Environment, Social, Governance

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Dubai World asks for debt ‘standstill’

Dubai World, a conglomerate owned by the government of Dubai, is asking its creditors for a six-month “standstill” on its obligations. Dubai World includes Nakheel, which has USD 4 bn in outstanding Islamic debt falling due next month.

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Presentation Islamic Mortgage models for the German market

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany presented on the BAFIN Islamic Finance conference how mortgages for the Muslim community could look like, how large the market is and challenged the perception that there would be a need to change laws to avoid double real estate transfer tax; it shall rather work tax efficient with proper structuring and without changes. Hence, financial institutions are asked to provide equity and debt based mortgages for the Muslim market.

German BAFIN welcomes application for Islamic banking license

The German banking regulator, BAFIN, held today a conference about Islamic finance with strong international participation and about 200 guests.

BAFIN president, Mr Sanio, says that Germany makes it easy to obtain a licence to sell the products, which are also compatible with the country's financial rules. He expressively welcomed "the first interested party that wants to start offering these products".

3rd World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists: Call for Submissions

“BUILDING A BETTER WORLD”

New Horizons - Sound Strategies

The Ritz Carlton – Doha, Qatar

March 21-22, 2010

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Deadline: November 30, 2009

The annual conference of World Conference of Muslim Philanthropists, now recognized as the most prestigious forum on Muslim philanthropy worldwide, invites papers as well as proposals for sessions and workshops showcasing innovative, cutting-edge and experimental work.

THEME AND TOPICS

The conference will focus on how the integrated efforts of philanthropic, public and private sectors can effectively respond to the worsening global issues of hunger, poverty, disease, climate change and conflict. The forum will also host interactive roundtable discussions on Aid-effectiveness and Impediments to Building Capacity for Transformational Change. To further elucidate the theme “Building A Better World: New Horizons-Sound Strategies,” the conference will feature a special session on emerging markets philanthropy and global trends in giving.

Islamic and Conventional Banks in the GCC: How Did They Fare?

Excerpt from the IMF report
"Which group of banks is better-positioned to withstand adverse shocks?
With larger capital and liquidity buffers, Islamic banks are better-positioned to withstand adverse market or
credit shocks. On average, Islamic banks’ capital adequacy ratio (CAR) in the GCC is higher than that for
conventional banks (except in the United Arab Emirates). The risk-sharing aspect of Shariah-compliant
contracts adds to this buffer as banks are able to pass on losses to investors."

page 10, 11

Full Text for free download.

IFC lists USD 100 mn Sukuk in Dubai and Bahrain

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the multilateral development bank, will list a USD 100 mn 5-year Sukuk in Dubai and Bahrain. The IFC plans to return to the market with new issuances every 12 months to 18 months.

WCMP Launches Multi-Donor Giving Circle to Combat Hunger and Poverty

PRESS RELEASE

Washington, DC, October 16, 2009

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) is launching its first multi-donor giving circle—the “Hasanah Fund”—to develop and implement new, sustainable programs to combat world hunger and poverty.

The Fund will secure $100 million from philanthropists, foundations, and corporations in the next five years to fund long-term hunger eradication and poverty alleviation in 20 countries facing the ongoing food crisis. Funded projects will address not just the aggregate quantity of food that must be produced and distributed, but also how food is produced and by whom.

Hasanah Fund will complement the exemplary work of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Islamic Development Bank towards hunger, which is affecting over one billion people worldwide. “This initiative clearly demonstrates the enduring commitment of Muslim philanthropists to the social and economic upliftment of the poorest people,” says Dr. Tariq Cheema, CEO of WCMP.

S&P Outlines Factors That Could Affect Its View Of The Likelihood Of Government Support For Dubai-Based GREs

Press Release

DUBAI, October 15, 2009--A report published today by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services answers questions related to its view on the likelihood of extraordinary government support for Dubai-based government related entities (GREs), and what factors may affect this in the future (see "What Factors May Affect S&P's View Of The Likelihood Of Extraordinary Government Support For Dubai-Based GREs?").

