UK

BLME to start Bahrain operations

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) has received a licence from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to open its regional office in the Kingdom.
LME provides a wide range of services and advice to businesses and individuals, with a strong focus on Europe, the Mena region, as well as the US.
The opening of the Bahrain office, BLME’s first overseas office in the Gulf region, reinforces its ambition to provide a bridge between the UK and the GCC to offer a range of investment opportunities to the global investment community.

U.K. Cancels Sukuk, Focus on Economic Growth

The U.K., Europe’s largest market for Shariah-compliant financial products and services, canceled what would have been the first sale of Islamic bonds by a Western federal government as issues fell 15 percent in 2010.
Growth in Europe’s Islamic financial hub has been hampered by slowing economic expansion and the government’s attempt to plug a budget deficit.

Shariah-Compliant Hedging Derivatives Start in Malaysia

Standard Chartered Plc and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd. plan to offer Shariah-compliant derivatives in Malaysia that will allow investors to hedge against interest rates and commodity prices.
Bank Islam Malaysia, the country’s oldest Islamic lender, will offer swaps that allow two parties to exchange different forms of payments from an underlying asset. Standard Chartered, the U.K. bank that earns most of its profit from emerging markets, will begin selling contracts in the first quarter that provide protection from fluctuations in the cost of items such as rice and oil.

Praemium to launch UK Sharia portfolio service

The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has appointed Investment management platform provider Praemium to launch the UK’s only Sharia compliant retail discretionary portfolio service.
IBB stated Praemium’s discretionary portfolio service would give investors the chance to set up investments through its independent financial advisers.

Islamic IFA calls for overhaul of UK banks

Getting Islamic finance to become more mainstream needs a significant change to take place in the industry.
During the three-day event at the Gulf Hotel in Manama, delegates heard of the challenges facing the proliferation of Islamic finance products.
Shebab Marzban, product development officer for Egypt-based Ideal Ratings, instigated the discussion when he warned that many Western fund managers fail to carry out correct due diligence on Islamic finance products.

Tadhamon Capital announces successful acquisition of Coxlease School in UK

The transaction of Coxlease School valued at Pounds 17.5m ($28m). Tadhamon Capital advised on the transaction and acted as an arranger of the financing.

Sukuk is top of agenda for UK trade body

An Islamic trade body has been set up in the UK to promote Islamic finance and to campaign for a sterling-based Sharia bond.
The group consists of bankers, accountants, lawyers, and educational bodies that want to lobby the government to launch a Sukuk (Islamic bond) to enable the UK's five Islamic banks to get funds, based on Sharia principles, that would allow them to widen their pool of lending.

UK Islamic finance sector 'booming'

There were more business transactions in the past six months than they where achieved in the previous three years.
Business is booming not only in the UK and Europe but in new markets in Africa and in republics of the former Soviet Union in Eastern Europe.

Qatar Islamic Bank eyes UK mid-cap investment spree

The UK unit of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has discovered a new strategy for small to medium-sized British companies with limited access to conventional sources of credit.
QIB (UK) has formed a partnership with alternative asset manager Eden Rock Capital Management to lend to UK companies in the Eden Rock Direct Lending Fund.

Nest, UK considers Islamic pension fund offering

National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), UK considers to create a fund based sharia compliant solution, according to the CIO of the firm, Mark Fawcett along with different other mandates, such as: high risk/return, low risk/return and socially/ethically responsible.

Sukuk for UK company

North east company International Innovative Technologies (IIT), UK, issued a Sukuk. The 4-year, USD 10 mn musharaka sukuk – small by international capital markets standards – was placed privately with Millennium Private Equity and regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority.

HSBC to launch Islamic banking services in full scale

HSBC Amanah, the Islamic banking window of banking giant HSBC, is planning to launch its Islamic banking services in full scale in Bangladesh, a visiting top official of HSBC said Tuesday.
With the re-launch, HSBC Amanah in Bangladesh will be the largest presence in South East Asia, the deputy CEO said. Currently HSBC Amanah is operating in the UK, Malaysia, Middle East countries, Indonesia and other countries.
HSBC Amanah products are rigorously audited and approved by HSBC central Shariah committee.

Islamic lending has surprises in store

Customers who are eager to be Sharia compliant are flocking to Islamic banks. Yet as Islamic lending boasts that it charges no interest, crunching the numbers churns out something of a surprise. Some Islamic mortgages charge more than already high interest-based traditional mortgages. You could even argue that an Islamic mortgage is, in some cases, so expensive it is akin to usury. And the terms are often less favourable.
Take the current murabaha rates in Syria and Lebanon. Murabaha is an Islamic equivalent to a mortgage or car loan. Instead of lending the customer money and charging interest, the bank purchases the asset and resells it for a profit to the customer. This profit is the murabaha rate.
Unlike, say, in the UK, there are no regulatory laws in Syria that require Islamic banks to quote their product in a way that is equivalent to an interest-based traditional mortgage to allow comparison shopping. The only way the average customer can convert murabaha to interest-based is with the help of a financial calculator and a professional.

