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Meezan Bank Shariah Board endorsed guidelines for digital mobile account

Meezan Bank's Shariah Board endorsed new guidelines related to digital accounts, supply chain financing and a housing finance facility. The Shariah Supervisory Board showed its overall satisfaction on the Shariah-compliance environment and operations of the Bank. Guidelines for the digital Meezan Asaan Mobile Account based on Mudarabah were approved during the board meeting. From now on a customer can open his digital mobile account at Meezan Bank without the hassle of visiting any physical branch. The customer will be entitled to receive halal profit based on actual returns of Shariah-compliant financings on monthly basis. Furthermore, the customer can use this account to deposit and withdraw funds digitally or from any Meezan Bank branch all over Pakistan.

Standard Chartered commits USD75bn towards Sustainable Development Goals

Standard Chartered announced new business targets for supporting its clients as they transition to a low carbon economy. By the end of 2024, the Bank commits to providing USD40 billion of project financing services for infrastructure that promotes sustainable development. Standard Chartered also intends to reduce its emissions across its global properties by 2030. In October 2018, the Bank created the Sustainable Finance team and has since launched sustainable deposit products in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. In addition, a EUR500 million Sustainability Bond was also launched, the proceeds of which will be used to provide finance in areas aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, including clean energy projects, smaller business lending and microfinance loans.

Insurance Firm Takaful Launches MyCyberCare Tool to Protect Businesses from Online Fraud

Takaful Insurance of Africa developed a new product, a digital data protection tool that will enable individuals and businesses to secure their online presence. Known as MyCyberCare, the product will cover users on all forms of online fraud and virus attacks. During the presentation, Takaful representatives reiterated the importance of the recently signed Data Protection Bill that details a lot of measures that can be enforced to protect personal data. Takaful, which says it processes cybercrime claims in under 72 hours, will avail the product to interested companies and people. Plan prices will range from KES 50000 to KES 3 million.

Chubb in talks to merge Chubb Arabia with AlAhli Takaful Company

Property/casualty insurer Chubb's Saudi Arabian division, Chubb Arabia Cooperative Insurance Company, has entered into preliminary discussions with AlAhli Takaful Company to explore the possibility of merging the two companies.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to cut jobs as it seeks to save $136m

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is considering cutting jobs and closing branches as part of a series of cost-cutting measures. The cutbacks come as ADIB announced a growth of 4% in net profit for 2019 to AED2.6 billion while group net revenues increased by 2.5% to AED5.9 billion. Net profit margin was 4.25%, despite lower rates in the market, helped by the positive impact of the low cost of funds. The UAE economy is coming under pressure from regional geopolitical tensions and weak domestic demand, while business conditions worsened for the first time in over a decade. ADIB joins competitors such as First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Emirates NBD in cutting jobs.

Dubai Islamic Bank hires banks to arrange dollar #sukuk issuance - document

Dubai Islamic Bank has hired regional and international banks to arrange a potential long five-year or seven-year dollar sukuk issuance. The bank hired Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, ICBC, KFH Capital, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank to lead the potential Islamic bonds sale. They will arrange an investor call on Thursday and investor meetings in London on Tuesday.

$26mln Islamic financing for #Oman copper-gold project

The Omani-Australian partnership Al Hadeetha Resources has secured funding to the tune of RO 10 million from Alizz Islamic Bank, which will support the financing of the formers copper-gold project. Australian-based mining firm Alara Resources is a majority investor in the project, which centres on the commercialization of an estimated 16 million tons of copper. These new financing arrangements signify another key milestone for the flagship Al Hadeetha Copper-Gold project in Oman. The funds will be used to procure major equipment for the copper processing plant at Washihi. Meanwhile, Al Hadeetha Resources has named Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Geological & Mining Corporation (CGM) as its Engineering Procurement Construction contractor. The project is expected to come into operation by Q1 2021.

