UK

New Sharia-compliant property deal offers additional security

Gatehouse Bank is marketing a new CMBS-style transaction backed by the rental cashflow from a Paris office property. The deal is backed by an acquisition facility of more than EUR100m, where the rental payments will be securitised through two classes of fixed-rate certificates. This new structure, labelled a commercial rental-backed security (CRBS) by Gatehouse, removes the uncertainty because the certificates are backed by the direct legal ownership of the building. The bank will look to attract typical CMBS buyers, which are increasingly seeking to access this asset class.

Islamic Bank of Britain shareholders endorse Al Rayan Bank name change

Shareholders of the Birmingham-based Islamic Bank of Britain have given their approval to change its name to Al Rayan Bank. As a result of the rebranding, the bank has introduced a new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity, which are being implemented across its website, literature and branches. Al Rayan Bank’s activities will continue to be monitored by an independent Sharia supervisory committee and a dedicated compliance officer. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank and customers’ deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Ogier advises Shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank plc on its joint venture with Sigma Capital

A combined team of partners and associates from the corporate and finance groups of Ogier's Cayman office recently advised Gatehouse Bank plc on its joint venture with Sigma Capital, for the construction of an initial 927 new rental homes, with a total development cost of approximately £110 million.

IPAFEM 2015 Call for Papers- An Islamic Perspective of Accounting, Finance, Economics - University of Glasgow

The Adam Smith Business School will host an international conference, themed “The Role and Contribution of Islamic Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Management in Contemporary society” at the University of Glasgow, UK, on 7-9 April 2015. This two-day conference will provide opportunities for participants to present their current research on the Islamic perspective of accounting, finance, economics & management as well as to build their collaboration network with other delegates. The deadline for abstract submission is 31st December 2014. For more information about the conference, please check the website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/business/newsandevents/headline_351155_en.html

European Islamic Investment Bank Puts Tender Offer On Hold

European Islamic Investment Bank PLC Friday said it has cancelled its tender offer for up to GBP20 million as it is still in talks with regulators and is yet to receive their full approval, though it intends to launch a new tender offer with the same terms as soon as permission is received. As a result, acceptances of the tender offer are no longer valid and do not bind shareholders; shareholders who have already accepted the tender offer are now free to trade their shares if they so wish. European Islamic Investment Bank said it is confident of being in a position to complete a new tender offer before its next annual general meeting, when the authority it has to undertake the tender offer expires.

CastleHill plans £100m shariah-compliant student accommodation fund

CastleHill Capital, a fund with bases in the UK and Middle East, aims to launch its first shariah-compliant UK student accommodation fund in early 2015. The fund is part of the CastleHill Group, which runs student recruitment services in partnership agreements with over 50 universities. CastleHill Capital said it would leverage these strong relationships to offer high quality student accommodation in the UK. Clyde & Co, an international law firm, has been appointed on the role of advisory on the creation of the fund.

Gatehouse Bank completes first offshore real estate financing deal

Gatehouse Bank has announced the closure of its first offshore real estate financing in St Helier, Jersey. The Bank provided £10 million of senior financing to Apache Capital Partners, for the acquisition of Mourant Ozannes’ HQ offices, a offshore law firm. Apache Capital Partners, a niche Real Estate and Private Equity Investment Management Firm, specialises in investing capital from the Middle East into the UK. Given this client base, the company has offices in both London and Bahrain and currently has an approximate total of £340 million assets under management.

The role of Islamic finance in Britain's international competitiveness

Countries gain or lose economic competitiveness not by one or two major decisions, but by the steady drip feed of political decisions that either enhance or weaken their competitiveness. While Islamic finance is only a small part of the financial scene in the UK, the way that the UK government has facilitated its grown illustrates the above point very well. Competitiveness is rarely lost by a single dramatic mistake. Similarly, success in increasing competitiveness is often achieved by having a large number of “micro-policies” affecting particular parts of the economy. Promoting Islamic finance as the government has done is clearly in the best interests of the economy and therefore of all British citizens and taxpayers.

