UK

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.

Report on Social Responsibility Trends at Islamic Financial Institutions

The report on Social Responsibility Trends at Islamic Financial Institutions presents the results of an extensive survey on Social Responsibility at Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs) carried out during summer and fall of 2009 by DinarStandard and Dar Al Istithmar with the support of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Some key findings of the survey were:

Clients: 100% of respondents answered yes to having a policy to screen prospective clients which is actively implemented. Similarly 97% have an organizational policy that deals with client responsibly.

Employees: 83% of respondents’ state having policies that provide equal opportunity to all their employees, 93% have policies that ensures merit-based salary and promotion, and 86% having policies that specifically prohibits any kind of discrimination. However, when it comes to having policy to monitor employees from different backgrounds and gender, the response was mix with only 52% admitting to having such a monitoring policy and 48% not having any such policy.

Aston Business School launches first Islamic finance centre in Europe

Aston Business School in Birmingham, UK launched an Islamic Finance and Business Centre – the first of its kind in Europe.

UK: Tax issues under further clarification

The UK Government has committed to create a level playing field on VAT for retail investors in Islamic finance products. In his Pre-Budget Report statement, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, says he will also provide relief from tax on capital gains for alternative property refinance transactions to maintain the UK's position as a centre for Islamic finance.

In addition, guidance will be issued on VAT treatment of alternative finance investment bonds.

HM Treasury: Legislative framework for the regulation of alternative finance investment bonds (Sukuk)

On 14 October 2009 HM Treasury published a feedback statement to the consultation regarding regulation of Sukuk.

The document summarises the responses received to the above consultation, and provides feedback on these.

Further feedback to HM Treasury is requested:

"We would welcome any further comments on the revised statutory instrument (including the consequential amendments). As we have already conducted a full three month consultation, we will allow for a further period of approximately one month for any additional comments to be sent. Please provide any comments by 6 November 2009."

The consultation document can be downloaded at the link below.

Professor Buiter: Islamic finance principles to restore policy effectiveness

Lack of capitalisation of banks, households and the state is a key policy issue according to Professor Willem Buiter, who wrote a blog in the Financial Times online. Instead of defaults and bankruptcy with all its associated costs he suggests to turn debt to equity as the more efficient economic solution; calling explicitly the application of Islamic finance principles for this purpose as a possible solution.

Olivant writes down Amiri Capital stake

Olivant Investments has written down the entire value of its 30 % stake in Amiri Capital, a company offering a Sharia compliant Hedge fund platform.

QInvest buys 44% stake in 130-year old UK Panmure stockbroking firm

QInvest, trumped two other bidders to buy a 44 % stake in Panmure Gordon & Co, investing USD 36.3 mn in the 130-year-old British stockbroking firm. The deal would involve a placing of 67.5 million shares, priced at 34 pence per share a 15 % discount on Wednesday's closing price.

Panmure said the cash injection would enhance its balance sheet and give it the financial strength to grow into new business areas and locations, including the Gulf.

UK government still interested in issuing Sukuk when market recovers

The UK government could turn to Islamic investors to finance part of its debt if market conditions improve, Business Minister Ian Pearson told Reuters in an interview wrote Cecilia Valente.

The UK government was expected to announce an Islamic-compliant short-term debt programme of up to 2 billion pounds ($3.03 billion), but in November the pre-budget report shelved the plans, citing deteriorating markets.

Faith in Capitalism - 16th June 2009, 09:30 – 12:30, London

"SAVE THE DATE"
16th June 2009, 09:30 – 12:30
Islamic Cultural Centre - London Central Mosque, Regents
Park, London

Faith in Capitalism
A ground-breaking conference for financial representatives
of faith institutions and thoughtful investment management
professionals

Increasing awareness of the social impact of investment is
driving many thoughtful investors, especially private
clients, family offices, endowment funds and those having
strong faith values, towards a new philosophy of “Making
money and stewarding it responsibly”.

The morning’s presentations will include a Keynote Address
on “Faith in Capitalism” and panel discussions debating
“What does faith tell us about responsible investing?” and
“How can investors do good while making money?”

Do not miss this exceptional opportunity to gain a fresh,
inspirational perspective from renowned experts on
faith-based and sustainable investing. The conference will
be open to questions and comments from the audience, and
promises to be a uniquely informative event with
unprecedented opportunities for networking. There is no
charge to attend, thanks to the following sponsors:

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