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Liechtenstein Islamic Finance Conference

October 28, 2014, Tue 09.00 - 16.45 h

At the first Liechtenstein Islamic finance conference, the Financial Market Authority (FMA) and the Propter Homines Chair for Banking and Securities Law at the University of Liechtenstein will examine the challenges to and opportunities for Islamic finance structures and sharia compliant financial intermediation for Liechtenstein. We believe that Liechtenstein’s expertise as a renowned private and family wealth centre with a strong preference for non-leveraged long-term investments, well-developed trust and foundation laws, as well as a competitive financial regulation may provide the starting point for offering services in the Islamic domain. We are delighted that experts in the field of Islamic finance and sustainability will assist us in answering the questions on how Liechtenstein may benefit from Islamic finance, and how Islamic investors and clients may benefit from Liechtenstein.

We would like to advise you of the coming Liechtenstein Islamic Finance Conference and would appreciate your participation. The conference concerning

UK’s IBB is set to become Al Rayan Bank, serving Muslims, non-Muslims alike

The synergy between the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) and its parent company Masraf Al Rayan will soon be reflected in the British bank’s name. Customers were informed last week that the new name for IBB to be adopted towards the end of the year will be Al Rayan Bank. Sultan Choudhury, chief executive officer of IBB, emphasised in the letter he sent out last week informing customers about the name change that the bank remains British regulated with a British board. The bank has invested heavily in its internet banking capability which has opened up its services to a much broader customer base. Its latest data also shows a big surge in non-Muslim customers.

Some Win, Some Lose In Gulf’s Sukuk Mutual Fund Market

Funds dedicated to sukuk are a rare breed, with only 20 currently marketed in the Gulf. The average size of a sukuk fund in the region is just $43 million, but collectively they serve as a measure of secondary market activity and a barometer for the larger and more lucrative business of private investment mandates. As the market sees sukuk funds continue to perform well, in line with, and on occasion outperforming their conventional peers, a significant rise over the next five years in segregated account mandates is expected to take place. The largest six sukuk funds oriented to Gulf investors hold almost half of all the assets of such funds.

U.A.E.: Number of takaful insurers increases to 10

The insurance regulator of the United Arab Emirates has said that the number of takaful insurers in the region has increased to 10. The combined premium volume totaled about 2.8 billion U.A.E. dirhams ($762.3 million). The regulator said that it will hold meetings to discuss strategies for the development of Islamic insurance industry in the U.A.E. market.

Saudi's Sedco launches first in-house Islamic fund

Jeddah-based Islamic investment firm Sedco Capital has launched the first fund managed by its own in-house team, looking to bulk up its asset management capabilities. The Gulf equities fund, domiciled in Luxembourg, has an intial $30 million in assets and is Sedco's 14th fund overall. It is part of Sedco's strategy to source two-thirds of its assets under management from outside Saudi Arabia in four to five years. Previously, Sedco relied on external advisors for its funds. Sedco Capital said it had also signed the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), becoming the first Gulf-based Islamic asset manager to do so.

Dubai Chamber Study reveals key findings on GCC investments in African infrastructure

A study by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry , has revealed that Gulf entities have provided at least US$30bn of funding, at current prices, to African infrastructure over the past decade. This amounts to between 7% and 10% of total inflows, of which approximately US$15bn in loans and grants from Gulf development agencies and approximately US$15bn in direct investments. The study also revealed that Gulf funding for African infrastructure has focused on North Africa. To date, there has been relatively little Gulf investment in the continent's fast-growing economies of Angola, Ethiopia and Nigeria which have attracted funding from other parts of the world.

A Bank, a Bankruptcy, and the World of Shariah Law

The $1.6 billion restructuring of Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank B.S.C. has a significance that extends far beyond simply returning value to its creditors. Arcapita was established in 1996 as the world's first Islamic investment bank. This means it had to comply with principles set out by Islamic law. The Chapter 11 restructuring of Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank, led by Gibson Dunn, saw U.S. bankruptcy courts faced for the first time with the world of Shariah law.