IREF Summit 2014 - Impressive Speaker Line-Up Set to Discuss Key Issues

The IREF Summit 2014 will be taking place on the 16th-17th December 2014 in London. The theme 'Real Estate - The Asset Class of 2014 & Beyond: Sustainability & Innovation in an Ever-Changing Global Real Estate Market', is gathering speakers from the UK, Middle East & Asia. The session themes are focused and aimed at providing a platform to discourse the pertinent current themes and trends marking the sector, with a particular emphasis on the Islamic real estate finance market segment. On the evening of the first day of the IREF Summit, ICG will once again host the 2014 IREF ME Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony. For further information on the Summit, how to nominate and attend the Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony, please visit www.irefsummit.co.uk or contact info@icg-events.com.

Islamic Bank of Britain appoints Head of IT & Change

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has announced the promotion of Matthew Glover to the newly created positon of Head of IT & Change. Mr Glover's remit is to manage the Bank's transformation programme as it enters a period of expansion. His is the third senior appointment this year, including Keith Leach as Chief Commercial Office and the confirmation of Sultan Choudhury as Chief Executive Officer. All three appointments have followed the Bank's acquisition, in early 2014, by Masraf Al Rayan (QSC). Since then, IBB's new parent has invested £100milion of capital to support the Bank's ambitious growth targets. IBB also recently announced that subject to formal shareholder approval, it will be changing its name from Islamic Bank of Britain to Al Rayan Bank, in December 2015.

GFH Capital sells $25m property in top London postcode

GFH Capital has signed an agreement to sell a $25 million prime property in one of London's most prestigious postcodes. The investment firm said it has sold the Queen’s Gate Gardens property that it had acquired last year. The property is a Grade II listed building located in the prime Kensington area of London overlooking the gardens. According to the terms of the agreement, the buyer has paid an initial deposit with a target to complete the transaction in six weeks, subject to receiving relevant approvals. GFH Capital said investors in the deal can expect to make a return that can reach 21 percent return per annum. The deal is expected to positively reflect in the Q4 financial results of GFH.

Britain's Islamic finance market widens with govt, private moves

The scope of Britain's Islamic finance market is widening with several initiatives from the government and private sector, although the country is about to lose European Islamic Investment Bank, one of its six full-fledged Islamic banks. Last week a government official said the central bank would look into developing a liquidity management tool for use by Islamic banks, while Britain's export credit agency expects to guarantee sukuk for the first time next year, an issue by a customer of European plane maker Airbus. Taken together, the new official initiatives seem likely to create a more benign environment for Islamic finance, allowing banks to operate more flexibly and efficiently, and therefore more cheaply.

Mohammed Amin: Winning the global race – the role of Islamic finance

Mohammed Amin is Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He says that one particularly successful UK micro-policy is the country’s approach to Islamic finance. Gordon Brown and Ed Balls deserve credit for promoting Islamic finance and changes to UK tax law to facilitate it. Sadly, their efforts eventually ran out of steam in 2008, due to the combined effects of the global financial crisis and excessively frequent changes in the ministerial responsibility for the subject. Promoting Islamic finance as the government has done is clearly in the best interests of the economy and therefore of all British citizens and taxpayers. However, it is also good politics, since it should increase the Conservative party’s appeal to Muslim voters.

Islamic Bank of Britain changes name to Al Rayan Bank

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) plans to change its name to Al Rayan Bank PLC, subject to formal shareholder approval. The change will be completed in December 2014. The rebrand follows IBB's acquisition, earlier in the year, by Qatar-based Masraf Al Rayan (MAR). Rebranding activity will involve the introduction of a new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank, and customers' deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. With an increased focus on corporate and real estate finance, Al Rayan Bank will develop its presence in London. Its retail banking and operational head quarters will remain in Birmingham.

