Al Bawaba

Board of Directors of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation in Dubai Approves 2018-2020 Strategic Plan

Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation’s (AMAF) new strategic plan for 2018–2020 has been approved by its Board of Directors. The strategic plan covers 18 main objectives that collectively aim to achieve AMAF’s mission and expand the number of people benefiting from its charity work. The objectives are also aligned with the pillars of Dubai Plan 2021 and the emirate’s Smart Government goals. AMAF Secretary General Ali Al Mutawa said the new strategic plan would implement several initiatives to realize the foundation's primary goal of providing care to minors, protecting and investing their finances, growing endowments, and encouraging society to engage in charity.

Bank AlJazira rewarded as Best Arabian Giving Foundation in 2015

Bank AlJazira achieved a new reward as the best Arabian donor in 2015 during the “Non-Governmental Giving Foundations in Arabian countries” conference held in Bahrain. The award was received by the Executive Director of the Community Service Programs Dr. Fahad Bin Ali Al-Olayan on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Nabil Al-Hoshan. The award was presented by the “Regional Network for Social Responsibility” in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization “UNIDO”; Bank AlJazira has been chosen for this award by the conference committee.

Dubai Islamic Bank launches four Wakala Deposit product Variants with unbeatable profit rates

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has launched four new Wakala Deposit product variants. The DIB Wakala Deposit product variants offer various schemes in terms of tenures and profit rates. DIB’s Long Term Wakala Deposits offer a 15.25% profit rate on a 5 year, or 8% profit rate on a 3 year tenure. Customers can also subscribe to DIB Maximizer Deposits, an 18-month facility which is developed on step-up profit rates of up to 6%. Furthermore, the Recurring Wakala Deposit is a deposit product whereby a fixed amount is deposited on a monthly basis. A minimum goal of AED 12,000 (AED 1,000 per month) is agreed upon – as well as the recurring instalment payments.

Islamic finance set to grow in Russia with new hub in Tatarstan

Islamic finance is drawing more interest in Russia as the country struggles economically and requires fundamentally new approaches to attract investments from abroad. The sector is just beginning to grow in Russia and its perspectives were discussed during the recent Gaidar’s Forum in Moscow, one of the major annual international conferences on economy in Russia. Implementation of Islamic finance in Russia started through the so-called pilot projects in the predominantly Muslim republic of Tatarstan. It has both existing infrastructure and client base. Islamic banking could account for up to 5 per cent of the entire financial market in Russia.

Omantel postpones $130 million sukuk over high interest rates

Oman Telecommunications Co (Omantel) cancelled plans for what would have been a $130 million, five-year dual-currency sukuk issue due to high interest rates from lenders, the company's CEO Talal al-Mamari said. The sukuk was priced last month at a profit rate of 5.3 percent, after receiving commitments worth $82.1 million in the dollar tranche and $47.9 million in the Omani rial tranche. But in a statement Wednesday to Muscat's bourse, Omantel announced it would postpone issuing the sukuk at the present time. Proceeds from the Sukuk would have helped to fund the company's new headquarters and to diversify its investment portfolio. Mamari said Omantel's investments would not stop, but did not give further details.

Jordan to issue $211M sukuk to finance National Electric Power Company

Jordan’s Ministry of Finance has prepared a plan of estimated issuance of government bonds for the year 2016 which puts net domestic borrowing for the current year at some JOD 896 million. Separately, the MoF has also revealed plans to issue Sukuk worth JOD 150 million to provide finance for the National Electric Power Company. Secretary-General of the Finance Ministry, Ezeddin Kanakriyeh, said the Sukuk would be tendered in two equal separate issuances. This indicative plan will be updated periodically in accordance with the requirements and developments in the light of the cash flow management plan prepared by the Ministry, which takes into consideration the value of the expected cash revenues and expenses through the implementation of the 2016 budget.

