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IslamicFinance.de congratulates KuveytTürk Germany for obtaining full banking license

Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank has been licensed by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to offer banking services in Germany. Thus, the first bank based on an interest-free Islamic business model is licensed in Germany.

Kuveyt Türk has obtained its license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to provide fully-fledged banking services in Germany according to the interest-free Islamic banking principles. Kuveyt Türk is the first Islamic bank that has been fully licensed to operate its deposit and loan business in Germany. With this license, Kuveyt Türk is the pioneer that introduces the Islamic banking model in Germany.

KT Bank AG with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and as a 100 percent subsidiary of Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank, will start to offer its reliable, high-quality, fast and user-friendly services from July 01, 2015 onwards. KT Bank AG will provide its private and commercial clients with products and services according to interest-free Islamic banking principles.

“KT Bank AG is an ethical, innovative and socially responsible bank”

Working Paper: Why does financial sector growth crowd out real economic growth?

As Islamic finance emphasizes the connection between real economy and financial activity this BIS Working Paper is very interesting and supportive for the understanding:

Abstract:
"In this paper we examine the negative relationship between the rate of growth of the financial sector and the rate of growth of total factor productivity. We begin by showing that by disproportionately benefiting high collateral/low productivity projects, an exogenous increase in finance reduces total factor productivity growth. Then, in a model with skilled workers and endogenous financial sector growth, we establish the possibility of multiple equilibria. In the equilibrium where skilled labour works in finance, the financial sector grows more quickly at the expense of the real economy. We go on to show that consistent with this theory, financial growth disproportionately harms financially dependent and R&D-intensive industries."

Jadwa, Apicorp buy majority stake in SMI

Jadwa Investment has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Saudi Mechanical Industries (SMI) by the Jadwa Mechanical Opportunities Fund along with Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp). The investment in SMI marks Jadwa’s eighth private equity deal. In 2014, Jadwa completed two major Tadawul listings with Abdulmohsen Al Hokair Group and Al Hammadi Company for Development and Investment, and a full exit via a trade sale with Gulf United Foods Company. Jadwa also announced in September 2014 the full acquisition of Global Environmental Management Services.

Sound Corporate Governance continues to rank high on the agenda of Saudi companies, as outlined by the recent sponsorship agreement between Ma'aden and the GCC Board Directors Institute.

Saudi mining and metals company Ma'aden has partnered again with the GCC Board Directors Institute ("BDI") in committing to high corporate governance standards, with the official signature of a sponsorship agreement in Riyadh. The signature of this new agreement also embeds a training platform for Ma'aden employees to access in order to always be well-informed of the latest best practices, be local or international, as well as networking opportunities with other board members across the Gulf. This month, BDI also inaugurated new half-day Focused Sessions for its members.

Islamic banking assets to exceed $778 billion

According to EY's "World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2014-15: Participation Banking 2.0", Islamic banking assets with commercial banks in international markets were set to exceed $778 bilion in 2014. Global Islamic banking assets witnessed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 17 per cent from 2009 to 2013. The report, prepared by EY's Global Islamic Banking Centre, said that approximately 95 per cent of international Islamic banking assets of commercial banks are based out of nine core markets, five of which are in the GCC (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain).

UK’s only Shari’ah-compliant fund investing in Prime London Residential Property, to close shortly

London Central Portfolio (LCP) announces today that they will be closing their latest GBP 100 million quoted property fund on April 17th. London Central Apartments II (LCA II) is the only regulated vehicle exclusively targeting Prime Central London’s (PCL’s) Private Rented Sector. It will acquire one and two bedroom units as these are the most highly demanded and offer the highest returns. The properties will be renovated and interior designed to maximise capital uplift and rental returns. It is a five year fund, projecting an IRR of 12 per cent p.a. and shares are to be quoted on the Channel Islands Securities Exchange Authority.

Int'l Islamic economic conf. opens in Doha

The 10th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance (ICIEF), themed "Institutional Aspects of Economic, Monetary and Financial Reforms," opened at Qatar National Convention Center on Monday. The agenda topics include, inter alia; Shariah solutions for liquidity problems in Islamic banks, especially after Basel III; the need for a central Shariah board in each central bank: the pros and the cons; evaluating the role of fiqh academies for the development of the Islamic financial industry, and whether the industry is influenced by their decisions and research; and 'taqlid' and 'ijtihad' - challenges facing fatwa issuance in Islamic finance.

Online corporate learning and development

In this 21st century the importance of corporate learning for continuous professional development requires little explanation. However, these corporate learning courses through the traditional brick and mortar model are no more realistic most of the time. Virtual learning can help address these time and cost challenges with more impactful learning in most of the arenas of corporate learning and development. Online delivery of knowledge and skill is going to be the next big disruption in education, training, learning and development of professional skills in the corporate sector. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) phenomenon is having a significant impact on higher education - especially business education.

'Islamic Economy is a baseless theory'

Prince Muhammad Al-Faisal, the pioneer of Islamic Banking, says that Islamic banking today is a baseless theory. Some think Islamic Banking represent Islamic Economy. But we must realize the difference between a) the financial services and b) the general economic theories controlling them, he adds. In our rush to provide Islamic financial tools, we concentrated on application without linking it to the main philosophy. We ended up with a system devoid of human values, he regrets. Today, the pioneer of Islamic banking, Prince Muhammad Al-Faisal, (79), stands alone in his search for an Islamic Economy theory. Muslim scholars and economists should join his pursuit. More than ever, the world needs a better economic system.