Al Baraka Bank leveraging a robust global network

In this interview Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group reviews the group’s 2019 results. Overall, Al Baraka Bank maintained its healthy financial performance despite the lower-income. However, Al Baraka's adherence to its conservative approach to set aside hedging provisions for all its units resulted in a 14% decrease in net income attributable to shareholders during the third quarter. In 2019 the bank launched the Al Baraka Global API website, a step towards innovation in open banking. Al Baraka Banking Group also inaugurated a new fintech company which focuses on e-payments ‘alneo’ in Turkey through its Turkish subsidiary. The bank’s units opened six new branches, taking the total number of branches to 703. Yousif is planning to enter new markets in the coming period through the presence in the Indonesian and Chinese markets, expansion in East Asia, as well as Africa.

Saudi art organisation acquires vast collection of Middle Eastern art from Dubai's bankrupt Abraaj firm

The private Saudi art organisation Art Jameel has bought a vast collection of works by leading artists commissioned by the now defunct, Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj. The collection had been planned to go on long-term loan to Art Jameel’s Dubai space, Jameel Arts Centre, before the financial company went bankrupt in 2018. It will now be managed as part of the Art Jameel Collection and part will be housed at the centre in Dubai. The 29 pieces, created over ten years from 2008 as part of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize, are by artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia including Kader Attia, Shezad Dawood, Rana Begum and Wael Shawky.

Islamic Development Bank starts marketing dollar #sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank began marketing a five-year dollar sukuk at high-40s basis points over mid-swaps. The bank has hired Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, LBBW, Natixis and Standard Chartered Bank to arrange the potential debt sale. The issuance is under Islamic Development Bank’s $25 billion trust certificate issuance programme and is expected to be of benchmark size. Benchmark size generally means upwards of $500 million.

#Turkey sees inflow of angel investments surge 66% in 2019

Turkey saw $102 million worth of angel investments come into the country in 2019, a 66% year-on-year increase, amid efforts to improve venture capital and angel investment fields in the country. Turkey is the fourth largest angel investment country in Europe with 141 angel investors. The two-day congress on angel investment hosts hundreds of participants from 92 countries and 132 international speakers in 24 panels. As part of the WBAF's World Congress 2020, agreements were signed with the Mali government, the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Royal Academy of Science International Trust, the Antalya OIS and the Antalya Technopark, the Three Cultures Foundation, the World Free Zones Association, the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Bahrain Entrepreneurs Organization.

More hope for #sukuk market growth: S&P

Global Sukuk issuances witnessed a 25.6% hike last year from 2018 numbers, with foreign currency issuances leaping 20.8%. This was driven by high levels of liquidity in Indonesia, good performance in Malaysia, Turkey's efforts to tap all available financing sources and the return of some GCC issuers to the market. According to S&P, total Sukuk issuance for 2020 is expected to reach $160 billion-170 billion this year, including $40 billion-$45 billion of foreign currency issuance. The research and ratings agency added that ample global liquidity and negative yields on more than $10 trillion of debt mean that issuers with a good credit story will find relatively easy entry to the Sukuk market this year. S&P pointed out several global themes that bode well for Islamic finance, technological innovation, sustainable investments and diversification, will continue to open the market to new players particularly small and midsize issuers.

Moroccan jurist Ahmed Raissouni slammed for calling micro loans «Sharia-compliant»

Moroccan jurist Ahmed Raissouni and his recent fatwa on micro loans in Morocco has stirred controversy among Moroccan salafists. They urged the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars to review his opinion on the matter. Raissouni said the loans introduced recently were Sharia-compliant, but salafists sustain the view that usury, even with an interest rate of 0.5%, remains a prohibited practice. Mohamed Talal Lahlou, a professor of Islamic economics said that these loans are meant to promote the national economy and the explanation of its advantages, as presented by Raissouni, is a sort of normalization of what is prohibited by Islam. He denounced the reasoning, which increases the power of an authoritarian and usury system.

