UK

Launch of #UK’s first Islamic Finance undergraduate degree

A university has announced the launch of the first Accounting and Islamic Finance undergraduate course in the UK. The BSc (Hons) Accounting and Islamic Finance degree at Birmingham City University will see students study Islamic economics, whilst developing an understanding of 'corporate social responsibility'. Course leader Shaista Mukadam said students on the course will be taught the philosophy around the principles and will be encouraged to find ways to implement them in real-world scenarios. It’s not just a course for Muslims, it’s about an ethical way of doing finance based on the teaching of Islam.

Islamic banks “vital in accelerating #UK fintech transformation” according to expert

Al Rayan Bank, the UK’s oldest and largest Islamic bank, has announced that more than 20,000 of its customers are now using its digital banking services for their day-to-day banking. According to Dr Samir Alamad, Sharia compliance expert at Al Rayan Bank, Islamic finance institutions have a significant growth opportunity in their hands by making the digital shift, catering not only for Muslim communities but mainstream audiences alike. Their role is vital in reinforcing the UK’s position as a fintech hub and in growing awareness of Islamic finance overall. The Al Rayan Bank Mobile Banking app is available on the App store and Google Play – as well as through its desktop portal, which users can access using the app, through a separate authenticator app or using a hard token device. From 2021, customers will also be able to use the app to validate online purchases made using an Al Rayan Bank debit card.

First actively managed sharia-compliant ETF to list in London

The world’s first actively managed sharia-compliant exchange traded fund will start trading In London. The Almalia Sanlam Active Sharia Global Equity ETF is the result of a partnership between Almalia, a London-based Islamic finance specialist and Sanlam Investments, the UK arm of the Johannesburg-listed financial services company. Amanie Advisors, an Islamic finance consultancy, will oversee the investment screening process. The new ETF, which will carry an annual total expense ratio of 99 basis points, will also be cross-listed in Germany and Italy in October. The fund will be run by a team led by Pieter Fourie, Sanlam’s global head of equities.

The ethnicity pensions gap

The People’s Pension identified that pensioners from ethnic minorities are on average £3,350 a year, or 24.4%, worse off than other pensioners – calling this the ‘ethnicity pensions gap’. Furthermore, the Black and Minority Ethnic population is projected to grow by about 50% reaching 21% of the population by 2051 – so this is a growing problem that needs our attention now. Governmental changes to remove the pensions barriers will go some way to help the lower earners, such as removing the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment of £10,000 – but these are yet to be implemented.

CII helps launch Islamic Finance MBA

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has teamed up with the Islamic Insurance Association of London on the launch of a new MBA in Islamic Finance. The two-year, part-time graduate degree will focus on commerce and management. Applicants will need at least two years of relevant work experience and a UK honours degree, or equivalent. Presented by the University of Bolton, the course will teach students on the unique issues associated with Islamic products, and help them identify risk elements and mitigation techniques.

#UK gets its first Islamic P2P crowdfunder for SMEs

A new UK-based Shariah-compliant crowdfunding platform providing business financing to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) launched at the end of June. Qardus is an appointed representative of Share In Ltd. According to founder Hassan Daher, Qardus is a peer-to-peer platform for everyone, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, open to investors seeking to generate superior returns as well as having a social impact. Qardus connects SMEs and investors. The platform offers the unsecured financing for a period of up to two years in the form of commodity murabahah. The minimum investment size is £100 and investors can expect over 10% return per annum but capital is at risk. Looking ahead, Qardus plans to offer more than peer-to-peer lending. It will look to raise £1.5 million by the end of this year and may consider VC funding or equity crowdfunding.

Gatehouse Bank Review – Islamic Mortgage: a deep dive

Gatehouse Bank’s Home Purchase Plan (HPP) is the cheapest option available in the home purchase space for a number of the HPP products. The structure is identical in legal form to the Al Rayan HPP. The Gatehouse HPP uses a combination of freehold and leasehold to deliver a diminishing musharakah/ijarah model. Gatehouse buys the freehold title in the house at the closing of the transaction, and it is its name that appears on the title. But the buyer gets an equitable interest in the freehold by way of the contract (Diminishing Musharaka Agreement) and also gets a leasehold alongside Gatehouse. Time passes, the Buyer continues paying rent and buying further equity in the house until eventually he owns 100%.

