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#Qatar reaches out to Shariah market in #Malaysia, #Turkey

Qatar has taken the lead in reaching out to Malaysia and Turkey through which the country aims to be the dominant player in the global Shariah financial landscape. Under the proposed plan, Turkey would cover Islamic finance needs in Europe, Qatar would serve the greater Middle East and North Africa and Malaysia will continue to serve the Asian markets. The London Stock Exchange is currently a global venue for the issuance of sukuk, while Hong Kong and Luxembourg have also made inroads but Qatar believes the market should be led by Muslim countries. Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Authority CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida has a vision to cover the entire globe’s Islamic financial transactions between three financial centres, Doha, Istanbul and Malaysia, therefore he sees a need to share platforms and technology.

Islamic finance sector to benefit from rapid family takaful growth

According to Malaysian Reinsurance CEO Zainudin Ishak, the Islamic finance industry as a whole is poised to benefit from the rapid growth of family takaful into a dominant position. The company aims to attain a sustainable long-term growth through the capability to write both family and general retakaful businesses. Malaysian Re has just signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pacific Life Re in Kuala Lumpur. The collaboration is expected to expand Malaysian Re’s access to international research and data through the usage of the underwriting technology powered by Pacific Life Re’s fully owned subsidiary, UnderwriteMe. Meanwhile, Pacific Life Re will provide support for MRRD’s family takaful business through its technical pricing, underwriting, product development, experienced analysis and global insights.

BCG survey finds GCC residents the most globally optimistic

The first consumer sentiment survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group has found that GCC residents hold higher levels of financial optimism than their contemporaries around the world. Only in the UAE and Oman does the optimism level dip below 90%. Meanwhile, the optimism in Bahrain is as high as 96%. The respondents also reported stricter savings habits than international counterparts such as those in the US and Japan. Results from the survey suggest a potential boon to the food & beverage, non-luxury fashion, educational services, and out-of-home entertainment segments. Taken together, these factors represent a significant opportunity for expansion-minded companies. The survey also points to two other fertile conditions; exceptionally high internet penetration rates and a fledgling ecommerce culture.

2020 is the year of sustainability on Arab stock exchanges: AFE’s Secretary General

The Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) has been working on launching a development strategy to localise financial technology and sustainable development, declaring 2020 the year of sustainability in Arab stock exchanges. “Reforming the home from within” is the approach taken by the AFE’s Secretary General since taking over the secretariat last year. The most important change was the adoption of a new system for the AFE to restructure its board of directors. The AFE also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Financial Technology Corporation in the Middle East and North Africa, and there will be a kind of joint training for financial technology. Last year the AFE managed to expand the federation’s membership base, it currently includes 21 active members, with 17 stock exchanges and four clearing companies.

ADIB‘s falling revenue rounds up combined outcomes season for Abu Dhabi banks

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) saw profits fall in the fourth quarter while peer Union National Bank reported a surge in revenues. The emirate‘s five domestic banks are battling tight liquidity and rising bad loans due to the economic impact of lower oil prices. Tight competition and pressure on margins has led to consolidation in Abu Dhabi‘s banking sector, with National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank in the process of merging to create one of the largest banks in the Middle East and Africa.

Alibaba-backed Indonesian multifinance fintech Akulaku planning Islamic roll-out

Indonesian fintech Akulaku will launch its Shariah-compliant platform in the first half of 2021. The Jakarta-based company is a leading online multifinance provider in Indonesia and now it wants to enter the Islamic sector with Akulaku Syariah to tap into local demand. Akulaku in January raised $100 million from investors including Alibaba’s financial services arm Ant Financial. Akulaku disbursed around 4 trillion rupiah ($285.34 million) in loans during January-October this year and announced on Dec 12 that it wants to raise offshore financing to help it reach its target of 6 trillion rupiah next year. Akulaku started in 2014 with virtual credit cards and moved into providing services for a range of virtual payments, from phone and mobile top-ups to utilities bills. It now also offers P2P lending, financing, and e-commerce in Indonesia, and also has a presence in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

#Qatar to host 14th World Islamic Economic Forum next year

The State of Qatar will host the 14th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in October next year. The agreement was signed by Nasser Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, Director of the Financial and Administrative Affairs Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and by Syed Abu Bakr Al-Mahdar, Managing Director of the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF). The Forum aims to enhance the economic well-being of Islamic peoples and communities in different countries and build new business partnerships between Muslim and non-Muslim societies around the world. The 14th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum will witness the organization of a number of bilateral meetings and complementary programs, in addition to organizing an accompanying exhibition, where participants can promote their brands and provide their products and services to visitors.

