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Kenya: State Urged to Expand Sharia Compliance Loans to Muslims

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt businesses in Kenya, the Muslim community has been urged to take advantage of financial institutions offering low bank charges. Islamic finance expert Khalfan Abdallah has urged the government to rethink how to accommodate Muslims in various financial support programmes such as Youth and Women Fund. Mr Abdallah said the government should borrow a leaf from Momentum Credit Micro Finance which has started offering Sharia compliance loans to Muslims using logbooks as collateral. He urged the Muslim business community who are affected by Covid-19 pandemic to take advantage of Momentum Sahih products.

Bahrain's GFH inks deal to hold majority share in Sharia investment firm

GFH Financial Group announced that it has acquired an additional 21.8% stake in Global Banking Corporation. The deal gives GFH a majority stake of 50.4% in the Bahrain-based investment bank following Central Bank of Bahrain approval to acquire up to a 60% shareholding. Established in 2007, GB Corp targets high-net-worth individuals and institutional and government clients across the GCC countries. As of December 2019, GB Corp reported total assets of $125 million and assets under management of approximately $500 million.

Islamic Corp. for the Dev. of the Priv. Sec. -- Moody's - ICD's credit profile reflects its robust capital position, strong liquidity balanced against weak asset quality

According to Moody’s Investors Service, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector’s credit strengths lie within its robust liquidity buffer and high quality treasury portfolio. While ICD remained lossmaking in 2019, the size of the losses narrowed significantly, and capital adequacy was supported by ongoing payments from shareholders under the second general capital increase. Moody’s analyst Thaddeus Best expects that the ICD will temper its balance sheet expansion in order to preserve capital. It is anticipated that the bank’s increased focus on term lending operations will help ease credit risk over the coming years.

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.

Moody's - Structural features underpin Malaysian Islamic banks' resilience against coronavirus fallout

According to Moody’s Investors Service, concentration on retail financing and other structural features will help Islamic banks safeguard against a deterioration in asset quality and profitability. Islamic banks have sufficient loss buffers against financial stress, with their funding and liquidity remaining stable. The seven largest Islamic banks in Malaysia, five of which are subsidiaries of domestic banking groups with conventional operations, have a heavy concentration on retail financing, which is less vulnerable to an economic downturn. In addition, Malaysian banks generally have prudent underwriting practices for retail financing, which adds to their asset quality.

Inequality, Concentration of Wealth and the Ownership Structure of Islamic Banks: Some Pertinent Issues

An important Islamic imperative is prevention of concentration of wealth among a few so that wealth circulates widely to enhance shared prosperity. In contemporary economic discourse inequality and concentration of wealth have emerged as among key causes of instability and crisis. Unfortunately, while Islamic finance has emerged as a Shari’ah-compliant industry, it does not seem to be connected with the Islamic concern about inequality and concentration of wealth. This research paper illuminates the pertinent issues in light of the experience of Bahrain as one of the hubs of Islamic banking and finance.

Don’t Believe the Hype. Wealth Taxes Are Nothing New

In July, a group of 83 of the world’s richest people calling itself Millionaires for Humanity urged governments to increase taxes on them to help deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their idea, the latest version of a wealth tax was received as almost revolutionary. Although wealth taxes may seem bold and innovative, however, the concept is almost as old as money itself. Since the ancient Greeks there have been wealth taxes in various countries right through to the present day. More recently than the ancient Greeks, a wealth tax has been foundational to Islamic practice. The zakat functions as a 2.5% wealth tax on liquid assets. Modern wealth taxes have often failed because they haven’t learned from their historical equivalents.

Government to raise $343m from retail sukuk SR013

Indonesia's government launched retail sukuk SR013 to raise Rp 5 trillion (US$343 million) to fund the state budget in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tradable debt papers, set to mature on Sept. 10, 2023, offer a fixed annual yield at 6.05%. Investors can buy the bonds for Rp 1 million to Rp 3 billion from Aug. 28 and Sept. 23 at 31 partnering distributors, which include conventional and sharia-compliant banks, as well as online investment platforms. As of Aug. 6, the government has issued Rp 236.82 trillion in domestic sukuk, which nearly topped last year’s issuance of Rp 258.28 trillion. The government raised in July Rp 18.33 trillion from government retail bond issuance ORI-017, the highest proceeds ever recorded in an online bond offering by the country.

Islamic Finance Changemakers Competition is now open

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in partnership with the Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economic and Finance have launched an Islamic Finance Changemakers Competition to support social entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders seeking to create a better society.

Through this initiative, IsDB and Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economic and Finance hopes to support changemakers by giving them visibility of what they are developing. The Islamic Finance Changemakers Challenge will give Changemakers the opportunity to win awards to help grow their initiatives.

The awards for the top three winners are:
•1st position: $ 15,000 + 1-year IE Mentoring Program
•2nd position: $ 10,000
•3rd position: $ 5,000

Gassner's picture

Book annoucement for German readers: Q1 / 2021

Dear Reader,

for Q1 / 2021 a second book is to be published in German after the successful standard reference for financial professionals in German.

A first interview is online (in German!!):

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9sOXVxd28ucG9kY2FzdGVyLmRlL0l...
https://podcasts.apple.com/ch/podcast/islamicmediaclub/id1503189930?i=10...
https://open.spotify.com/episode/7BkZS8KVt3EWlkmvcyu5WM?si=2bRPowl1RdO9F...

The new book targets the consumer rather than the professional as for a couple years an Islamic bank and some investment funds are offered in Germany - hence it is time for consumer education.

