According to Bangladesh Bank's former deputy governor Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled, Islami Bank Bangladesh speaks about Islamic banking, but it does not act in that way. In his view, the private bank is not following Islamic banking rules of keeping customers as partners of profit or loss. He also alleges that remittances are dropping due to 'dishonest' mobile banking abroad. The statements were made at a seminar in Dhaka where several professors of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) were present. Khaled said that remittances were dropping because money is being sent through illegal channels in the name of bKash. He advised the Bangladesh Bank to open a new wing to research mobile banking in order to stop transactions outside banking channels. In a research paper published at the seminar, it was said that a large section of the customers of Bangladesh's banks did not have clear ideas about the sector.
In this interview HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal reveals the full story behind his investment firm’s jump into the Shari’ah space. He founded KBW Investments four years ago and launched in mid-January his newest company, ARADA, in partnership with Basma Group. KBW’s first movement in the Shari’ah-compliant investment space is called Crestmount Capital. Prince Khaled found the fairness of Islamic finance most appealing, the extensive work in preparation of launching Crestmount Capital with Amanie Advisors has been really educational. The projects that Crestmount Fund will invest in will be delivered by PietyTHP Developments, which is a joint venture between Piety and the property arm of Lembaga Tabung Haji of Malaysia. Crestmount Fund I, a Shari’ah-compliant real estate private equity fund, is structured as a Cayman Islands entity. It will fund five identified under-development residential projects in Sydney, Australia, through Shari'ah-compliant commodity Murabahah agreements.
Jaiz Bank is now a public quoted company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. To commemorate the listing, Jaiz Bank’s Executive Management, led by Chairman Dr Umaru Abdul Mutallab, were honoured with a closing gong ceremony to officially close trading on the bourse for the day. Hassan Usman, Jaiz Bank's CEO noted that the listing of the bank’s shares was a fulfillment of an earlier promise made at inception of the Bank. He added that the listing would elicit public confidence that Non-Interest Banking provides alternative model that contributes to the socio-economic development of the country. Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, said this listing would promote liquidity for the bank, enhance its value and increase its transparency.
Amid Brexit-fuelled uncertainty, London is trying to do its best to stay afloat as one of the most important hubs for Islamic finance in the Western world. There are now five fully-fledged Islamic banks, one Shariah-compliant hedge fund manager and one dedicated takaful provider in the UK. Also, there are over 20 banks providing Islamic financial services in “banking windows,” more than in any other European country. They benefit from the depth and liquidity of London’s capital markets, the large pool of expertise offered by specialists. Furthermore, the London Stock Exchange is a key global venue for the issuance of sukuk.
Experts say that one of the biggest drawbacks of Brexit for the entire UK banking industry will be the loss of “passporting” privileges that allow UK banks to access the single EU market without restrictions. Another issue is legal uncertainty for existing Islamic banks over to what extent current banking and financial regulations – which have largely been influenced by EU law – will change.
BankIslami Pakistan and fintech startup CompareOn Pakistan have signed a strategic alliance that will further enhance BankIslami’s reach. CompareOn Pakistan provides the online comparison platform Karlocompare.com.pk, which delivers product information and enables customers to apply without the need of visiting or calling BankIslami branches. The agreement was signed by Sumair Farooqui, CEO of CompareOn Pakistan and Yasser Abbas, Head of Islami Auto Finance. Speaking on the occasion, Sumair Farooqui said CompareOn Pakistan intends to serve the growing customer base of Auto Financing Industry and contribute to enhancing awareness around BankIslami’s products.
Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has given provisional approval for two new sukuk issuances of an aggregate size of RO 300 million (around $780 million). CMA President Abdullah bin Salim al Salmi said the proposed issuances underscore the potential and appetite for sharia-compliant finance and investment in the Sultanate. He noted that as of end-June 2016, the value of the sharia-compliant capital market jumped to RO 3.91 billion ($10.16 billion), comprising sharia-compliant shares, investments and sukuk, versus RO 3.24 billion ($8.42 billion) a year earlier, representing an increase of 21.14%. Significant growth has also been witnessed in the Takaful market with premiums reaching RO 41.99 million as of end-2016, up from RO 38.77 million a year earlier, representing an increase of 9.2%.
The Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has issued a draft standard on murabaha to update guidance on the most common financing tool used by Islamic banks. AAOIFI is conducting a wide review of its standards to encourage convergence of industry practices and increase consumer appeal. The proposed standard would supercede two earlier ones on murabaha. It would also cover new areas such as the accounting treatment on the liability side of a murabaha transaction. AAOIFI is seeking industry feedback on the draft until the end of March, aiming to make the final version effective from January 2019.
The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) and the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) are jointly organising the yearly meeting of the Directors of Operations and Investments of Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs). The theme this year will be "Bringing Islamic Investment of IFIs to the Next Frontier" and is held between March 22-23 in Manama. Experts in Islamic Investments will gather to discuss the disruptive agendas of the Islamic investments and look into topics of Strategies in the Infrastructure and Project Finance; Private Banking Capabilities of IFIs; Direct Equity Investment of IFIs; Sustainability Criteria in Islamic Investment Framework among other significant topics.
Bank Al-Maghrib and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) co-organized a regional workshop entitled "Facilitating Implementation of IFSB Standards" in Rabat. The workshop focused on 3 standards for participatory banking: IFSB-15 "Revised Capital Adequacy Standard" on Prudential Capital and Solvency Standards, IFSB-16 "Revised Guidance on Key Elements in the Supervisory Process" on Supervision Standards, and GN-6 "Quantitative Measures for Liquidity Risk Management" on prudential liquidity standards. This event is part of the measures taken by Bank Al-Maghrib to finalize the regulatory framework governing participatory banking activities in Morocco.
Bank Nizwa in partnership with Islamic Finance News (IFN) successfully concluded the second ‘Islamic Finance News Forum’. Sharing his expertise in the IFN Debate was Bank Nizwa’s new CEO, Khalid Al Kayed, who discussed the challenges of standardization and increased regulation. The CEO also took part in the closed-door IFN Oman Dialogue session to openly discuss the benefits and concerns facing the Islamic Finance market. Other sessions at the forum looked into the legal and regulatory framework of Islamic Finance, the development of sustainable and efficient Islamic capital markets, capital market activity and economic development, and innovation in Islamic Finance.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has issued a statement clarifying that the story issued by Reuters about a US dollar Sukuk issuance in the next few months is incorrect. Reuters had recently reported that ADIB is planning to make a US dollar-denominated Sukuk issue in May this year. ADIB said that it has no immediate plans to issue any Sukuk and this has been clarified in an official statement to Reuters.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is considering to make a U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk issue over the next few months. The Islamic lender would join a number of Gulf Cooperation Council banks raising debt internationally through both Islamic and conventional bonds to improve their liquidity. Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank was the first regional lender to raise debt internationally this year with a $500 million bond sale in January. It was followed by a $1 billion sukuk sale by Dubai Islamic Bank, a $500 million conventional bond by Ahli Bank Qatar and a $500 million bond by the United Arab Emirates’ Bank of Sharjah.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has published its new financial technology (fintech) consultation paper. The paper is the third in a series, setting out the DFSA’s approach to the regulation of pioneering fintech activities. The paper sets out the DFSA’s approach to FinTech firms that want to test innovative products and services in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Firms meeting the qualifying criteria will receive a Financial Services Licence, referred to as an Innovation Testing Licence. The testing phase is a step towards the FinTech firm obtaining a full Financial Services Licence.
