Pakistan

Banking on Islam

Many prospective banking customers cannot easily discriminate between the convential and the Islamic banking system. Despite this lack of clarity, the number of Islamic banks and Islamic banking counters of conventional banks have increased by the day. The question to ask is as to how exactly are they operating here and what models are they adopting in the presence of a well-established interest based banking system. Around 99 per cent Islamic banking in Pakistan revolves around lending and buy-back model and not even one per cent is based on profit and loss sharing. A physical asset is involved in deals. The real challenge for Islamic banks is how to cater to the borrowing needs of the government that are huge.

UBL launches Al-Ameen Islamic active allocation plan

UBL Fund Managers Limited (UBL Funds) announced the launch of the Al-Ameen Islamic Active Allocation Plan–IV, under the Al-Ameen Islamic Financial Planning Fund. This Plan is now open for subscription. The plan actively allocates investments between Islamic equity and Islamic income/money market classes with an aim to achieve potentially high returns. It has a term of two years and is ideal for investors who wish to benefit from the equity market and desire active management of their investment portfolios. Mir Muhammad Ali, Chief Executive UBL Funds, said that the Al-Ameen Islamic Active Allocation Plan series has been well received by investors with initial investments of Al-Ameen Islamic Active Allocation Plans I, II and III totaling more than Rs. 6.3bn.

35,000 people defrauded in name of Islamic finance

A fraud of around Rs 30 billion in Islamic investment system of Mudarba and Musharaka has been committed by the Elixir Group of Companies, reveals an investigation by National Accountability Bureau. The fraud, which has victimised over 35,000 people across the country, was committed by a group of so-called Islamic scholars through a large number of mosque imams, seminary managers, madrassa students, their families, relatives and acquaintances. The scam planners are all settled abroad and most of them have dual nationalities, according to a NAB officer who is close to the investigation process.

SBP introducing fixed rental rate Ijara Sukuk

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has introduced three-year Fixed Rental Rate Government of Pakistan (GOP) Ijara Sukuk (FRR-GIS). Presently, Variable Rental Rate GOP Ijara Sukuk (VRR-GIS) is being auctioned and its rental rate is being fixed every three months on the basis of Market Treasury Bills' cut-off yield. However, on the request of Islamic Banking Industry, SBP has decided to launch Fixed Rental Rate GOP Ijara Sukuk for market development. The rental rate decided in the auction will be applicable to the entire tenor of FRR-GIS and will be paid to FRR-GIS holders on semi-annual basis. Minimum bid size will be Rs 100,000 and in multiples thereof. Rental rate (% p.a.) has to be specified up to a maximum of two decimals points.

Emaan Islamic Banking, Islamic Banking Division of Silkbank, Comes on Strong

Silkbank introduced Emaan Islamic Banking through conversion of its seven conventional banking branches into dedicated Islamic Banking branches. In early 2013, three new branches were added to the Islamic Banking network. Emaan Islamic Banking offers a suite of deposit products as well as a range of asset products. The Islamic Banking Division has an alliance with Pak Qatar Family Takaful to provide Takaful & Saving Plans. With the implementation of the SBP Shari’ah Governance Framework and induction of a renowned Shariah scholar, the Islamic Banking Division endeavours to develop Islamic Banking products in Pakistan and serve as a catalyst in Islamic Banking growth in the region. The Bank plans to add 60 new branches in 2016 to the existing network and another 102 branches in the next two years.

JSCL restricted from buying Dubai Bank’s stakes in BankIslami

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rejected request of Jehangir Siddiqui and Company Limited (JSCL) to review its decision to disallow Dubai Bank to sell out its shares to its sponsor shareholders of BankIslami. JSCL approached the central bank in September 2015 to submit an application to the central bank with suggestions in order to getting additional shares in BankIslami. However, the central bank retained its decision and disallowed the management of BankIslami to sell its stakes of Dubai Bank to JSCL in pursuant to Founding Shareholding Agreement under which sponsor shareholders are not allowed to increase its shareholding. Earlier in August 2015, a consortium led by Ali Hussain of JSCL and Alkaram Group offered Dubai Bank to purchase its 144.200 million in the BankIslami.

