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#Indonesia takes big step towards #boosting I#slamic #finance industry

Indonesia, that is so far a behind in developing a comprehensive Islamic finance industry, has taken a big leap towards the creation of a supportive framework for Shariah-compliant banking end of July. On that day, the country’s President Joko Widodo inaugurated the National Committee for Shariah Finance, as part of the government’s push to make Indonesia a global hub for the Islamic financial industry.
It has been tasked to accelerate, expand and develop Shariah-compliant financial services to support the country’s development, National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said in a statement. The ministry is the one that introduced its master plan for the development of the country’s Islamic finance future last year.

New #Efforts to #Boost #Sharia #Banking in #Indonesia

Although between 85 and 90 % of the Indonesian population is Muslim, Islamic banking, also known as sharia banking, remains underdeveloped in the country. In 2016 sharia banking assets only accounted for 5.3 % of total assets in Indonesia's banking sector. But at the same time in countries like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia these figures are much higher at 51.1 % and 23.8 %, respectively.
In order to boost Islamic banking in his country, President Joko Widodo formed the National Committee for Sharia Finance. This institution was installed to investigate and tackle the challenges surrounding sharia banking in Indonesia. Together with the Indonesian Islamic Economy Expert Association, KNKS is tasked to unite the vision and strategy of all stakeholders in this industry and turn the country into a global center for Islamic banking.
General Chairman of the IAEI Bambang Brodjonegoro said, the challenges in Indonesia's Islamic banking industry involve both the supply and demand side. The lack of business sectors that are based on Islamic banking makes it tough for the industry to develop, he added.

#Satyajit #Das: Despite #appearances, the idea of #social #progress is a #myth

The world cannot acknowledge the idea that human progress might be at an end or even have stopped. The belief that science, technology advances as well as social and political systems can provide continuous improvement in life of humans is perhaps the most important idea in Western civilisation. Yet attempts to measure the actual progress are oddly vague. In January 2016, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi dispensed with practicalities arguing that “Europe cannot just be a grey technical debate about constraints, but must again be a great dream”.

#Dana #Gas takes offer to #creditors off the table in $700m #sukuk row

Dana Gas has withdrawn an offer to creditors to exchange its debt of $ 700 million Islamic bond for new notes. Thereby ending the chance of a consensual resolution to a case that could shape the future of the global Islamic finance industry. The gas company is refusing to repay holders of its Islamic bond which matures in October. It said last month it had received legal advice that the bond was no longer Sharia-compliant in the UAE because of changes in Islamic finance interpretations over the recent years, and was therefore not lawful. But creditors say Dana has to pay them back and argue if the sukuk was legal when the deal was struck, it holds, and if it was illegal then it would mean the company is in default.

#Khazanah raises RM100m from SRI #sukuk

The strategic investment fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd has gathered RM 100 million from the second tranche oft he Sustainable and Responsible Investment sukuk. Khazanah said in a statement today that the proceeds will be used to fund a rollout of a Trust Schools Programme to more schools in Malaysia.
"Khazanah has successfully raised RM100 million via a second tranche of the seven-year SRI sukuk, issued by a Malaysian-incorporated independent Special Purpose Vehicle, Ihsan Sukuk Bhd. The settlement date of this Sukuk will be on August 8th, this year. Ihsan issued the first tranche of RM 100 million in 2015, under its RM 1.0 bn Sukuk Programme," Khazanah said in a statement. It explained that proceeds from this second tranche will fund the rollout of Yayasan AMIR’s Trust Schools Programme, reaching as many as 20 schools.

#Abu #Dhabi #Islamic #Bank praises #UAE #Central #Bank clampdown on mis-selling #investments

Central Bank issued a notificaiton in May this year about mis-selling of investments. The UAE‘s largest Sharia-compliant lender, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, has welcomed efforts by the central bank to clamp down on unscrupulous sales of investment plans to UAE expats It said, the reputation of the industry as a whole had been damaged by dishonest brokers.
“More regulation is a good thing and we work very closely with the central bank” and other wealth management institutions who wish to improve their services, said Daffer Luqman of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. “At the end of the day the reputation of the business affects everybody. If an institution does a bad job of promoting or marketing a service it affects the whole industry so it’s very important that this business is regulated, that it’s regulated effectively and that everybody plays by the rules.”

#Islamic #Development #Bank seeks #proposals for #dollar #sukuk

According to sources, the Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank has asked banks for proposals to arrange a U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. The bank in Jeddah is a regular issuer of international Islamic bonds. The new sukuk, possibly with a five-year maturity, could be issued in the next month or two. The deal will probably have a size of between $1 - $1.5 billion. Banks were given a deadline of July 26 to respond to IDB’s request.

