The Arab Regulators Conference, hosted by the Arab Monetary Fund, took place on 8-9 March in Abu Dhabi. The two-day conference was an opportunity for regulators to engage in an open dialogue on how to strengthen the development of corporate governance across the region. The conference was attended by over 160 delegates from 17 different countries from both the regulatory and the private sectors. Abdullatif Al Othman, Chairman of Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments (SAIIC) highlighted the importance of corporate governance. He urged attendees to adopt the highest international standards of corporate governance, to help move the region from frontier markets to emerging markets to developed markets. This year, board diversity and women’s role on the board were also widely discussed as were governance trends and best practices.
With the growing demand for Islamic finance, the need for specially-educated professionals in the field becomes crucial. Ahmed Alkholifey, chairman of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) elaborated this idea in his keynote speech on the second day of the 23rd World Islamic Banking Conference. As an attempt to tackle the lack of human capital in Islamic banking industry, the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) attempts to train individuals on the field providing degrees that combine theory and practice. Ahmed A. Hameed Al-Shaikh, deputy director of BIBF, said one of the most popular courses was Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance (ADIF), which gives a general yet intensive overview of Islamic finance. Education provided at BIBF is tailored to cater to each group of students as needed.
Noor Bank closed an AED 850 million Syndicated Islamic Financing Facility for Ajman Bank. The two-year Shari’a compliant facility shall be utilised towards Ajman Bank’s future growth plans. Noor Bank was mandated for the second time to act as Lead Arranger. Dubai Islamic Bank, First Gulf Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, The Arab Investment Company and Warba Bank joined the deal as Mandated Lead Arrangers, while National Bank of Bahrain participated as an Arranger. Commenting on the facility, Noor Bank's CEO Hussain Al Qemzi said that this syndication was testament to Noor Bank's service quality and the relationship amongst the two institutions. He expressed his gratitude to Ajman Bank and all the partner banks who helped to close the transaction.
Dar Al Sharia Islamic Finance Consultancy has recently confirmed that the shares of DAMAC Properties are Sharia-compliant for the purposes of investment and trading. Adil Taqi, Group Chief Financial Officer of DAMAC Properties, said this certification will open up new horizons by attracting a wider range of potential investors that seek Sharia-compliant financial instruments. DAMAC's financial ratios are within the acceptable limits prescribed by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institution (AAOIFA) Sharia Standards and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) Sharia Standard for share trading. DAMAC Properties’ financials will be reviewed on a quarterly basis in order to ascertain the ongoing Sharia compliance status.
The first China-UAE Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance is organized between May 24-25, 2016 in Beijing, China. The Conference will serve as an international platform for experts, decision-makers, scholars, academicians and other Islamic Banking and Finance stakeholders to exchange knowledge and best practices. The debuting conference aims to capitalize on the strategic ties between the UAE and China to identify challenges and opportunities related to Islamic finance.
HSBC and NCB Capital announced the completion of the largest ever government guaranteed Sukuk in Saudi Arabia for the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA). Totaling a size of SAR 15.211 billion (US$4.056 billion), the Sukuk achieved a profit rate of 3.21% p.a. HSBC and NCB Capital acted as Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners of the Sukuk. Additionally, HSBC acted as the Sukuk Coordinator, Sole Shari'ah Coordinator, Sukuk Holders' Agent, and Payment Administration Agent. Standard Chartered Saudi Arabia was Co-Lead Manager for the Issuance. The deal was 1.9 times oversubscribed with strong demand from a wide range of investors including banks, sovereign funds, pension agencies, insurance companies and corporates. Additionally, this issuance is also approved by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) to be eligible for repo arrangements and has also been assigned zero% risk weighting for capital adequacy calculation purpose.
Together with some of the leading global managers, SEDCO Capital has worked on the development of sophisticated Shariah-compliant investments. Due to low leverage they often are even more rewarding than conventional investments. Through Islamic finance real value in the economy can be created, enabling the creation of real growth and jobs. Also, the sukuk market continuously grows on a global scale because of ncreasing interest in Islamic financing modes.
In a seminar, organized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Centre for Responsible Business, the progress of the different groups from the Sustainability Network Task Groups and their promised deliverables and achievements were discussed with the business community. Since the launch in April this year, the aim of the groups was to provide initiatives and resources for the business community on Workplace Wellness, Community Investment, Employee Volunteering, Waste Management & Resource Efficiency, and Integrating CSR. Considerable progress of the groups was pointed out with the note that the task groups are doing a good job in providing businesses insight into strategical implementation of specific CSR and Sustainability practices in business.
With the participation of a couple of major international banks, Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank has signed anIslamic finance deal worth $450 million making this a record. 32 banks from 16 countries are included in the facility. Among them are Standard Chartered Bank, Noor Islamic Bank, ABC Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD. Nominations for mandated lead arrangers are announced: Bank Islam Brunei Berhad Darussalam and Al Hilal Bank.
AXA has partnered with SALAMA - Islamic Arab Insurance Company to offer Group Life Solutions to AXA’s clients in the UAE.
SALAMA, the world's largest Takaful and Re-Takaful Group ties up with Crédit Agricole Asset Management Group (CAAM Group), to offer 3 Islamic funds: BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) quantitative fund, an active Asian equities ex-Japan and a Global Equity fund of Islamic funds.
IFIS published a report on 24 January discussed on Albawaba that Sukuk or Islamic bond markets have witnessed a dramatic decline during 2008, especially during the 4th Quarter, which was the lowest since 2002, and 2008 was a worse year for sukuk than both 2006 and 2007 with no issuances even of a Dollar Sukuk and the total amount dropping to only USD 584 mn in Q4 2008. South East Asia was more severely impacted than the GCC in 2008, with issuance falling by 76% down to USD 6.57 bn for the entire year. The decline in the GCC was quite severe as well, however, with issuance falling to USD 9.06 bn, a 51% drop. The global total for sukuk issuance, USD 15.77 bn, was 66% lower than the figure for 2007. This is the first year on year drop in sukuk issuance since the year 2000.
Islamic syndicated lending expanded from USD 19.6 bn in 2007 to USD 27.2 bn in 2008, a 32% increase. But as with credit markets worldwide, Islamic syndicated lending froze almost completely in Q4 2008.
Global-Saudi is an investment bank with a capital of 50 million Saudi riyals. It carries out conventional and Islamic financial services such as the establishment and management of investment funds, portfolio management, international brokerage, private and public placement, underwriting, advisory, dealings as a principal and as an agent as well as custody. Additionally, Global-Saudi obtained approval from the Authority to launch 3 Investment Funds, which are the Global GCC Market Fund, Global GCC Equity Fund and Global Saudi Equity Fund (Noor Fund).