Muslim students interest-free. QardHasan will help students raise up to £30,000 within 40 days, channelling funds from charitable trusts and potential employers. The UK-based impact investment firm looks to contribute to each crowdfunding campaign by doubling every £500 raised by a borrower through the platform. The firm's founder and chief executive Tom Woolf said the new platform aims to provide affordable and fair funding options to Muslims. Woolf said the project falls somewhere in between LinkedIn and Kickstarter, as it helps students build up a broader network for their academic and professional career.

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