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International Investment Bank posts USD 13.5 mn net profit and announces 7 % cash dividend for the year 2008

International Investment Bank (IIB), Bahrain announces a Net Income of USD 13.5 mn and the approval of a cash dividend payment of 7% for the year ended 31 December 2008.

At USD 13.5 mn, the 2008 Net Income represents a 12.3% return on Paid up Capital (ROC). The Capital Adequacy ratio at 31 December 2008 of 86% is over 7 times of 12% required by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Mr. Aabed Al Zeera is the Chief Executive Officer and Board member.

For full details on IIB’s financial results, please see the ‘Financial Section’ on IIB’s website at source.

Sharia compliant Microfinance bank planned in Nigeria

The InNyx Centre for Microfinance Development (ICMD) is a UK non-profit making organisation and our main activity is the promotion and development of microfinance banks in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ICMD has recently completed a scoping study for the establishment of a Greenfield microfinance "Sharia compliant" banking institution and is looking for strategic investors currently.

Takaful Re Ltd. Ratings Unaffected By Arab Insurance Group Ratings Withdrawal

Press Release

LONDON (Standard & Poor's) March 11, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that the ratings and outlook on Dubai-based reinsurer Takaful Re Ltd. (TRL; BBB/Stable/--) are unaffected by the withdrawal of the ratings on Arab Insurance Group (B.S.C.) (ARIG) at ARIG's request. ARIG is the majority shareholder of TRL, with a 54% holding, and is also the major service provider.

Dubai Islamic Bank sets aside cash amid fraud probe

Adam Schreck wrote on 10 March on Associated Press that Dubai Islamic Bank sets aside cash amid fraud probe and that it has foreclosed on a real estate project after court papers indicated the bank was the victim of a half-billion dollar fraud. In a statement, Dubai Islamic Bank said it had exposure of about USD 330 mn to a company named CCH linked to some of the suspects in the court papers.

Amiri Capital works with NewEdge for Islamic Hedge Fund Prime Brokerage needs

Cecilia Valente reported on 9 March on Reuters that Amiri Capital, the Islamic asset manager backed by investment firm Olivant, has teamed up with broker Newedge to launch an Islamic fund of long/short hedge funds to be marketed in the Middle East. The Amiri Equity Alternative Strategies Fund (AEAS) will operate under the same Sharia-compliant structure agreed with original prime broker Lehman Brothers to replicate short selling, which involves profiting as a stock price falls.

Amiri co-founder Richard Ellis told Reuters that Gulf-based investors have pledged assets to the fund of funds but investments will be made when the market shows signs of improvement. Philippe Teilhard de Chardin, global head of prime brokerage at Newedge, told Reuters that the market segment is small but developing.

Malaysian bourse to launch Commodity Murabaha platform in June

Liau Y-Sing reported on Reuters, 5 March that Malaysia's stock exchange will launch in June a platform to allow banks to execute Commodity Murabaha transactions, a popular but controversial Islamic contract with a market worth more than USD 100 bn according to the International Islamic Financial Market. Any tangible asset that is sharia-compliant can be used in commodity murabaha transactions and palm oil is one obvious example. Malaysia is the world's No. 2 palm oil producer.

But some religious scholars have criticised the structure, saying it resembles conventional-based lending instruments. The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions is of the view that the contract, while not invalid, is not ideal.

Malaysian banks remain well capitalised

Malaysia is well placed to weather the global financial crisis, well capitalised and with adequate liquidity, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz told the Oxford Business Group (OBG), a global publishing, research and consultancy firm. She said several years of reforms, institutional development and capacity building, continuous efforts to enhance corporate governance and risk management standards and practices had significantly strengthened Malaysia’s banking system.

OBG is to publish The Report: Malaysia 2009, the latest of its annual business guides, with a comprehensive review of the country’s economy.

Sharia scholar accepts fee for Guarantee

Liau Y-Sing reported via Reuters on 4 March that Mohd Daud Bakar, a renown Malaysian Sharia scholar, says banks may charge fees for guarantees but cannot sell the risk to a third party.

Islamic Wealth Management benefits from Crisis

James Rutter wrote on 9 March in Wealth Bulletin that the crisis creates opportunity for Islamic wealth management as conventional wealth management and its brands looking less attractive. Current market conditions favour more simple products. Ironically, the trend in Islamic finance in recent years has been towards trying to mimic complex and risky western financial products.

By giving money to a counterparty which separately invests in underlying hedge funds or derivatives, an Islamic investor is able to receive a payout that tracks the performance of assets to which he would not otherwise be able to gain exposure. Islamic investors who bought such products have seen hefty losses, prompting a backlash against financial institutions adopting more flexible interpretations of sharia law.

Humayon Dar, CEO BMB Islamic sees ongoing demand for such products in a so-called Sharia wrapper, because of the limited choice of Islamic products.

Vatican related newspaper: Islamic finance suggests ideas for Western financial crisis

Loretta Napoleoni and Claudia Segre suggesting in the Vatican related L'Osservatore Romano, that Islamic finance offers ideas for the Western financial crisis. Citing the main concepts of Islamic finance and emphasizing specifically Sukuk.

The original article is in Italian linked via Source.

Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Co. (Aman) Outlook Revised To Negative; 'BBB' Ratings Affirmed

Press Release

PARIS (Standard & Poor's) March 9, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it revised its outlook on Dubai-based insurer Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Co. (Aman) to negative from stable. At the same time, we affirmed the 'BBB' long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Aman.

"The outlook revision reflects the increasing pressure on Aman's risk-adjusted capital adequacy, arising mainly from the continuing decline in investment markets in the Gulf region," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Lotfi Elbarhdadi.