#Malaysia’s First #Green #Sukuk Under Securities Commission Malaysia’s Sustainable Responsible Investment Sukuk

Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) announced the issuance of Malaysia’s first green sukuk under its Sustainable & Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk framework. To complement SRI Sukuk framework, several incentives are in place to attract green issuers. They include tax deduction until year of assessment 2020 on issuance costs; tax incentives for green technology activities in energy, transportation, building, waste management and supporting services; financing incentives under the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) with total funds allocation of RM5 billion until 2022. To be eligible for tax deductions, issuers must ensure that proceeds are used to fund SRI projects in the natural resources, renewable energy and/or energy efficiency sectors. The framework underlying this first green sukuk is the result of collaboration between SC, Bank Negara Malaysia and the World Bank Group to introduce innovative financial instruments to tackle global infrastructure needs and green financing.

#Bahrain sends RFP for US dollar bond and #sukuk issues

Bahrain has sent out a request for proposals to banks to arrange issues of US dollar-denominated conventional bonds and sukuk. Bahrain needs to raise external financing to plug a budget deficit caused by low oil prices, as the state struggles to build political consensus around planned austerity measures. Last month the cabinet approved a draft budget projecting a BD1.3bn (US$3.4bn) deficit for 2017 and a BD1.2bn deficit in 2018. Bahrain had a deficit of BD1.5bn in 2016. Bahrain is rated BB- by S&P with a negative outlook. The agency last month revised the outlook to negative from stable, citing Bahrain's weakening external asset and fiscal positions. Fitch followed suit, revising the country's outlook to negative but affirming its BB+ rating.

More Chinese companies to raise funds via #sukuk?

As a China state-owned enterprise (SOE) issued its first ringgit sukuk in the domestic bond market, many are wondering if other China companies would be doing the same. Beijing Enterprises Water Group (BEWG) issued RM400mil worth of medium-term notes on July 19 to finance its water treatment project in Kemaman, Terengganu. The sukuk issuance also marks the first ringgit-denominated sukuk by a China state-owned company for water infrastructure funding in Malaysia. According to analysts, China-based entities do not prefer to tap into the domestic sukuk market, as they are backed by strong financing sources from their home country. BEWG chief executive officer Datuk Vence Ong Kian Min noted that this was BEWG’s first-ever debt capital market instrument and the issuance has enabled the group to diversify its funding sources. The RM687mil project is expected to be completed in 2018.

Without reforms, #Iranian banking crisis looms

In Iran, concerns are growing that banks may be facing the fate of credit and financial institutions (CFIs) that are on the verge of collapse. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is under rising pressure from the parliament to immediately regulate these nonbank credit institutions, as an increasing number of depositors protest delays. Now, there are fears that banks could be next. To avoid this scenario, pundits are suggesting that the CBI be granted more autonomy by the parliament so that it will take more serious disciplinary measures. The administration of President Hassan Rouhani has been trying to pass the bill in the parliament, but certain influential bodies have blocked the legislation. The huge government debt is putting excessive pressure on the banking system, but the Iranian public still trusts banks, even as many CFIs have collapsed.

Maroc- En attendant le #takaful, le financement de l'immobilier par les banques islamiques sera une prise de risque

Deux banques islamiques ou ''participatives'' ont démarré mercredi 26 juillet 2017 officiellement leurs activités au Maroc. Le takaful n’existant pas encore sur le marché, explique Adnane El Guetari, le directeur général d'Umnia Bank. Si les Umnia Bank et Bank Assafa se sont engagées dans ce créneau pour des opérations de base, toute la profession attend cependant la réaction de la Banque centrale du Maroc, Bank Al Maghirb, et les modèles de contrats contrat ijara et au placement des dépôts d’investissements. Selon l’agence américaine de notation Standard & Poor's, la finance islamique pourrait représenter entre 10 et 20% du système bancaire du Maroc.

Dubai Islamic Bank plans African #expansion after planting #Kenyan roots

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has plans to solidify its foundations in the East African Islamic banking sector. Chairman Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani confirmed confirmed the information last weeek. DIB was granted permission to enter the market by the Central Bank of Kenya in May 2017. The regulator used the new entry to highlight Kenya’s growing status as a regional finance hub. Until the DIB entry, Kenya had only two full-fledged Islamic institutions: Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank. The country also has one takaful Islamic insurance firm, a Shari’ah-compliant mutual fund and two cooperatives. Kenya's treasury ministry recently unveiled new plans to make mainstream Islamic finance a major part of the country's growth strategy. Finance minister Henry Rotich said in March that the government would propose alterations to financial law and issue new regulations to facilitate Shari’ah finance.

