Qatar's Barwa Bank lists $2 billion sukuk programme on Irish exchange

Qatar's Barwa Bank has listed a $2 billion Islamic bonds programme on the Irish Stock Exchange, taking the lender a step closer to tapping the sukuk market for the first time. Rating agencies Moody's and Fitch assigned ratings of A2 and A+ respectively to the sukuk programme. Barwa Bank hasn't specified a timeframe or size for its potential debut deal. Barwa is classified as a systemically important bank, with 53 percent of its share capital owned by the Qatari government through Qatari Holding LLC and other government funds. Barwa's sukuk programme uses an agency-based structure known as wakala. The transaction is being arranged by Citigroup.

Western governments and companies are poised to test Islamic bond markets

With the ongoing credit squeeze from the debt crisis and uncertainty still stalking capital markets, many Western firms are eyeing up the Islamic liquidity pool as an alternative source of finance. The Irish energy group ESB had applied to local regulators in Malaysia for permission to issue a bond, with the aim of raising €1 billion. Had the issuance gone ahead, the ESB would have become the first Irish company, and one of the non-financials in Europe, to issue a Sharia-compliant bond. Nonetheless, prospective investors reportedly showed interest in investment in asset-rich companies like the ESB. Ireland already commands a share of pie when it comes to fund management, with some 20 per cent of Europe’s Sharia-compliant funds domiciled in Dublin’s Irish Finance Services Centre (IFSC).

Saudi's NCB plans Islamic equity and sukuk funds

Saudi Arabian NCB Capital is about to launch a range of Irish-domiciled Islamic mutual funds. This way the company is broadening its investor base and tries to appeal to emerging market investors. The company manages US$12.1bn worth of assets. It has launched two funds investing in Saudi Arabian and GCC equities. NCB's plans include the launch of other funds including one that will invest in sukuk.

First Saudi mutual fund to be launched from Dublin

This month, the first international mutual funds, which will be run by a Saudi Arabian manager, will be launched from Dublin. Equity funds investing in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region will be launched by NCB Capital. The operations will be compliant to the principles of Islamic Sharia law. This move is considered to be a continuation of the bank's strategy to become a significant player in the sharia market.


Firm boosts Irish Islamic finance sector

The global Islamic capital markets advisory firm Amanie Advisors has launched an Irish operation aiming to boost Ireland's growing Islamic finance sector. It is also expected to facilitate both Irish and European companies to have access to funding means of the Islamic capital markets. Amanie's group chairman Dr Daud Bakar explained the choice of Ireland with the country's increasing reputation as a hub for operations in the branch of Islamic finance.

Can Islamic finance provide salvation for the banking sector?

Due to rapid growth and expansion of the Islamic financing sector, Germany is about to follow the example of some other European countries and launch an Islamic bank. Similar plans are discussed in Ireland as well. One of the reasons for the expansion is the growing demand for a more ethical financial system. However, the question remains whether Islamic finance can offer suitable solutions which reach beyond the Muslim world. Even though it is based on Muslim religious principles, it has some advantages like the lack of speculative activities and a possibility to create a more equitable financial system.

Ireland's ESB considers sukuk issue in Malaysia

The Irish Electricity Supply Board (ESB) considers issuing a sukuk in Malaysia which would make it the first large non-financial company from Europe to involve in trade with Islamic bonds. Issuing a sukuk is likely to contribute to the development of a new source of funding for companies in Europe while the euro zone debt crisis constrains sources of finance at home.

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Ireland aims to become hub for Islamic finance

Ireland has set itself the goal to become a global Islamic finance hub since its funds industry has passed beyond the €1 trillion (Dh4.73tn) mark. Thus, the country can take a larger slice of the continuously growing Islamic finance sector. After strengthening Ireland's position in the Sharia-compliant sector by attracting its first fund promoted from Malaysia, the country makes plans for further expansion and growth in this area.

Dublin welcomes first Malaysian asset manager

According to the IFIA, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management has become the first Malaysian firm to launch funds from Dublin. Thus it is reinforcing the position of the domicile as Europe's leading funds centre. The start of the CIMB-Principal Islamic Irish Ucits fund range follows the constitution of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management (Ireland).

Gilmore speaks of aim to develop Ireland's involvement in Islamic finance

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore addressed a seminar on the Government’s purpose to make Ireland a European hub for Islamic finance.
He announced the International Fiscal Association Ireland seminar that Ireland is currently the location for an evaluated 20pc of Sharia compliant funds stationed outside the Middle East. Moreover, he added that Ireland must be tought of as a gateway to the world.

