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Islamic banks “vital in accelerating #UK fintech transformation” according to expert

Al Rayan Bank, the UK’s oldest and largest Islamic bank, has announced that more than 20,000 of its customers are now using its digital banking services for their day-to-day banking. According to Dr Samir Alamad, Sharia compliance expert at Al Rayan Bank, Islamic finance institutions have a significant growth opportunity in their hands by making the digital shift, catering not only for Muslim communities but mainstream audiences alike. Their role is vital in reinforcing the UK’s position as a fintech hub and in growing awareness of Islamic finance overall. The Al Rayan Bank Mobile Banking app is available on the App store and Google Play – as well as through its desktop portal, which users can access using the app, through a separate authenticator app or using a hard token device. From 2021, customers will also be able to use the app to validate online purchases made using an Al Rayan Bank debit card.

#UAE's Dana Gas raises loan, avoids another restructuring

United Arab Emirates energy firm Dana Gas has raised a $90 million loan allowing it to redeem $309 million in bonds due at the end of October and avoid a third debt restructuring. The company has obtained a one-year $90 million loan from Mashreq Bank. The new loan will be repaid when Dana completes a planned sale of its Egyptian assets. The firm shook the global Islamic finance industry in 2017, when it said it would not redeem its $700 million sukuk, arguing they were no longer valid under UAE law because of changes in Islamic financial practice. After a protracted legal battle, it reached an agreement with creditors in 2018. That restructuring followed an earlier one in 2012.

#Indonesia's 3-way Islamic bank merger to build scale, raise competitiveness

Indonesia's planned merger of three state-owned Islamic banks will create an entity with scale comparable with the biggest local lenders. The proposed merger between Bank BRIsyariah, Bank Syariah Mandiri and Bank BNI Syariah will create an entity with between 220 trillion rupiah and 225 trillion rupiah in assets. Bank BRIsyariah will be the final entity after the merger, expected to be completed by February 2021. It will be Indonesia's seventh or eighth biggest bank by assets. Analysts expect more M&A activity within the Indonesian banking space, mainly for smaller banks to remain competitive. Currently, the nation's biggest banks are Bank Central Asia, Bank Mandiri, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Negara Indonesia.

Saeed M. Al-Ghamdi, CEO and MD of the newly formed bank following the merger of NCB and Samba

Saeed M. Al-Ghamdi is managing director and CEO of the new bank that resulted from the merger between the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and the Samba Financial Group. Before that, he was chairman of the NCB, building up more than 31 years of experience in the Saudi financial and banking sector. He has also been chairman of NCB Capital and the Saudi Credit Bureau. He serves on the board of the Real Estate General Authority and Misk Foundation and is a member of the consultative board of the College of Industrial Management at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

Ethiopie : ZamZam Bank devient la première banque islamique du pays

En Ethiopie, ZamZam Bank exercera désormais l’activité de banque islamique après avoir obtenu la licence à cet effet auprès du régulateur du secteur. L’institution est la première du pays qui proposera exclusivement des services financiers conformes à la charia. En mai 2019, Abiy Ahmed, le Premier ministre éthiopien, s’était officiellement prononcé en faveur de la mise sur pied d’institutions financières entièrement dédiées à la finance islamique. Plusieurs établissements ont manifesté un intérêt pour l’activité, parmi lesquels ZamZam Bank qui a déposé sa demande auprès de la Banque centrale. Elle a été autorisée à ouvrir son capital à des investisseurs afin de lever des fonds dédiés à la mise en place de sa banque islamique, et a vendu des actions pour un montant d’environ 18,3 millions $.

#Indonesia's state banks seek to spark sharia sector via mergers

Indonesia's three state-owned banks will merge their sharia banking units to create one of the country's biggest lenders. Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Mandiri and Bank Negara Indonesia have signed a conditional merger agreement for their Islamic banking units. The new bank will have combined assets of 207 trillion rupiah ($14 billion), making it the eighth-largest lender by assets in the country. The merger is slated to complete next year and is still subject to approval from regulators and shareholders. Indonesia is keen to position the country as the hub of the region's Islamic economy. The country's five-year master plan aims to increase the market share of Islamic financing in the country to 20% by 2024.

