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#Malaysia central bank to launch revised #takaful operational framework

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) plans to revise its takaful operational framework. Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said the revised framework would be published for consultation before the middle of the year. He said it would strengthen the governance of takaful operators, including how takaful funds are managed, to further safeguard the interest of takaful participants. On the objective of 25% family takaful penetration by 2020, he said it was ambitious, but achievable. Muhammad noted that the industry was lagging in terms of migration to e-payments. He added that another area that is wide open for innovation was the integration of takaful with elements of waqf, sadaqah and zakat.

Financial Inclusion Strategy For Marginalized Zimbabwean Muslims: Islamic Finance

In 2016 The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced the Financial Inclusion Strategy to increase the banking population from 30% at the time it was implemented to at least 90% by 2020. The action targets groups such as Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), women, youth, rural population and the small-scale agricultural sector. While the strategy seems overarching, it forgot to include Muslims. RBZ should initiate the introduction of Islamic Finance through setting up an Islamic financial institution and through "Islamic windows" at conventional banks. Also, banks as a whole could set up an Islamic Bank that models ZimSwitch’s structure, in which all the banks have a stake.

Republic of #Indonesia’s $3 Billion Sovereign #Green #Sukuk Offering

Indonesia issued a 5-year US$1.25 billion green Wakala Sukuk as the first issuance under its recently established Green Bond and Green Sukuk Framework. Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citigroup, CIMB, Dubai Islamic Bank and HSBC, acting as joint lead managers and joint bookrunners. The Republic intends to use the proceeds exclusively to finance green projects, including renewable energy, sustainable transport, waste management, climate-related projects and green buildings. Alongside the 5-year green Sukuk, Norton Rose Fulbright also acted for the joint lead managers and joint bookrunners in the Republic’s 10-year US$1.75 billion Wakala Sukuk issuance.

Corrected: Arkan Bank could tap investors for $200mln through Nasdaq Dubai listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $200 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

World's largest single country Islamic ETF launched on QSE

#Qatar launched the world's largest single country Islamic exchange traded fund (ETF). Al Rayan Qatar ETF (QATR), sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan, is planning to create more units to meet the increasing demand. The QATR is listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange and seeks to track the performance of the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index to provide investors diversified exposure to Qatari equities. The open-ended fund, with initial assets of $120mn, is three times larger than any other ETF in Qatar and Gulf region and has pegged total expense ratio at 0.5% of net asset value, which is considered to be the lowest for any single country ETF in the region. According to Al Rayan's chief investment officer Haithem Katerji, QATR is perfect for investors seeking diversified exposure to Shariah-compliant Qatari stocks with the simplicity and efficiency of buying just one share.

Newly empowered #Saudi women to help drive growth at Al Rajhi Bank

Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank has opened 133 female-only branches and a car showroom for women to help them access car loans. Women have been allowed to attend mixed sporting events and will be able to drive from June. Al Rajhi Bank is a major provider of vehicle loans and has operated car showrooms since 2008. They were only for men until the bank opened its first women-only one late last year. Al Rajhi CEO Steve Bertamini said families usually have a large automobile already, so the cars for women tend to be smaller vehicles for commuting. He added that the bank would provide extended hours for women within existing car showrooms and increase the number of female bank branches in 2018. Women's increased economic activity will help the bank's loan growth outperform the 4% expected for the sector in 2018.

#Saudi tycoon auctions off 900 vehicles to clear debt

Thousands of people attended the first day of an auction of vehicles owned by indebted Saudi Arabian tycoon Maan al-Sanea. Officials say the sale will go towards repaying about 18 billion riyals (US$4.8 billion) owed to creditors. The businessman was detained by authorities last year for unpaid debt dating back to 2009 when his company, Saad Group, defaulted on payments. The first phase of the auction was launched this week, with around 900 vehicles including lorries, buses, diggers, forklift trucks and golf carts. Later stages of the process will include property, as well as machinery, ceramics and furniture. Prospective buyers were mainly businessmen from local construction companies and other contractors. Money raised from the first phase of the auction will go towards repaying creditors. Priority for the repayment will first go to repaying unpaid workers, vendors and other companies owed money will be given next priority, with banks at a later stage.