7th International Conference on "Zakat and Waqf Economy"

Venue and Sponsor: The Faculty of Economics, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia
Date: January 6-7, 2010
Deadlines: Abstract July 31, 2009 (electronic submission), completed paper October 31st, 2009.

Contacts:

1) Prof Abdul Ghaffar Ismail, agibab@ukm.my
2) Prof Masudul Alam Choudhury, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, masudc@squ.edu.om

USA: Panel Discussion - The Evolution of the Global Financial System from the Current Crisis

Monday, March 16, 2009
3:30 to 5:30 pm
Pound Hall 335, Harvard Law School
Confirmed panellists: Samuel L. Hayes, Baber Johansen, E. Roger Owen, Aamir A. Rehman

More details: ifp@law.harvard.edu

President of IDB addresses the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum

Press Release

Jakarta, 3rd March, 2009

The Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB Group) provided “Gold Sponsorship” to the 5th World Islamic Forum WIEF being held in Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia. In his speech in the Leadership Panel on “Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges”, HE Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the IDB Group praised WIEF for addressing these critical topics, and emphasized three avenues to new innovative solutions to meet global challenges, namely, ethics-based rather than rule-based financial governance structure, investment partnership with the poor and the vulnerable, and unleashing the God-given potential and innate strength of the full human resources. In his speech, he briefed the participants on IDB Group activities in meeting global challenges.

The first day of the Forum included two panel sessions titled “Leadership Panel” and “Global CEO Panel” followed by four plenary sessions namely; Beyond Scarcity: Overcoming the Global Food Crisis, Paving Greener World: Creating a Future for Alternative Energy, Stemming the Tide of the Global Financial Crisis, and Global SMEs: Business Beyond Boundaries.

BMB Group wins mandate to manage Global Zakat and Charity Fund for OIC

The International Zakat Organisation ('IZO'), an important new charitable body of the Organisation of The Islamic Conference ('OIC'), announced its selection of The BMB Group to lead a new global charitable initiative which promises to be the largest in the Islamic world.

The proposed Global Zakat & Charity Fund would be over USD 3 bn in size and will manage charitable funds to address needy causes in the world.

The Fund will invest in community development projects with an emphasis on sustainability. The four major areas to be targeted are: (1) income generation through the provision of private equity investments to small and medium enterprises, (2) development of social enterprise through the establishment of hospitals, educational institutions and housing developments (3) development of agricultural and other vital infrastructure and (4) the provision of relief and emergency funding.

Mat Hassan Esa is the CEO of International Zakat Organisation.
Dr Humayon Dar is the CEO of BMB Islamic.
BMB appoints David Gibson-Moore as Managing Partner.

New governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency may promote Islamic finance further

The appointment of Muhammad Al-Jasser last month as the new governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA). Foreign regulatory officials and bankers expect a much more proactive policy approach from the new governor. Others expect SAMA under Al-Jasser to open up to Islamic banking in particular and to show leadership in this field in the light of the growing globalization of the industry.

Minnesota Housing offering Islamic Mortgages

Jessica Mador reported on 1 March on Minnesota Public Radio that the state's housing agency Minnesota Housing is launching a new program offering Islamic mortgages.

Chicago-based Devon Bank is underwriting the loans for the New Markets program. Devon is one of the largest Islamic lenders in the country. Corporate Counsel David Loundy says he expects the demand for Islamic financing to grow as more Muslims make their home in the U.S. Loundy says Muslims tend to be good risks.

Al Rajhi ahead of major international banks in market value

According to a survey published originally by the newspaper Al Qabas it results that Al Rajhi Bank with its market value of USD 22.4 bn was ahead of leading global banks, including: Morgan Stanley with USD 20.88 bn, Deutsche Bank with USD 13.83 bn, Barclays with USD 11.58 bn, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) with USD 10.93 bn and Citibank with USD 10.63 bn.

Islamic Finance: Opportunities in the Swiss Market - in German

Wachstumschancen für schweizer Finanzdienstleister in der Finanzkrise

Islamic Finance ist trotz oder gerade wegen der Finanzkrise der Wachstumsmarkt schlechtin. Schweizer Finanzdienstleister haben in den letzten zwei Jahren ihre Onshore-Präsenz in der arabischen Welt signifikant erhöht. Nun gilt es, bestehende Angebote intelligent um Schariah-konforme Produkte zu ergänzen und dadurch das stark gestiegene Bedürfnis vieler Muslime nach Islamischen Finanzprodukten zu adressieren. Schweizer Institute verfügen hier aufgrund ihrer guten Reputation in der Region über ausgezeichnete Voraussetzungen, mit "Swiss Islamic Banking" eine nennenswerte Position in diesem viel versprecenden Wachstumsmarkt einzunehmen.

19. März 2009 - Zürich, Metropol.

Moody's: Islamic Banks Not Unduly Challenged by Oil Price Drop and Crisis

According to Moody' s worldwide fall in oil prices and the global economic crisis has affected the Islamic finance industry, but the institutions' accumulated liquidity and capital will help them withstand these pressures.

According to Moody's, the drop in oil prices poses two key challenges for the Islamic finance industry. "Firstly, there is still a vital link between oil prices and Islamic banks as most of the latter operate in hydrocarbon-exporting economies. As they face increasingly limited funding sources, Islamic banks will find it more difficult to grow going forward. Secondly, oil liquidity has been a major driver of the disintermediation process in the Islamic finance industry. With reduced oil liquidity, not only have sukuk issuances been slowing sharply, thereby depriving Islamic banks of much-needed long-term funding, but pricing on such instruments has been distorted," says Anouar Hassoune, a Moody's Vice-President/Senior Credit Officer and co-author of the report.

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