ED attaches Rs 10-crore assets in 'Islamic banking' Bengaluru ponzi scam

Assets worth over Rs 10 crore of a Bengaluru-based firm have been attached under the anti-money laundering law in connection with an alleged 'Islamic banking or halal investment' ponzi scam case. The accused firm is Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd and the case had made headlines last year in Karnataka. The firm is accused of collecting investments from customers under the Haj/Umrah plan in the name of 'Islamic banking or halal investment' and offering huge returns to the extent of up to 15% per month. The company was not authorised to collect such funds as it was neither registered with RBI nor with the SEBI under their collective investment scheme. The company had hired agents who would convince investors to invest in the plan by giving these agents a heavy commission. Initially, the company shared profits to the existing investors out of funds obtained from its new investors.

IIRA reaffirms GFH Financial Group’s BB / B fiduciary ratings

Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has reaffirmed its 'BB/B' international scale ratings at GFH Financial Group (GFH), with a stable outlook. GFH's key business lines include investment banking, real estate development as well as the recently expanded treasury and proprietary investments and commercial banking undertaken through its 55.4% holding of Bahrain-based Khaleeji Commercial Bank. The group’s capital adequacy ratio reduced to 14.5% in Q3 2019, remains comfortably above the Central Bank of Bahrain minimum of 12.5%. The bank’s cost rationalisation measures among other strategies are expected to result in boosting of profitability over the coming periods.

WWF calls on Asean banks’ 'proactivity' in addressing environmental risks

According to the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), banks belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) need to shore up regulatory safeguards to address the environmental and climate crisis. WWF’s Head of Asia Sustainable Finance Jeanne Stampe called on Asean banks to be more "proactive" in addressing environmental issues. In Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, WWF found out financial regulators and banking associations expect banks to develop environmental policies on environmentally or socially sensitive sectors. But WWF said 43% of the banks assessed in these four countries mention having such policies in place, while only 15% disclose these policies. In light of this, WWF recommended regulators to provide more prescriptive guidance to enhance resilience and attractiveness of the finance industry.

Islamic fintech 2020: P2P crowdfunding, challenger banking and Southeast Asia biggest growth opportunities - study

According to the Global Islamic Fintech Report, P2P crowdfunding and challenger banking are the top expected growth sectors for Islamic fintech in 2020. The report is produced by London-based digital finance firm Elipses in collaboration with the UK Islamic Fintech Panel. The report finds that peer-to-peer and crowdfunding, the largest area to date, is set to remain so, with challenger banking seen as a significant growth area. The three other expected top growth sectors for next year are blockchain/crypto, robo-advisory/personal finance management, and lending. In terms of regions, 39% of respondents picked Southeast Asia as the one presenting the biggest growth opportunity for Islamic fintechs. The Middle East is the second biggest expected growth region, as chosen by 31% of respondents, followed by 16% who picked the UK.

Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival to launch 22nd edition

The Sharjah Department of Culture is organising the 22nd edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival from 11th December 2019 to 21st January 2020. The new edition's theme, 'Prospect', will serve as a concept to unite artists and art enthusiasts. The festival will contain 253 activities in the form of exhibitions, lectures, and workshops. More than 28 organisations assisted in the coordination of the festival's projects. There will be 55 exhibitions at the Sharjah Art Museum, Al Majaz Waterfront, Maraya Art Centre and at other locations. These exhibitions will be presenting works of artists from the UAE, the neighbouring Arab countries, and other countries from around the world.

Is philanthropic crowdfunding a growing industry?

Crowdfunding markets have experienced a severe growth in recent years; however, this was mostly among non-philanthropic platforms. Philanthropic crowdfunding builds on a large group of individuals each donating a small amount online. Worldwide, philanthropic crowdfunding fulfills a small role, since only 15% of the total amount raised through crowdfunding is raised through philanthropic crowdfunding. The global crowdfunding activity mostly exists out of platforms from the United States, Asia and Europe. The US has the largest percentage of philanthropic crowdfunding projects. China focusses mostly on reward-based crowdfunding. In Europe the largest crowdfunding markets are the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Crowdfunding is not yet a growing industry in every region, with decreasing market-values among European-based platforms.

