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ARI Developing Islamic CSR Framework

An Islamic Corporate Social Responsibility (i-CSR) General Practice Framework for Islamic institutions is being developed by researchers at the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). The framework aims to provide suitable guidance for Islamic institutions in comparison with mainstream CSR which is based on Western practices. The development of the i-CSR framework is part of and the ultimate goal of a research project under the Islamic finance and muamalat domain.

Analysis: Saudi Arbitration Court in the UK?

It was recently stated in the Financial Times that Saudi Arabia intends to lobby the UK government in November in order to set up a confidential court in London. The court is to settle multimillion pound commercial disputes coming from the Middle Eastern country. The people of Saudi Arabia hope that an arbitration centre based in London will contribute to countering investor concerns about the Saudi Arabian legal system. This way, foreign investment could be stimulated. According to Amgad Husein and John Balouziyeh from SNR Denton, the success of such an arbitration centre depends on its implementation.

BUSINESS PERISCOPE : Al-Baraka Bank CEO meets Deputy PM Elahi

Adnan Ahmad Yousif, CEO of Al-Baraka Bank, had a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Ch Parvez Elahi on Tuesday. At the meeting, high appreciation for the steps taken by noted religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani for interest free working in the banks was shown.

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IFSB to revise capital adequacy terms for Islamic institutions

The plans of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) are directed towards revising its capital adequacy guidelines for Islamic financial institutions. The draft is expected to be issued in November in order to receive industry feedback. While the IFSB is responsible for the global guidelines for Islamic finance, national financial regulators determine how much capital banks must maintain and in what form. The original guidelines on capital adequacy were released by the IFSB in December 2005. At that time, they were based on Basel II standards. However, now stricter Basel III standards are used which require corresponding changes in the guidelines.

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Who is guarding the Kingdom’s national assets?

Although since the catastrophic Jeddah floods of 2009 it has been talked a lot about corruption and incompetence in government departments and city municipalities, the issue of state owned enterprises or SOEs has hardly received any attention. That given the fact that these SOEs make up about 50% of the country's non-oil economy and account for over 25% of the employees in the private sector. The management of the Kingdom's SOEs are rarely held responsible for the waste of public funds on the mismanagement of the country’s national assets. As the main reason for this, the way of choosing the boards of directors of these SOEs or state owned enterprises is pointed out.

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Islamic Finance to Play a Key Role in Boosting Economic Development in Africa

There has been a noteworthy growth in trade between African countries and the rest of the world. Trade with the Gulf region especially has increased 170%. African countries are in the process of changing from dependent on external aid to closely tied with the Middle East in terms of trade and investment. This makes Islamic finance a key factor in facilitating further development of trade and investment flows between Africa and the Middle East. Moreover, this is particularly important for providing funding for key areas such as SMEs and project finance.

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Jersey poised to profit from forecast Islamic finance boom

According to Ernst & Young, the strong move Jersey Finance has made into the Gulf region will result in huge benefit to the company due to an expected significant rise in Islamic finance. Estimates predict a growth in sukuk demand from US$300 billion to US$900 billion by year 2017. The leading source of demand is said to be South East Asia and the Middle East. An increase of Jersey's involvement in the Arab world is possible through capitalisation on its strong links with the Arab states.

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ADIB puts Islamic finance on the global ethical business agenda

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has managed to bring up Islamic finance as an ethical and sustainable business model in the global financial scene. In a TV series launched by Bloomberg TV and sponsored by ADIB, CEO of ADIB Tirad Al Mahmoud explained his view of Shari'a-compliant banking being a viable, resilient and ethical business model. Especially because of the global financial crisis, the demand for ethical banking all around the world has been extremely high.

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Islamic finance finds a rapidly growing niche in the secular world

The last couple of years of financial crisis proved to be unfavourable for the international banking sector. Nevertheless, one sub-sector was growing rapidly and reached significant success - Islamic finance. The majority of people still have not enough understanding and appreciation for Islamic finance. However, the facts show it is a US$1.3 trillion global industry with annual growth of 15% to 20%. During the past few years alone this sector has expanded to even not particularly expected markets adding to the portfolios of conventional international banks. The latter have already made the development of sharia-compliant services a priority.

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Growth, Equity and Stability: An Islamic Perspective
10-12 September 2013, Istanbul, TURKEY

The Ninth ICIEF at a Glance

Recovery from the global financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn remains fragile. Persistent risks to financial and economic development include sluggish growth in developed countries – which is now spilling over into developing economies as well; increasing income and wealth inequalities; and still-unrestored financial, economic and political stability in many regions. High poverty and unemployment rates, large macroeconomic imbalances, deteriorations in sovereign credibility, increasing food price volatility and food shortages, and lack of access to basic infrastructure further intensify and magnify these risks – particularly for the underprivileged segments of the world population. As a result, for many countries it has become even more challenging to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations.