UK’s IBB is set to become Al Rayan Bank, serving Muslims, non-Muslims alike

The synergy between the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) and its parent company Masraf Al Rayan will soon be reflected in the British bank’s name. Customers were informed last week that the new name for IBB to be adopted towards the end of the year will be Al Rayan Bank. Sultan Choudhury, chief executive officer of IBB, emphasised in the letter he sent out last week informing customers about the name change that the bank remains British regulated with a British board. The bank has invested heavily in its internet banking capability which has opened up its services to a much broader customer base. Its latest data also shows a big surge in non-Muslim customers.

Europe’s first “Eco-Mosque” to open in Cambridge

Baraka Khan, a 23-year-old Cambridge University student, has launched a project to build Europe’s first ecologically friendly mosque in the British city of Cambridge. The Cambridge Mosque, which will hold 1,000 worshipers, will be almost entirely reliant on green energy, with an almost-zero carbon footprint. The mosque building will be naturally lit all year round using large skylights integrated into the building’s design, and it will boast a green roof as well as an air-source heat pump for regulating temperature. The man who will design the building is award-winning architect Marks Barfield, who is also responsible for the iconic London Eye. He says he is aiming to merge traditional Islamic architectural motifs with those of the European Gothic style in order to bring the two cultures together.

Chief Commercial Officer appointed at Islamic Bank of Britain

Islamic Bank of Britain plc (IBB), has appointed Keith Leach to the newly created position of Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Mr Leach’s remit is to grow IBB’s corporate and real estate business, focussing on higher value transactions. His appointment follows the Bank’s acquisition by Masraf Al Rayan (QSC) earlier in the year. A £75.8 million cash injection from IBB’s new parent company, provided in February 2014, will support its expansion plans. Appointed to the position from his role at the Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), Mr Leach has over 30 years of banking experience with Lloyds, Ahli United and ABC, 20 years of which has been spent in the UK Islamic finance industry.

Islamic Debt Seen Funding U.K. Wind Farms to Rail Tracks

Islamic debt could become a source of funding for U.K. infrastructure projects from wind turbines to high-speed trains and airports as Britain cements its position as the first sukuk market in a non-Muslim nation. Investors see scope for the U.K. to issue Shariah-compliant bonds with varying maturities after the Debt Management Office attracted bids for more than 10 times the 200 million pounds ($331 million) of securities offered at its debut sale in June. There is investor appetite for more sales that could help fund almost 400 billion pounds of planned infrastructure projects. The U.K. government envisages 377 billion pounds of infrastructure projects in the coming years, with most of it financed privately or part-privately. Major projects include a high-speed railway link between London and Birmingham and wind turbines.

Islamic bank BLME eyes first dividend in ’16

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME), Britain’s largest stand-alone Islamic bank, aims to pay its first dividend in early 2016 as the lender diversifies its revenue and funding streams. Founded in 2006 by Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank, BLME has not paid a dividend, but its net distributable reserves are expected to reach a sufficient level in 2015, chief executive Humphrey Percy said. BLME, which provides corporate banking and wealth management services, posted a net profit of £4m ($6.6m) in the first half of 2014, up from £1m during the same period last year. This was aided by diversification of revenue streams, with the corporate banking division seeing its total operating income grow 32.5 percent from a year earlier.

Arabs turn investment eye to UK and Europe

Europe is the preferred target of Arab investors with 80% of the expected $180bn Arab investment flowing in to UK and Europe over the next 10 years. In the UK, London is the preferred destination. Arabs have invested heavily in European commercial real estate in recent years and have made huge profits from these investments. Some of the cash-rich Arab countries are unwilling to invest in the region because of the protracted social and political tensions in the region and see European market as safe havens to park their money. According to the latest report by global property advisor CBRE, Middle Eastern investors are expected to spend $180bn in commercial real estate markets outside of their own region over the next decade.

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