Best regards,

Michael Gassner
www.islamicwealthmanagement.com

#Kuwait's Alafco delays delivery of Airbus order

Kuwait-based Alafco Aviation Lease and Finance is to delay delivery of its aircraft order from Airbus as a result of the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry. Although the number of aircraft impacted is unclear, reports suggest Airbus currently has 43 A320neo and ten A321neo jets on order to be delivered. Future pre-delivery payments between the company and Airbus will be realigned, along with a new delivery schedule, which will result in rescheduling the upcoming pre-delivery payments for this year and the upcoming three years to year 2024 and onward. Earlier this month it was revealed that Alafco had ended a $336 million legal dispute with US aerospace giant Boeing over a cancelled order.

ITFC seals $8mln #Murabaha financing facility with #Uzbekistan's Trustbank

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) signed an $8 million worth of Murabaha-structured line of trade finance with Uzbekistan's Trustbank. The financing aims to minimise the impact of COVID-19 by supporting the import and pre-export financing needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country. ITFC CEO Hani Salem Sonbol said this operation is in addition to five other lines of finance in favour of local banks in Uzbekistan since 2018, and reflects the ITFC’s unbending commitment to the nation of Uzbekistan.

Noor Takaful presents N15m surplus cheques to policyholders

Noor Takaful has announced the distribution of surplus (cashback) payment worth over fifteen million Naira to participants who did not make claims. The company has also announced the launch of its mobile app to make its products and services more accessible to the retail market. This second batch of payment is an increase from 12 million naira distributed in 2019 to policyholders who did not make claim in that pertaining year. Acting Managing Director of the company, Aminu Tukur stated that the distribution of surplus to policyholders has continued to serve as a big pull for the Takaful insurance market with interested participants joining daily.

Arcapita and Mumtalakat Sell Stakes in NAS Neuron Health Services

Arcapita Group and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding sold their ownership stake in Abu Dhabi-based NAS Neuron Health Services. The two companies partnered to acquire an equity stake in NAS United Healthcare Services in 2017. Umair Nizami is the Managing Director of Neuron, as well as CEO of Dubai Wing. NAS Neuron is one of the largest private TPAs of medical claims in the GCC region.

Govt to raise Rs150bln from Ijarah #Sukuk issuance

The government of Pakistan is set to raise Rs150 billion with the reopening of its existing five-year Ijarah Sukuk issuance, maturing in July 2025. The steps of reopening of existing Sukuk is similar as that of issuance of a completely new Sukuk. The Sukuk was originally issued last month. Pre-auction target was set at Rs60 billion for fixed rental rate Sukuk for August-October. The target for the variable rental rate Sukuk has been fixed at Rs90 billion. For the subsequent period, the rental rate for the reopened Sukuk would be the same as that of the first issue. Similarly, the maturity of the reopened Sukuk would also be the same as the first issue.

Fund Management: Bridging the gap between ESG and shariah-compliant investing

ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing and shariah-compliant investing share similar objectives in that they promote stewardship and societal value creation. However, the two strategies are often viewed as distinctly separate approaches by investors. According to the president of asset management firm Saturna, Shahariah Shaharudin, bringing together the two investing methodologies can do much to invigorate the Islamic asset management industry. As both ESG and shariah-compliant funds are considered defensive asset classes, they performed relatively well during the recent market downturn triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bitcoin Association sponsors Islamic Fintech Week 2020

Bitcoin Association has joined the inaugural Islamic Fintech Week 2020 as a sponsor and ecosystem partner. The three-day event will bring together stakeholders, regulators and innovators to chart the future of financial technology in the Islamic world. This year’s IFW2020 will be hosted in Malaysia from September 7-10. It will feature a themed series of panel debates, roundtable sessions and masterclasses. Topics on the agenda for the virtual event will include the role of Shariah in Islamic fintech, how Malaysia can become a global finance hub, fintech’s role in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the social impact of Muslim women in finance. Digital currencies and blockchain will also feature heavily in the event, with various guests set to address how they can be integrated into the Islamic finance industry.

#UAE's first ETF tracking Sharia-compliant index lists on UAE markets

The UAE's first exchange traded fund tracking a Sharia-compliant index began trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market. Bourses in the the region are ramping up efforts to diversify their product offerings to attract more foreign direct investment. Chimera Capital listed its Chimera S&P UAE Shariah ETF, which is designed to replicate the S&P UAE Domestic Shariah Liquid 35/20 Capped Index. The Chimera S&P UAE Shariah ETF is structured and built by S&P and monitored by a Shariah board that meets regularly to review and re-balance the index quarterly. Currently the index has ten securities across the two UAE markets. The fund has a total market capitalisation of Dh234 billion and assets under management of Dh934,839.

State urged to expand sharia compliance loans to Muslims

As coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt businesses in Kenya, the Muslim community has been urged to take advantage of financial institutions offering low bank charges to jump-start their businesses. Islamic finance expert Khalfan Abdallah has urged the government to rethink how to accommodate Muslims in various financial support programmes such as Youth and Women Fund. Mr. Abdallah said the government should borrow a leaf from Momentum Credit Micro Finance which has started offering Sharia compliance loans to Muslims using logbooks as collateral. The official said to bail out Muslims during these hard times, such affordable credit facilities which are sharia compliance are required.

Kenanga Cap Islamic partners Bay for digitised factoring solution

Kenanga Capital Islamic (KCI) has collaborated with a financing company Bay Group Holdings to enhance digitisation in the local factoring market. The collaboration will introduce a maiden local solution to the local factoring market through merging private and public sectors under a platform to tap into an underserved market, which is expected to grow fivefold from its current RM20 billion value. The partnership with Bay is expected to advance KCI’s position in the factoring market, reduce its overall operational costs as well as improve its efficiencies. Registered and regulated by the Securities Commission of Malaysia in 2016, Bay provides innovative digital solutions through its supply chain management platform and Bay P2P financing platform.

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