Europe’s first “Eco-Mosque” to open in Cambridge

Baraka Khan, a 23-year-old Cambridge University student, has launched a project to build Europe’s first ecologically friendly mosque in the British city of Cambridge. The Cambridge Mosque, which will hold 1,000 worshipers, will be almost entirely reliant on green energy, with an almost-zero carbon footprint. The mosque building will be naturally lit all year round using large skylights integrated into the building’s design, and it will boast a green roof as well as an air-source heat pump for regulating temperature. The man who will design the building is award-winning architect Marks Barfield, who is also responsible for the iconic London Eye. He says he is aiming to merge traditional Islamic architectural motifs with those of the European Gothic style in order to bring the two cultures together.

Jaiz grows branches to 14

Jaiz Bank Plc has increased its branch network to fourteen with the opening of the Kano Kabuga branch within Bayero University. A statement from the Head, Corporate Communications of Jaiz Bank, Idris Salihu said more branches would come on board before the end of the year. Salihu also stated that the bank has raised its capital base from the initial N5 billion it started with in 2012 to over N11 billion and is currently working on increasing it by way of right issue. The Bank commenced operations with three branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano states in January, 2012 and soon added branches in Gombe, Maiduguri, Katsina and Gusau (Zamfara state), Bauchi. It has three branches in Abuja and four in Kano with the addition of Kabuga branch.

An Islamic window into African banking

For Islamic banking in Africa, the potential pool of customers is vast while the significant liquidity available within Islamic finance presents an ideal source of funding for Africa's huge infrastructure needs. Despite this evident potential, however, standalone Islamic banks are still comparatively rare across the continent. This is a consequence of the logistical difficulties and high-risk involved in setting up a new bank in Africa, together with the strict regulations involved in offering a Shari'ah-compliant solution, which have presented a double barrier to start-up Islamic banks in the continent. Offering an Islamic solution within an existing bank is a lower-risk way to access Africa's market potential.

Book of the Day: The Prince of Evolution

In The Prince of Evolution Dugatkin tells the story of the Russian prince, evolutionary theorist, and political radical Peter Alexeyevich Kropotkin whose Darwinian theory of mutual aid was the first to argue that cooperation was an integral part of natural selection. Dugatkin’s book is a précis on Kropotkin’s life and work, an overview that highlights the common theme of mutual aid in both his scientific and political ideas. The discoveries that Kropotkin made of glacial formations during the Quaternary Period in Russia were received with international acclaim and earned him invitations to join the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a Cambridge University endowed chair in geology.

Gulf's growing private wealth needs more prudent handling

With the growing size of private wealth in the Gulf, maximizing the returns on this wealth is today's most pressing need and challenge. This has triggered fierce competition among wealth management firms. Private wealth management services delivered to high-net-worth investors include advice on the use of various estate planning vehicles, business-succession or stock-option planning, and occasional use of hedging derivatives for large blocks of stock. The recent report issued by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) titled "Global Wealth 2014: Riding a Wave of Growth" said private wealth in the region will reach $7.2 trillion by the end of 2018, approximately a 3.6 per cent share of total global wealth.

KFH appoints Al-Nahedh as new CEO

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has announced that the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mazin Saad Al-Nahedh will officially commence his duties as of October 1st 2014 after having obtained the required regulatory approvals. Mazin Al-Nahedh has over 21 years of diversified banking experience and is a graduate of Business Administration (Finance) from the University of California USA. Before holding his position at KFH, Al-Nahedh served as Group General Manager - Treasury, General Manager - Corporate Banking Group, and Retail Banking General Manager at the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). The appointment is in line with KFH's Board of Directors' directives and strategies towards improving business models, while paving the way for a younger generation of Kuwaiti professionals to hold leading positions at KFH.