Gatehouse Bank acquires Oxford Brookes student accommodation property for £29million

This latest transaction completed in collaboration with GSH Kuwait, follows the acquisition of two earlier student accommodation properties in Loughborough and Liverpool last April, and brings the total value of Gatehouse Bank’s real estate portfolio in excess of £150 million.
The property has been purchased at a net initial yield of 6.73%, and will deliver an average cash yield of 9.3% per annum, with the university guaranteeing the term time rent and the developer, Berkeley Homes plc guaranteeing the summer vacation rent for the first five years.
The property, developed by Berkeley Homes, is subject to a Nominations Agreement with the Oxford Brookes University. The UK’s largest operator of privately managed student accommodation, CRM, will provide day to day management.

UK firms may opt for sukuks

Corporate sukuks by UK organisations are expected in the coming few months following the recent launching of the first corporate sukuk out of United Kingdom by Gateshead-based International Innovative Technologies, or IIT.
A major GCC-based sukuk arranger, which is reportedly working on a corporate sukuk issuance for a UK healthcare company for the last year, hopes to launch the issuance in September. A London-based Islamic bank is also working on a sukuk issuance for a UK client which is near to being finalised. Tom Wilkinson, chairman of IIT, is confident that there is potential for other UK companies to access Islamic finance including sukuk as an alternative source of funding.
The sukuk issue was placed privately with Millennium Private Equity Ltd, leading private equity firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The sukuk is essentially a convertible sukuk, whereby Millennium Private Equity Ltd can convert the sukuk into equity.

Dr. Muhammad Nedal Alchaar: Islamic finance is the example of perfection and laziness

On 21st of September this year the meeting took place between Dr. Muhammad Nedal Alchaar Secretary general of Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), and the Russian association of experts in Islamic financing .
On the meeting the experts exchanged their opinions concerning prospects of development of Islamic financial institutions and products in Russia, application of AAOIFI standards in the field of accounting, audit and norms of Shariah, and also actual world tendencies of the young industry.
Doctor Alchaar has informed that now the AAOIFI members consist of 220 Islamic financial institutions from 46 countries of the world and informed about the basic aspects and complexities of development of the Islamic finance in separate countries, in particular, in the UK, France and the USA.

Understanding the sensitivities of Islamic mortgages

Islamic mortgages may be regarded as a niche market but they offer opportunities for brokers who work close to large Muslim populations, especially to those who understand the products and the sector.

As with all areas of lending finance for Islamic mortgages suffered in line with the market downturn. A lack of confidence, funding and a reassessment of risk with lower LTV criteria have all contributed to consolidation in what was a growing area of mortgage broking and lending.

Alburaq was a dedicated resource to brokers referring clients to Alburaq’s team in London. Islamic Bank of Britain offers training to ensure a full understanding of the market and there are competitive processing fees for packaged or introduced cases.

The important thing to remember is that this sector is growing through difficult times. Brokers will find this sector interesting and it will provide them with a loyal client base who will be keen to recommend knowledgeable and sensitive advisers to members of their community.

S&P: European Finance House Offshore Sharia Fund Assigned 'AAf/S1+' Fund Credit Quality And Volatility Ratings

Press Release

European Finance House Offshore Sharia Fund Assigned 'AAf/S1+' Fund Credit Quality
And Volatility Ratings

LONDON, May 4, 2010--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it assigned
its 'AAf' fund credit quality and its 'S1+' fund volatility ratings to EFH Funds SCA
SICAV-SIF - Liquidity Subfund (the "subfund"), a Luxembourg-domiciled U.S
dollar-denominated liquidity fund, managed by European Finance House (EFH). This is
the first Standard & Poor's fund credit quality and fund volatility rating assigned
to an offshore Islamic fund.

Fund credit quality ratings generally reflect our assessment of the level of
protection against losses from credit defaults and are based on an analysis of the
credit quality of the portfolio investments and the likelihood of counterparty
defaults.

Fund volatility ratings generally reflect Standard & Poor's view of the fund's
sensitivity to interest rate movements, credit risk, investment diversification or
concentration, liquidity, leverage, and other factors.

The ratings reflect Standard & Poor's analysis of the subfund's credit quality and

LSE and Harvard Law School invite to public lecture in London: Global Perspective on Islamic Finance

The London School of Economics and Harvard Law School invite you to attend a public lecture in London:

Title: Global Perspective on Islamic Finance
Date: February 24, 2010
Time: 6:30-8pm
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics

http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/mapsAndDirections/findingYourWayAroundLSE...

Speakers:
Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings &
Dr M. Umer Chapra, Adviser, Islamic Development Bank, IRTI

Chair: Professor Sarah Worthington, LSE Pro-Director,

Please spread the word around among your colleagues and friends in London who can benefit from this public lecture.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.

For questions, contact:

IFP at 617-496-2296 or 2297 or ifp@law.harvard.edu

Thomson Reuters unveils risk management solution for Islamic Banking

Thomson Reuters announced the launch of a risk management system specifically tailored for Islamic banking.

Kondor+ Suite for Islamic Banking is a real time trade and risk management solution, which will provide full front-to-back and cross-asset coverage for Islamic banks as well as Islamic windows in conventional banks.

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