KFH is planning #expansion in #China

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is considering expanding into China and Egypt as the region’s banking sector nears saturation. According to bank's CEO, Mazin Saad al-Nahedh, there are opportunities for a Kuwaiti bank to operate in China. He added that the bank was looking at options to buy a license to operate in Egypt as well. KFH is cautiously optimistic about its operations in Turkey. Its subsidiary Kuveyt Turk contributes 22% to the group’s bottom line as of the end of June. The bank expects credit growth of no less than 20% to 25% over the next three to four years as long as base rates remain where they are. As KFH continues its restructuring and sale of non-core assets, the bank is studying offers for its stake in Aref Investment Group, which it aims to sell by the end of the year. KFH is also planning to buy Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank, but hasn't started negotiations yet.

Do more to boost Islamic #trade finance

As the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reaffirmed commitment to its Aid for Trade initiative, the outlook for global trade over the next two years is indeed mixed. WTO is forecasting that global trade will expand by 2.4% this year and between 2.1 to 4% next year, reflecting the continued uncertainty of the global economy. In Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Muhammed Ibrahim wants Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry to boost trade finance to increase largely untapped business opportunities using technological capture. BNM is keen for Syariah-compliant trade financing to support 10% of total trade in the next three years. Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry has assets under management totalling RM742 billion. BNM wants the industry to leverage this pole position and to account for 40% of total financing in Malaysia by 2020.

Gatehouse Bank appoints ex-Shawbrook director

Gatehouse Bank has appointed former Shawbrook Bank director Tim Blease as its new chief operating officer (COO). Tim Blease’s previous roles include new business strategy and innovation director at Shawbrook and head of retail credit risk at Metro Bank. The bank has also appointed Sharron Harvey as its executive vice-president head of HR. Sharron has previously worked for Habib Bank Zurich and has 20 years of HR experience, mainly in the financial sector. Both Tim and Sharron will report to Charles Haresnape, CEO of Gatehouse Bank. The appointments come after Gatehouse revealed a number of changes to its board last week.

#Fintech: First robo-adviser in Asia to offer shariah-compliant #investments

Robo-advisers are seen as a more transparent, convenient and low-cost alternative to human financial advisers. However, these platforms have limited options when it comes to shariah-compliant investments. To solve this problem, Malaysian Farringdon Group has recently launched its new robo-adviser called Algebra. According to CEO Stuart Yeomans, the company’s Virtual Mutual Fund Technology (VMFT) allows robo-advisory services for shariah-compliant investments to be offered at a lower price. Algebra can offer a wider range of investments and asset classes than other robo-advisory platforms. It adopts a smart beta strategy, which uses algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio before blending with fixed-income ETFs or sukuk funds. The shariah-compliant strategy used by the platform has been approved by Kuala Lumpur-based shariah advisory firm Amanie Advisors.

Jaiz Bank grows capital base to N15bn within 5 years

#Nigeria's Jaiz Bank has grown its capital base in five years from the initial N5 billion to over N15 billion. The bank disclosed that it is growing at an annual rate of 30% which makes it one of the strong players in Nigeria’s banking industry. CEO Hassan Usman said the management of the Bank grew Deposit Base from Zero to over N60 billion, and Asset Base increased from zero% to N40 billion. He added that the bank plans to grow its network through opening of additional new branches across the country. Jaiz Bank currently has a staff of 500 and has concluded plans to open new branches in Jos, Nassarawa, and Minna, as well as additional branches in Lagos. Commenting on the plan by the Debt Management Office (DMO) to float Sukuk, Usman described the move as a welcome development which is expected to go a long way in boosting the operations of the bank.

KFH will benefit overall from #merger with Ahli United Bank – Transaction to create 6th largest bank in GCC

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) disclosed that it is studying a merger with Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank. Although the merger would present significant integration challenges owing to the banks’ geographically dispersed asset bases, it would be credit positive for KFH. If successfully completed, the transaction would create the sixth-largest bank in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with approximately $85 billion in total assets as of year-end 2016. The merger is at an early stage of evaluation, with financial analysis underway. The merger would expand KFH’s banking operations, which are primarily focused in Kuwait and Turkey, and include relatively small operations in Malaysia and Bahrain. In addition to Bahrain, AUB has principal subsidiaries in the UK, Kuwait, Iraq, and Egypt, and has an associate in Oman.

Dubai Islamic Bank eyes regional market after #Kenya launch

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has signalled intention to enter the budding East African Islamic market. DIB chairman, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, said that the lender would expand and consolidate its reach in East Africa after solidifying its Kenya base. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in May opened the door for Dubai Islamic Bank to enter the local market after more than a year of waiting. DIB intends to exclusively offer Shariah-compliant banking services in the country. Kenya has recently unveiled a package of initiatives aimed at developing a policy framework for Islamic finance in the country. Authorities intend to make Kenya a hub for Islamic finance in Africa with ongoing reforms expected to drive the growth of Islamic-finance operations.

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