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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

Big in Brunei

Asia Asset Management’s 10th Annual Brunei Roundtable took place on Monday, October 13, themed “A Decade of Progress and Growth: The Roadmap Ahead”. The Borneo Bulletin reported about the event, saying Brunei’s biggest advantage is its capital. However, the ountry needs to slowly get the right infrastructure, the right air links and the right niche for people to actually want to come here. The insurance sector on the other hand is a bit easier as it is all about preparations, regulations, how much they are willing to do it and opening an investment. Brunei in itself is a very liquid market in the sense that it really doesn’t need foreign bonds.

Saudi bank in $6 bn IPO

Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank is going ahead with an initial public offering worth $6 billion despite opposition from Muslim clerics. The IPO from Sunday, making NCB the last Saudi bank to go public, is expected to be one of the largest in the world this year. However, Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the kingdom's official Council of Senior Ulemas, said that the IPO is haram, or forbidden under Islamic tenets which ban usury. On the other hand, NCB's sharia advisory council on Thursday declared the share offer to be acceptable under Islamic law. An NCB prospectus says the bank will offer 300 million shares to the public at 45 riyals ($12) each, for a value of $3.6 billion, while another 200 million shares will be allocated to the state pension agency bringing the total to $6 billion.

African states interested in Islamic finance

African markets are gradually opening to Islamic finance, buoyed by governments’ debut sales of sovereign sukuk and legislative efforts to make the sector more attractive for companies across the region. Despite the strong growth of Islamic finance in its core markets of the Middle East and south-east Asia, the industry has lagged behind in Africa, which is home to one in four of the world’s Muslims. Governments across the continent are using sukuk as a way to attract cash-rich Islamic investors, with South Africa making a $500 million (R5.6 billion) issue last month.

Guyana possibly joining Islamic Development Bank

Guyana is currently exploring the option of fostering closer cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank, including giving active consideration to the possibility of joining that Bank. Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh recently met with the leadership of the Bank. Guyana is already a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and is home to a large and vibrant Muslim population.

Islamic banks - FIs asked to participate in Shariah-based refinancing scheme

The central bank has asked Islamic banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to participate in its newly introduced Shariah-based refinancing scheme. The advice came at a meeting with the senior executives of the Islamic banks and NBFIs with Deputy Governor of the Bangladesh Bank Abul Quasem in the chair.
At the meeting, the central bank assured the Islamic banks and NBFIs that it would provide extra fund in the scheme if necessary. Five Islamic banks have already deposited Tk 3.75 billion with the BB's newly opened account for introducing the refinancing scheme exclusively for Sharia-based banks and NBFIs.

FAAIF Brings Islamic Finance to the United States

FAAIF CEO Camille Paldi says the potential for Islamic finance, sukuk, and takaful is huge in the United States. Paldi conducts two Islamic Finance, Banking, and Sukuk workshops in New Orleans and New York, USA in association with Al Huda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics and University of New Orleans. Paldi says that the USA participants were enthusiastic about learning Islamic finance concepts despite negative imagery in the media. Paldi explains that in general, educated Americans are excited to learn about new alternative financial structures and investment opportunities.

Adamjee Life to enter Islamic insurance market next year

Adamjee Life is going to enter the Islamic insurance market by March next year, company CEO Fredrik de Beer announced in a recent interview. “We will complete the business plan to seek the board’s approval by the end of October. We are hoping to launch Takaful products by the end of the first quarter of 2015,” Beer said.
Adamjee Life follows Jubilee Life Insurance and EFU Life Assurance that have already announced their plans to enter the Shariah-compliant segment of life insurance. Pakistan’s insurance industry has seen quite some activity lately, as both life and non-life entities have shown interest in setting up Islamic window operation

Sukuk - Tool for Infrastructural Development in Nigeria

Considering the huge infrastructural deficit that faces Nigeria, and the challenges being faced by the Federal Government of Nigeria due to a decline in oil revenue, it has become imperative for State Governments and corporates to access alternative financing techniques to meet their capital development needs. The potentials for using sukuk as a tool for capital raising and infrastructural development in Nigeria are examined and discusses the recent sukuk issuance by the Osun State of Nigeria under the State’s N60 Billion Debt Issuance Programme.

