The Sun Daily

Malaysia retains status as global sukuk hub: RAM

Malaysia retained its leading position as a sukuk hub in 2015, accounting for 53% of global issuance at the end of the year, RAM Ratings head of Islamic finance Ruslena Ramli said. Although the performance pales in comparison to the country's 69% of share of global sukuk as at end-2014, the ringgit remained the currency of choice accounting for 39% of sukuk issuance followed by the US dollar (32%) and the Indonesian rupiah (9%). However, RAM Ratings noted that Malaysia's share of outstanding global sukuk had declined to 52% in 2015 from 55% in 2014 due to the weaker ringgit. On the overall global sukuk market, RAM Ratings noticed an increase in sukuk issuance from new markets, as Oman and the Ivory Coast have joined the growing list of sovereign sukuk issuers.

S&P: Global sukuk issues to stay below peak levels

Standard & Poor's Rating Services (S&P) expects sukuk issuance to remain at below-peak levels in 2016 mainly because Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the largest issuers of sukuk worldwide, has stopped issuing Islamic notes. In absence of its biggest issuer, the rating agency expects sukuk issuance to reach US$50 billion-US$55 billion (RM219.5 billion-RM241.45 billion) in 2016, compared with US$63.5 billion in 2015 and US$116.4 billion in 2014.
Excluding the BNM effect, S&P said sukuk issuance dropped by around 5% in 2015 from 2014. Three main factors are expected to shape the performance of the sukuk market in 2016: monetary policy developments in the US and Europe, the drop in oil prices, and the possible lifting of sanctions on Iran.

Bank Islam issues second tranche of subordinated sukuk

BIMB Holdings Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd has issued the second tranche of the Subordinated Sukuk Murabahah amounting to RM400 million under the Subordinated Sukuk Murabahah Programme. BIMB said the second tranche has a tenure of 10 years non-callable five years, with its maturity date being Dec 15, 2025. The sukuk has been rated A1/stable by RAM Rating Services Bhd. The proceeds will be utilised to finance Bank Islam’s Islamic banking activities, working capital requirements and other corporate purposes and/or, if required, to redeem any outstanding Subordinated Sukuk Murabahah issued under the Subordinated Sukuk Murabahah Programme.

Badlisyah: Islamic finance to continue strong growth

Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry will continue to grow strongly despite the withdrawal of some Islamic finance-related incentives in Budget 2016.
Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF) president Badlisyah Abdul Ghani said the country’s Islamic financing market has grown positively over the years, attributed to the tax incentives provided for Islamic financing in previous budgets.
“(But now) the Islamic finance no longer requires that assistance to penetrate the market. (Previously) the incentives were there to create the momentum to build nderstanding and acceptance of Islamic finance,” he told a press conference after the launch of CIIF last Friday.
Badlisyah said the CIIF, a professional body for qualified practitioners in the Islamic finance industry, was established following the increasing need for a global reference point for professional talent in the industry, as it expands internationally.

Maybank Islamic takes legal action against R&A over RM30.54m loan

R&A Telecommunication Group Bhd's major subsidiary, R&A Telecommunication Sdn Bhd (RASB), has been served a writ and a statement of claim by Maybank Islamic Bhd for defaulting a loan payment of RM30.54 million. R&A said it plans to address the issue via a regularisation plan. The filing of the writ and statement of claim is a result of the outstanding amount for various Islamic financing facilities granted by the plaintiff including murabahah cashlines and Islamic tradeliness facilities, R&A said. The financial of operational impact of the writ and statement of claim on the group will be severe, it said, adding that it will severely impact the group's cash position.

Allianz Life still keen on takaful business

Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia Bhd, which is aiming to have 10,000 agents by year-end from 8,300 now - remains interested in the takaful business although it is not in talks with any potential acquisition target now. Allianz Life CEO Rangam Bir said it sees that a large part of the market has the need for takaful solutions. Allianz Life is a subsidiary of Allianz Malaysia Bhd, which in turn is Allianz SE’s subsidiary. Allianz SE had failed in an attempt to buy a local takaful operator in 2011. Last year, a member of the board at Allianz SE said that it is not economically viable to enter into the domestic takaful market just yet.

Al Rajhi eyes 20% takaful contributions in 2015

Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp (Malaysia) Bhd, which has launched its first bancatakaful product offerings in collaboration with Great Eastern Takaful Bhd, is confident that takaful products will contribute 20% to its fee-based income for 2015 or RM15 million worth of contributions. Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia acting CEO Selamat Sirat said the collaboration marks the introduction of its first syariah compliant protection plan products, which are i-Great Raudhah and i-Great Bakti. Selamat added that it is looking at a 50% growth year-on-year for its fee-based income. It is also looking for the opportunity to expand the fee-based income business through its range of wealth management products.

