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#UK gets its first Islamic P2P crowdfunder for SMEs

A new UK-based Shariah-compliant crowdfunding platform providing business financing to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) launched at the end of June. Qardus is an appointed representative of Share In Ltd. According to founder Hassan Daher, Qardus is a peer-to-peer platform for everyone, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, open to investors seeking to generate superior returns as well as having a social impact. Qardus connects SMEs and investors. The platform offers the unsecured financing for a period of up to two years in the form of commodity murabahah. The minimum investment size is £100 and investors can expect over 10% return per annum but capital is at risk. Looking ahead, Qardus plans to offer more than peer-to-peer lending. It will look to raise £1.5 million by the end of this year and may consider VC funding or equity crowdfunding.

The Hajj Pilgrimage Is Canceled, and Grief Rocks the Muslim World

The cancellation of the Hajj pilgrimage sent shock waves of sadness and disappointment across the Muslim world. Performing the pilgrimage at least once for those who are physically and financially able is one of the five pillars of Islam. Making the trip is a sacred milestone for the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims. The Saudi government announced on Monday that no pilgrims from outside the kingdom could perform the hajj this year. On Tuesday, Saudi officials narrowed the order, saying that only about 1,000 pilgrims would be permitted this year, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million who came last year. The cancellation weighs particularly heavily on older Muslims who have been waiting for years to go in hopes that they can fulfill their religious obligation before death.

Religion Meets Profit Generation in a Slew of New Faith-Based ETFs

Wahed Invest launched its first exchange-traded fund in the U.S. in July 2019. In June 2020, money manager Global X filed to launch a bond fund aligned to Catholic values. The surge in religious ETF offerings has come alongside the boom in responsible investing, often referred to by the shorthand ESG, for environmental, social, and governance. Global assets in ETFs under the ESG category have almost doubled in the past year, now reaching more than $110 billion. Wahed FTSE USA Shariah ETF tracks an index compiled by the FTSE Russell, which works with a board of experts that determines each company is compliant. Wahed’s ETF has seen inflows of about $35 million since its July 2019 launch.

Not enough Shari’ah experts, lack of tax neutrality hinder Islamic banking in PH

One of the challenges of developing Islamic banking in the Philippines is that there are not enough Shari’ah scholars or Islamic finance experts. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also noted the lack of tax neutrality as a challenge. In order to have a clear information campaign, the BSP issued the latest FAQs or "Frequently Asked Questions". The BSP also issued "Simplified and concise discussions on lslamic banking fundamentals" that cover the following major points: core features of the lslamic banking law; accessibility of lslamic banking to both Muslims and non-Muslims; key distinctions between conventional and lslamic banking; and requirements for establishing lslamic banks or lslamic banking units (IBUs) in the Philippines.

BusinessJUNE 23, 2020 8:06 AM AESTShare World Bank Approves $US500 Million to support Morocco’s financial and digital inclusion reforms

The World Bank approved a US$500 million Financial and Digital Inclusion Development Policy Financing (DPF) program, which will support key policy reforms to promote digital transformation. The current DPF seeks to improve financial inclusion and access to more competitive digital infrastructure and services. In addition to promoting microfinance, the program will support access to foreign currency for startups. The DPF also paves the way for the Intelaka entrepreneurship program by supporting reforms conducive to startups’ development and creating new asset classes for early-stage financing for innovative enterprises.

ESG, syariah stock indices slightly outpaced conventional counterparts on better management, lower leverage — Islamic finance heads

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) and Islamic stock indices have marginally outperformed their conventional counterparts this year, owing to their better management and lower leverage. Refinitiv head of Islamic finance Mustafa Adil said while syariah-compliant equity indices experienced identical volatility-induced declines to conventional stock indices, they had staged a better recovery so far. He added that these equities are expected to provide greater returns in the medium to long term as they are less leveraged.

World Bank: Islamic finance value proposition has to be clear

The World Bank said the Islamic capital market's (ICM) value proposition has to be very clear to show that its concept is more powerful than the environmental, societal and governance (ESG) investment schemes. World Bank financial sector specialist consultant Dr Mohamed Eskandar Shah said ESG's value proposition seems to be quite straight forward compared to Islamic finance. He noted that between 2007 and 2019, the ICM, measured in global shariah equities, saw a 4.3% growth a year compared to the 10.2% expansion in ESG equities. As such, Islamic finance could become a subset of ESG investing, or eventually people will brand Islamic finance in the context of ESG, rather than Islamic finance having its own identity.

#Turkey's Erdogan says Islamic economy can pull world 'out of crisis'

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Islamic economic system is the key to getting out of crisis as global economy continues to suffer from coronavirus pandemic. President Erdogan said the loss of nearly 440,000 lives worldwide can't be attributed to Covid-19 alone, saying many countries have an economic system that protects only strong and the rich. Erdogan said Turkey is among the countries that has fought the pandemic with the least damage. Pointing out the country’s first-quarter growth of 4.5%, Erdogan said that Turkey has shown that it distinguished itself positively from other countries not only in the health sector but also in the economy, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

IsDB eager to support development projects Madinah

IsDB President Dr. Bandar Bin Hajjar stated that the bank was working on a pioneering project to establish a "Global Waqf Centre of Excellence" in Madinah, with a capital of $50 million. The aim of the center is to build a global umbrella for the Waqf sector, linking and coordinating all those interested in Waqf. The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) is preparing to launch the first initiative of the center to grant an approved certificate of Waqf specialist. IRTI is also working on the "Ish’had" platform, which is an e-platform using blockchain technology, to document and protect Waqf properties.