Salam: Both a Greeting & Innovative Agricultural Financing Option

For over 6 million Pakistani smallholders with 10 acres of land or less, financing options are very limited and prevent them from building assets over time. Thus, farmers tend to do what has been done for centuries: use Artees, middlemen who have long responded to their agricultural and personal financial needs. Artees directly provide farmers with seeds and fertilizers, and collect the equivalent amount in crops at harvest time. According to some estimats, Artees finance at least 50% of smallholders in Pakistan. Since 2009, farmers in Punjab have had another financing option called Salam, which seeks to give them a bigger role in the decision-making. It is offered by Wasil Foundation.

SBP to set up Shariah-compliant open market

The deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan has announced that the bank is setting up a Shariah-compliant open market to manage liquidity of the Islamic banking sector. Deputy Governor, Saeed Ahmed's announcement came on Wednesday as he addressed the global forum on Islamic economics, banking and finance arranged by the University of Management and Technology's Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance. In his speech, he reiterated his bank's commitment to promoting and developing the Islamic banking in Pakistan. The existing banking laws are being amended and soon this process will be finalised, he said. Those who too addressed the forum were Islamic finance scholars Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Justice Khalil-ur-Rehma, among others.

Premier Insurance appoints Usmani as adviser Takaful

Premier Insurance appointed Imran Taqi Usmani as Shari’ah Adviser and Ernst and Young Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder as Shari’ah Auditor. Premier Insurance, which deals in various conventional insurance products, is offering Shariah compliant products, Takaful. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) enable Takaful business in the country and Premier Insurance offers the various services to clients across all economic sectors and products in all classes of general insurance. Imran Taqi Usmani, son of Justice (r) Taqi Usmani, renowned Islamic scholar holds LLB, MPhil and PhD degrees in Islamic Finance. He also holds an Alamiyya and a Takhassus (Specialisation in Islamic Jurisprudence) from Jamia Darul-Uloom, Karachi.

Jura Announces Entering Into Of Secured Long Term Syndicated Islamic Facility

Jura Energy Corporation has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Spud Energy Pty Limited ("SEPL"), has entered into a secured long term syndicated financing arrangement totalling Pakistan Rupees ("PKR") 750 million (US$7,153,500) effective December 18, 2015. The syndicate is comprised of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited ("ABPL"), the lead arranger and JS Bank Limited ("JSBL"), a related party of Jura, with participation of PKR 500 million and PKR 250 million respectively. The Facility will carry a mark-up at the rate of 3-month Karachi Inter Bank Offered Rate ("KIBOR") (6.48% using the State Bank of Pakistan posted rate on December 29, 2015) plus 2.75%, maturing five years from the date of disbursement.

Islamic Development Bank supports polio elimination with $90 million grant

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) recently granted $90 million in funds to help Pakistan implement the latest step of its polio elimination program through 2018. The IDB previously promised $227 million so that Pakistan could implement various disease elimination programs until 2015. In the past year, approximately 80 percent of the world’s wild poliovirus cases were located in Pakistan. A report from the World Health Organization showed serious vaccination gaps inside South Waziristan, Peshawar, Khyber Agency, northern Sindh, Karachi, and regions in Balochistan. For Pakistan and Afghanistan to eliminate polio, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative requires that health officials step up their efforts to stop the virus from transmitting from person to person.

Meezan Bank, EFU join hands for Takaful coverage

Meezan Bank and EFU General Insurance Limited have joined hands for Takaful Coverage of Car Ijarah vehicles. As per the agreement, EFU Takaful will provide coverage to the vehicles leased by Meezan Bank through its Shariah-compliant car financing service Car Ijarah. The MoU was signed by Ariful Islam, Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank and Mr. Hasan Ali Abdullah, Managing Director, EFU General Insurance Limited Window Takaful Operations, at Meezan Bank’s Head Office, Karachi. Irfan Siddiqui, President & CEO of Meezan Bank was also present at the occasion.

ADB to explore chances in Islamic Financing

Country Director Asian Development Bank (ADB) Werner Leipach, said that ADB was planning to explore opportunities of co-financing from new sources through Islamic Financing and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB assistance will be sought for the M4 Project, Shorkot-Khanewal Section, near the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Leipach mentioned that ADB’s total co-financing for Pakistan stood around $1050 million including $400 million grant commitments from DIFD. ADB has also provided trade finance support for the private sector investments to the tune of $95 million.