Takaful contribution to hit over US$3b

Malaysia, which is the second largest takaful market in terms of gross takaful contribution, is forecasted to hit US$3.024 billion (RM10.1 billion) in 2014 from US$2.436 billion in 2013. Bank Negara's target is to achieve a penetration rate of takaful of 75% by 2020, from currently 15%. Meanwhile, the local takaful industry is expected to see increased merger and acquisition activities between now and the end of next year, with the introduction of the Islamic Financial Services Act (IFSA). Malaysia's takaful industry achieved compounded annual growth rate of 24% over the last five years. Industry estimates indicate that given a conducive economic climate and its young demographics, Malaysia's takaful industry may be able to continue its double-digit growth path.

PM: Muslim world needs to develop method in Islamic finance

The Muslim world needs to develop a revolutionary method in Islamic finance to allow entrepreneurs and financiers to leverage each other to contribute to the nation's economic growth sustainability, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said. The prime minister said Islamic countries had made remarkable progress and became a significant group in the global economy as the total gross domestic products of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries had grown to US$9.4 trillion in 2012 from US$7.5 trillion. Moreover, he said as an Islamic finance pioneer, Malaysia could and must play an influential role in ensuring the sector's future development. The government aimed to increase the SME macroeconomic contribution to 41% of the GDP, 62% of employment and 25% of exports by 2020, he added.

Role in major issuances boosts RHB's credentials in global sukuk market

The RHB Banking Group is keen to participate in more global sukuk issuance after making significant inroads in the market via its units, RHB Islamic Bank Bhd and RHB Investment Bank Bhd (RHBIB), in recent global transactions. Yesterday, RHBIB co-managed the Government of Hong Kong SAR of the People's Republic of China's inaugural US$1 billion sukuk issuance which also marks the world's first US dollar-denominated sukuk originated by a AAA-rated government. RHBIB meanwhile was lead manager cum underwriter to IDB Trust Services Ltd's recent 5-year US$1.5 billion sukuk issuance under its US$10 billion (RM32 billion) sukuk programme guaranteed by the Saudi based Islamic Development Bank.

Takaful venture? Not just yet, says Allianz

Allianz SE believes that it is not economically viable to enter into Malaysia's domestic takaful market just yet, board member Manuel Bauer said. He believes that growth in the Islamic insurance sector is beginning to cool down and would therefore be a struggle to justify any major investments to its shareholders. Bound by Bank Negara Malaysia's restrictions that caps foreign ownership at 70% in a local insurers, he said, Allianz's is answerable to its shareholders if it decides to take certain acquisition risk. Bauer also argued that the domestic takaful market has been stagnant and not performing as well as one thought it to be. Bauer said that taking into account Allainz's position in Malaysia as market leaders in both life and general business, the takaful potential figures are not convincing.

Cagamas issues RM500m Islamic bond

Cagamas, the Malaysian mortgage corporation, has issued RM500 million three-month Islamic commercial papers (ICPs), its first ICP for the year. Proceeds from the murabahah ICPs will be used to fund the purchase of Islamic financing from the financial system. Investors' preference for high grade issues and short duration investment strategy results in strong demand for the company's three-month ICPs particularly from financial institutions with a bid to cover ratio of over 2.4 times and competitively priced at three-month KLIBOR. The ICPs, which will be redeemed at their full nominal value on maturity, will be listed and tradable under the Scripless Securities Trading System.

Two-year transition for Islamic banks to reclassify deposits

Islamic banks are required to reclassify their deposits into Islamic deposits and investment accounts under the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA). To do so, they are given a two-year transition period until June 30, 2015. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said Islamic banking institutions will engage with their customers in providing information and clarification on the differences between the Islamic deposit and investment account products as well as the options available to them to either retain their placements in Islamic deposit or migrate to investment accounts. During the transition period, all lslamic deposits accepted under IBA will continue to be protected by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia while the Islamic banks will also ensure that the customers' rights are protected.

UDA to work with Bank Muamalat in developing RM1b wakaf land

UDA Holdings will work with Bank Muamalat to develop 40.47ha of wakaf land with a gross development value of RM1 billion. The land, ready for development, is spread throughout the country and owned by the respective state Islamic Religious Councils. Bank Muamalat will provide the end financing for UDA to develop the land. The implementation of development projects on the wakaf land will be based on the concept of Ijarah or leasing. To realise the development of wakaf land, UDA acting as the developer, will underwrite the development costs, while also being responsible for marketing the projects.

