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Growing #demand for #fintech in #Islamic #finance

The IFSB sees growing demand for fintech within the Malaysian Islamic financial services system, because customers are looking for alternatives.
IFSB secretary-general Jaseem Ahmed said „demand for fintech within Islamic finance had increased following the global financial crisis“ and further that “There are tremendous opportunities for fintech within Islamic finance. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, there has been a loss of confidence, so people are looking for alternatives,”
Jaseem added that commercial banks are really taking up fintech to reach out and improve the attractiveness of their products at a lower cost and also said that he expected sukuk issuance to continue remaining strong in Malaysia.
The IFSB event, which ends tomorrow, comprises forums that bring together key stakeholders of the Islamic financial services industry.

Ziad Aba Al-Khail named ‘#Best #Brokerage #CEO – KSA’ in 2016

The International Finance Magazine (IFM) granted Eng. Ziad Tarek Aba Al-Khail, CEO and Managing Director of Aljazira Capital, the “Best Brokerage CEO – KSA Award” in 2016. Aljazira Capital was also granted the “Fastest Growing Islamic Brokerage House-KSA Award” in 2016.
Ziad Aba Al-Khail was really proud of the IMF’s appreciation of the performance. Such a constant international recognition of his team is a living example of our constant commitment to provide our customers with the best services as well as adopt up-to-date strategies in world trade in order to create new horizons for their customers and give them access to regional and global capital markets.”
Ziad Aba Al-Khail also expressed his gratitude and thanks to Aljazira Capital team whose efforts led to this achievement, and added: “This remarkable achievement is the fruit of our company strategy in rendering and managing an integrated system of Islamic-oriented financial services and investment solutions of unique value and high quality.”

#American #Muslims Grapple With Interest-Based Borrowing

Samantha Lord-Konare converted to Islam six years ago and then she found herself in a quandary because of a student and credit card loan that her new religion prohibited. Lord-Konare vowed not to use her credit card but resolving the issue of her student loan was more challenging.
She consulted the imam who presented her with four options. She could pay off her loan in one lump sum, obtain an interest-free loan, receive the money as a gift, or do her best to pay off her student loan as quickly as she could. "Of course, I had to choose the last. I could never ask someone for that amount of money," said Lord-Konare.
Islamic scholars say there is a clear prohibition on usury in the Koran. The Shariah also stipulates that Muslims should acquire wealth in a legal and ethical manner; any element of usury, gambling or chancing is forbidden.

#NCB Capital #launches Pan European #Real #Estate #Fund

NCB Capital, Saudi Arabia’s leading provider of wealth management and investment services, and the Kingdom’s largest asset manager, has announced the launch of its Pan European Real Estate Fund with more than $150 million raised through a private placement.
NCB Capital has partnered with Fidelity International, a leading global asset manager, to invest in commercial properties, including office, retail, logistics/industrial and mixed use, located in key European property markets including France, Germany, Benelux and the United Kingdom. Favorable currency conversion rates, robust legal and regulatory environments, coupled with consistent growth expectations of the core European economies make this an opportune time to invest in a solid real estate market.

#Fintech’s #power is in the unbanked and unbankable

Katharine Budd, the chief executive and co-founder of Now Money, a Dubai-based fintech start-up, explains how fintech works.
This is a new financial services phenomenon. While nowadays you might be able to operate your bank account from a website or mobile app, but the systems behind these online user interfaces have barely changed since they were implemented in the 1970s. The international payment transfer system Swift still runs on the telephone systems. This means that no matter how nice the front-end website your account is on, the transactions displayed are still run off legacy systems, which can lead to legacy issues such as delays in processing transactions and potentially losing the transaction in the system altogether.
New start-ups are innovating where banks are stagnating and are cooperating with regulators and cybersecurity experts and developing new technology. These organisations have become know as “fintechs” and their purpose can range from offering customers alternative ways to bank, usually through mobile, to using advanced analytics to provide investment recommendations.

#Aramco Plans to Raise #$3 #Billion in #Sukuk Sale

Saudi Aramco has plans that would raise 11.25 billion riyals (3 billion US-Dollar) from its debut Islamic bond. That would boost the size of the sale because of investor demand. King & Spalding Partner Rizwan Kanji weighs in on "Bloomberg Markets: Middle East."

