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The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group Announces its Sustainable Business Leadership Forum 2016

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) announces the upcoming Sustainable Business Leadership Forum. The Forum fosters sustainable development, innovation, and responsible business growth. The Forum offers a platform for sustainability practitioners from every sector to share their sustainability practices. The Forum will also provide opportunities to learn from regional sustainability leaders and be exposed to some of the latest sustainability approaches from global thought-leaders. The Abu Dhabi Sustainable Business Leadership Forum will take place from: 17-18 February 2016, in Abu Dhabi.

The rise and rise of Islamic finance law

Contrary to popular opinion, Sharia law is not taking over Britain. It is seen as a rule of law that contributes to the way Muslims live. Most importantly, the principles of Islamic finance encourage fairness. The presence of the likes of Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright shows how far Islamic finance has come. The unwavering investment that has occurred over the Middle East, with offices springing up in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait is a testament to firms taking the Islamic practice seriously. Trainees can develop leadership skills by undertaking research and ascertaining what works for clients.

The Sharia-run Government buildings where alcohol is BANNED thanks to Islamic finance deal

The central London offices must be run in line with Islamic principles because of a deal with rich Middle Eastern investors. They demanded the buildings be audited by Muslim scholars and subject to special rules in exchange for lending the Government £200million. The deal currently only covers three buildings - Richmond House, Wellington House and a property on Whitehall - and is almost unheard of outside of the Middle East. But Treasury officials hope hundreds of Western companies will follow their lead and turn over buildings to Islamic financiers in similar deals. The exact restrictions under which the buildings must be run which were not spelled out in the text of the deal struck with overseas investors.

35,000 people defrauded in name of Islamic finance

A fraud of around Rs 30 billion in Islamic investment system of Mudarba and Musharaka has been committed by the Elixir Group of Companies, reveals an investigation by National Accountability Bureau. The fraud, which has victimised over 35,000 people across the country, was committed by a group of so-called Islamic scholars through a large number of mosque imams, seminary managers, madrassa students, their families, relatives and acquaintances. The scam planners are all settled abroad and most of them have dual nationalities, according to a NAB officer who is close to the investigation process.

Islamic finance to override oil price woes, prospects remain strong

The prospects for Islamic finance remain strong despite the inevitable correlation between oil price and Islamic wealth. Bahrain Central Bank Governor Rasheed Al Maraj said while there were some headwinds recently, the long-term growth picture within its strongest markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia remained robust. There is a clear demand for Shariah-compliant financial products and services. As the industry matures, it is able to do more to meet that demand, he explained. Rasheed also highlighted that it was imperative for the industry to continue addressing challenges that could hamper longer-term growth such as investment in education and training.

Sisi's fund to establish $13 million leasing firm

Tahya Masr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, originally initiated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to support national economy, is planning to launch a leasing firm, its executive chairman Mohamed Ashmawy said. The anticipated firm will be with a capital up to 100 million Egyptian pounds (US$13 million). The firm will help provide job opportunities for the youth. Since the fund was initiated in 2014, individuals and businessmen have contributed billions of Egyptian pounds to the fund. The fund's executive committee encompasses leading businessmen like Naguib Sawiris, former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and a representative from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Maroc : Une banque islamique née d'un partenariat maroco-américain

Un an après l'adoption de la loi autorisant l'implantation de banques islamiques au Maroc, un troisième acteur va faire son apparition sur la scène de la finance islamique au royaume, en l'occurrence de la Banque participative du Maroc. La nouvelle banque est née du partenariat entre la Banque populaire et le groupe américain Guidance financial Group pour créer une filiale (détenue à 80% par la BP) proposant des produits islamiques. Jusque-là, deux banques islamiques ont été créées au royaume. Il s'agit d'Al Baraka Bank, détenue à parts égales par BMCE Bank of Africa et le groupe bahreïni Baraka Banking Group, et Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB).