Aeon Credit said opting for perpetual notes or sukuk issue

Aeon Credit Service, which has been deliberating on a cash-raising exercise to beef up its capital adequacy ratio (CAR), is said to have chosen the route for a perpetual notes or sukuk issue instead of equity. Analysts are expecting the proposed perpetual notes or sukuk, which is subject to the authority's approval, to be announced soon given the non-bank financial institution's 16.3% CAR as of Aug 20, 2013 is nearing Bank Negara Malaysia's minimum requirement of 16%. Aeon Credit could raise some RM190 million from the proposed exercise to increase its CAR to 22% based on its shareholders funds. No significant dilution on Aeon Credit's earnings per share is expected. Aeon Credit's D/E ratio surged to 5.67 times as of Aug 20, 2013 from 4.6 times as of May 20, 2013.

Takaful Malaysia eyes double-digit growth

Syarikat Takaful Malaysia is targeting double digit-growth in new business this year driven by its family and group segments. Group managing director Datuk Mohamed Hassan Kamil said the company aims to maintain its lead in the group family takaful business, capturing 40% of the market sector, and 20% of the combined family and general takaful business. He noted that Takaful Malaysia will carry on being cautious in accepting only profitable underwriting contracts while avoiding those prone to greater risks. Hassan also mentioned that developing new product offerings is definitely an area the company is looking into as it strongly believes this would likely be the key driver of sales. Takaful Malaysia's growth areas are still within the fire and engineering segments.

Ibrahim is new head of RHB Islamic Bank

Ibrahim Hassan will assume his post as the new CEO and managing director of the RHB Banking Group's Islamic banking arm from Sept 2, 2013. He will be responsible for overseeing the group's overall Islamic banking business and operations including driving its revenue, expanding the group's product range and customer portfolio growth across local and international boundaries. Prior to this, Ibrahim was the president director at PT Bank Maybank Syariah Indonesia. Ibrahim's appointment leaves the RHB Banking Group with only one vacancy – the top post at RHB Bank Bhd. RHBCap group managing director Kellee Kam is currently assuming the responsibilities of RHB Bank managing director in addition to his role at the group level. Earlier this month, RHB Investment Bank Bhd officer-in-charge Mike Chan Cheong Yuen was promoted to be its managing director and CEO.

MAA Group, Zurich settle longtime dispute

MAA Group will finally get to proceed with plans to buy new businesses after reaching a settlement agreement with Zurich Insurance Co. Under the settlement, Zurich has agreed to pay MAA Group RM103.43 million on top of the RM344 million acquisition price for MAA Group's interest in MAA Assurance Alliance and its subsidiaries. The RM103.43 million amount is subject to the deduction of the Senai Desaru and Domayne bonds transfer price and Prima Avenue Klang property holdback amount of RM3 million, such that the net amount payable by Zurich into the escrow account is RM78.83 million. However, Zurich will instruct and withhold the RM3 million until delivery of the individual strata titles for Block A of Prima Avenue Klang within three years.

Maybank Islamic aims to expand to all Asean countries

Maybank Islamic Bhd, the Islamic banking arm of Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), aims to expand to all Asean member countries that Maybank has a presence in. According to its CEO Muzaffar Hisham, the bank intends to continue its regional expansion to other Asean nations after focusing on Singapore and Indonesia as part of its internationalisation initiative. Muzaffar said the bank has invested a lot of time and effort in the expansion opportunities, which were in line with the aspiration of Bank Negara Malaysia to internationalise Islamic finance. The bank grew by an average of 25% per year, held 30% market share locally and contributed 30% to the loans portfolio of Maybank domestically. Up to the first quarter of this year, Maybank Islamic has 4 million depositors with a deposit value of RM70 billion.

Takaful Malaysia still on the hunt for strategic partner in Indonesia

Syarikat Takaful Malaysia remains in the hunt for a strategic partner in Indonesia to help expand its distribution network there. The takaful operator was in talks to sell a stake or issue new shares in its Indonesian unit to a local partner last year, but the deal fell through. According to Takaful Malaysia Group managing director Mohammad Hassan Kamil, the group has not given up on its search for a strategic partner and is still actively scouting. Takaful Malayisa needs a strategic partner to put in the capital as well as provide the necessary expertise and people to help run the company. The Indonesian operations currently contribute less than 15% of the group's total revenue and less than 5% of its earnings. However, analysts say that the group's operations in Indonesia are poised for explosive growth of high double-digit rates in the next two to four years.

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