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S&P Global Ratings: Global issuance of #sukuk to moderate in 2018 as Islamic finance moves into slower growth

S&P Global Ratings highlighted global issuance of sukuk in the first half of 2017 was good, but expects it to moderate in 2018. S&P head of Islamic finance Mohamed Damak said 2018 was less certain, as the large issuances of last year are not expected to repeat. Among some of the downside trends relating to Islamic finance includes subdued economic performance in Islamic finance core countries, primarily due to low oil prices. The long-standing debate about standardisation will continue to hinder the industry. S&P's report is entitled "Islamic Finance 2018: Slow Growth Is The New Normal" and the rating agency expects the industry to lose momentum in 2018. The contribution of Islamic finance has so far been limited by the industry's relatively small size and structure.

Fitch: Tougher operating environment challenges #Saudi Islamic banks

According to Fitch Ratings, a tougher operating environment is continuing to challenge Saudi Islamic banks. Sustained low oil prices have taken their toll on economic growth and government spending and this affects certain sectors. Asset-quality metrics are likely to deteriorate from their current strong position due to slower Islamic financing growth. Islamic banks accounted for about 43% of the sector at end-1H16, up from 36.6% in 1H15. There are 12 licensed commercial banks in Saudi Arabia. Four are fully sharia-compliant, with the rest providing a mix of sharia-compliant and conventional banking products. The performance and credit matrices of Islamic and conventional banks are similar in many ways due to the largely Islamic finance nature of the lending market in Saudi Arabia.

Silk Bank to grow in Islamic banking

#Pakistan's Silk Bank plans to expand its Islamic banking business amid growing demand for Shariah-compliant financial products in the country. The State Bank of Pakistan has given approval to the bank for opening of 20 Islamic and 15 conventional branches this year. Silk Bank CEO Shaukat Tarin said the bank was going to reduce the size of corporate banking, but increase consumer and SME segments. The bank’s consumer banking portfolio continued to grow, while its non-performing loans fell by Rs10 billion in January-June 2017. The bank also made its commitment to revive the mortgage business in the current low interest rate environment. Shuja Alvi, head of investment at Silk Bank, said the bank continued to make heavy investments. Since acquisition, the sponsors have invested Rs430 billion in the bank through multiple funding.

Deposits of Islamic banks grow 10pc

The State Bank of #Pakistan (SBP) issued the Islamic Banking Bulletin for April-June. It reveals that deposits of the Islamic banking industry increased by Rs156 billion or 10% quarter-on-quarter to Rs1,720bn. Deposits of the overall banking industry grew 6.5% over the same period. The share of Islamic banks’ deposits in overall banking industry’s deposits increased to 13.7% at the end of June from 13.2% a quarter ago. This growth helped Islamic banks improve their asset base. The share of Islamic banks’ assets in overall banking assets was 11.6pc at the end of June. Investments also improved thanks to sukuk worth Rs71bn that the government issued in June. Net investments of the Islamic banking industry increased Rs48bn or 9.9% in April-June to Rs537bn. SME financing increased to 3.2% and the share of agricultural financing stood at 0.4% at the end of June.

Hong Leong Islamic lends RM350m to TERAJU

Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) has pledged RM350 million for the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (TERAJU) via its new Bumiputera companies programme. Of that amount, RM225 million will go to working capital and the balance for asset acquisition. The programme aims to increase Bumiputera SME's participation in the Malaysian economy by enabling small medium enterprises (SMEs) to scale up and compete in the open market. HLISB chief executive officer Jasani Abdullah said the bank targets to provide financing facilities to between 20 and 30 companies annually. He pointed out HLISB would be focusing on industries such as construction and infrastructure, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing and green technology sectors. Meanwhile, TERAJU chief executive officer Datuk Husni Salleh said HLISB's participation would assist Bumiputera participants to expand locally and overseas.

Arabesque Appoints Three New Members to Board of Directors

Arabesque has appointed three new non-executive directors to the Board: Dr Carolyn Woo, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services; Professor John Ruggie, Harvard Kennedy School; and Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. They join Barbara J. Krumsiek, former CEO and President of Calvert Investments, and Georg Kell, founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, on the Board of Directors. Arabesque is an asset management firm that spun off from Barclays Bank in 2013. The firm’s approach to stock selection integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) information with financial and momentum analysis.

Conditions Conducive for Islamic Finance Expansion in #Morocco- Al Baraka Bank

Bahrain’s Al Baraka Bank deems that the regulatory framework in Morocco is conducive for the launch of an Islamic finance venture. The Bank’s Chief Executive, Adnan Ahmed Yousif said Al Baraka targets the expanding Islamic finance in Morocco in effort to diversify assets and revenues in Africa. Morocco is attractive for Islamic banks because of a competitive landscape that is free from large western lenders. Yousif added that reforms were being considered, but complete tax neutrality towards Islamic finance contracts was still needed. Bahrain’s Al Baraka group forged a partnership with Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa to create AL Baraka Maroc, which aims at creating a network of 25 agencies in Morocco.