#Saudi property firm Amlak plans first post-coronavirus Riyadh IPO

Saudi real estate financing firm Amlak International plans to float 30% of its shares in Riyadh, in what will be the exchange’s first initial public offering (IPO) since the coronavirus crisis. Amlak said the final offer price would be announced on June 30, after a book-building process starting on June 22. Saudi retailer BinDawood Holding also plans to launch an initial public offering as early as this month. The group hired Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, NCB Capital and GIB to organize the deal.

New York Online Investment Firm Gets Aramco Financing for Islamic Products

New York-based Wahed Invest has secured financing from oil giant Saudi Aramco to expand into the Middle East and make Riyadh its regional hub. The Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures extended the funding to the online Islamic investment platform as part of a $25 million funding round. The three-year-old Wahed Invest, which has secured a license to operate in Saudi Arabia, aims to get regulatory approval in 20 more countries. It currently has licenses to operate in nine countries. The company's Islamic Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) holds investments in Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Intel Corp. Wahed Invest is also contemplating listing its Islamic ETF on the Saudi stock exchange. Its ETF was listed on the Nasdaq last year.

El-Gamal claims lender violated sharia terms on Tribeca tower loan

Sharif El-Gamal put together one of the most unusual financing packages when he secured a sharia-compliant construction loan four years ago for his Tribeca condo tower. El-Gamal is now claiming that the Malaysian bank that made the loan has violated the sharia terms. El-Gamal argues Maybank violated the terms of their agreement by refusing to release construction funds to complete the project at 45 Park Place. He is seeking damages equal to the projected sellout of the development about $245 million. Maybank claims El-Gamal defaulted on his loan when he failed to repay the $108 million balance when it came due in April.

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Signs US$15 million Murabaha Financing Facility to support SMEs in Bangladesh

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has approved a US$15 million Murabaha Financing Facility in favour of City Bank Limited in Bangladesh to support the Bank’s private sector businesses. The financing comes at a critical time as SMEs in Bangladesh and other OIC member countries face the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The financing is part of the COVID-19 Response Package through the provision of medical supplies, staple foods and fertilizer for agricultural production to OIC countries including Bangladesh, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives and Senegal.

Humania’s US$125 Million Islamic Financing Facility

Clifford Chance has advised four international development finance institutions on a US$125 million Islamic financing facility to Humania. Led by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the institutions involved in the consortium were: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund), and OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund). Humania is a private healthcare company within the Bait Al Batterjee Group. The financing will be used to develop greenfield general hospitals in Alexandria (Egypt), and Casablanca (Morocco).

‘Hibah’ best tool to resolve Muslim inheritance issues: Experts

When Muslims fail to draw up a will outlining the proportion of distribution of their assets to their heirs, families resort to faraid, the Islamic law of inheritance, which can lead to disputes. According to sociologist Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran, many Malays are still not aware of the importance of naming the heirs to their estate beforehand. The concept of hibah would be an alternative and more effective way. It refers to the transfer of legal and beneficial ownership of assets from the donor to the beneficiary on a voluntary basis, with the proportion and distribution to heirs and non-heirs being determined by the donor. Money left in accounts without the hibah instrument is categorised as part of the estate of the deceased account holder and, as such, the heir will have to go through a lengthy application process to claim the money.

Shariah-compliant #gold trading platform to launch in #UK

A digital gold-trading platform compliant with Islamic finance norms is about to get launched in the UK. Minted is a start-up domiciled in London that aims at making gold trading simple, secure and affordable. Minted launched the beta version of its platform in early May and plans to introduce a full-fledged version in mid-June and a mobile app by the end of July. With a total of £1mn in seed funding, of which it already received half from a venture capital investor, Minted plans to expand to Germany and France and, later on, to Turkey, the US, South Asia and Africa.

‘It’s beyond our dreams to have Islamic banks all over the world’ – Shaikh Saleh Kamel, 1941 – May 18, 2020

Shaikh Saleh Kamel, founder of Al Baraka Banking Group, passed away on May 18. He was one of the pioneers of Islamic banking, having set up one of the first of the modern-day Shariah-compliant banks in the late 1970s that became the Al Baraka Banking Group today. Shaikh Saleh was also President of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and he served as the Chair of the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions. Shaikh Saleh said his satellite and internet channel, which he opened in 1998 and that largely presents religious content, was one of the things in his life he was most proud of.

Dantata, Dangote et Indimi : qui sont les oligarques derrière la banque islamique Jaiz du milliardaire Umaru Mutallab ?

Le vétéran de la banque et ancien ministre Umaru Mutallab s'est reconverti dans la finance islamique avec d'autres notables et magnats du nord du pays, tels qu'Aminu Dantata, Aliko Dangote et Muhammed Indimi. Ils sont soutenus par la banque publique saoudienne Islamic Development Bank.

Al Baraka Bank appoints new chairman

Al Baraka Banking Group announced the appointment of Abdullah Saleh Kamel as the board's new chairman. Previously, the chairman position was held by the late Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, the group's founder who passed away last month. Kamel served as the board's vice chairman and chairman of the executive committee for several years, contributing to the group's expansion strategies.

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