Morocco's central bank has approved the use of five types of Islamic banking transactions. This means a final regulatory nod for the country to launch an Islamic finance industry. The central bank has recently set up a central sharia board to oversee the sector. The five approved transactions include murabaha, musharaka, ijara, mudaraba and salam. The central bank also set regulations for conventional banks to open windows selling Islamic products. It had given regulatory approval to three major Moroccan banks to open Islamic subsidiaries: Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE of Africa and Banque Centrale Populaire, as well as to smaller lenders Credit Agricole and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier. Subsidiaries of Societe Generale of France, Credit du Maroc and BMCI have also won permission to sell Islamic products.
In partnership with the Moroccan Crédit Immobilier et Hotelier bank (CIH), Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) will launch Umnia Bank, a joint Islamic financial institution. Licensing for the Umnia Bank had already been issued by the Central Bank of Morocco. According to QIIB chairman Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah al-Thani, QIIB is now closer to formally launching the activities of Umnia Bank. He expressed his happiness to reach this stage and stated that Umnia Bank looks to be the best Islamic bank in Morocco. He added that QIIB is determined to contribute to the growth of the Moroccan economy.
Gatehouse Bank looks set to expand into Islamic mortgage lending after registering two trademarks for shariah-compliant loans. The lender bought the trademarks for Gatehouse Mortgages and Milestone Mortgages last week. Gatehouse is currently known for shariah-compliant real estate investment and financing. Last month Gatehouse announced it had hired Aldermore group managing director of mortgages Charles Haresnape. Haresnape will join Gatehouse later this year. A Gatehouse spokesman declined to comment.
The Jaiz Foundation has expressed readiness to commence Islamic Takaful Insurance in 3 Nigerian states, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos, with the head office being in Abuja. This was disclosed by the Chairman of Jaiz Takaful Insurance, Dr Umaru Abdul Mutallab, who explained that the insurance products give equal opportunity for customers to be owners of the company as well. Also speaking on the operation of the insurance policy, the Managing Director of Jaiz Islamic Takaful Insurance, Momodou Musa Joof, said the company shares profit by 80% to its participants who have not suffered losses. In the meantime, those who suffer losses would have been paid first before the distribution of profit. The element which goes to the needy called Zakat is also distributed before profit is shared. Joof noted that the good thing in Takaful is that, if no loss occurs, the customer's contribution becomes an automatic investment.
The Bahraini Gulf Finance House (GFH) would seek to get rid of its Tunisian project, the Tunis Financial Harbor. The project was to be one of the largest Bahraini investments in Tunisia, which would be worth 7.5 billion USD. Tunis Financial Harbor was initially designed to make Tunisia a regional financial hub, but eventually turned into a simple real estate program. GFH is currently seeking to pass the hand and to pass the project on to another investor. The cause would be the financial difficulties of the Bahraini group.
Saif Hadef Al Shamsi, Assistant Governor at the UAE Central Bank, has said that total Islamic banking assets in the UAE have increased to approximately Dh520 billion in the past few years. Al Shamsi added that Islamic banking’ assets account for around 20% of Dh2.6 trillion of the total assets of the state’s banks. The assistant governor pointed out that UAE Islamic banking institutions account for about 7% of the total assets of Islamic banking around the world. This approximately amounts to a total of $1.5 trillion (Dh5.5 trillion). He further explained that Islamic banking deposits increased by 42% over the past three years and that lending by Islamic banks increased by 54%.
It’s only a matter of time before the first green sukuk comes to market. Speakers at a White & Case event last week explained that there’s nothing stopping issuers from drafting a shariah-compliant sukuk save for a lack of top-down support. In 2016, the climate-aligned bond market grew by 16% to $694 billion, $118 billion worth of which are labelled green. The global sukuk market, which has slowed in recent years, saw $40.3 billion worth of deals issued in the same timeframe. Climate-aligned finance is a fast-growing market that’s open to innovation. Sheikh Bilal Khan, co-chairman at Dome Advisory said green issues are not as spoken about in the Islamic finance industry as they should be. There’s nothing in the Qu’ran forbidding them, in fact it stresses our responsibility to the environment.