Hong Kong

DFSA pens Hong Kong #fintech innovation deal

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) have signed an agreement to cooperate on Fintech innovation. The two public entities said the agreement will further strengthen the efforts of both authorities to develop an innovation-friendly ecosystem and regulatory environment. This continues a trend by both countries to ink bilateral relationships to boost emerging technology within the financial sector. The agreement was signed in Hong Kong by DFSA chief executive Ian Johnston and Ashley Alder, chief executive of the SFC. This step follows the introduction of regulations formalising a tailored regime for loan and investment crowdfunding platforms earlier this month. It also follows the launch of the FinTech Hive at DIFC and its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL).

i-VCAP introduces MyETF-AGRI to tap into long-term potential of agribusiness

The launch of MyETF-AGRI, the firm’s second Islamic ETF issued this year, brings the number of Shari’ah compliant ETFs in Malaysia to four and 18 in total in the world.
The global ETF market has closed in on the $3 trillion mark with Shari’ah-compliant ETFs only registering about $320 million of that total. In Malaysia, Shari’ah-compliant ETFs make up of over 30 % of the ETF market.
Malaysia does lead the pack, however, with the most Shari’ah-compliant ETF products in the world. Malaysia’s four Shari’ah-compliant ETFs account for some $75 million or 23 % of the global Shari’ah-Compliant ETF segment.
The launch of this landmark Fund represents many firsts for the industry including being the first agricultural-related Islamic ETF globally and the first sectoral Islamic ETF in the region while reinforcing Malaysia’s position as the global hub for Islamic finance and investment products.
MyETF-AGRI will look to invest in the 30 constituent companies that make up the Thomson Reuters Asia Pacific ex-Japan Islamic Agribusiness Index and in substantially the same weightings as they appear on the benchmark index.

Islamic finance gains traction in search for alternative models

Islamic financing is gaining traction even among non-Muslim countries in a bid to use sustainable and equitable form of alternative models, the Malaysian Prime Minister said on Tuesday. London issued its second Islamic sukuk after its first bond issue was oversubscribed 14 times. In addition to London, Luxembourg and South Africa, Hong Kong has also issued sovereign sukuks.
“Ever since the global financial crisis in 2007-08 there has been a sharp demand for alternative economic and business model that reduces the level of speculation as conventional model that has inherent weakness,” Najib Razak told journalists. “Over-leveraging is believed to have been the root cause of the disaster — but again, that is prohibited in Islamic finance. As a result, Islamic banks remained strongly capitalised and resilient against financial market volatility, while continuing to contribute positively to equitable and sustainable growth,” he said.

HK steps up Islamic financing with $1b sukuk

Hong Kong recently issued $1 billion five-year sukuk. Pricing was aggressive, with the $1 billion sukuk pricing at Treasuries plus 35bp. The sharia-compliant note had a profit rate of 1.894%. However, the leads took comfort in the fact that there were solid anchor orders in place before launching the deal. Roadshows were held in key Islamic centres including Kuala Lumpur, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and London and much of those orders came from reverse enquiries from roadshows. The sukuk gathered an orderbook of $2 billion from 49 accounts. Given that it was an ultra-low yielding AAA product, banks treasuries took close to three quarters of the deal. Central banks and sovereign wealth funds took close to a quarter of the deal.

Hong Kong government sells second Islamic sukuk bond to raise US$1.1 billion

Hong Kong Government has successfully sold its second Islamic sukuk bond to raise US$1 billion in its latest effort to promote Islamic finance in the city. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which handled the issue on behalf of the government, said on Thursday that the issue was popular and it received US$2 billion in orders from 49 global institutional investors including central banks and sovereign funds among others. The orders were double its US$1 billion issue size. The five-year bond was priced at 1.894 per cent, which is lower than last year’s issue and is 35 basis points over 5-year US Treasuries. The new government sukuk will be listed on June 3 in the stock exchange of Hong Kong, Nasdaq Dubai and Bursa Malaysia.