Internet searches for Islamic financial products surge in MENA

Research by Morgan McKinley found a surge in the global value of Islamic banking assets is forecasted for the next few years. Figures are predicted to reach $6.5 trillion by 2020, a huge leap compared to the amount of $150 billion in the mid-1990s. In the UAE alone, the total Islamic banking assets accrued in 2013 was $95 billion (compared to $83 billion in 2012), and it is showing no signs of slowing down, with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce predicting that the annual growth rate will reach 17 per cent until 2018. The increase has been with all consumers, with a recent study from Bloomberg concluding that in the UAE, Islamic finance has also gained popularity amongst non-Muslim expats.

Jadwa Investment completes global distribution agreement with Allfunds Bank

Saudi Arabian investment management and advisory firm Jadwa Investment has completed a distribution agreement with European platform Allfunds Bank (AFB) to offer shariah-compliant mutual funds to international investors across AFB’s global platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Jadwa’s portfolio of public equity and fixed income funds will be accessible across AFB’s worldwide network of 33 countries, including commercial banks, private banking institutions, fund managers, insurance and takaful companies and fund supermarkets. Jadwa Investment will be the only investment firm to provide actively managed and passively managed (indexed) shariah-compliant funds.

Jordan plans first foray into Islamic bonds

Jordan will soon launch its first sovereign issue of Islamic bonds to finance real estate projects, Finance Minister Umayya Toukan said. Toukan did not give details on the size of the planned Islamic Sharia-compliant issuance, but informed sources indicated that the sovereign sukuk could raise around JD400 million. The source said the government may enter the Islamic financial market in the coming few weeks, adding that Islamic banks in Jordan enjoy liquidity in excess of JD1.4 billion. In April of this year, the government chose the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector to support the country's debut for the planned domestic sukuk offering. The sukuk issuance will be a dinar-dominated offering.

Islamic Bank: Microfinance will help alleviate poverty worldwide

Microfinance is a well-developed strategy to alleviate poverty around the world, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) President Ahmad Mohamed Ali said Monday. Speaking at the forum of "Exploring Innovative Solutions for Affordable Islamic Microfinance on the sidelines of the 40th Annual meeting IDB, Ali emphasized that microfinance is a rapidly growing market. Ali said that a number of challenges confront efforts for microfinance by Islamic banks today. These include the need for coordinating policy and direction, weakness in regulatory and supervisory environments, lack of awareness and education about Islamic finance, and a severe shortage of qualified and trained human capital.

Mozambique: Islamic Development Bank mulls $10B sukuk program report

The annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank began in the Mozambique capital of Maputo on Sunday that would consider a report on the Medium-Term Sukuk Program for which the bank had already allocated $10 billion. The meeting will also consider the progress made so far in the implementation of its member country partnership strategic program; 20 member countries have so far signed up with the bank. In line with the four day official event, various activities will be organized on Thursday, one of which is a private sector forum where Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credits will present the importance of export credit and investment insurance in Africa.

Al Hilal Bank inaugurates new eco-friendly branch in Abu Dhabi’s iconic Masdar City

Al Hilal Bank has on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 inaugurated its new branch in Masdar City, a mixed-use project being developed in Abu Dhabi which is envisioned to emerge as the world’s most sustainable eco-city. Aside from meeting the conventional and Islamic banking needs of the surrounding community, the branch also serves as a hub for students of the nearby Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The banking facility integrates elements such as a vending machine and wall-mounted touch screens for social media interaction to provide a venue for the Institute’s students and faculty to do research or simply to relax. Al Hilal Bank now has a total of 25 branches spread across the UAE in addition to three overseas branches in Kazakhstan.

Islamic Development Bank affiliate to support Tajik bank’s conversion to sharia compliance

Bonki Rushdi Tojikiston (BRT), based in Tajikistan, has signed an advisory services agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) to process and support its conversion into Shariah-compliant operations. The agreement is designed to develop an advisory process to effectively deliver full conversion by also identifying challenges and addressing impediments. The ICD will dedicate seven key teams across the full conversion process in areas of project management, Shariah compliance, treasury, accounting, human resources, information technology, marketing and legal framework. BRT is hoping to become the leading Shariah-compliant platform in Tajikistan.

Holy bonds: are Islamic banks better at times of panic?

