Reuters

Dubai Islamic Bank hires banks for dollar #sukuk

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has hired lenders to arrange meetings with investors ahead of a potential issue of five-year dollar denominated sukuk. The selected arrangers include Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Maybank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank. Investor meetings will take place in Hong Kong and London starting on Nov. 11.

Emaar Properties hires banks for 10-year dollar #sukuk deal

Dubai’s Emaar Properties has hired banks to arrange investor meetings ahead of the issuance of 10-year dollar sukuk. Emaar Properties will meet investors in Asia and London starting on Sept 6. Standard Chartered was hired to coordinate the deal. Other banks leading the transaction are Dubai Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Mashreq Bank and Sharjah Islamic Bank.

Islamic Development Bank hires banks to raise more than $1 bln in #sukuk -sources

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has hired banks to arrange a new issue of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, which is expected to be more than $1 billion in size. Hired banks include Emirates NBD, Standard Chartered, Gulf International Bank and HSBC and the transaction is expected to take place next month. IsDB was last in the market in April this year with a $1.5 billion five-year sukuk deal. It generally issues dollar-denominated bonds twice a year, and last year it also sold its first sukuk denominated in euro. The new transaction will be more than $1 billion in size, with one of the sources saying it could go up to $1.5 billion.

#Kuwait's Warba Bank plans $500 mln #sukuk issue this year - CEO

Kuwait's Warba Bank is working to set up a sukuk programme of up to $2 billion with an initial $500 million issuance this year. CEO Shaheen Al-Ghanem said the programme is subject to central bank approval. After the initial issuance this year, the rest would be issued over the next few years as needed and the proceeds used to finance operational matters. Ghanem added that the bank was looking to start a new asset management business this year aimed at overseeing about $500 million in investments within the next three years. Its launch is awaiting final approval from the Kuwait Capital Markets authority. The bank is looking to increase its total assets to over 3.5 billion Kuwaiti dinars ($11.52 billion) by 2022 from 2.59 billion dinars. Additionally, the bank is competing to lead a 350 million Kuwaiti dinar ($1.15 billion) loan for Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) that will likely involve multiple banks.

Sharjah Islamic Bank mandates banks for capital boosting #sukuk

United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah Islamic Bank has hired banks to arrange investor meetings ahead of an issuance of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered have been hired to coordinate the deal, and they are bookrunners along with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Bank ABC, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, and KFH Capital. The planned sukuk deal will boost the bank’s Tier 1 core capital.

Saudi-based ITFC, Federated Investors to launch $300 mln trade finance #fund

The Saudi-based International Islamic Trade Finance Corp (ITFC) plans to launch a $300 million fund alongside U.S. fund manager Federated Investors. The sharia-compliant fund is expected to launch later this year and would invest in energy-related structured trade, supply chain financing and project finance assets of sovereign entities. The fund will be managed by ITFC with input from Federated Investors. The two firms have worked together on Islamic trade finance transactions since 2014.

New products, standards buoy Islamic trade finance business

Islamic trade finance is poised for change with the launch of new products and common standards. Islamic banks have been laggards in trade finance but some see a business opportunity here. According to the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), digital tools such as blockchain can support this by helping to lower costs and speed up sharia-compliant transactions. Islamic trade finance is estimated at around $186 billion, compared to the $4.4 trillion worth of trade finance activity in Muslim-majority countries. Some firms are now introducing digital Islamic trade finance platforms. Emirates Islamic Bank has already launched its online supply chain tool. There is also a push towards standardisation of practices. The Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) and the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) are developing standard documentation for both Islamic-funded and unfunded trade finance deals.

MOVES-#Britain's largest Islamic bank Al Rayan appoints new COO

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank appointed Paul McMillan as chief operating officer as part of the bank’s expansion efforts. McMillan, a former chief executive of mortgage servicing firm Acenden, takes over the role from the bank’s previous COO Venkat Chandrasekar. Al Rayan is one of the five standalone Islamic banks in Britain and is owned by Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan.

#Afghanistan enlists faith-based banks to aid financial inclusion

Afghanistan hopes its first Islamic bank will attract more customers and improve access to financial services in the country. The central bank granted its first Islamic license last month and is now developing wealth management products and new digital banking services. There are currently six banks that offer sharia compliant products through so-called Islamic windows and their conversion would require setting up an internal sharia board and having a clean bill of health. The latter may be a challenge for some because of difficulties in converting impaired loans into Islamic equivalents. The government is also working on legislation that would allow for the issuance of sukuk, although such plans are still at a preliminary stage.

Islamic finance body AAOIFI issues #standard for agency contracts

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has issued its first standard covering wakala, or investment agency contracts. The guidance aims to address the use of wakala in areas such as over-the-counter instruments, treasury placements and Islamic bonds. Wakala is common as a standalone product, but AAOIFI opted to focus its standard on more complex instances where it is combined with other contracts. Islamic banks use wakala for both their short and long-term funding needs, and in recent years have incorporated the contract into hybrid sukuk versions. In wakala, one party acts as agent for another and the AAOIFI standard focuses on this principal-agent relationship. It states that the relationship does not transfer ownership rights of the assets to the agent, the principal should account for the assets in its accounting books. The standard also requires the principal to evaluate the nature of the investment at inception.