Islamic trade finance has much more potential

The main precondition for Islamic trade finance to increase its presence in Islamic finance is a closer co-operation between banks and businesses. Experts say Islamic trade finance needs to be developed with instruments that allow better control of risks related to trade partners or countries. The Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) started a cooperation with the Washington-based Bankers Association for Finance and Trade to create an industry standard, a so-called master risk participation agreement. This standard is expected to create transparent market practices and contribute to an increase of the trade finance business on a Shariah-compliant basis. Bank Negara Malaysia is also pushing for Islamic trade financing to support 10% of the country’s total trade up to 2020. The bank is currently consulting initiatives which could include blockchain-based trade finance solutions, e-commerce and providing trade credit takaful to mitigate trade risks.

Bank Rakyat to continue Islamic Banker Programme for the second edition

Bank Rakyat has recently launched its second edition of the Islamic Banker Programme which aims to produce future leaders for the banking industry. The programme recently received recognition from the 26th World HRD Congress 2018 by winning three top awards: Innovation in Recruitment, Best Apprenticeship and Usage of Digital Media in Recruitment. Throughout the training period, each trainee will be assigned to a mentor from the senior management team. Initially, each trainee will go through a two-month training program before they undergo job rotation across the key business units within the Bank for 10 months. Then, they will be placed in a particular sector based on their respective strengths and interests for a year. At the end, their performance will be assessed before being offered permanent placement at Bank Rakyat. At the end of the two year internship, participants will also be awarded with the Chartered Professional in Islamic Finance (CPIF) certificate from the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF).

Arkan Bank could tap investors for $100mln through Nasdaq listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $100 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

Dubai Investments to launch sharia-compliant Arkan Bank

Dubai Investments will lead a consortium of investors to launch Arkan Bank. Arkan Bank is now applying to the Dubai Financial Services Authority for approval for a licence to operate as an Islamic financial institution. It plans to offer sharia-compliant banking services and investment products to serve ultra-high-net-worth individuals, corporates, and institutional clients. The bank has an initial paid-up-capital of $100 million and will have an authorised share capital of $500 million. Arkan Bank chairman Khalid Bin Kalban said the bank would initially focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank. The bank plans to list its shares on NASDAQ Dubai within 12 months of its establishment.

#Qatar’s first Shariah compliant ETF to hit market tomorrow

Qatar’s second listed exchange traded fund (ETF), the Al Rayan Qatar ETF will begin trading tomorrow on Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE). Al Rayan Qatar ETF is the first Shariah-compliant exchange traded fund listed on QSE.
The ETF, issued by Masraf Al Rayan, will track the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index. The Fund will track the performances of 18 stock index of Sharia-compliant Qatari listed equities. Al Rayan Investment is the Fund Manager. HSBC Bank Middle East is the Investment Custodian. According to the prospectus issued by the Fund Manager, the Fund is structured as an open-ended vehicle with a maximum limit of issued capital of QR2bn. The base currency of the Fund is Qatari Riyal and the Fund will only invest in securities denominated in Qatari Riyal.

Govt plans ministry’s division for Islamic finance industry

The Pakistani government is mulling a dedicated division at the finance ministry to deal with Islamic finance. The Prime Minister's Finance adviser, Miftah Ismail said the committee would be set up for the promotion of Islamic banking in Pakistan. He also said that the country is set to achieve a six percent economic growth in the current fiscal year. Deputy Governor Jameel Ahmad at State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said Islamic finance industry needs to expand its product menu with special focus to reach out to the unserved sectors and regions. Ahmad said development of all components of Islamic finance industry is imperative to achieve inclusive economic development.

Crypto vs. Cash - How the Numbers Stack Up on Drugs, Guns, Murders

There was a time when Bitcoin was used often for buying of illegal substances, from drugs to guns and even hitmen. It was decentralized, anonymous and digital. As Bitcoin has organically grown and been adopted into more mainstream markets, the use of the digital currency as a Darknet tool has been declining. According to a recent analysis conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, weapons represent a very small portion of the overall trade on anonymous marketplaces. Drugs are far more common. Specifically, MDMA and marijuana each account for about 25% of sales on the dark web. Yet, the vast majority of drug users still purchase illicit substances via more 'traditional' methods. According to a 2017 Global Drug Survey, the global median for a percentage of drug users who use the darknet is 10.1%. The ease and convenience of buying online extends to the illegal markets, and just because there is a tool to do it with, doesn’t mean that the tool is the enemy.