IIRA Assigns "BB" Fiduciary Ratings to Gulf Finance House

The Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has assigned international scale credit ratings to Gulf Finance House (GFH) at 'BB' (Double B) in the medium to long-term and at 'B' (Single B) in the short-term. On the national scale, ratings have been assessed at BB+/B (Double B Plus / Single B). The rating outlook for the Bank has been assessed as 'Positive'. IIRA has assessed the rating outlook for the institution as 'Positive' that hinges on developing a steady stream of core revenues and sustaining improvements to capital structure. The fiduciary score has been assessed in the range of '61-65'. Certain weaknesses of the bank's governance framework have been identified that require to be addressed.

‘Erdogan's statements on Bank Asya constitute a major crime'

Speculation publicly expressed by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an that Bank Asya doesn't have a sound structure and his obvious attempts to sink this bank constitute a crime under Turkish law, according to Selin Sayek Böke, the Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy chair in charge of the economy. Sharing her opinions about the current economic situation in Turkey, Böke stated that Turkey has further potential for growth, but its economy is currently in stagnation. She attributes this situation to structural problems. The current decline in the practice of democracy and the erosion of the rule of law will likely cause further trouble ahead, as investors are already unwilling to make big investments in a country with an increasingly authoritarian government and leaders.

Future for Islamic Finance Strong in Tunisia

As the government and consumers adapt to troubled financial conditions, there is growing support for financial products and institutions in Tunisia that correspond to principles of traditional Islamic law. Tunisia’s government has even discussed plans to issue a sukuk, to raise $700 million this year. Proponents of Islamic finance say the industry is still underdeveloped in North Africa. There is significant potential for growth in the region, however, particularly in Tunisia. In June, Thomson Reuters released a report on the Islamic finance industry in the country called ”Cautiously Optimistic Tunisia.” The reports findings highlight the prospects as well as the challenges of Islamic finance in Tunisia.

Al Hilal Bank Awaits New Legislation for Islamic Finance

Almaty-based Al Hilal Islamic Bank may expand into neighbouring markets as legislation in the Central Asian countries changes. Islamic finance is gaining popularity in the region, but Al Hilal is currently the only sharia-compliant lender in Kazakhstan. The Abu Dhabi government wholly owns Al Hilal's parent company and according to its chief executive, Prasad Abraham, the bank is considering increasing its geographical presence as part of its 2015 business plan.

Is Islamic insurance worth venturing into?

There are basically two models of Islamic insurance that is, al-Mudarabah model and the wakalah model though most jurists prefer the first one. This element enables members to fulfill their obligations of mutual help and guaranteeing one another. It should, however, be noted that the element of profit sharing among participants from the proceeds of the Islamic insurance operations is only made after fulfilling the mutual obligation of assisting one another and this calls for proper asset keeping and sufficient protection of funds against over exposure to loss. Where the insured is still alive on the maturing of the policy he/she is entitled to the whole amount of the premiums, a share of the profit made over the premiums, a bonus and dividends according to the company policy.

Pakistan: Orix Leasing to tap Islamic finance market

Orix Leasing Pakistan Limited (OLPL) plans to tap the high growth Islamic finance market. The company has entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited (SCBPL) with regard to a prospective merger/amalgamation of Standard Chartered Leasing Limited (SCLL), a subsidiary of SCBPL with and into OLPL or acquisition of SCBPL’s 86.45 per cent equity stake in SCLL. The MoU further provides the acquisition of SCBPL’s 100pc stake in Standard Chartered Services of Pakistan (Private) Limited and acquisition of SCBPL’s 20pc stake in Standard Chartered Modaraba. There is no certainty that the MoU would result in a binding transaction.

Qatar Charity to support Silatech’s ‘Narwi’ funding portal

Qatar Charity CEO Mr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Kuwari and Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef signed an agreement committing the two organizations to work jointly to support young Arab entrepreneurs through Silatech’s Narwi micro-giving portal. The agreement follows the 2013 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in technology, fund-raising and technical assistance. “Narwi” ( will allow visitors to the site to directly contribute toward financing the young Arab entrepreneur of their choice in countries including Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. Funds on Narwi are given as revolving donations, so that when the entrepreneur repays the original loan, the donation moves on to support others as well.

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