HK sells US$1b worth of Islamic bonds in second sukuk issue

Hong Kong sold US$1 billion (RM3.6 billion) of Islamic bonds in its second sukuk issue since the city’s debut in 2014. The five-year debt was priced at 1.894 per cent, with orders amounting to US$2 billion, according to a government statement. The city sold the same amount and tenor in September at 2.005 per cent, which drew bids for US$4.7 billion. Those notes last yielded 2 per cent. The city sold its latest bonds at a spread of 35 basis points above similar-maturity US Treasuries. That compares with 23 basis points for its debut offering. Standard & Poor’s assigned a preliminary AAA credit rating to the deb, the same as the government.

Hong Kong, Ningxia to emerge as China's Islamic finance centres

With China showing growing interest to participate in the global Islamic finance market, the country is working on establishing hubs for Shariah banking within its borders. The first such centre to emerge will undoubtedly be the southern metropolis of Hong Kong which is very serious about becoming an East Asian hub for Islamic finance with a side glance on its regional competitor Singapore. But many eyes are also on China's majority-Muslim autonomous province of Ningxia in the northwestern part of the country. Ningxia plans a $1.5bn debut sukuk sale as early as this year. The deal, managed by Nanchang-based AVIC Securities, will be China's first local-government overseas bond issuance and the first Islamic bond issued by a province.

Hong Kong Sharia finance goals elusive as second sukuk readied

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced plans this week to sell $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) of five-year sukuk, the same size and tenor as its debut issue in September that drew $4.7 billion of bids. Those notes last yielded 2.06 per cent, almost the same as the rate at issue and about twice the level of the government’s similar-maturity non-Islamic securities. While the city government’s AAA- rating will ensure demand, Hong Kong is unlikely to host any corporate offers in the next one to two years as sukuk is seen as an “exotic instrument”. The main objectives of Hong Kong selling sukuk are to demonstrate that the legal framework for issuance in the city is widely accepted internationally and to attract more issuers and investors to the local market.

First HK sukuk listed in Dubai

Dubai saw on Thursday the listing of the very first Islamic bond in its stock market by China's Hong Kong Special administrative region. The listing of the one-billion U.S. dollar sukuk marks Dubai as one of the top three listing venues in the world for sukuk, with a currently listed nominal value of 24.05 billion dollars. The Nasdaq Dubai competes with the sukuk hubs in Kuala Lumpur and in London. A total of 14.15 billion dollars of sukuks have been listed on Dubai's exchanges so far in 2014, up 107 percent from 6.85 billion dollars in 2013.

Hong Kong works to keep Islamic finance momentum as firms balk

Hong Kong's government is trying to maintain the territory's momentum toward becoming an Islamic finance centre, as other potential sukuk issuers show little enthusiasm. In September, Hong Kong made the first U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk issue by an AAA-rated government, a $1 billion (£636.3 million) deal that put it on the map in the global competition among banking centres to attract Islamic finance business. Since then, however, there have been few if any signs of other sukuk issuers emerging in Hong Kong - demonstrating that however hard governments try, they may struggle to develop Islamic finance sectors if a strong economic rationale is absent.

Request for Proposal - Tunesia US-Dollar dominated sukuk

The Republic of Tunisia has sent banks request for proposals for a potential US dollar denominated sukuk transaction. The sovereign, rated Ba3/B/BB-, hopes to complete the debut Islamic bond by the end of the year and thereby becoming the fifth sovereign to issue a debut sukuk this year, after the UK, Sharjah, Hong Kong, South Africa and Luxembourg.

Investing on principle – asia asset management

Sukuk issuance and investing is expanding outside of the Islamic world. The asset holders range from sovereign wealth funds and high-net-worth-individuals in the Arab Gulf, to retail investors in other Muslim majority countries such as Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia. According to Moody’s Investors Service, Malaysia at present dominates the sukuk market when it comes to both sovereign and corporate issuance. Other major issuers include the governments of Indonesia and Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The overall outstanding amount of sukuk will probably reach around $115 billion this year.

Reasons for Islamic financial products are populare outside the Muslim world

There are many reasons that Islamic financial products are popular outside the Muslim world. Britain became the first non-Muslim country to issue sukuk, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority made an issuance, and the governments of Luxembourg and South Africa will follow suit later this year. Last month Goldman Sachs issued an Islamic bond, and before the end of the year, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and Société Générale, a French bank will probably do the same. All of these entities want to get a piece of the $2 trillion Islamic finance market.