The International Monetary Fund, the world’s lender of last resort, has recently released a report on the effect of financial panics on Islamic banks. The working paper, published in February 2015 by Moazzam Farooq and Sajjad Zaheer, is based in Pakistan. In terms of methodology, the IMF paper examines the impact of a financial panic on the deposit and lending behavior of both Islamic and conventional banks in the country. Preliminary results by the report indicate that Islamic banking branches are less likely to experience a run on deposits compared to their conventional counterparts. The explanatory variables that illustrate why this is the case, however, are not so clearly defined.

First banks, now companies: Gulf firms 'go Islamic'

Across the Gulf, companies that have traditionally used conventional finance are considering whether to "go Islamic", by conforming to sharia principles such as bans on interest payments and monetary speculation. The number of major firms taking the plunge is still small - a handful in the past six months - but they underline the growing depth and cost-effectiveness of Islamic finance after several years of rapid growth in the industry. Companies can face a range of incentives and pressures to adopt Islamic finance. Those include government efforts, social pressures or attractiveness to potential investors.

In search for economic 'blessings'? Russia's grand plans to tap Islamic finance

The year 2014 brought changes for the Russian economy. The sanctions imposed by the European countries and the US and historically low oil prices have led to prices to double and businesses to lose access to traditional finance. At the annual Gaidar Economic Forum on January 14-16, a session was dedicated to Islamic finance and its development prospects in Russia. Indeed, 2014, especially its second half, was filled with economic and finance forums and seminars, which embraced among other topics, the issue of Islamic finance. The industry, which is capable of bringing new investments into the market, finally seems to be taken more seriously. Islamic finance is now being studied at various government bodies and institutions, both at the federal and regional levels.

NCB Capital sponsors financial education lab at Effat University

NCB Capital has sponsored a new fully equipped lab at Effat University in Jeddah as part of its commitment to spread financial literacy among Saudi Youth. The lab comprises of 25 computer machines and includes hardware and software which help students to monitor financial markets and train them on making sound investments. Sarah Al-Suhaimi, CEO of NCB Capital, said that education sector is a key part of NCB Capital’s corporate social responsibility activities. By sponsoring this initiative, NCB aims to forge a collaborative relationship with Effat University in order to support financial knowledge among the students, and to also introduce them to the world of investment, she added.

Al Hilal Bank welcomes Governor of Kazakhstan’s Central Bank to Abu Dhabi

Al Hilal Bank recently received Kairat Kelimbetov, the Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Both parties discussed the key role of Al Hilal Bank as the first and only Islamic bank operating in Kazakhstan. Mohamed Jamil Berro, Al Hilal Bank’s Group CEO, personally welcomed Governor Kelimbetov and briefed the guest on the Islamic products offered by Al Hilal. Kelimbetov noted the role of Al Hilal Bank’s activities in the development of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan, and added that the National Bank of Kazakhstan will continue to support development of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan.

Erdogan's ready to smear the banks: is Turkey about to face a financial crisis worse than that of 2001?

Do?an Cans?zlar, former head of the Capital Markets Board (SPK), has warned, in light of claims that a number of Turkish banks are in difficulty, that a smear campaign orchestrated by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an against Bank Asya could lead to a worse financial crisis than the one Turkey suffered back in 2001. At the beginning of the week, Erdo?an publicly threatened independent regulatory body, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), over its lack of action against Bank Asya, saying the agency must take a decision on the bank and follow through on it. The banking industry may be in worse shape than many think. On Tuesday Twitter user @fuatavni revealed the names of eight banks that he maintains are in financial difficulties.

Emirates Islamic launches five year Wakala Investment option

Emirates Islamic has launched of a five year Wakala investment option, with an expected profit rate of 2.5 per cent per annum. Launched with the objective of encouraging customers to focus on long term savings, Emirates Islamic’s five year Wakala investment option is available on amounts starting from AED100,000 up to AED25 million. By offering an annual profit rate similar to what is to be paid for Zakat, Emirates Islamic is enabling Muslim customers to use their funds wisely to meet their Zakat obligations. Meanwhile all customers can benefit from the attractive profit rates. The five year Wakala requires customers to ensure that the amount invested remains locked-in for a period of five years, as early liquidation would mean loss of profit.

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