After downturn, Islamic finance eyes profits, #fintech: survey

Islamic banks and insurers are focusing on profitability and new financial products. Surveys by the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) show a strong focus on fintech and digital transformation. Islamic banks are launching technology departments and forming joint ventures with fintech firms. The survey showed that technology-related risks have been steadily increasing and are now the biggest perceived risks. This means Islamic banks must ramp up product innovation efforts, as crowdfunding, P2P and payments platforms will be a major focus in the medium term. The CIBAFI survey on Takaful showed a mixed view on technology, suggesting concerns were focused on operational efficiency rather than innovation.

Islamic finance body IFSB to develop financial inclusion guidance

The Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) plans to develop a technical note on financial inclusion. The technical note will cover regulatory issues including Islamic microfinance, financial technology and integration of social finance. The guidelines will be funded by a grant from the Islamic Development Bank to be implemented over the next three years. Tens of millions of people in the Muslim world lack bank accounts because of poverty, poor education and a lack of infrastructure, but religious reasons are also an important element. Research from the International Monetary Fund has shown that religious concerns play a role in keeping people out of the financial system in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Tunisia.

Exclusive - #Malaysia's Maybank prepares to spin off and list #insurance unit: sources

Malayan Banking (Maybank) is preparing to spin off and list its Etiqa insurance arm on the local stock exchange. Etiqa operates in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia and is estimated to be worth at least $1 billion. As part of the transaction, Maybank’s investors are expected to receive shares in the insurance company in proportion to their existing holding in the bank. Etiqa provides life and general insurance as well as family and general takaful. In 2017 Eitqa reported a record revenue of 6.2 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion). Profit before tax rose 18.5% to 1 billion ringgit last year. In March, Etiqa said it maintained its top position in Malaysia’s general insurance and general takaful segment with an 11.8% market share. It was ranked fourth in the life and family segment, with an 8.9% market share.

#UAE's Sharjah Islamic Bank gives initial price guidance for dollar #sukuk

Sharjah Islamic Bank has given initial price guidance in the 160 basis points over mid-swaps range for a planned five-year dollar sukuk issue that has been capped at $500 million. The bank is expected to price the Islamic bonds later on Wednesday. The bank has appointed HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank as global coordinators and Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Noor Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank as joint lead managers and bookrunners for the issue.

Industry body AAOIFI close to finalising #standards for Islamic endowments

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) is close to finalising governance and sharia standards for Islamic endowments, known as awqaf. Deputy Secretary General Omar Mustafa Ansari said the development of an accounting standard for awqaf was underway. A governance standard for awqaf would provide guidance on internal controls, policies and procedures, transparency and disclosures. According to a Dubai government estimate, awqaf may hold around $1 trillion in assets around the globe. Most awqaf do not disclose full financial figures, although their underperformance is believed to be considerable since they are run by administrators rather than return-oriented investment managers.

World Bank, IDB urge Islamic finance to play the long game

The World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank want to increase the use of long-term investments in Islamic finance. The two multilateral bodies set out a series of policy recommendations in a joint report, aiming to capitalize on the risk-sharing and asset-backed features of Islamic finance. Islamic banking products have often been developed under the same regulatory regime as conventional lenders, so instruments are sharia-compliant but economically similar to their interest-based counterparts. This contributes to an over-allocation of savings to short and medium-term financial instruments, with a reliance on risk-transfer rather than risk-sharing. To counter this, policymakers could help develop sector-specific investment banks as well as non-bank Islamic firms such as leasing companies, venture capital firms and crowdfunding platforms. The report also raised the need for tax incentives and Islamic insurance schemes to help extend maturities.

#Qatar central bank backs three-way Islamic bank #merger

Qatar’s central bank hopes the planned merger between three local Islamic banks can proceed this year. Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar have been discussing a merger, though they missed the target date to complete the proposed deal. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last June. Qatar accused them of trying to sabotage its financial markets and manipulate its currency. Sheikh Abdullah said that since the embargo started, the central bank had been meeting regularly with executives of banks to ensure daily control of liquidity levels and financial transfers. He added that Qatar plans to issue roughly the same amount of riyal debt in 2018 as it did in 2017, when it issued 47.5 billion riyals ($12.3 billion). That included 18.5 billion riyals of bonds and 15.4 billion riyals of sukuk.

WGC, IIFM to develop #standards for gold-based Islamic contracts

The World Gold Council (WGC) and the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) plan to develop a series of standard templates for sharia-compliant gold contracts. Gold had traditionally been classified as a currency in Islamic finance, but new guidance has opened the door for a wider range of products. The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) developed a sharia standard for gold in 2016. The proposed contract templates from IIFM would add to those efforts by standardising the operational aspects of gold transactions. Natalie Dempster, managing director of central banks at the WGC, said the new standards would include physical allocation of gold, confirmation of ownership and spot transactions. Allocated gold agreements, consignment agreements, swap product confirmations and other gold-based products were also discussed at the consultation meeting, which was hosted by Borsa Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkiye Finans gets regulatory nod for $450 mln #sukuk

Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans has been granted regulatory approval to raise $450 million via dollar-denominated sukuk. It previously issued dollar-denominated sukuk in 2013, a $500 million five-year deal that matures in May. The bank has been a frequent issuer of sukuk in the domestic market and has also tapped investors in Malaysia through ringgit-denominated deals.

#Kuwait Finance House to split shareholding of Turkish asset manager

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will divide the ownership structure of its Turkish asset management firm between local and Kuwaiti units, as the Islamic lender continues to build on its Turkey franchise. KT Asset Management will transfer 5 million shares representing a 50% stake to KFH Capital. Both Kuveyt Turk and KFH Capital are subsidiaries of KFH. KFH Capital is the main investment arm of KFH, which has restructured activities in recent years to streamline operations and focus on growth markets such as Turkey.

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