Standard Chartered sets up Shariah advisory board

Standard Chartered Pakistan has established a Shariah board to help guide the bank's transactions in accordance with the principles of Shariah. This board has been formed in compliance with the Shariah Governance Framework and from the directives of State Bank of Pakistan. The members are: Sheikh Nizam Yaquby (Chairman), Mufti Muhammad Abdul Mubeen, Mufti Irshad Ahmad Aijaz and Mufti Muhammad Abdullah. Through liasing with the board of directors and senior management of the bank, the Shariah board shall ensure Shariah compliance as per regulatory requirements. The board would also endeavour to provide guidelines for devising new products and services.

Interest-based lending: Drive needed to create awareness of Islamic alternatives

Even some prominent scholars are of the view that while charging interest is not permitted in Islam, paying interest on loans is not impermissible. This is a view that demands an analysis from both an intellectual and economic perspective. A scholar argues that those who pay interest do not fall under the category of those who “eat others’ property unjustly” and that they must not also be deemed as “cooperating” in dealing in interest. The Prophetic tradition also prohibits cooperation in matters related to interest-based business. According to the scholar, the payer of interest does not “eat others’ property unjustly.” Hence, he does not commit any sin when he pays interest. This is a flawed argument, as interest-based transactions are by their very nature cooperative in nature.

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

Powerhouse partners from across global Islamic financial ecosystem joining World Islamic Banking Conference

More than 1200 distinguished guests from more than 45 countries and 300 organizations participating this December, Bahrain

Key players from the global Islamic finance industry will be participating with the 22nd annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) 2015, taking place on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of December at the Gulf Hotel, Bahrain. Focusing on 'New Realities, New Opportunities', WIBC will play host to more than 1200 leaders including Central bank governors, regulators, C-suite bankers & asset managers, policy makers, Fintech entrepreneurs and contemporary thought leaders.
WIBC 2015 will host 5 central bank Governors and deputy governors and feature speeches and discussions by the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj, the Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, H.E. Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Riaz Riazuddin and the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Nurlan Kussainov.

PIA closes over-subscribed structured syndicated Islamic facility

Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIA) recently announced the successful closure of its US$ 120,000,000 Secured Syndicated Islamic Facility.
Citibank and Mashreq Bank PSC acted as joint initial mandated lead arrangers, bookrunners and coordinators for the facility. The transaction received an overwhelming response from the market and was over-subscribed.
The syndicate comprised of a diverse set of banks spread across GCC and South Asia. The participating banks included Askari Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, Noor Bank PJSC, United Bank Limited and Warba Bank KSCP as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Berhad as lead arranger and Bank Alfalah Limited as arranger. This transaction once again reiterates the multitude of synergies developing between the Middle East and Pakistan.
The facility carries a tenor of three years and will be utilized to support the Company’s ongoing strategic growth plans and general corporate purposes.

SBP reiterates commitment for Islamic banking

State Bank of Pakistan has reiterated its commitment for promotion and development of Islamic banking in Pakistan.
According to SBP’s press release, the share of Islamic banking in total deposits of the banking industry surged to 12.8% as of 30th June, 2015 due to is persistent efforts and is consistently growing with a cumulative average growth rate of over 50% during the past 12 years .
“To-date 5 full fledge Islamic banks, one Islamic Banking Subsidiary and 17 banks with dedicated Islamic Banking Branches are operating in the country with over 1700 branches spread all over the country”, the release read.
SBP has developed Shariah compliant open market operations for managing liquidity of Islamic banking sector, which is quite unique in the Islamic world. State Bank Shariah Board has also approved structure of Government of Pakistan Ijara Sukuk issued in the past and all such structures for future issues will be approved by SBP Shariah Board before their launch”.

SBP reiterates commitment to boost Islamic banking

In order to remove any ambiguity and doubt among the general public, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has reiterated its commitment for promotion and development of Islamic banking in Pakistan.
Due to persistent efforts of SBP and the federal government, the share of Islamic banking in total deposits of the banking industry has surged to 12.8% as of June 30, 2015 and is consistently growing with a cumulative average growth rate of over 50% during the past 12 years. To-date, 5 full fledge Islamic banks, one Islamic banking subsidiary and 17 banks with dedicated Islamic banking branches are operating in the country with over 1,700 branches spread all over the country.

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