#GCC sovereigns to lead emerging market #bond issues in #2017

GCC is expected to account for about 31% of sovereign bond issuances from emerging markets this year. The expected 2017 sovereign issues will be distributed among GCC, Eastern Europe Middle East Africa and Latin America, according to forecasts by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Issues from the GCC has been increasing rapidly mainly due to low oil prices, with some new issuers in 2016, and analysts expect the 2017 issuance to continue to be high. Among those, Kuwait inaugurated the external sovereign debt market with $8 billion (Dh29.3 billion) to finance a budget deficit resulting from low oil prices. Sovereign issuance for 2017 is forecast to be 6% higher compared to the previous year. In 2016, sovereigns issued $135 billion, mainly from Latin America, while corporates issued about $300 billion, mainly from Asia. Analysts expect gross sovereign external issuance to come in at $144bn in 2017.

Treasury targets billions through #Sukuk #securities

The Kenyan Treasury will push through the country’s first Sukuk bond in the coming year. The changes will see the Public Finance Management Act amended to allow the issuance of the bond, which has been in the works since 2014.
Treasury CS Henry Rotich said that the Capital Markets Act, the Co-operatives Societies Act and Sacco Societies Act are also lined up for ammendment.
The government plans to borrow up to Sh256 billion from external sources in the next fiscal year, to plug a budget deficit of Sh524 billion. The State has in the recent past taken up foreign loans in form of the Eurobond and syndicated loans from commercial lenders. Kenya has been mulling over a Sukuk bond for the past two fiscal years, given its highly discounted nature, which would provide cheaper financing compared to commercial loans. The lack of the necessary regulatory framework has, however, delayed this option. In the current fiscal year, Kenya has turned to syndicated loans to finance part of her budget deficit. These loans include the just signed $800 million loan from four international banks, and a similar $500 million facility taken from the African Export-Import bank.

#Merger of three #Qatari #banks to take six months

The merger of Qatari banks Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar is said to take six months to complete, Masraf Al Rayan’s chairman Hussain Ali al-Abdulla said lately. In December Reuters had reported that merger talks had begun which, if successful, would create the Gulf state’s second-largest bank. The new bank would have assets worth more than 160 billion riyals ($44 billion).
KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed as merger advisers, along with law firm Allen & Overy as legal adviser, and furthermore the Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar. Masraf Al Rayan’s shareholders approved the issuance of sukuk worth up to $2 billion to meet the bank’s liquidity needs. In January banks had been appointed to handle a debut sukuk issue of around $500 million, banking sources told Reuters that month, but Abdullah said on Sunday the timing of the issue had not been finalised. Asked whether the bank’s liquidity had been affected by low oil prices Abudullah said “liquidity now is better than in 2016” and that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates last month would improve the profits of Qatari banks.

Shareholders at #Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan approve #sukuk #issuance for up to $2bln

The shareholders of Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan, an Islamic lender, approved the issuance of sukuk worth up to $2 billion to meet the bank's liquidity needs on Sunday. The Gulf state's second largest lender by market value appointed banks in January to handle a debut sukuk issue of around $500 million, banking sources told Reuters that month.

#Kenya's #budget paves way for #Islamic #finance

Kenya's government has unveiled a package of initiatives under its latest budget to develop Islamic finance in the country, as part of efforts to mobilise local funds and set Nairobi as a regional hub for the sector. The moves could spur Kenya's decade-old Islamic banking sector and help the government fund infrastructure in a country where Muslims account for about 10% of the population of some 44 million.
Finance Minister Henry Rotich outlined the steps as part of the country's 2017/2018 budget, released on Thursday, aiming to level the playing field between Islamic and interest-based transactions. Amendments to the Public Finance Management Act will also allow the government to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk, as an alternative funding source. This could prove useful for a government that has set aside billions for infrastructure, with a fiscal deficit set at 524.6 billion shillings ($5.10 billion).

How do we build an #alternativeeconomy from the ruins of the financial crisis?

The book "Another Economy is Possible" examines new ways of organising work and life, from co-operatives, barter networks, and ethical banking to community currencies, shared time banks and solidarity network. Co-operatives such as The Cooperativa Integral Catalana (CIC) in Barcelona are used as examples of how this can work. With over 600 members and 2,000 participants, CIC acts as an umbrella structure for independent producers and consumers of organic food. According to environmental scientist Giorgios Kallis, CIC has its own conceptual mode of the economy, consisting of five co-centric cycles, with reciprocity and gift exchange at the core. This conceptual model is materialised into an alternative economy.

New CEO for Social Islami Bank

Shahid Hossain joined Social Islami Bank (SIBL) as chief executive officer. The bank also promoted Tarik Morshed as its additional managing director. Prior to joining SIBL, Hossain had been serving Southeast Bank as managing director. He started his banking career as a probationary officer with National Bank in 1983. He completed his MSS in political science from Dhaka University in 1980. Prior to the promotion, Tarik Morshed had been serving SIBL as deputy managing director. He has been with SIBL since its inception in 1995 and holds a master's degree in management from Rajshahi University.