Turkey's Ziraat bank receives fast-track approval for Islamic unit

The Ziraat Bank has received regulatory approval from the banking watchdog (BDDK) to establish what would be the fifth Islamic lender in the country, a key part of the government's efforts to expand the sector. Ziraat will be allowed to set up a standalone Islamic unit with $300 million in capital, according to the regulator.

lydubai in sukuk talks

Low-cost carrier flydubai is in talks with its advisers for a potential bond issuance. Earlier reports citing unnamed sources, Dubai’s low cost airline had mandated seven banks — Credit Agricole, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered — to arrange a potential debut sukuk issue

Malaysia tax breaks may shift Islamic bonds beyond murabaha

Malaysia is adjusting its tax structure to favour issues of some types of Islamic bond. The move could attract more foreign issuers and investors to its market. The Malaysian sukuk market is already the world’s largest, accounting for two-thirds of total global issuance of about $100 billion so far this year. But the market consists largely of local-currency deals which tend to rely on government-linked institutions as ready buyers.
The effect of the tax changes may be to shift some issuance away from murabaha and encourage the use of ijara and wakala, making the Malaysian market more closely resemble the Gulf.

Investor group led by Fajr Capital buys stake in GEMS Education

The investor group has acquired a significant minority stake in Gems Education’s emerging markets business, covering the Middle East, North Africa and East Asia.
Mumtalakat Holding Company, the investment arm of Bahrain, and Tactical Opportunities funds managed by Blackstone are the other partners in the investment consortium. Gems Education, a UAE-grown global brand that was founded 54 years ago, and is now the world’s largest provider of K-12 private education — operating more than 50 schools, educating over 140,000 students and employing over 13,000 people across 19 markets in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Mega bank merger credit negative for CIMB Islamic Bank

The proposed merger between CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, RHB Capital Bhd (RHBCap) and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) would be credit negative for CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s vice-president Eugene Tarzimanov noted that the merger would see CIMB Islamic Bank’s asset size triple as a result of acquiring RHB Bank’s and MBSB’s Islamic operations.

Islamic Microfinance an effective tool of Financial Inclusion

4th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum Logo Inaugurated in New York - USA
Islamic finance is the best suited system for poverty alleviation that can be utilized both by Muslims and non-Muslims as a system to cut down poverty dilemma from all over the world, it can also be utilized as an effective tool of financial inclusion as Millions of Muslims are financially excluded due to religious reasons, according to Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics.

Four private banks violate bank board rules

The four private banks’ authorities have long been violating the bank company act, putting their family members on the board of directors. According to the bank company act, 2013, the banks’ board cannot comprise more than two members of a single family. But the four banks still continue their dominion over the board of directors with their family members at the helm. These are the National Bank, the Premier Bank, The City Bank and the First Security Islami Bank.

GCC Sukuk Attractive Amid Rising Rates Prospects

The Middle East conflict raises concerns over the general outlook for the sukuk market. But portfolio managers remain positive both on fundamentals and technicals for sukuk as they also offer a potentially attractive alternative amid prospects of rising interest rates. Sukuk are considered as an attractive option for those whose mandate allows to test new boundaries. Mohieddine Kronfol, chief investment officer of Global Sukuk and MENA fixed income at Franklin Templeton Investments said, that "the lower duration and persistent strong demand from Islamic financial institutions should continue to support the market and allow it to perform well relative to other fixed income sectors, particularly those that have higher average durations."

Bahrain Islamic Bank reports Board resignation of Dr Sherif Ayoub

The resignation if Dr Ayoub follows his appointment as Assistant Secretary General with the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board. His new role as a regulator in the IFSB requires him to avoid any direct and official association with a regulated entity.

GCC Islamic finance prospects bright

The GCC Islamic Finance industry is expected to maintain its rapid growth over the coming years despite mixed results across sectors in 2014.
The industry’s expansion is expected to be driven by the GCC’s robust economic prospects, continued infrastructure needs and rising issuance from governments and government-related entities.

IMF launches Islamic finance consultations with External Advisory Group

The meeting discussions included the value proposition of Islamic finance; the level-playing field between Islamic and conventional finance; impediments to growth in profit-and-loss sharing financing; and the potential of the industry in fostering access to finance, notably for small- and medium-sized enterprises. But also more specific topics such as the appropriate regulatory and supervisory framework to preserve financial stability, how to adapt and implement Basel III requirements on capital and liquidity, strengthen risk management tools, and enhance Shar?`ah and corporate governance were discussed.

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