Specifically, the report answers the following questions:

-- What are Standard & Poor's current expectations regarding the likelihood of extraordinary support from the Government of Dubai for its GREs?
-- What track record does the Government of Dubai have in supporting its GREs?
-- To what extent are the ratings affected by Dubai's challenging debt burden?
-- How might the GRE issuer credit ratings be affected by a restructuring of debt in an unrated GRE?
-- How might the Nakheel repayment affect the GRE issuer credit ratings?
-- Does Standard & Poor's believe the Government of Dubai has the resources to support its GREs?

HM Treasury: Legislative framework for the regulation of alternative finance investment bonds (Sukuk)

On 14 October 2009 HM Treasury published a feedback statement to the consultation regarding regulation of Sukuk.

The document summarises the responses received to the above consultation, and provides feedback on these.

Further feedback to HM Treasury is requested:

"We would welcome any further comments on the revised statutory instrument (including the consequential amendments). As we have already conducted a full three month consultation, we will allow for a further period of approximately one month for any additional comments to be sent. Please provide any comments by 6 November 2009."

The consultation document can be downloaded at the link below.

S&P: Abu Dhabi's TDIC Sukuk Ltd. Assigned prelimary rating 'AA'

Press Release of S&P:

We are assigning our preliminary 'AA' rating to TDIC Sukuk Ltd.'s certificates issuance program, under which it can issue up to $1.45 billion certificates (sukuk al-ijara).

The rating is equal to, and is fully reliant on, the rating on Tourism Development and Investment Company.

LONDON, October 1, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said it had assigned its preliminary 'AA' rating to TDIC Sukuk Ltd.'s certificates issuance program, under which it can issue up to $1.45 billion certificates (sukuk al-ijara). The rating is equal to, and is fully reliant on, the rating on Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC; AA/Stable/A-1+). The preliminary rating is based on information as of Oct. 1, 2009. Subsequent information may result in the assignment of final ratings that differ from the preliminary ratings.

Islamic Finance in North America

Yasaar media published a new report called Islamic Finance in North America 2009 for free download, which is co-published by Codexa Capital, UM Financial Group, King & Spalding, and Doha Islamic.

According to the report Islamic finance in North America has developed along two quite separate paths:

  • The first path focuses on retail Islamic finance and centres mostly on home financing products and credit cards.
  • The second path involves a number of high profile GCC-based Islamic investment banks and their deployment of hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity and real estate developments in North America.

Read the full report for free at the link below.

Special Issue - Call for Papers on Financial Crisis

The International Journal of Islamic & Middle Eastern Finance and Management has decided to publish a special issue of the journal, focusing on the latest financial crisis, and how this has related to Islamic financial institutions.

Other relevant points include:

  • Proposed title of the special issue: Islamic Financial Institutions and the Global Financial Crisis 2008/09.
  • Deadline for receiving papers: Friday, February 12th, 2010
  • Date of publication: fourth issue of Volume 3 (2010).
  • Papers will be reviewed in the normal fashion.
  • Technical notes will also be acceptable, and they will be assessed in the usual manner.
  • We are likely to have a total of five articles in the issue.
  • Books relevant to this major event can also be reviewed for the issue.
  • All branches of the Islamic financial services sector can be covered in materials within this issue, including banking, insurance (i.e. takaful), fund management, investment portfolios, business management etc.

Research Study: Food security in an environment of increasing scarcity

The research think tank of Deutsche Bank published recently a research study with the title:

"The global food equation"

stating the challenge for future food security. DB Research believes that still believes that the growing population can be fed, provided the recommended actions are taken, requiring innovation, and a change in the system of production and distribution along with sustained productivity growth in an environmental and socially sustainable manner.

The report can be downloaded for free.

Updated Report about Sharia Scholars in the GCC and now International - Funds at Work

6.10.2010: Report is update and again free for download

3.9.2009:
Funds at Work, a strategy consultant for the fund industry, updated its analysis on Shariah scholars' engagement in financial service organisations in the GCC countries and now internationally covering companies with 956 (498) Sharia Board positions and 180 (121) scholars.

The study shows that the Top 5 scholars make up at least 30.15 % of the entire univese of almost 956 board positions. The Top 5 scholars internationally (ex GCC) out of 70 scholars active beyond the GCC - make 58.21 % of all positions (201 board positions).