#Cybercriminals Launder Up to $200B in Profit Per Year

Cybercriminals launder an estimated $80-200 billion in illegal profit each year, which amounts to 8-10% of all illegal proceeds laundered around the world. Virtual currencies are the most common tool used for money laundering, but Bitcoin isn't quite as trendy among hackers. The data comes from Into the Web of Profit, an independent academic study conducted by Dr. Mike McGuire, senior lecturer in Criminology at Surrey University in England.
There are several reasons why cybercriminals are turning to cryptocurrency. They're easily acquired, for one, and they have a reputation for enabling anonymous transactions. According to McGuire, there's almost a wholesale movement away from Bitcoin because Bitcoin's blockchain technology means all transactions are transparent, even if the users' identities remain concealed. Now cybercriminals are adopting more anonymous currencies like Monero and Zcash.

Source: 

https://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/cybercriminals-launder-up-to-$200b-in-profit-per-year/d/d-id/1331298?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple

Spearheading innovation in Islamic banking

In this interview, Zahid Parekh, General Manager of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), speaks about the evolution and future of Islamic banking. In his view, Islamic banking has evolved as a natural phenomenon in Pakistan. HBL's initial focus was to bring in the faith-based customers and as a second step, to target the sceptics through personalised awareness campaigns. These initiatives have made a difference in changing mindsets and expanding the customer base. HBL has a wide banking portfolio and is looking to introduce a new Shariah-compliant mortgage solution in the forthcoming months. HBL has been a frontrunner in FinTech, it established the Innovation and Financial Inclusion Department almost two years ago, with the sole purpose of digitising banking processes. The concept of FinTech is still new in Pakistan, but Parekh believes it will be a game-changer not only for the Islamic banking sector, but for the overall banking sector as well.

#Indonesia sells 8.44 trillion rupiah in retail #sukuk

The Indonesian government sold 8.44 trillion rupiah ($613.19 million) of sukuk bonds to local retail investors. The sales were slightly higher than the initially-allotted 8.11 trillion rupiah. The tradeable sukuk carry a fixed annual rate of 5.9%, similar to the average rate offered by Islamic banks for 12-month and longer time deposits. The sukuk was sold to a total of 17,922 Indonesians this year. Since the retail sukuk was first launched in 2009, the government has sold a total of 144.78 trillion rupiah of the debt to nearly 250,000 people.

DIEDC to collaborate with #Turkmenistan bank

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan (TFEB) to exchange knowledge, experience and best practices in Islamic economy. The MoU was signed by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy and chairman of DIEDC, and Rahimberdy J. Jepbarov, chairman of TFEB. The centre aims to organise workshops and training courses and share professional research. In addition, the two parties have set up a joint committee to oversee the collaboration. Al Mansouri said this partnership between DIEDC and TFEB would strengthen synergies between the two countries. He further highlighted sukuk as an effective tool to finance projects in infrastructure, education and health care, as well as in other vital sectors of the economy.

GCC sovereigns, GREs to drive #sukuk supplies in 2018

Growth in global sukuk issuance is expected to remain muted this year although issuance volumes are likely stable. Moody’s Senior Analyst Nitish Bhojnagarwala expects sukuk issuances to remain broadly stable between $90-$100 billion in 2018, again driven largely by sovereigns. Although the financing needs of sovereigns, banks and corporates in the GCC have decreased in recent months due to higher oil prices, these issuers are expected to continue to support the industry. Sukuk market activity is also supported by specialised multilateral entities, such as quasi-sovereigns, central banks and supranational entities, including the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the International Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) and the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP). Moody’s estimate that total sovereign sukuk volumes will remain stable in 2018 although some of the large issuances in 2017 may not be repeated in 2018, driving a marginal decline in the overall value.

GCC’s alternative equity funding set to grow

A major type of alternative equity investment is through venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE), which represent an ownership stake in a private company. With the assistance of VC and PE, some companies may grow and become public companies through initial public offerings (IPOs). In 2017, the UAE and Saudi Arabia led IPO activity in the GCC, with five listings in the UAE, four in Saudi Arabia, three in Oman and one in Qatar. Much of the activity has been in the region's relatively new Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) market. IPO activity in the region has been focused mainly on large state-owned enterprises, while public equity markets are still classified as ‘frontier’ and ‘emerging’. Throughout the region there is a growing ecosystem of economic free zones, business incubators, co-working spaces, conferences and awards for start-up companies. There is no doubt that the level of VC and PE activity will continue to grow in the region just as the public markets will continue to evolve.

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