Iran to India: Reactivate bank accounts with Indian banks, allow Iranian banks to open branches

Freed of international sanctions, Iran has asked India to reactivate its accounts with Indian banks and allow Iranian banks to open offices here. Keen to quickly normalise banking and commercial relations with the world, Tehran also wants UCO BankBSE -3.50 % to open a representative office in Iran. Tehran has already opened an account with IDBI Bank. Central Bank of Iran's vice governor Gholamali Kamyab has conveyed to Indian authorities that Bank Pasargad and Parsian Bank were keen to open representative offices in India while Saman Bank was interested in opening a subsidiary, they said. State Bank of India (SBI) has accounts of 11 Iranian banks including Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

Kuwait Finance House says to set up Islamic Turkish funds firm

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will set up a sharia-compliant asset management unit under its Turkish bank branch, the lender said on Monday. Kuwait Finance House Turk will establish five sharia-compliant investment funds and offer other investment services under KT Portfoy, the new unit, KFH said in a bourse statement. The establishment of the new firm is conditional on approval from Turkey's capital market authority. KFH's chief executive in January said it would issue Islamic bonds to boost capital reserves at its subsidiary bank in Turkey, even as it looks to restructure its global assets.

Italy's Islamic Bond: Nctm seeks to open a window of opportunities for Italian SME's

As Italy's demand for mini-bonds grows, Nctm Studio Legale (Nctm), a law firm, has hired Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) to help it structure an Islamic Bond. Under the agreement, SRB will collaborate with Nctm to help structure and certify the mini-bonds in light of Sharia guidelines. Shariyah Review Bureau team has many years of experience in a range of industries, specializing in Investment Funds, banking, insurance, agriculture, and Asset Management. The demand for their services has quadrupled over the years with 2015 being the most eventful year. SRB expects this Islamic bond to open new venues of connecting capital with businesses in Italy and also help provide new opportunities to the SME sector.

IFC to invest $75m in Bank Danamon Indonesia to develop Islamic trade financing

International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to invest $75 million in PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk (BDMN), to develop the bank’s Islamic trade financing operations. Bank Danamon is majority owned by Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited through its affiliate Fullerton Financial Holdings Ltd (67.37%) with JPMB Franklin Templeton Investment Funds holding 6.81 per cent and 25.82 per cent with the public. IFC proposes to invest up to $75 million structured as an Islamic trade financing instrument. The total facility size would be approximately $150 million including co-investment by the Bank. With this investment, IFC is targeting deepening of Islamic financing in Indonesia through new financial products and services designed to expand outreach.

Bank Negara Malaysia Shari’ah Advisory Council update

The Shari’ah Advisory Council (SAC) of the Central Bank of Malaysia discussed the issue of application of Tabarru` contract (voluntary gift) in Takaful, transfer of ownership of Hibah asset, breach of condition in Wakalah bi al-istithmar contract (agency contract for investment) and Wa`d (promise) which is attached to action, time or situation. The SAC has decided the following: 1) The underlying concept for Takaful scheme is Tabarru` and Ta`awun among the Takaful participants. 2) Tabarru` in Takaful is applied through contributions from the participants to the Tabarru` fund which is managed by Takaful operator. 3) Financial obligation (Zimmah maliyah) of Tabarru` fund is independent from the financial obligation of Takaful operator and individual Takaful participant.

PHL Islamic banking framework up to legislators

When asked about the plans of the central bank on Al-Amanah Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said they found it best to leave it to the Legislative to decide how the government will go about the planned sale, as well as on how the state will accommodate Islamic-based banking activities. BSP has led the drafting of a law amending AIIB charter and creating an Islamic banking system. The bill thereon which has been filed in the House of Representatives aims to create an expanded Islamic banking system and address constraints including the issues on taxation. Currently, Al-Amanah Bank is the first and only Islamic bank authorized to practice Islamic banking in the country.