“Banking for Billions” – A Look at Financial Inclusion around the World

This week, new report by Barclays and the Economist Social Intelligence Unit was issued. It focuses on financial inclusion worldwide and on the corresponding factors that influence it. Reasons for financial exclusion deriving from the emographic, geographic, political, and cultural area are discussed. Developing nations as well as developed ones are examined in terms of financial inclusion.

MIX Unveils ‘Africa Map of Financial Inclusion for the Poor’

Together with The MasterCard Foundation, MIX has launched the “Africa Map of Financial Inclusion for the Poor” aiming to contribute to better understanding by practitioners and policymakers of the access to finance in Africa. Since until recently there was no proper information on financial services for the poor in Africa, thus limiting growth and investment in the sector, now the situation is about to change. Not only did MIX provide raw data from surveys and analysis of the data but also they released a visual map representing the data in an easily comprehensive way.

New vistas of growth

An issuance of a full-fledged Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework (IBRF) by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) is expected in the very near future. Therefore, Oman is ready to dive into Islamic finance. By the end of 2015 a growth in Islamic finance assets of 20% of the total banking and insurance assets in the Sultanate is expected. Investment in research and innovation is encouraged in order to meet the needs of the increasing market appetite.

Three largest advisers in UAE revealed: survey

According to the latest study of strategic consultancy Insight Discovery, the number of advisers in the UAE is as high as 3,700. This is far beyond any expectations and indicates a surfeit of advisers. The total number constitutes of 1,050 independent financial advisers, 650 private bankers from international and local banks, and about 2,000 advisers from UAE banks. The study also stresses on the need to increase regulatory approval and supervision of advisers. The three largest independent adviser companies are said to be Nexus, de Vere’s, and Globaleye’s 80.

Malaysia to allow business trusts

It is expected that Malaysia will permit business trusts which will be listed on the local exchange. The purpose is to increase primary-market volume and attract domestic infrastructure companies in order to prevent them from being lured abroad. Berjaya Sports Toto has already made its plans directed abroad. It is about to raise an amount of nearly S$500m (US$401m) from the IPO in Singapore of Sports Toto Malaysia. The choice of destination of the issuer of the business trust has alerted local companies.

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Tunisia backing for Gulf Finance House project

The Tunis Financial Harbour (TFH) project by Gulf Finance House's (GFH) has received back-up from Tunisian Investment and International Co-operation Minister Riadh Bettaieb. The commitment is in the form of a high profile delegation from the Islamic investment bank GFH, including a meeting between acting chief executive Hisham Alrayes, TFH chief executive Lutfi Alzaar, and the minister. Minister Bettaieb assured that his government will do its best to support the project's development according to plan in co-operation with TFH. Mr Alrayes expressed his opinion, that the enefits to be expected from TFH are far beyond the ordinary for Tunisia as well as for GFH and their investors.

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ADB, IFSB sign MoU to promote Islamic finance

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) shall cooperate in the promoting of Islamic finance in common developing member countries. The cooperation should be based on joint technical assistance and/or policy-based work in member countries.

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“Strong legal framework needed for Islamic financing”

Despite the recent global economic crisis, the Islamic finance industry has continued pushing forward strongly. The industry increased its total assets by 23.8 per cent by the end of 2011. This comprised a hefty 22.4 per cent of the total assets of the banking system. As evidenced by The Banker Magazine’s 2011 rankings of top Islamic financial institutions,global recognition has not been in short supply either.

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United Arab Emirates: Growth Of Family Enterprises In The Arabian Gulf - The Role Of Shariah

The principles of Shariah are a key factor in family enterprises in the Gulf region. Since enterprise and trade go hand in hand to contribute to the development of a progressive, prosperous ummah as well as to create wealth and provide exchange opportunities, Shariah has its way to support it. Thus, employment and economic growth are stimulated. This is why Shariah does not accept the concept of hoarding and, instead, places an obligation upon Muslims to spend in the way of society through acts of charity, entrepreneurship and investment.

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Islamic bank assets at RO 2 billion

According to a study by Al Izz Islamic Bank, the assets of Islamic banks in Oman are expected to pass the mark of RO 2 billion by 2015. The assets of Islamic banks in the country represent 10% of the total banking assets. The study further points out several factors which stimulate Islamic monetary services the most. Among them are demographic indicators, since 72% of the Sultanate's population is aged between 15 and 80 and is mostly Muslim. The concept of Islamic financing is strongly supported by the population.

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