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Islamic finance to show low to mid single-digit growth in 2020-2021: S&P

According to S&P Global Ratings, the global Islamic finance industry will show low-to-mid single-digit growth in 2020-2021 after 11.4% in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic will halt growth at GCC Islamic and conventional banks in 2020 as they focus on preserving asset quality rather than business expansion. Shariah-compliant banks are likely to see a greater effect on asset quality indicators since they typically have a higher proportion of exposure to real estate and cannot charge late payment fees. S&P projects the volume of sukuk issuance will reach $100 billion in 2020 compared with $162 billion in 2019. Corporates will also not support a rise in sukuk this year as they hold on to cash, cut capital expenditure and turn to bank financing.

#Saudi fintech surges even as coronavirus bites private sector

Saudi Arabia is seeing a faster adoption of technology at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has weighed heavy on the private sector. The FSD programme, which was launched three years ago, has achieved 90% of its targets and the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in the fintech sector, said Faisal al Sharif, director general of the Financial Sector Development (FSD) program. The FSD’s targets for Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) issuing fintech licences was three by end of 2020 but today there are eight such licences. Similarly, the target for cashless transactions was 28% e-transactions by end of this year, but today they make up almost 37% of the total.

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre Reviews Developments of Strategic Initiatives

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) recently held its third virtual board meeting of 2020. Dubai has successfully positioned itself as a prestigious regional centre that offers significant opportunities to traders and investors. DIEDC’s board discussed the GIES Virtual Series that is organised in collaboration with the Centre’s strategic partners, to prepare for the upcoming Global Islamic Economy Summit in 2021. With four webinars already held to date, the virtual series is set to continue until end-2020. With the participation of leading local, regional and international industry experts, the virtual webinars have highlighted many topics of interest to Islamic economy stakeholders.

The ethnicity pensions gap

The People’s Pension identified that pensioners from ethnic minorities are on average £3,350 a year, or 24.4%, worse off than other pensioners – calling this the ‘ethnicity pensions gap’. Furthermore, the Black and Minority Ethnic population is projected to grow by about 50% reaching 21% of the population by 2051 – so this is a growing problem that needs our attention now. Governmental changes to remove the pensions barriers will go some way to help the lower earners, such as removing the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment of £10,000 – but these are yet to be implemented.

FinCEN files: Big banks let $2 trillion 'dirty money' move around world

The FinCEN files show that the world's biggest banks have allowed criminals to move "dirty money" around the globe. In total, these reports flagged more than $2 trillion in transactions. The BBC reported that Russian oligarchs used banks to avoid sanctions and moved their money into the West. The FinCEN files are more than 2,500 documents, most of which were files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017. It has been revealed through these documents that a bank allowed fraudsters to move millions of dollars even after it learned from US investigators that the scheme was a scam. There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers - Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes.

Munir Lallmahamood, CEO de la Century Banking, interrogé par l'ICAC pour transactions frauduleuses

Century Banking Corporation, qui opérait dans la finance islamique, fait l’objet d’une enquête de la Commission anticorruption. C’est avec effet immédiat que la Banque de Maurice a pris la décision de révoquer le permis de Century Banking Corporation qui opère dans la finance islamique. L’ancien Premier ministre malaisien Najib Razak a été reconnu coupable des sept chefs d’accusation dans le premier de plusieurs procès pour corruption de plusieurs millions de dollars. Il a été condamné à 12 ans de prison. Le CEO de l’établissement, Munir Lallmahamood a été interrogé dans les locaux de la Commission anticorruption par les hommes de Navin Beekarry le vendredi 4 septembre.

Saudi German Hospital secures $81.33mln loan from Al Rajhi Bank

The Middle East Healthcare Company (Saudi German Hospital) received Sharia-compliant credit facilities worth SAR 305 million from Al Rajhi Bank. A total of SAR 120 million of the financing is revolving loans that will be renewed periodically, while the remaining sum of SAR 185 million will be paid within six years. The first amount is short-term financing that aims to cover working capital needs whilst the second sum is a medium-term loan that will be used in financing the healthcare provider's digital transformation. The loan is guaranteed by a promissory note.