Ivory Coast issues debut sukuk

Hogan Lovells advised the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), as arranger, on the arrangement of an inaugural CFA 150 billion sukuk offering by the government of Ivory Coast. The debut sukuk is an amortising sukuk al-ijara targeted at local banks and institutional investors. The offering mirrors a successful Senegal sukuk that Hogan Lovells advised on in 2014. The team was led by the firm’s global head of Islamic finance, Rahail Ali, and partner Imran Mufti. They were assisted by debt capital markets partner Baptiste Gelpi, in, Paris and Lina Bugaighis, Dubai. Bensaid outlines the sukuk sector as very promising, referring to recent developments which have seen governments focusing more on creating a more enabling environment for sukuk issuances.

Frozen bank accounts linked to 1MDB raises questions about doing business in Malaysia

Bank accounts frozen. Bankers quizzed. As offshore authorities seek to track money flows involving Malaysia's troubled government investment fund, fresh questions are rising about doing business in the country. Crisscrossing countries from Switzerland to the US, Middle East and Singapore, investigators are chasing a trail of transactions linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. With the probes potentially running for years, investors and analysts say it may damage the perception that Malaysia is trying to become a more transparent place. The risk is political, economic and commercial. Malaysia's global score worsened in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015, putting it on a ranking near Slovakia and Cuba.

Iran set to reshape global Islamic finance industry

Iran currently accounts for more than 40% of the world’s total Islamic banking assets, or around $482bn. Iran could easily cross the $1tn-asset mark by 2018 given the urgency for cash-strapped Iranian public and private companies to raise liquidity after years of isolation from the international finance industry. Analysts expect that a large number of sukuk and other Islamic financing vehicles will hit the world market soon. Adding to private companies, the country requires funds for its infrastructure development programmes earmarked for the next decade worth an estimated $1tn. However, analysts point out that the road back into the global finance system for Iran could be bumpy as the long isolation withheld Iranian banks from implementing globally accepted reporting and compliance standards, and restoring ties of its formerly stand-alone banking system to global financial institutions could prove regulatory and technically difficult.

KHCB reports 109.8% increase in net profits over 2014

Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), a prominent Islamic retail bank, announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2015 recording net profit of BD 8 million compared to BD 3.8 million reported in 2014. The bank has recorded a net profit of BD 1.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to a net profit of BD 1 million reported in the fourth quarter of last year. Total assets also grew to BD 654 million, increased by 9.6% compared to 2014. Return on average assets reached 1.3%. With these results, the bank sustained its profitability and strengthened its financial position with a liquid assets ratio in the excess of 22.5% and capital adequacy ratio of 18.8%.

IRTI to launch free online Islamic finance courses

The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank Group has signed an agreement with leading provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), edX, to deliver Islamic banking and finance courses. On February 23, 2016, IRTI will begin offering, through the edX learning platform, free courses under two series, namely ‘Islamic Finance and Banking X’ and ‘Islamic Financial and Capital Markets X’. The IRTI MOOCs program is part of a project aimed at expanding access to knowledge in Islamic economics and finance to support the development of a dynamic Islamic financial industry globally. To register for the IRTI MOOCs, please visit

Islamic finance continues to grow in the British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands remains the most popular international financial centre for incorporating companies due to its tax neutrality, political stability and flexible legal system based on English common law. It is a ready-made platform for the needs of the Islamic finance market. As the Islamic finance market grows and matures, international financial centres such as the British Virgin Islands are being used to facilitate the structuring of Islamic finance products and transactions such and the incorporation of investment funds and corporate structures. There is likely to be an increase in Islamic asset managers using the BVI. In addition, there will likely be a continual increase in Islamic financial institutions and investors using BVI companies in Islamic finance structures such as musharakah and murabaha.

Tajikistan keen on Islamic banking; seeks investment from Qatar

Tajikistan is keen to benefit from Islamic banking and utilise the experiences of Islamic banks in his country, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Nematullo Hikmatullozoda has said. Hikmatullozoda, who visited QIIB headquarters yesterday expressed the hope that Tajikistan would be able to attract Islamic banks to his country, where his ministry is making efforts to convince investors about the attractive investment opportunities available. In particular, Tajikistan is keen on expanding and further cementing the relationship with Qatar’s financial and business sectors.

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