StanChart betting big on Shariah-based banking

Standard Chartered is bullish about the fortunes of its Islamic banking business in Bangladesh, Saadiq. The global lender introduced Islamic banking in Bangladesh 15 years ago and has been a trendsetter since. It was the first to introduce Islamic credit card in Bangladesh in 2007 and arrange Sukuk transaction in 2019. The bank has introduced a product, Saadiq Hajj Savers, to provide its customers a one-stop solution for Hajj and Umrah. This account will enable customers to deposit a fixed amount every month and earn profit on their monthly average balance at an attractive rate. Saadiq has another savings product in the works: the Saadiq Graduate account targeting fresh university leavers.

#Bangladesh's Islamic finance industry keeps booming with no slowdown in sight

The central bank of Bangladesh approved applications from two domestic banks, Standard Bank and NRB Global Bank, to become fully Islamic banks. The two banks so far only operated Islamic windows but sought to convert to fully-fledged Shariah-compliant banks to enlarge their scope of product offerings. NRB Global Bank said it plans to change its name to Global Islami Bank to underscore its new role. The move brings the number of fully-fledged Islamic banks in Bangladesh to ten, with the others being Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Islami Bank Bangladesh, Exim Bank, Social Islami Bank, Shahjalal Islami Bank, Union Bank, First Security Islami Bank and ICB Islamic Bank. Analysts note that the industry has still high potential for further expansion as Bangladesh enjoys a vibrant economy with GDP per capita having more than tripled over the past decade.

BRIEF-Dar Al Takaful In Negotiations To Acquire Noor Takaful General And Noor Takaful Family

Dar Al Takaful executed a conditional offer letter to acquire 100% of shares of both Noor Takaful General and Noor Takaful Family. Completion of transaction is expected to take place in second quarter of 2020. After the transaction, Noor Takaful General and Noor Takaful Family will continue to conduct their business on an as is basis. Takaful policies underwritten by each of Noor Takaful Family and Noor Takaful General will remain unchanged and in full effect. Emirates NBD is acting as sole financial advisor on this transaction.

Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank starts marketing 10-yr dollar #sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank has started marketing 10-year dollar sukuk at around 225 basis points over mid-swaps. The Tier 2 subordinated sukuk sale is part of a $3 billion issuance programme. The bank hired JPMorgan, Riyad Capital and Standard Chartered to lead the deal. First Abu Dhabi Bank and HSBC are also involved in arranging the potential debt sale.

Pirate Statement on Homelessness for the United Nations

Pirate Parties International (PPI) released a statement, which also appeared on the website of the United Nations. PPI concludes that technology-based tools such as internet crowd sourcing of information and low threshold access to resource information better targets help where it’s needed. In areas where housing cannot be provided, PPI proposes open use of apps, websites and computer labs to help homeless locate resources. Merging technology, resources, helpers and users via digital platforms is a new frontier in fighting homelessness. Finland proves the efficacy of Housing First to reintegrate homeless into society. PPI are strong supporters of the self-evident truth that people function better when they have a place to live.

Riyad Bank planning USD #sukuk under new programme

Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank is planning to issue an international Tier 2 U.S. dollar sukuk under a new programme. Funds raised from the first issuance under the new programme will diversify the bank's sources of finance, strengthen its capital base, support the expansion of its credit business and other activities. Riyad Bank has mandated J.P. Morgan, Riyad Capital, Standard Chartered Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank and HSBC as joint lead managers for the upcoming sukuk. Fitch rated the sukuk programme BBB+(EXP)'/'F2(EXP).

Al Baraka celebrates Art Week in headquarters with an Art Exhibition by employees

Al Baraka Islamic Bank organized an art exhibition for talented employees of the Bank as well as for the staff of Al Baraka Banking Group. The Art exhibition took place on 28th January 2020 at the Al Baraka Headquarters in Bahrain Bay. Al Baraka Group President Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif said the exhibition aimed to explore the historical legacies of Bahrain, from traditional crafts, industry and pop culture to modernism’s forms, including art and architecture there by encouraging the talented employees. He further stated that some of the paintings would be selected for use in the Group’s calendars and greeting cards.

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