First Abu Dhabi Bank denies merger talks with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) said it was not in merger talks with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported in April 2019 that Abu Dhabi was considering merging the two lenders to create the Gulf region's largest lender. There has been speculation over the past year of more banking tie-ups in light of a wave of consolidation sweeping Abu Dhabi. With around 50 banks, the crowded UAE banking sector has been squeezed by lower government spending and thinner profit margins.

L’arrivée de la première Banque Islamique d’Australie retardée, mais confirmée très bientôt

Alors qu’elle avait trouvé son point d’ancrage sous le ciel ensoleillé de l’Australie, la finance éthique par excellence s’est heurtée à un écueil majeur, difficilement contournable. Si elle n’a pas encore largué les amarres sur l’îlot lointain du multiculturalisme, Covid-19 oblige, la première Islamic Bank for Australia (IBA) devrait toutefois prochainement, à l’horizon 2021, en faire son nouveau port d’attache. Loin de la France et de ses cris d’orfraie contre « l’halalisation » de l’Hexagone qui se perdent dans l’immensité des océans, la première banque islamique d’Australie se prépare à accoster sur les rivages de ce grand pays exportateur de produits Halal qui, demain peut-être, sera la nouvelle place forte de la finance éthique à l’autre bout du monde.

ZamZam Bank becomes #Ethiopia’s first Islamic bank

ZamZam Bank has obtained a license from Ethiopia’s banking regulator to carry out Islamic banking activities in the country. In May 2019, Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, expressed his approval in favor of the establishment of financial institutions entirely dedicated to Islamic finance. Several institutions have expressed interest in the activity, including ZamZam Bank which filed its application with the Central Bank. The bank was authorized to open its capital to investors to raise funds for its plan. As part of this process, ZamZam sold $18.3 million worth of shares. According to the National Bank of Ethiopia, the presence of institutions entirely dedicated to Islamic finance will improve financial inclusion in the country.

The Islamic Development Bank lends Pakistan $ 386 million to purchase...

The State of Pakistan and the International Trade Finance Corporation of the Islamic Development Bank signed a financing agreement amounting to $ 386 million, to be used in importing oil and liquefied gas. The Pakistani side emphasized the importance of this agreement and its role in promoting economic and social development.
In another development, remittances from Pakistanis working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia amounted to 665 million dollars in September this year, an increase of 29%. On the basis of a total, remittances from the Gulf countries and Western countries reached 3 and 2 billion dollars in September this year.

#Pakistan unlikely to avail $4.5bn Islamic Trade Finance Corporation facility

Pakistan is unlikely to fully benefit from $4.5bn financing package it secured about two and years ago from International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). Pakistan and the ITFC on Monday signed about $400 million worth of two facilities to finance oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports by December this year. Another $100m facility is expected to be arranged by December. This is part of a $4.5bn package Pakistan and ITFC had signed in April 2018 to cover oil and LNG imports over a period of three years. Last year, however, the facility could not go beyond $1.05bn owing to limitations of the partner banks of the ITFC.

#Qatar- HBKU webinar discusses Zakat financing for achieving SDGs

Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) co-organised a three-part webinar series with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority. The first instalment of the HBKU-UNDP Webinar Series: Islamic Social Finance and SDGs on October 6 showcased National Zakat Board Indonesia's (BASNAZ) innovative application of Zakat funds for local SDG projects. Consideration was also given to how the BAZNAS Zakat Model for development can be replicated and utilised within and beyond the Islamic world.

Fintech Is viable vehicle for deepening Islamic finance in Nigeria: Jidda

According to Muhammad Jidda, Head Shari’ah Audit and Product Development, SunTrust Bank Nigeria, Fintech is a viable platform that can be leveraged to boost Islamic Finance in Nigeria. According to him, the pathway is harnessing the various spheres of Fintech and Digital banking to grow the market with innovative products and offerings. Providing further insight he said the Covid 19 pandemic made it imperative to deploy a digital technology strategy for financial services, and fintech was the way to go. He noted that through Fintech a lot of awareness and sensitization can be created on Islamic Finance, through the digital and mobile platforms across the country, which could have a wider reach to people in the rural communities.