Vice President Ma’ruf can ‘do more’ to develop sharia economy

As a respected elder figure among the Muslim grassroots, Indonesian Vice President Ma’ruf Amin was initially expected to play a significant role in enacting policies that could benefit the country’s majority-Muslim population. But analysts have suggested that Ma’ruf could still do more to promote the sharia economy and finance. The government launched a masterplan for the sharia economy last year, which provides a five-year development roadmap. The plan hopes to transform Indonesia into a net producer of halal goods and services, instead of merely being a big market for them. According to analysts, Ma’ruf should encourage the state to focus more on developing the sharia economy, particularly in providing stimulus programs among sharia-based businesses and strengthening sharia institutions.

Aligning Money and Mission at Banks: What Nonprofits and Foundations Can Do

Banking has fueled racial inequity and social harm in many ways and for a long time. Before the Fair Housing Act passed in 1968, banks regularly contributed to racial segregation and wealth inequality in the US by refusing to make loans to Black Americans or in neighborhoods that were predominantly Black. In the 2000s, Black and Latin Americans who were able to purchase homes and gain some wealth were disproportionately targeted for high-cost predatory loans. When the crash came, the nation’s already enormous racial wealth gap grew even larger. Banks continue to fund fossil fuel firms, prisons, detention centers, and payday lenders. Most organizations and individuals are unknowingly funding these activities with their deposits. The Beneficial State Foundation established the Equitable Bank Standards that clearly define both mission-aligned and harmful practices of banks. With the nonprofit sector accounting for over $3 trillion in assets, aligning money with values could make a huge difference.

Digitization In Banking Market will touch a new level in upcoming year with Top Key Players like Islamic Insurance Company, JamaPunji, AMAN, Salama, Standard Chartered

The Digitization In Banking Market report focuses on the comprehensive analysis of current and future prospects of the Digitization In Banking industry. Top Key Vendors of this Market includes: Islamic Insurance Company, JamaPunji, AMAN, Salama, Standard Chartered, Takaful Brunei Darussalam, Allianz, Prudential BSN Takaful, Zurich Malaysia, Takaful Malaysia and Qatar Islamic Insurance Company. The report can be purchased at https://www.a2zmarketresearch.com/buy?reportId=64965

Shariah-compliant businesses shown to rate more highly in ESG than conventional firms

According to a recent analysis by asset management firm Arabesque, Shariah-compliant companies scored better than the overall group in 19 out of 22 environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) categories. For the vast majority of 22 business topics, Shariah-compliant companies outperform the wider dataset, and most strongly in the areas of labour rights, human rights, environmental management and water use. One of the most recent companies to adopt the AAOIFI Code of Ethics for Islamic Finance Professionals is Ethis Global, which believes it is the first Islamic fintech to do so. The Malaysian social crowdfunding platform is also a signatory to the the United Nations Global Compact (GC).

With building blocks in place, #Malaysia says it’s ready to welcome Islamic fintech investors

The Islamic fintech space is growing in Malaysia, with recent entrants and an expanding consumer base. Government support and related initiatives are helping to drive the sector’s development. There are currently some 26 Islamic fintechs operating out of the country. While Malaysians have the possibility to bank in a Shariah-compliant manner, Islamic fintech has not yet reflected the same range of services that conventional fintech has offered, particularly in North America, Europe and China. Such gaps in the market have yet to be tapped, but there is a ready market for such services. A new digital bank could drive sectoral development, with Bank Negara Malaysia granting five licenses, with one potentially an Islamic provider.

Cover Story: Sustaining the performance of shariah funds

Shariah-compliant investments are resilient and even tend to perform better than their conventional peers in troubled times. This was proven during the first half of the year, when the average returns of global and Malaysian equity shariah funds were higher than those of their conventional counterparts. Ismitz Matthew De Alwis, executive director and CEO of Kenanga Investors, notes that shariah funds in general have outperformed due to their lack of exposure to the banking sector and a higher weighting in defensive sectors such as healthcare and telecommunications. Despite signs of improving economic data, De Alwis expects the equity market to remain volatile. As the market grapples with the risk of surging Covid-19 infections, governments could be forced to reimpose restrictions on business activities.