#Tawarruq - the 'new kid' in islamic banking

Islamic financial products have evolved from simple and straightforward structures to highly sophisticated instruments. Tawarruq, popularly known as commodity murabahah, has become a new phenomenon in the Malaysian Islamic banking system. This is particularly after the issuance of a 2012 Bank Negara Malaysia circular on bay’ inah (sale and buy-back), which substantially tightens the syariah requirements. Since then, the Malaysian Islamic banking system has started to actively use tawarruq as an alternative to bay’ inah. Nevertheless, its extensive use has raised several questions. The International Islamic Fiqh Academy held in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 resolved that the modern practice of tawarruq is impermissible. As such, the Malaysian regulators and syariah committees have to put certain parameters and limitations in the use of tawarruq.

Islamic bank to waive admin fee for #refinance customers

Al Rayan Bank has introduced a new range of home purchase plans (HPPs) to facilitate the move of an existing home finance product to the Sharia-compliant provider. The lender will assist customers by waiving or contributing to the fees associated with refinancing home finance to another provider. Al Rayan will waive the £399 HPP administration fee and the valuation will be paid by the bank, up to a maximum of £600, while the first monthly payment will see Al Rayan pay a cashback of £300 to the customer. The news comes after Al Rayan posted a 228% surge in home finance completions in January as it reported demand for Islamic finance was at an all-time high.

College to draft Islamic finance #curriculum

A #Kenyan college yesterday signed a three-year memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysian training university to develop curriculum on Islamic Finance. Coast International College (CIC) also signed a letter of collaboration with the Inceif, the global University for Islamic Finance owned by the Central Bank of Malaysia. The MoU was signed by college principal Loise Gichuki, Inceif president and chief executive Daud Vicary Abdullah. The programme will offer Diploma in Islamic finance. The Malaysia University will provide curriculum, course materials and lectures related to Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic Law of contract, financial accounting and fundamentals of Islamic Banking.

MIDEAST DEBT-#Saudi Aramco pays premium in debut #sukuk sale

Saudi Aramco is paying a significant premium to the government and to its previous borrowing in its first sukuk sale. Aramco is offering 7-year, riyal-denominated sukuk at 25 basis points (bps) over the six-month Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate (SAIBOR). The private placement, part of a 37.5 billion riyal ($10 billion) Islamic bond programme, could be as large as about 6 billion. It is expected to take place early next week. Riyadh is restructuring the company and its regulatory environment to make Aramco attractive as an investment. But major decisions on the company's structure and its post-IPO dividend policy have not been announced. Alinma Investment, HSBC Saudi Arabia, NCB Capital and Riyad Capital are the joint lead coordinators. They are joined by GIB Capital, Samba Capital and Saudi Fransi Capital in dealer roles.

Why #Islamicbanking is not working in #Russia

A year ago, when Tatagroprombank launched The Partnership Banking Center, many analysts believed in its success. At the moment, Robert Musin, one of the main shareholders of Tatagroprombank is facing criminal charges for alleged large-scale fraud. In addition to that, on March 9 the Russian parliament decided to reject the bill that would let Islamic banking fully and legally operate in Russia. Since 1997, several Islamic "windows" were set up, but most eventually closed down. According to Nina Mamedova, head of the Iranian sector at the Russian Academy of Science, Russia doesn’t have a well-developed legal framework for Islamic banking. She added that inspite of that, due to the growth of the Muslim population in Russia, some forms of the Islamic banking system will continue to exist in Russia.

#Saudi Arabia considering changes to debut dollar #sukuk structure -sources

Saudi Arabia is considering whether to change the structure of its planned U.S. dollar sukuk issue, which would be the kingdom's first international sukuk issue. The structure would comprise a mudaraba agreement plus a murabaha facility. Potential changes to that structure are now under discussion to make the instrument more easily tradable and less complex to understand for international investors. So the structure may be changed to an ijara format, a lease-financing structure which is common among sovereign sukuk issuance around the world. The new issue would be Saudi Arabia's second international bond sale after a $17.5 billion debut conventional bond issue last October. Citi, HSBC and JP Morgan are global coordinators, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank are also involved with lead roles.

Dubai's Drake & Scull breaches covenants on #sukuk, other bank facilities

Dubai-based building company Drake & Scull said it breached financial covenants in relation to a sukuk syndicated facility and other bank facilities in 2016. The company incurred an annual loss 815.3 million dirhams ($222.01 million) last year as low oil prices and an economic slowdown hit the construction sector in the Gulf region. Drake & Scull was not able to comply with reporting requirements requested for a conditional waiver and therefore, breached financial covenants. These loans are now overdue on their principal and interest payments, and they are technically payable on demand.

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