ICD completes pricing for a 5-year USD 600 million #sukuk issuance

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) announced successful completion of the pricing of a five-year USD 600 million Sukuk issuance at MS + 140bps. This is the largest Sukuk issuance by ICD since inception and double the amount from its inaugural issuance in 2016 of USD300 million, despite the institution’s absence from the capital markets over the last four years. ICD attracted very strong investor response despite a slightly weaker market sentiment. The orderbook exceeded USD 1.5 billion and ICD released a price guidance at MS + 160 bps area. The Sukuk was priced 20 basis points from guidance pricing.

Al Meezan launches #Pakistan’s first Islamic ETF

Al Meezan Investments launched the country’s first Islamic ETF named Meezan Pakistan Exchange Traded Fund (MP-ETF). The ETF will trade at the stock exchange under the ticker ‘MZNP-ETF’. MZNP-ETF is an SECP-approved product which consists of a basket of securities which tracks Meezan Pakistan Index (MZNPI) as the underlying benchmark index of the fund. MZNPI tracks approximately 70% of KMI-30, on average. The ETF is available through stockbrokers (TREC Holders) and trade like stocks with real time pricing during trading hours on an exchange.

UN World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize 2020

The United Nations food agency, the World Food Programme (WFP), won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and improve conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas. The Rome-based organisation says it helps some 97 million people in about 88 countries each year and that one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. The prize is worth ten million Swedish crowns, or around $1.1 million, and will be presented in Oslo on December 10.

Shuaa Capital launches new shariah funds

Dubai-based asset manager Shuaa Capital has launched three new sharia-compliant funds on the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The open-ended funds – Shuaa High Yield Sukuk Fund, Nujoom Aggressive Fund and Nujoom Balanced Fund – are backed by US$75 million in capital. Shuaa Capital is targeting long-term institutional investors including pension funds and insurers and will offer the funds via the Allfunds Bank platform. According to Shuaa Capital chief executive, Jassim Alseddiqi, the supply of sharia funds still lags the demand among investors.

#Sukuk to raise RM800mil for cocoa grinder

The world’s fourth largest cocoa grinder Guan Chong (GCB) is undertaking a sukuk exercise for its future expansion plans. It is launching a sukuk wakalah programme of up to RM800mil in nominal value. According to managing diector Brandon Tay Hoe Lian, proceeds from the first tranche of issuance of RM300mil will go towards funding the ongoing construction of a new cocoa grinding facility in Ivory Coast, which is set to commence operations in the second half of 2021. The programme will also support the company's expansion in Europe, following the acquisitions of industrial chocolate provider Schokinag in Germany and the land and building in United Kingdom.

Financial Inclusion Rate in #Indonesia Reaches Record Highs, but Over 2,500 Illegal Fintech Businesses have been Shut Down

The role of Fintech platforms and services in supporting public services in Indonesia has become more prominent and relevant due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. Fintech service providers are now offering more digital payments options which allow Indonesians to pay for everyday expenses. Fintech investment platforms have also been launched. Financial tech startups have also announced that they’d like to help the nation’s government with disbursing Coronavirus related relief aid packages. Despite the efforts to establish a regulatory sandbox, there’s still a growing threat of illegal Fintech businesses. The Fintech sector in Indonesia remains focused on enabling greater financial inclusion by providing reliable payments and lending services to those who may be underserved by the traditional banking sector. However, these services must be well-regulated to ensure consumer protection.

HE Essa Kazim: Sukuk Sector Underlines Resilient Economic Performance Of UAE And Dubai - Emirates Islamic Chairman Rings Market-Opening Bell To Celebrate Listing Of USD 500 Million Sukuk On Nasdaq Dubai

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Chairman of Emirates Islamic rang the market-opening bell to celebrate the listing by Emirates Islamic of a 500 million US dollar Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The Bank achieved a profit rate of 1.827%, the lowest for a Sukuk issued by a UAE bank for 10 years, with subscription of 2.4 times. The issuance was rated A+ by Fitch Ratings. The nominal value of Sukuk currently listed in Dubai has reached 73.99 billion US dollars, one of the largest totals of any listing centre in the world. Following Emirates Islamic’s latest listing, 46% of Sukuk listings in Dubai by value are from UAE issuers and 54% from overseas issuers.

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