European Islamic Investment Bank Plc : Non-Executive Director Appointment

Mr. John Robertson Wright was appointed Non-Executive Director of EIIB by the Board of EIIB.
Mr. Wright is a career Banker with important experience in UK and international markets including assignments in India, Sri Lanka, West Africa, Canada, Hong Kong and the United States. Before this appointment he was Chief Executive of Oman International Bank for 7 years, Chief Executive of the Northern and National Irish Banks in Ireland for 5 years, Chief Executive of the Gulf Bank in Kuwait and finally Chief Executive of Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banks prior to retirement.

Malaysian global asset manager establishes first-in-class fund platform in Ireland

Ireland has conducted its first Malaysian-managed fund platform. The Central Bank of Ireland has approved the establishment of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management (Ireland) Public Limited: a joint venture between Kuala Lumpur headquartered CIMB Group and Principal Global Investors.
The newly created joint venture will uphold a range of international Islamic funds on the platform from its Dublin domicile. Three equity UCITS are being registered: Islamic Global Emerging Markets Fund; Islamic Asia-Pacific ex-Japan Fund, and Islamic ASEAN Equity Fund.
Once registered the funds will be spread in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Singapore.

Kenny clears way to attract Islamic Finance

It seems that the government is going to arrange for Ireland to become a centre for Islamic Finance (IF).
IF differs from western finance in several ways. Banks are forbidden to charge interest on loans, while investors cannot put money into businesses related to gambling, pork or pornography.

‘Corporate social responsibility, key to African economy’

Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female president, has called on organisations and companies to leverage on CSR for improved growth and development of emerging economies like Nigeria’s. Her actions are sustained by the fact that she describes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a key driver to the future of the African economy.
She added that the emerging business environment in Nigeria is the one to look out for in the future of the emerging economies.

Ireland aims to be home of Islamic finance in Europe

In the path of rebuilding its once dominant financial services sector, Ireland aims to become the home of Islamic finance in Europe.
The taoiseach, Enda Kenny, stated that the Irish tax laws and financial regulations are now sharia-compliant. It seems that the government had recently signed double-taxation agreements with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Islamic finance conference for Dublin

The Clarion Hotel, IFSC, Dublin will host on Monday 11 April 2011 a conference on Islamic finance opportunities for Ireland. There will be discussed domestic and global banking and corporate opportunities.
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants will organize the event that is programmed to start at 9.30am and end at 1.00pm.

Malaysia pushing for Islamic finance legal framework

Many jurisdictions are interested in Islamic finance and have taken initiatives to develop the industry through reviewing their legal framework to facilitate the introduction of a range of Islamic financial products, including more recently France, Ireland, Australia, Jordan, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Lebanon.
One of the key determinants for the successful development of Islamic finance in any jurisdiction is the existence of a conducive legal framework that supports the operations and growth of the industry.

Sukuk Drop Most in 6 Months on Ireland Crisis

Islamic bonds slumped last week by the most since May.
Sales of Islamic bonds dropped this year due to debt restructurings and falling property prices in the Middle East.
The difference between the average yield for sukuk and the London interbank offered rate widened eight basis points last week to 341 basis points.

Muslim entrepreneurs need access to Sharia-friendly financial products

MUSLIM ENTREPRENEURS in Ireland need access to Sharia-compliant financial products to develop their businesses.
According to research carried out by Thomas Cooney, academic director of DIT Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, some 76 per cent of Muslim business people in Ireland believe securing finance is their biggest challenge and 90 per cent said there is a need for Islamic law compliant financial products.
Keynote speaker Tayyibah Taylor, founder of American Muslim women’s magazine Azizah, said business was not just a mechanism for creating wealth, it was a form of worship.
Mr Cooney’s research, which he presented at the conference, also found almost half of Muslim entrepreneurs in Ireland were working in food or retailing and were primarily targeting their own communities.

Sharia platform created

Allfunds Bank, the business-to-business fund platform, has launched an Islamic Services Unit to comply with Sharia principles. The company, jointly owned by the Santander and Intesa Sanpaolo groups, offers over 80 sharia-compliant funds from asset management firms based in Luxembourg, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The unit has a fatwa endorsed by the Sharia'h Board of Amanie Dubai, a specialist Islamic consultancy firm, making it the first sharia-compliant platform.
Allfunds said its clients would have direct access to the largest available range of Islamic funds and it would take further opportunities to expand the service, such as setting up a dedicated website for the sector.

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