New #UK waqf fund to start investing in real estate with eye on other asset classes

The recently established UK-based National Waqf Fund (NWF) will start investing in real estate, according to CEO and co-founder Umer Suleman. NWF will be focused on the charity and social aspects of waqf. The three main aims of NWF are to establish a central fund, manage awqaf on behalf of other organisations as well as create a virtual centre of excellence for Islamic endowments. NWF will invest in real estate and through its investment committee decide on how and where to deploy the funds. Suleman noted that the upcoming property portfolio will primarily focus on London, Birmingham and Manchester, without the exclusion of other areas. NWF aims to raise £10 million ($12.37 million) within the next 1 to 2 years. Within the next decade, Suleman hopes NWF will have around £150 million of assets under management.

Shariah-compliant #gold trading platform to launch in #UK

A digital gold-trading platform compliant with Islamic finance norms is about to get launched in the UK. Minted is a start-up domiciled in London that aims at making gold trading simple, secure and affordable. Minted launched the beta version of its platform in early May and plans to introduce a full-fledged version in mid-June and a mobile app by the end of July. With a total of £1mn in seed funding, of which it already received half from a venture capital investor, Minted plans to expand to Germany and France and, later on, to Turkey, the US, South Asia and Africa.

UK court's intervention is worst-case scenario, says NMC Health chairman

According to hospital operator NMC Health and its Executive Chairman Faisal Belhoul, getting placed in administration by a UK court order would be the "worst-case scenario" for the company’s future. The threat of coming under administration is a live one after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank had filed a request with a UK court for NMC to be placed under a joint administration. ADCB – which has an exposure of Dh3.6 billion to NMC and affiliates - filed its request in a UK court because NMC Health is listed on London Stock Exchange. According to Belhoul, international institutional investors are keen to take an exposure in NMC despite its current predicament.

Middle East investors target $5.3bn London commercial property spend in 2020

According to Knight Frank, Middle East investors are set to increase commercial real estate investment in London this year. Investors from the region are forecast to spend £4.1 billion ($5.3 billion) in the UK capital this year, up by £100 million compared to 2019. China remains by far the biggest potential investor in London, with £12.7 billion of capital ready to buy assets in 2020, followed by Singapore. Knight Frank’s annual London Report reveals that in 2019 London investment activity fell 15% to £13.9 billion, down from £16.8 billion in 2018, as Brexit uncertainty and a shortage of available assets constrained the number of deals.

#UK digital challenger bank Rizq eyeing summer launch

Rizq, a UK-based Islamic digital challenger bank is preparing for its launch this summer. Akmal Saleem, the fintech’s co-founder and CEO is positioning Rizq from the Muslim lifestyle perspective, so the new bank wants to solve mainstream banking issues for Muslims in the West. According to Saleem, Muslims in the UK still use conventional current accounts because they do not see a true alternative. Established in late February, Rizq will be both an app and web-based digital challenger bank. The company has applied for a license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the registration is on track for acceptance by May 29. The digital challenger will offer a current account first and a premium account at a later stage. The company is working with a major card provider and will offer a debit card for both accounts.

Administrators of NMC Health Revamp Company's Board

The administrators of troubled hospital operator NMC Health have announced a new board of directors. Previous board members, including executive chairman Faisal Belhoul have been removed. The move came after London's High Court on Thursday placed NMC Health into administration, on the application of one of its biggest lenders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). Michael Brenden Davis remains as interim chief executive officer and chief operating officer, but does not sit on the company's board.

NMC’s Deepening Debt Crisis Heads to a Showdown in U.K. Court

The crisis surrounding NMC Health widened, as the struggling hospital operator rejected a call to be put into administration and United Arab Emirates’ banks disclosed more than $2 billion of exposure. The next chapter opens Thursday when a U.K. court is scheduled to hear Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC’s bid to place NMC into the hands of administrators. With a market value of $2.4 billion and total debt of $6.6 billion, NMC now faces an investigation by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

New Islamic endowment trust seeks to be UK’s first waqf to combine commercial and social investments

A new charitable foundation is being set up in the UK that aims to become a £1 billion waqf fund combining commercial and social investments. Sultan Choudhury, Executive Chairperson of the new One Endowment Trust (OET) said that the vision of the trust is to present Islam in a positive way through contribution to UK civil society. OET’s first investment is a £1.75 million 21 residential apartments with planning for four more in Creative Lofts in the Yorshire town of Huddersfield. The returns generated from OET’s portfolio of assets will cover the Trust’s costs and also be reinvested in designated social projects with partners. OET expects to begin investing in social projects particularly in the area of social care in 2022.