#Indonesia, the next big #market for Dubai Islamic Bank?

In this interview Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), speaks about the Indonesian market and the positioning of Dubai Islamic Bank. In March 2017 Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah rebranded to Panin Dubai Syariah Bank (PDSB) and DIB holds a 40% interest. Dr. Chilwan believes Indonesia has great potential and the regulator is quite supportive of Islamic finance. In his view, the success of DIB is the result of its change in positioning. The bank has not compromised Shari’ah, but has a better understanding of customer needs. DIB is competing with the largest players within every region and is aiming at full inclusion to bank everyone.

Six #Islamic #banks collaborate to develop #waqf #fund

Six Malaysian Islamic banks have agreed to jointly develop a waqf fund which focuses on projects in four areas — economic empowerment, education, health and investment.
The banks are namely: Affin Islamic Bank Bhd, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd, Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat), Maybank Islamic Bhd and RHB Islamic Bank Bhd . They have signed a Waqf Fund Strategic Collaboration Agreement.

FG starts pre-offer #road #show for #N100bn #Sukuk

In Lagos, the Debt Management Office started a national road show last week in preparation for the issuance of the much awaited N100bn non-interest bearing Sukuk bond.
The Office said in a statement, that the road show led by the Director-General, Ms Patience Oniha, would also be held in Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt. It said the team would be accompanied by its financial advisers, Lotus Capital Financial Services Ltd. and FBN Merchant Bank Plc.
The road show is to create awareness about the sovereign Sukuk and sensitise target investors about its features and benefits. The Office had announced its intention to issue a sovereign Sukuk in the domestic market as part of measures to fund the 2017 budget deficit.

Rise of #Islamic #finance meets #human #capital #gap

The strongly growing popularity of Islamic banking and Islamic finance and its increasing global spread has led to a considerable undersupply of talent in this sector. Both the Middle East and Southeast Asia, but also new regions currently adapting to the alternative finance system such as in Africa and Central Asia are effected.

Estimations are that there is a shortfall of between 8,000 and 10,000 in main Islamic finance fields in Gulf Cooperation Council countries alone, plus more in peripheral sectors such as law and regulatory affairs, financial technology, insurance and others. Altogether, as the industry continues to grow, at least 56,000 people will be needed to serve the Islamic financial sector in the coming years, according to the Finance Accreditation Agency of Malaysia.
“Islamic banking assets in six core markets – Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the UAE and Turkey – are estimated to reach a combined asset volume of $1.8tn by 2019,” says Dr. Amat Taap Manshor, the FAA’s CEO. “But the human capital meant to support the industry is still in its infancy, and shortages will be felt most acutely in the capital market sector,” he added.

The Principles for #Sustainable #Insurance #Initiative partners with the Microinsurance Network

The UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative is the largest collaboration between the United Nations and the insurance industry. It announced its partnership with the Microinsurance Network, a global multi-stakeholder platform for the international microinsurance community of experts and institutions.
The partnership is expected to advance the social and financial inclusion dimension of sustainable insurance with the goal of closing the insurance protection gap.
Katharine Pulvermacher, Executive Director of the Microinsurance Network said in an interview: “We are committed to achieving our vision of a world where people of all income levels - particularly the underserved, are more resilient and less vulnerable to daily and catastrophic risks. We believe that access to insurance and better risk management to reduce vulnerabilities are essential to sustainable development, and the world’s poor will not achieve lasting prosperity without them”.

#PNB expanding #Islamic #finance agenda: Wahid Omar

Permodalan Nasional BHD is pushing for much bigger Islamic financial activities in order to turn Malaysia into a centre of global Islamic banking. In an interview to mark his one-year stint in the country’s largest unit trust fund, group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar explains how PNB and its strategic companies will intensify efforts to boost syariah-based investment and financing products.
Regarding the Islamic finance agenda being so important to PNB it was asked, if it is tied to the government’s objective of making Malaysia the Islamic financial hub of the world.
Mr. Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar answered: „Indeed, if you look at the aspirations of our unitholders, they want syariah-compliant unit trust funds. I think this was why back in 2008, there was a fatwa that investments made in Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd were permissible. This fatwa was issued at the national level and 10 states adopted the fatwa, excluding Selangor and Penang. Over the past year, we had been engaging with the Selangor Mufti Department and based on those engagements, they revised their fatwa positively. So starting from April, investments in ASNB funds are “harus”.