Indonesian personal finance portal Finansialku eyeing more investors with new Islamic feature

Indonesian personal finance assistant PT Solusi Finansialku plans to launch a dedicated Islamic feature to capture a broader base of investors. Finansialku currently has more than six certified financial planners focused on Shariah-compliant investing but lacks a dedicated Islamic section on its app and platform. Its app has been downloaded 203,000 times since April 2017 and it is targeting 4 million downloads by 2022. Finansialku started in 2013 and only digitalised in 2016, moving its services online and to an app. Its advisors are CFPs certified by the national authority the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB).

Dubai lifts veil on debt, showing it owes much less than thought

Dubai made a rare foray into public bond markets, revealing that its debt burden is now a lot smaller than estimated by analysts only months ago. The emirate’s outstanding direct debt stood at 123.5 billion dirhams ($33.6 billion) as of June 30. That’s about 28% of last year’s gross domestic product. Dubai's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, trade and retail, sectors hardest hit by the emergency. The global pandemic forced Dubai to delay this year’s World Expo. The government revised this year’s budget revenue to 44.2 billion dirhams down more than 30% from what it originally envisaged. It also decreased its projected expenditure to 56.2 billion dirhams for 2020, leaving a deficit of 11.9 billion dirhams. Dubai owes a total of $20 billion to the Abu Dhabi government and the UAE central bank, an amount it used to support strategic entities that required financial assistance.

Sustainability and Islamic Finance in the United Arab Emirates

The targets set by the UAE to prepare the country’s economy for a post-hydrocarbon era have been very ambitious. As part of its economic diversification actions, the UAE has undertaken to increase the clean energy contribution to the total energy mix from 0.2% in 2014, to 24% by 2021. In the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, a target is set of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 70% by 2050 and increasing the use of clean energy to meet 50% of the country’s energy needs by the same year. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 similarly sets out the emirate’s aim of transforming Dubai into a global clean energy centre. These goals will require considerable capital investment. However, while other centres for Islamic finance have seen a growing number of responsible finance sukuk issuances, there have been noticeably fewer issuances in the UAE. Mobilising private sector finance through responsible financing activities will be critical in helping the UAE government to meet its extensive sustainability targets.

Millennium launches worldwide operations in Dubai to help $2.5 trillion international Islamic finance sector

Islamic banks have emerged stronger after each monetary disaster which uncovered the weaknesses of the traditional banking methods. Millennium Info Answer FZ-LLC (MISL) launched its operations on the Dubai Worldwide Metropolis to assist Islamic banks to migrate to their new-generation core banking solution called Ababil. Ababil is an end-to-end superior core-banking solution covering Company and Retail Banking, Funding Banking, Financing Origination System, Buyer Info File (CIF), Commerce Finance, Treasury Administration, Agent Banking, Offshore Banking, Revenue Distribution, Accounting & MIS, Payroll, Drilled Down Reporting, and so on. Along with Ababil, MISL is offering its newest human resources solution Sylvia and risk-based auditing solution Tahqiq.

Registration deadline for Ma’an third Social Incubator extended to 12th September

The Authority of Social Contribution, Ma’an, is urging all social entrepreneurs in the UAE and wider MENA region to complete the online application, as the Authority announces an extension for registrations until 12th September. The teams shortlisted for the Social Incubator programme will aim to strengthen the interactions and create stronger emotional bonding between parents, children, relatives, the elderly and couples across the Emirate and highlight the importance of family values. Ma’an will shortlist and support 10 winning social start-ups, who will then undergo a 90 day training programme and develop their ideas into business ventures. Ma’an will invest more than AED 2 million in total in this cycle with the successful applicants also having access to milestone-based funding, mentorship, office space, business expertise and investors.

Why Islamic Finance And Impact Investing Should Join Forces

The Islamic finance sector is growing, and as the global community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, key stakeholders are working together to address the challenges. Islamic finance will continue to grow over the next decade across asset classes and markets, creating a unique window of opportunity to align components of its investments with the UN SDGs. Impact investing and Islamic finance are complementary and compatible. The UAE and the GCC overall are key hubs for Islamic finance. Further awareness is needed to make Islamic finance leaders and GCC governments to align in this movement, and to continue to consider how they can most effectively capitalize on impact investing to generate positive returns whilst making the ongoing positive impact on society.

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