Jim O'Neill tips Arab world to be next big opportunity

Jim O'Neill, chairman of the massive Goldman Sachs Asset Management arm, said he believed that the Arab world could emerge as the fifth Bric, joining the booming economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Emerging markets fund manager Charlemagne Capital is launching a new fund to exploit opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) as a result of the political tensions across the region.

Sharia investments arrive in India

The recent launch of an Islamic equity index by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), TASIS Sharia 50, received more media coverage globally than India Islamic indexes from the index providers.
A Google search of "Islamic index India" provides 279,000 results, comparable to "Islamic index Malaysia" (270,000), Pakistan (274,000), Saudi Arabia (272,000) and Turkey (259,000), and almost ten times more than the GCC (36,500), at the time this article was written.

SEBI tribunal deals blow to Parsoli

Appeal No. 146 of 2010 by Parsoli Corporation Ltd dismissed on Jan. 12 by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The Appeal was against a ruling by SEBI that Parsoli and its promoters/directors violated several provisions of the regulations and perpetrated “fraud of the worst kind on the shareholders of this company who were deprived of their shares and when caught, the directors compensated the shareholders by crediting shares in their demat accounts through off market transactions.”

India launches sharia stock index for Muslims

India's Bombay Stock Exchange launched a share index of sharia-compliant companies on Monday in an attempt to open stock-trading to more Muslims.
The BSE TASIS Sharia 50 consists of the largest and most liquid sharia-compliant stocks within the BSE 500 index.
The index would attract Islamic and other "socially responsible" investors both in India and overseas.

Jersey looks to build stronger relationship with Middle East and India

In order to strengthen its relations with the Middle East and India, Jersey Finance wants to open a new overseas office.
The plan is to succeed this in the first quarter of 2011.
The organisation has two other overseas offices, in London and Hong Kong.
HSBC Middle East is regulated on Jersey, while Emirates NBD, the National Bank of Kuwait and the National Bank of Abu Dhabi all run elements of business on the island

QInvest acquires a stake in India's ABECL

QInvest, Qatar's leading investment bank, has acquired a 28% stake in Asian Business Exhibition & Conferences Ltd (ABECL), India's leading exhibitions and conferences organizer.
The proceeds from the investment will be used to expand ABECL's operations in India and to establish an international presence.

HP issues maiden US$100m sukuk

HEWLETT-PACKARD (HP), the world's largest technology company, has issued its maiden US$100 million (RM310 million) sukuk to part- finance the development and construction of its multi-million-dollar next generation data centre (NGDC) in Cyberjaya.
The company, via its Malaysian subsidiary HP Multimedia Sdn Bhd, and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd signed an agreement to formalise the Islamic term financing facility agreement in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
At the signing, CIMB Islamic was represented by group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, while HP was represented by HP Enterprise Services senior vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan, Kevin Jones.
The loan will help finance the development of HP's first phase NGDC project, with an option to be extended to subsequent phases in due course.
Upon completion in 2016, the campus will stand as one of HP's four global network centres, alongside India, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Banking on Sharia in Kerala

Kerala offers huge potential for setting up financial institutions based on Islamic tenets, given its strong historical ties with West Asia and a large Muslim population that adheres to investment norms prescribed by Sharia. Islam prohibits giving or receiving of interest, which it categorises as usury. It does not prohibit trading and investment but advises followers to share risks. It tells the investor to share the loss, just as he would have shared the profit, in case the investment makes a loss. The West has successfully repackaged this investment process as Islamic banking. Kerala is trying to follow that path.

Why should a democracy block Islamic banking?

Although efforts have been made over the past twenty years to bring Islamic banking into India — a country that has more Muslims than Pakistan — as yet the Reserve Bank of India and its master, the Union Finance Ministry, has not given permission for the same. The reason is simple. Across the financial establishment in India, the influence of US and EU financial interests is overpowering.
Several senior civil servants have their close relatives working in such institutions, and therefore accept the advice given by them. Certainly, banks in foreign countries will not want the Indian government to clear the way for the establishment of Islamic banking centres, for that may result in funds flowing from Zurich, London, Frankfurt and New York (all major “Islamic” banking locations) to Mumbai or Kochi. Acting on cue, the monetary and finance authorities in India have continued to block access to Islamic banking avenues, thereby denying millions of observant Muslims in India a chance to keep their assets in safety.

India should open interest-free banking windows in conventional banks

India should open interest free banking windows in conventional banks as a pilot project, Muddassir Siddqui, a leading authority on interest-free banking, said.
On issues relating to recovery in cases of loan defaults, he said it is done the same way as convetnional banking. The adoption of interest free banking system in the country offers a great opportunity to attract substantial investments from countries in the West Asian region to India.
A two day conference on Islamic Finance in India is being held from tomorrow to create awareness about the banking system.
The Kerala High court had in April this year directed the state government and its institutions not to participate financially or otherwise in the financial company modelled on the lines of Islamic bank.





Finmin wants NBFCs to start Islamic banking

The finance ministry is considering a new category of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that will offer Islamic banking products in India.

Experts pitch for Islamic banking in India

With the global financial crisis putting the spotlight on "casino capitalism" of the West, leading scholars and experts from the Arab world on Thursday pitched for interest-free Islamic banking as a solution and its introduction in India, home to the world's largest Muslim minority.

India banking reforms focus on Islamic finance

India is planning to overhaul regulation of its financial system to attract investments from the Gulf and to encourage its largely unbanked Muslim population to save money in a way compliant with their religion, a senior government adviser has said. K Rahman Khan, deputy chairman of India's upper house of parliament, told the Financial Times that the ruling Congress Party is proposing reforms to the finance ministry, the Reserve Bank of India and Securities and Exchange Board of India to allow for the introduction of Islamic financial services.

Khurshid backs Islamic banking concept of Kerala

The Centre has offered a helping hand to Kerala in revoking a stay order by the state high court against setting up of an Islamic bank.

Noting that the court order could hamper investment opportunities in the country, Union minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the Centre would coordinate with the state government in dealing with the issue legally.

The Kerala government cleared the project after a feasibility study found that Islamic bank was a viable proposition in Kerala. A company was also registered to take the process forward. The share capital of the proposed bank had been fixed at Rs 1,000 crore.

According to the Islamic banking concept, the bank will not pay any interest to customers. A Sharia board can decide what sort of investments the bank can make. The bank will also have Sharia-compliant banking products.

Profits made out of the investments will be distributed to shareholders.

India Housing Will Escape Dubai-Like Collapse

India’s property market, where prices have risen as much as 29 percent in major cities, will escape the kind of collapse that afflicted Dubai, the CEO of the Housing Development Finance Corp states.

India's first Islamic bank to start in Kerala by 2010

The first Islamic bank in India with involvement of the Kerala government is likely to start operations in Kochi next year as the bank’s registration formalities are currently being fulfilled on a war footing, reported George Joseph in Business Standard. Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), which is the designated agency for the formation of the bank, will have 11 % stake, which will be registered as a non-banking finance company (NBFC) in the beginning and later get transformed into a full-fledged Shari’ah-compliant bank.

The project proposes to raise an initial capital of Rs 500 crore from leading non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Indian business houses. According to sources close to the development, leading NRI businessmen such as Mohammed Ali, MA Yusuf Ali, CK Menon and other Kerala-based industrialists such as Azad Mooppan have shown keen interest in the venture.

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