British Museum to exhibit 150 works by Middle Eastern artists in new major exhibition

The British Museum has emerged as one of the foremost sites for collecting and exhibiting Middle Eastern art in the UK. Much of the museum’s prominence is due to Venetia Porter, its curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle East art. The 150 works on paper that the museum will show are not loans, they have been acquired by the museum. The exhibition in the autumn will be accompanied by a major catalogue of the acquisitions and a conference. Among its subjects will be those of conflict and exile, two key areas for recent art of the region, explored by well-known artists such as Dia Azzawi, Hanaa Malallah, and Hayv Kahraman. There are also works of Syrian artists affected by the country’s civil war and more recently from Lebanon.

How the #UK tech startup scene has become a powerful engine for Islam

Today, technology and Islam are seeing a valuable convergence in its contribution to exercising faith in a modern era. Technology has been a real driving force in the introduction of Islamic business banking in the UK, with more than 20 banks now offering Islamic financial products. Recent technological innovation in augmented reality has seen a team of UK entrepreneurs create the Islamic GPS app, designed with a 360 degree interactive view to help consumers find Islamic heritage spots and halal sites. Britain is now also home to a host of tech platforms looking to support charities. The creation of MyTenNights showed sharp demand for automated, personalised nightly donation plans during Ramadan. To ensure they maximise their positive impact, Muslims are using the nightly automating donation platform to remove the admin of charitable donation.

Islamic Bank hires new CIO

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank has appointed Simon Nash as the new chief information officer.
Simon Nash has 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector with multinational businesses including RBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. He will lead information technology innovation as well the development and augmentation of information policies and processes. He will be responsible for a team of almost 50 colleagues and will oversee further technology projects scheduled for this year, including the ongoing development of the recently launched mobile banking app.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank extends $87 million financing for 2 deals in #UK

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has provided $87 million to help finance two deals in the United Kingdom that are valued more than $200 million. One of the clients is based in Abu Dhabi and plans to refinance a prime central London healthcare facility worth 900 million UAE dirhams ($245 million). The other client is a Bahrain-based company who plans to acquire a logistics hub in Edinburgh worth 55 million UAE dirhams ($15 million). The London property is operated by an international healthcare group. The Edinburgh property, let to Royal Mail, consists of an office facility and a distribution warehouse situated in Scotland.

Gassner's picture

Lecture in London: Islamic Social Finance and the Sustainable Development Goals,Wednesday, 12 February, 18.00-20.00

Dear readers,

Looking forward at the following public lecture in London, which I am planning to attend.

Best regards,

Michael Gassner

---

PUBLIC LECTURE ON ISLAMIC FINANCE

CHAIR
Dr Jonathan Ercanbrack
Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law
(CIMEL)
Lecturer in Transnational Financial Law

TIME / DATE / LOCATION
Wednesday, 12 February, 18.00-20.00
Senate Wolfson Lecture Theatre
Senate House (North Block)
SOAS, University of London
10 Thornhaugh Street
London WC1H 0XG

SPEAKER’S BIO
Professor Habib Ahmed

Professor Habib Ahmed received his M.A. from University of
Chittagong, Bangladesh, Cand. Oecon. from University of Oslo,
Norway, and Ph.D. (Economics) from University of Connecticut,
USA. Before joining Durham University as Professor and Sharjah
Chair in Islamic Law & Finance in 2008, Professor Ahmed was
Manager, Research & Development, Islamic Banking Development
Group, National Commercial Bank and worked at Islamic Research
& Training Institute of the Islamic Development Bank Group in
Saudi Arabia. He has taught at the University of Connecticut, USA,
National University of Singapore, University of Bahrain and worked

Syndicate content