#Qatari banks raise over $1 billion in privately placed bonds – sources

Qatar National Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank have raised a combined $1.3 billion in privately placed bonds. QNB‘s chief executive Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari told Reuters this week that the bank‘s U.S. dollar liquidity was excellent and that it had no immediate funding need. The bank, which is 50% owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority reported a 3.5% rise in third-quarter net profit. Qatar Islamic Bank has reported a rise in net profit in the second quarter of this year. It is expected to announce its third-quarter results next week.

'$5trln needed annually to achieve Sustainable Development Goals'

According to UN resident co-ordinator and UN Secretary General’s representative in Bahrain Amin El Sharkawi, the world needs financing of about $5 trillion each year to make the necessary progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Discussions are on to set up a Bahrain-UN trust fund where banks can contribute to projects that focus on education, health coverage, access to energy, social housing and environmental protection. Mr El Sharkawi was speaking on the sidelines of the first General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI)-United Nations joint forum themed The Role of Islamic Finance in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: Opportunities and Challenges. The first day of the forum was concluded with the third session titled Zakat and Waqf as Tools for Financial Inclusion and Shared Prosperity.

IBD assistance sought to improve trade in Muslim economies

Pakistan sought financial and technical assistance from Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to establish an export-import bank to improve trade among Muslim economies. International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is an autonomous body under the Islamic Development Bank that aims to promote trade to improve the economic condition of the people of Muslim countries. Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar said ITFC has provided financing facility to Pakistan to cover its oil and liquefied natural gas imports over a period of three years. Furthermore, he asked ITFC to develop training tools in Islamic banking as Islamic banking is very popular in the country.

À la recon­quête de la finance islamique

Présentée comme un nouveau pilier de la place financière il y a quelques années, la finance islamique était en veilleuse. L’organisation du deuxième Sukuk Summit au Luxembourg le 11 novembre dernier l’a remise en lumière. Bandar Hajjar, président de la Banque islamique de dévelop­pement a annoncé que son institution allait installer une «présence légale» au Grand-Duché pour développer les sukuk en Europe. Aujourd’hui, le Grand-Duché est le cinquième pays pour la domiciliation de fonds d’investissement conformes à la charia.

Islamic finance industry needs a global ecosystem driven by tech to narrow the information gap - Refinitiv

The overall macroeconomic conditions, geopolitical tensions and the threat of trade wars have all contributed to a slowdown in economic and banking growth. The Islamic finance industry is no exception. As the industry reaches maturity in established Islamic finance markets in Malaysia and GCC, experts have predicted that growth would be mostly driven by emerging and frontier Islamic finance markets. Despite this, these markets have not demonstrated the level of growth that was expected, and a number of structural challenges continue to persist, such as standardization, awareness and access to information and expertise. To address these challenges, the industry must come together to create a global ecosystem for Islamic finance.

Deyaar and Dubai Islamic Bank to Provide Attractive Home Financing Solutions

UAE real estate developer Deyaar Development has partnered with Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) to benefit from the bank’s attractive and customised home financing solutions. The solutions will enable customers to make full payment on handover of their property through flexible home financing programs, with monthly installments up to 25 years with options to further extend their home payments at competitive rates. Handover of Afnan District, the first of six districts within Deyaar’s Midtown integrated urban development, began in early November. Comprising seven buildings ranging from seven to 16 floors, Afnan District has a total of 659 apartments, including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, all of which are sold out.

Socially responsible investing and next generation set to drive growth in Islamic finance

According to a new report "The Evolution of Wealth Management in the World of Islamic Finance 2019", demand for Islamic finance solutions is set to increase in the GCC and Middle East in the next five years. The report highlights that promoters of Islamic wealth management are gearing up to offer a greater array of wealth management solutions to a client base that is generating private wealth at a remarkable rate. The report finds that socially responsible investing (SRI) and products offering environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards are driving the increase in demand for Islamic wealth management solutions. The report also shows that Islamic finance is no longer a niche product for Muslim investors alone; more and more non-Muslim families and institutional investors are seeking both performance and long-term value.

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