The detailed summary of the study is free for download.

Harvard Islamic Finance Program publishes short report on Risk Management Seminar

The workshop was made up of a group of influential Islamic legal scholars, academicians, economists, and bankers, who were welcomed by the Directors of IFP and LSE, Dr. Nazim Ali and Sir Howard Davies, respectively. The inancial crisis, which was the backdrop of the discussions, and the need to revisit risk management practices were underscored in the opening addresses. The crisis, at its core, demonstrates the dangers of “group think” and overoptimism in clouding corporate decision-making and risk reigning. In this regard, risk managers and board members of risk committees would have better served institutions as contrarians in their assessment approach. Understanding risk is key to managing risk. Undermining this key tenet was the complexity of financial instruments, which managers failed to understand. The resulting underassessment fed into misaligned models concerning the true risk interactions of various securities within portfolios, causing misleading enterprise risk measures and hedges.

The summary report is free for download

Professor Buiter: Islamic finance principles to restore policy effectiveness

Lack of capitalisation of banks, households and the state is a key policy issue according to Professor Willem Buiter, who wrote a blog in the Financial Times online. Instead of defaults and bankruptcy with all its associated costs he suggests to turn debt to equity as the more efficient economic solution; calling explicitly the application of Islamic finance principles for this purpose as a possible solution.

Summary Report "Shariah Scholars in the GCC"

Funds at Work, a strategy consultant for the fund industry, analysed the Shariah scholars' engagement in financial service organisations in the GCC countries covering 131 companies with 498 Sharia Board positions and 121 scholars from 19 different countries.

The study shows that the Top 10 scholars (15 or more positions) share 253 positions leading to 25.3 positions per scholar. The numbers indicate taht about 54.18 % of all Sharia Board positions throughout the GCC are shared by only 11 of the active scholars if board positions of the Top 10 are summed up.

The detailed summary of the study is free for download.

The new power brokers: How oil, Asia, hedge funds, and private equity are faring in the financial crisis

A new McKinsey Report is released reviewing the performance of the so-called "new power brokers" being sovereign wealth funds, private equity and hedge funds during the financial crisis.

The power brokers' collective performance in the financial crisis, though better than the sharp declines in wealth of most institutional investors, masks an important shift: Asian sovereign and petrodollar investors emerged as more influential than ever, while hedge funds and private equity saw their previously rapid growth interrupted.

In a 2007 report, MGI labeled these four groups of investors the “new power brokers” because they had gained enough wealth and clout to influence global financial markets. MGI revisited the power brokers to examine how their fortunes diverged over the during the financial crisis that unfolded in 2008 and projects where they may go from here, using a scenario approach.

The full report can be downloaded for free after registration:

S&P: Negative Rating Actions Taken On Four Dubai-Based Banks On Expected Asset Quality Deterioration

Press Release

Negative Rating Actions Taken On Four Dubai-Based Banks On Expected Asset Quality Deterioration

Standard & Poor's has concluded its review of Dubai-based banks, which has resulted in various negative rating actions.

We are lowering the ratings on Emirates Bank International PJSC, National Bank of Dubai, and Mashreqbank to 'A-/A-2' from 'A/A-1'.

We are lowering the long-term rating on Dubai Islamic Bank to 'BBB+' from 'A-' and affirming the 'A-2' short-term rating.

The negative outlooks on all these banks reflect the deteriorating operating environment in Dubai and the impact we expect it to have on the banks' financial profiles.

German regulator BAFIN organises Islamic finance conference

The German regulator BAFIN is organising an Islamic finance conference on 29 October 2009. The announcement is in German, but the conference is held in English. The conference shall show different aspects of Islamic finance, and to determine the salient features. Further it shall discuss the developments in the insurance sector and capital markets. The aim of the conference is to sharpen the conscience about Islamic finance und its increasing role, the foundations of sharia compliant business, and the challenges involved herewith from the regulatory perspective.

Contact details:
Ricarda.Maier@bafin.de
jochenrobert.elsen@bafin.de

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