KPMG and Hawkamah launch first Audit Committee Institute (ACI) in the UAE

Global audit services firm KPMG has exclusively partnered with Hawkamah, the Institute for corporate governance, to establish the first Audit Committee Institute (ACI) in the UAE. The Audit Committee Institute (ACI) will provide information, resources and knowledge sharing opportunities, to help audit committee members, directors and senior management enhance the effectiveness, integrity and oversight of the financial reporting process in the UAE and the MENA region. The ACI will be open to audit committee members of private, public, and UAE government institutions.

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.

A draft law on Islamic Banking was submitted in the State Duma

As reported in the lower chamber of parliament, the draft law that removes barriers for implementing Islamic banking in Russia is submitted in the State Duma. If the document is accepted, the appropriate amendments will be made in the federal law on «Banks and banking activity». The explanatory note to the draft law mentions that attracting Islamic investments is an extremely effective tool in conditions of difficult economic situation. It is stated that within economic development strategy of Russia giving a chance to Islamic finance means to attract a large number of additional investment, in conditions of crisis economy to help Russia develop a new economy based not on raw materials’ money.

Bangladesh Approves Islamic Instruments

In a bid to accelerate the country’s economy, Bangladesh has launched a new interest-free financial instrument, highlighting the need for a strong Islamic Shari`ah board or council to operate and supervise the new instrument. Professor Mujahidul Islam, senior teacher and former chairman of the banking department of Dhaka University, said however, that this kind of bond was not popular with Islamic banks, financial institutions and people. He opined that this bond fund should be invested in power sector, water treatment plants and any other profitable and economically viable projects which contribute to the welfare of the country and accelerate the economy.

KFH leads USD 500mln Sukuk issuance for Sharjah Islamic Bank

The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) through its subsidiary 'KFH Investment' has successfully managed to lead a USD 500 million issuance for Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) to finance expansion and growth plans. The Sukuk issue is 5 years Wakala/Mudharabah Sukuk deal which has received an over subscription almost 7 times the targeted size. The issue has attracted a USD 3.6 billion order books by 120 various accounts or investors. Geographical distribution shows that 63 percent of orders came from the GCC and the Middle East, 23 percent from Asia and 14 percent from Europe.KFH has acted as a Joint Lead Manager and Bookrunner.

ADIB to see wealth management portfolio grow

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is expected to see an increase in its wealth management portfolio, with more high net worth individuals set to start banking at ADIB, according to Daffer Luqman, the bank’s global head of liabilities and wealth management. Luqman said he did not see an impact of falling oil prices on their portfolio of high- and ultra-high net worth individuals. He added that the global financial crisis in 2008 has resulted in more people, including those with high net worth, to look into long-term savings as their financial situation is prone to change.

Mohammed meets scholars attending Islamic Economic Forum

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received an elite group of professors and scholars in the presence of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The scholars are attending the Islamic Economic FIQH Forum, which kicked off earlier today at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The event will conclude on Tuesday. Sheikh Mohammed and the scholars exchanged views on the importance of Islamic economy in banking, trade and financial transactions.The forum will focus on instilling Islamic jurisprudence in these transactions. It will issue resolutions on the Islamic economy.

ADB to push sukuk funding

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is stepping up efforts to assist member countries to use Islamic finance in areas such as infrastructure financing, ranging from technical assistance to providing credit guarantees. The Manila-based development lender sees Islamic finance as complementing its objectives to boost financial inclusion and promote financial stability. ADB had considered making a sukuk issuance of its own, but the focus is now on supporting member states’ use of sukuk for their public debt financing. AAA-rated ADB is also considering partial guarantees to boost the credit rating of sukuk from sovereign issuers.

AAOIFI holds 14th Annual Sharia Conference

Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will hold, under the auspices of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the 14th edition of its Annual Shari’a Conference on March 22-23 in Bahrain. The conference will be held in 7 sessions to discuss topics relating to application of Shari’a to international Islamic finance products, services and practices as well as continuing innovation of Islamic finance to support further growth and expansion. Following the conference, AAOIFI will hold training sessions for its Certified Shari’a Adviser and Auditor (CSAA) and Certified Islamic Professional Accountant (CIPA) qualification programs from 24 to 27 March 2015.

Apicorp signs sharia-compliant syndicated loan

Arab Petroleum Investments Corp (APICORP) has signed a two-part sharia-compliant facility worth $950 million that it will use to finance investments in regional energy projects, it said in a statement on Sunday. The bulk of the financing consisted of a SAR3 billion ($800 million) Islamic loan of five years duration that was provided by five Saudi banks: Banque Saudi Fransi, National Commercial Bank, Riyad Bank, Samba Financial Group and Saudi British Bank. The remainder was provided on a three year basis by First Gulf Bank, HSBC and National Bank of Abu Dhabi , the statement added.

Nigeria and Ivory Coast negotiate the sukuk issuance with the Islamic Development Bank

Nigeria and Ivory Coast have begun negotiations with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) for sukuk issuance. According to the ICD head Khaled Al-Aboodi, the two countries are looking to emulate Senegal’s successful move into the market for Islamic bonds. Al-Aboodi added that they were exploring with Nigeria and Ivory Coast. The issuance by Senegal has opened up the whole region, he said. The ICD hopes to support at least two countries in 2015 to issue a sukuk. Meanwhile, Niger has signed up for a sukuk programme worth 150 billion CFA francs ($260 million), although the timing has yet to be determined.

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