#Turkish participation banks' #profit #soars 36 pct in first half

The Participation banks achieved a profit of approx. $223.29 million in the first half of 2017 with an increase of 36 % compared to the same period the year before. According to information put together by the non-consolidated financial statements of Albaraka Türk, Kuveyt Türk, Türkiye Finans Participation Bank, Vak?f Participation and Ziraat Participation, the total assets of participation banks increased by 7.7 % compared to the end of last year, exceeding $41.52 billion. In the first half, the net profit of the sector increased by 36 %.
Among the participation banks, Kuveyt Türk achieved the highest net profit in the first half, followed by Türkiye Finans Participation Bank, Albaraka Türk, Ziraat Participation and Vak?f Participation. By the end of June, Kuveyt Türk was the leader of the sector, followed by Türkiye Finans Participation Bank and Albaraka Turk.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency regarding the first half results and expectations of the participation banks, Melik?ah Utku, chairman of the Participation Banks' Association of Turkey (PBAT), stressed that the participation banking sector is in a significant development process and has serious potential in Turkey.

The #continuing allure of #Islamic #finance

The total Islamic finance industry was estimated at around $ 1.9 trillion in assets for the year end of 2016, and it pales into insignificance compared with traditional finance. However of special interest is the growing popularity of Islamic finance from both the Muslim and non-Muslim financial institutions and investors. Islamic assets are very much concentrated in the banking sector which holds $1.5 trillion in total, with the Islamic bonds or sukuks worth $320 billion, and investment funds and insurance or so called takaful worth $56 billion and $25 billion respectively.
The majority are purchase and sale or murabaha and leasing or ijara transactions. Some major Gulf companies are turning to the sukuk market to raise funds, with Saudi Aramco and the Government of Saudi Arabia both successfully launching sukuk tranches which were heavily oversubscribed.

#UAE to reopen, #Kurdistan #deal to boost #Dana #Gas

The stock markets in the United Arab Emirates look likely to trade softly as they reopen on Monday after the Eid holidays, although Abu Dhabi's Dana Gas might just rise sharply after it reached an agreement on overdue payments from the government of Kurdistan.
The markets in the UAE are the only ones open in the Gulf. Others, like Egypt, will pick up trading later this week. There is no fresh, major corporate news in the UAE except Dana's settlement, which will see Kurdistan immediately pay Dana's consortium $1 billion, including $400 million that will be used for investment in the region. Dana will receive 35 percent of the money. In addition to Dana's share of the $600 million payment, "Future benefits to Dana Gas should be much larger, given the massive resource potential of the two fields, Khor Mor and Chemchemal. Dana Gas's share of 2P reserves in the two fields amounts to close to 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with huge upside", said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage. He continuid: "Overall, we view this as a major positive development for Dana Gas."

#Master in Islamic Finance

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) in collaboration with IE Business School offers a training program for the development of executives across the Islamic finance industry. The Master in Islamic Finance program has a blended format, combining on-site periods in Spain and Saudi Arabia with dynamic, interactive online modules to minimize the time away from work. The length of the training is 13 months and intake starts in October 2017. Throughout the program, participants will obtain practical knowledge of high-level financial tools, develop practical Islamic Finance technical skills and acquire leadership skills. Upon program completion participants receive a University Private Degree from IE Business School and IE Universidad. IE Business School is a school within IE Universidad, which is a University officially accredited by the Spanish education authorities.

Advancing financial #inclusion for #Indonesian #women

Commonwealth Bank and Mastercard announced a collaboration to better financial inclusion for Indonesian women. This collaboration will have three key pillars: enhancing formal networks by knowledge exchange among women-owned businesses, innovating through new digital learning tools and investing in research. Early in 2017, Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK) released a research showing that Indonesia’s financial literacy and inclusion indices stood at 29.66% and 67.82%. OJK called upon the industry to implement inclusion programmes to achieve their target of 75% for the financial inclusion index by 2019. Commonwealth Bank and Mastercard will help drive the growth of women-owned businesses by educating them about customer and market trends. Additionally, both will invest in research to continue the conversation about financial inclusion.

Interest-free #insurance expected to draw #investments from Gulf

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy Mehmet Simsek announced that they have established the infrastructure of the interest-free insurance system. He noted that there have been no separate regulations for Islamic insurance or insurers so far, adding that the regulation is of great importance. He suggested that many questions in the framework of Islamic insurance will be answered with the new regulation. Simsek informed that in addition to serving interest-sensitive citizens, the system will also attract capital from the Gulf countries to Turkey. The system is based on the UK model, which is seen as an opportunity for Turkey as well. The Deputy Prime Minister also pointed out that one of the most important opportunities that the system brings to citizens is the balance return.

Gotta have faith: The rise of #religious #ETFs

There is a growing number of faith-based exchange-traded funds that attempt to marry moneymaking with religious principles. In the spring, Silicon Valley-based Inspire Investing launched its Global Hope Large Cap and its Small/Mid Cap Impact ETFs, pledging to apply Christian values as a screen. Those products join Global X’s Catholic Values ETF, which applies the investment guidelines of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Inspire’s funds have garnered a respectable $80 million in their first six months and CEO Robert Netzly believes that biblically responsible investing will be the fastest-growing investment niche over the next decade. Investment giant Blackrock offers Islamic-oriented ETFs that are shariah-compliant. There are not any specifically Jewish-themed ETFs at the moment, but this can change easily. Juggling core values and full-on capitalism, however, remains a delicate business.

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