The Sun Daily

Takaful companies plan to dispose general biz

At least three Islamic insurers are considering disposing their general takaful business ahead of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA), which comes into force next month. Among companies that are mulling the sale of their general takaful business are HSBC Amanah Takaful (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Prudential BSN Takaful Bhd and Hong Leong MSIG Takaful. The IFSA, which has been enacted but pending implementation, requires existing composite licence of insurers to be separated into two capitalised legal entities, namely life insurance or family takaful and general insurance. It has been reported that the minimum capital for each company will be RM100 million. However, most bank-backed takaful companies' are not willing to pump the additional capital to set up a separate general takaful unit since the non-life segment is a small contributor to their overall business.

Family takaful to drive Takaful Ikhlas' profits

Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd is looking to boost its family takaful business, regarded as a long term saving mechanism, to drive the company's growth and profitability further. According to its president and CEO Ab Latiff Abu Bakar, the company's family takaful business should grow by another 10% to contribute 70% of its gross contributions in the next three to four years. For the financial year ended March 31, 2012 (FY12), family takaful made up just over 60% of the operators contributions at RM501 million. One opportunity for growth is the expansion into corporate or group business which remains under-penetrated but a good way to reach the masses at a faster and cheaper rate. Takaful Ikhlas will also look to introduce new products packaged with Islamic services to further grow its family takaful segment.

Bank Islam defends chief economist’s suspension

Bank Islam Malaysia has defended its recent move to suspend its chief economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajuddin after he had predicted a narrow win for Pakatan Rakyat in the upcoming general election. However, a bank source said predictions on the elections are personal opinions that don't in anyway affect financial institutions like Bank Islam. Nevertheless, the bank discovered evidence of violations of the bank's internal policies that were so serious that warranted the bank to lodge a report with the commercial crime division of the police. Further internal investigations by the bank also revealed that Azrul had sent out series of emails relating to the bank's official documents from his office to third parties, including confidential minutes of the bank's board meeting. Azrul is due to appear before the bank's disciplinary board in March.

Paramount to raise RM550m via perpetual bonds, sukuk

Paramount Corporation will raise RM550 million via a RM200 million perpetual bond sale and a RM350 million sukuk programme, which was put together by Paramount in cooperation with Hong Leong Investment Bank, OCBC Al-Amin Bank and RHB Investment Bank. The money will be used for capital expenditure and working capital, to buy land as well as to fund a new campus. Paramount will become the first private company to issue perpetual bonds which will be issued to institutional investors.

ASM Investment aims to be syariah-compliant by year-end

ASM Investment Services which manages 14 unit trust funds, of which 11 are already syariah-compliant, will convert the remaining three into shariah-compliant assets. According to the company's CEO Ameer Ali Mohamed, the syariah-compliant unit trust industry has lots of potential. Therefore, ASM Investment aims to be a syariah-compliant fund management company by year-end.

Revised shariah methodology may see shorten list

Malaysian SC's Shariah Advisory Council (SAC) revised the screening methodology for shariah-compliant securities, in order to further build scale in the shariah-compliant equity and investment management segments as well as expand the Islamic capital market's international reach. The new screening methodology includes a financial ratio benchmark which looks at cash over total asset and debt over total asset screenings. Therefore, it may shorten the list of shariah-compliant companies when coming into force in November 2013.

DanaInfra ups ante to attract investors to retail sukuk

DanaInfra Nasional Bhd (DINB) has extended the offer period and upped the indicative profit rate of its Exchange Traded Bonds and Sukuk (ETBS), also known as DanaInfra Retail Sukuk for retail investors. The move is intended to attracting more investors to take up the new asset class. The offer period will now close on January 25th. Meanwhile, the indicative profit rate, previously at a minimum of 3.7% a year, has been altered to 4% a year. The money raised from the DanaInfra Retail Sukuk will be partially used to fund the MRT project which is worth RM15 billion.

Zeti: Islamic finance must include lower income group for more balanced growth

Malaysian Governor calls to a more balanced global economic growth. She claims that the Islamic finance must include lower income groups in order to ease the access of financial services to all segments of society.

CIMB-Principal targets RM2bil PRS fund size

CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd intends to grow its funds under the government-mooted private retirement scheme (PRS). The target amount is RM2 billion which should be reached during a period of five years. This way, CIMB is working on its higher goal to become the country's top PRS provider. It is expected that pension funds will become a key part of the company's business, accounting for 20% of its revenue in five years. At the moment, CIMB is managing RM36 billion worth of assets.

Great Eastern Takaful sees up to 100% revenue growth in 2012

After achieving a revenue growth of 50% at the end of October 2012 compared with the same period last year, Great Eastern Takaful Sdn Bhd (GETSB) is convinced it will reach a 60% to 70% growth in revenue till hte end of the year. The focus of the company will be its single contribution business as well as its regular contribution businesses. Currently, GETSB has a share of 4% of the local takaful market. Apart from the growth in revenue, an increase in the number of agents from the current 5,000 to 6,500 by 2013 is expected.

Ahmad Rizlan is Etiqa Takaful CEO

Ahmad Rizlan was apoointed as the new CEO of Etiqa Takaful Bhd by Etiqa Insurance & Takaful. The new CEO has to report to the CEO of Etiqa Insurance & Takaful since the latter is responsible for the entire insurance and takaful group. Rizlan will be in charge of leading the takaful business in Etiqa including the performance of Etiqa Takaful here and regionally.

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Malaysia's Islamic banks ripe for consolidation-Bank Muamalat

In the search for ways to deal with rising operational costs, Malaysia's Islamic banks are ready for consolidation. While in the past Islamic banks would rather not merge mainly because of resistance from powerful shareholders, now the development of megabanks would enable the issuance ground-breaking products just as conventional banks. This is made possible thanks to the rapid growth of Islamic finance - 23.7% of Malaysia's total banking assets belongs to the Islamic financial sector.

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