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.
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 in Birmingham, UK launched an Islamic Finance and Business Centre – the first of its kind in Europe.
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.
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.
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 Investments has written down the entire value of its 30 % stake in Amiri Capital, a company offering a Sharia compliant Hedge fund platform.
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.
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.
"SAVE THE DATE"
16th June 2009, 09:30 – 12:30
Islamic Cultural Centre - London Central Mosque, Regents
Faith in Capitalism
A ground-breaking conference for financial representatives
of faith institutions and thoughtful investment management
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
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ABC International Bank plc ("ABCIB") has appointed Faisal Alshowaikh as Head of Islamic Financial Services, based in London, to grow and develop its Islamic finance business, which was first established in late 1999, and includes Real Estate, Leasing and Islamic home finance through its alburaq retail finance business
Gatehouse Bank launches with Sustainable Assets Management (SAM) an Islamic compliant mutual fund focussing on sustainability-oriented companies that offer technologies, products and services throughout the entire value chain of the water industry.
FT has today a 4 page special on Islamic finance. The link below leads to its pdf version (size 10 MB), discussing standardisation issues, credit crunch and other topics.
Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), has delayed one global equity tracker and one emerging markets equities fund as the financial crisis constrains clients in the Middle East according to the CEO, reported Cecilia Valente and Daryl Loo on Reuters. One fund which has been delayed but is now poised to launch later this year with $70 million will aim to exploit a niche market for office space for doctors in the United States. BLME has also raised GBP 50 mn from an institutional investor for a UK property fund and plans to raise GBP 20 mn by June for a pooled UK property fund.
Cecilia Valente reported on Reuters that Lloyd's of London is examining the viability of an Islamic reinsurance, or takaful, syndicate with interested parties planning capacity of up to GBP 200 mn (USD 294.5 mn) according to
Mohammad Khan, director for takaful at PwC. A previous syndicate in 2006, Creechurch Underwriting Limited , did not underwrite ultimately because the firm was taken over.
Royal Bank of Scotland sees big growth opportunities in Islamic investment banking, expecting asset growth rates to remain 15-20 percent annually and profitability levels to increase, Navid Goraya, RBS' global head of Islamic banking said.
Bank of London and the Middle East plans to focus on its wealth-management business this year and then aim for listing on the London Stock Exchange next year.
Esteban Duarte and Neil Unmack reported on Bloomberg on 30 March that European Finance House Ltd. in London, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank seeks is planning the EFH Global Sukuk Plus Fund, managed by Aleksandar Devic, a former Lehman Brothers credi analyst. The Fund targets USD 200 mn.
EFH’s Luxembourg-based fund is targeting this year a yield of 6 % points more than the 3-m USD LIBOR. The fund will buy sukuk with an average credit rating of A, the sixth-highest investment grade ranking in Standard & Poor’s scale.
Mark Watts is head of asset management at European Finance House an he expects a strong rising Sukuk issuance once capital markets are free again.
Jane Bradley reported in the Scotsman on 3 April that Islamic Bank of Britain is introducting its mortgage product to Scotland. It is understood the launch is just the beginning of a wider push into Scotland – which is likely to include the opening of a physical branch and back office operations as well as the introduction of online retail banking for Scottish customers.
"The opportunities offered by Islamic finance in promoting global financial stability and financial inclusion are worth assessment by the leadership of the G-20 countries," said Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank President Ahmed Mohamed Ali, reported Mushtak Parker in the Arab News.
The President told an Islamic Financial Architecture Colloquium hosted yesterday by Lord Mayor of the City of London Ian Luder at his official headquarters that it is time that the wider world should consider mainstreaming Islamic financial services. And the best way to do this is to accord the relevant Islamic finance stakeholders "observer status" within the framework of the G-20 and the expanded Financial Stability Forum of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).