Gulf Arab Sukuk dominance fades as U.K. leads next wave

As Islamic bond issuance heads for a record year, nations making up the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council are losing share to new borrowers such as the U.K., Hong Kong and South Africa. Global sales of Shariah-compliant debt reached $36.7 billion. GCC market share fell down from more than 50 percent a year earlier as Bloomberg figures show. With non-Muslim countries being lured by the growing Islamic investor base.

Luxemburg debut sukuk sees strong demand

According to the finance minister, Luxembourg has issued its first 200 million euro ($254 million) five-year Islamic bond, distributed across 29 accounts, although the market favours dollar-denomineted sukuk. Nevertheless the country thereby becomes the first AAA-rated government to issue euro-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, following London, Hong Kong and South Africa. Luxembourg hired HSBC, BNP Paribas, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg and Qatar-based QInvest to arrange its sukuk.

HK sukuk attracts US$1b on debut

Hong Kong sold US$1 billion (RM3.19 billion) of sovereign Islamic bonds in its first-ever issue of the securities, attracting orders for 4.7 times the amount on offer. The dollar-denominated five-year notes were priced at a 2.005 per cent profit rate. The United Kingdom, which along with Hong Kong is rated the highest investment grade, sold sukuk for the first time in June at a coupon of 2.036 per cent. Those notes yielded 1.76 per cent yesterday. The Hong Kong sukuk was priced at 23 basis points above similar-maturity US Treasuries, the narrowest spread ever achieved on a benchmark dollar issuance from an Asian government outside Japan. The city has changed its tax laws to help pave the way for sales of syariah-compliant debt.

Hong Kong to hold roadshows for first sukuk issue next week

Hong Kong's government will hold investor meetings next week for its maiden Islamic bond issue. A meeting will be held in Hong Kong on Monday before one in Singapore on Tuesday, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday and meetings in Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi and London on Thursday. The AAA-rated government earlier mandated HSBC, Standard Chartered, CIMB Group Holdings and National Bank of Abu Dhabi to arrange the issue. The sukuk ijara issue is expected to be listed on the Hong Kong, Malaysia and Dubai bourses. The sukuk is expected to be denominated in U.S. dollars and have a tenor of five years. Officials have previously said issuance size is expected to be about US$500 million to US$1 billion.

Asian sovereigns join sukuk rush

Hong Kong, Indonesia and Pakistan are banking on pent-up investor demand as they look to raise up to a combined US$3.5bn in the fast-growing Islamic bond market. The three sovereign sukuk issues, including a planned US$1bn debut from Triple A rated Hong Kong, are set to launch before the end of September. Indonesia is Asia’s only regular in the global sukuk market, having issued annually since 2010. Pakistan has sold Islamic debt overseas only once before, in 2005, while Malaysia has typically preferred to target its own domestic market. Hong Kong, in particular, is looking to promote itself as a regional hub for Islamic financing to capitalise on growing trade links between Greater China and the Middle East.

DAC Beachcroft | Islamic Insurance at the Crossroads

The Inland Revenue and Stamp Duty Legislation (Alternative Bond Schemes) (Amendment) Ordinance is a new piece of legislation, introduced in Hong Kong. This law, which puts the taxation of sukuk on a level footing with conventional bonds in Hong Kong, marks a significant effort by the Hong Kong Government to promote the development of a sukuk market in the territory. However, success in developing a market for Islamic finance is not just about regulation and tax. Most importantly, it is about ethics, in the form of Shariah compliance. Islamic finance continues to be dominated by banking. Insurance (takaful) has received much less attention and its development reflects a degree of neglect. The problem lies in the widespread use of takaful and retakaful contracts which are nothing more than conventional insurance and reinsurance contracts. A strong ethical framework needs to be created and enforced within which Islamic finance can thrive.

Hong Kong seminar on strategies for the development of Islamic capital markets

The Seminar on Strategies for the Development of Islamic Capital Markets was held on June 27 in Hong Kong to promote discussions, understanding and experience-sharing in the area of Islamic capital markets. The event was organised by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). In the one-day seminar, speakers with experience and expertise in the Islamic finance field discussed the latest developments of the global Islamic capital markets and examined the prospects and opportunities, with particular focus on Sukuk and Islamic collective investment schemes. The seminar was attended by more than 80 delegates including representatives from regulatory authorities, policy-makers, financial institutions, market professionals and legal practitioners from Hong Kong and different parts of the world including the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

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