Qatar

QInvest and Carnegie Mellon Qatar sign MoU

QInvest and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a branch of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, USA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate and coordinate in the fields of research and education.
The MOU will offer QInvest the opportunity to use CMU-Q’s educational programs, research and strategic studies, as well as those from select schools at Carnegie Mellon’s US campus. QInvest in return will provide CMU-Q’s new graduates and students in their final year the opportunity to spend one month working at QInvest under the bank’s QTALENT initiative.

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

Qatar invests $5.24 billion in global real estate market

Global real estate consultancy firm CBRE says that both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have pumped $5.24 billion and $4.54bn respectively as foreign direct investment in global real estate.
CBRE’s latest report shows that the global real estate markets attracted investments worth more than $407bn during the first half of 2015, the highest since 2007. This represents an increase of 14 per cent from the same period of the year’s performance in 2014.
Although the pace of growth has accelerated over the past years, the rate of growth slowed in the first half of 2015 and a great variation can be observed in growth at the regional and international levels, reports Qatar-based Al-Sharq.
Despite the fall in oil prices, the buyers from the Middle East have maintained their high investment activity and, overall, pumped $11.5bn into foreign markets during the first half of 2015.
Nick Maclean, managing director, CBRE Middle East says: “Data from H1 2015 shows a continuing acceleration in the flow of capital out of the Middle East region by private offices and high-net-worth-individuals.”

IMF chief calls for reforms in Gulf amid low oil prices

On a trip through a Gulf squeezed by low oil prices, the head of the International Monetary Fund repeatedly called on countries to cut back on subsidies, lower government spending and consider levying taxes. But implementing Christine Lagarde's suggestions is easier said than done in the oil-rich countries, even as crude prices have dropped by over 50 percent since last year. Generations have grown used to cradle-to-grave social programs, comfortable government jobs and tax-free living. While Gulf leaders, including those in Kuwait, have begun warning harder times may be ahead, some citizens remain opposed to any cuts.
"Almost every week we hear about Kuwait giving grants left, right and center to other nations that are in need of money. It's as if the government doesn't realize that we, in Kuwait, are also in need," said Abdulaziz Al-Adwani, a Kuwaiti school teacher. "It's not logical to start imposing a tax on citizens when the government can afford to give grants to this country and that country."

QInvest net profit up 69 percent in third quarter

QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment group and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions globally, yesterday announced that its net profit for the third quarter grew 69 % to $33.8m while revenues jumped 37 % to $78.7m.

“We are very encouraged by our performance during the third quarter of 2015. With our commitment to drive growth and innovation across the business, we have continued to source new opportunities, strengthen our brand and deliver positive returns. Whilst we expect on-going market volatility and economic challenges to remain present, we are confident on the outlook for the business. We have an exciting active pipeline of deal flow and a unique market position to leverage investment opportunities across the GCC region and selected markets in Europe, Asia and the US” said Tamim Hamad Al Kawari, CEO of QInvest.

QInvest net profit up 69 % in third quarter

QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment group and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions globally, yesterday announced that its net profit for the third quarter grew 69 % to $33.8m while revenues jumped 37 % to $78.7m.

“We are very encouraged by our performance during the third quarter of 2015. With our commitment to drive growth and innovation across the business, we have continued to source new opportunities, strengthen our brand and deliver positive returns. Whilst we expect on-going market volatility and economic challenges to remain present, we are confident on the outlook for the business. We have an exciting active pipeline of deal flow and a unique market position to leverage investment opportunities across the GCC region and selected markets in Europe, Asia and the US” said Tamim Hamad Al Kawari, CEO of QInvest.

Maybank Islamic eyeing GCC for sukuk expansion

Maybank Islamic, is one of the leading arrangers of sukuk in the world, has viewed Gulf Cooperation Council, including Qatar, as its priority region in mobilising funds through Shariah-principled bonds.
“The GCC is definitely on our radar. It all depends on what kind of opportunities are available,” said Nor Shahrizan Sulaiman, deputy chief executive of Maybank Islamic, which is wholly-owned by Maybank Group with strong credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.
The lender, a leading Islamic bank in the Asean region with assets to the tune of $42.65bn as on June 30, 2015, has a branch in Bahrain and a 30% stake in Anfaal Capital in Saudi Arabia.
Maybank is exploring opportunities in the Middle East through its stake in the Saudi Arabia’s Anfaal Capital. Almost 90% of the Maybank Islamic’s balance sheet is domestic and the remaining 10% is from overseas operations, according to Sulaiman.

QInvest completes debut $200m five-year syndicated facility

QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment group and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions in the world, announced the completion of its debut $200m five year syndicated facility.

The facility is in line with the bank’s funding diversification and capital efficiency plan and was arranged by QInvest’s key regional and international relationship banks, namely Masraf Al Rayan, Al Khaliji France S.A. and Natixis. QInvest previously announced that it was named the “Most Innovative Investment Bank from the Middle East” at The Banker magazine’s Investment Banking Awards 2015.

Qatari Islamic Banks Most Efficient in Global Islamic Finance Industry

The WIBC Leaderboard announced today the global rankings of Islamic banks in terms of Cost-to-Income ratio, one of the financial performance sub-indicators of the Leaderboard. No less than three Qatar-based banks have appeared in the top 5 Islamic banks in the GCC based on the Cost-to-Income ratio rankings. As per the rankings, Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar International Islamic Bank, both based in Qatar are positioned at the top of Islamic financial institutions in the GCC with a ratio of 20.6% and 24.4% respectively. The Cost-to-Income ratio is calculated based on non-interest operating cost divided by the sum of net interest income and non-interest operating income.

Qatar emerges as built asset wealth world leader per capita

Qatar has become the world's richest country per capita measured by the value of its built environment according to the latest Global Built Asset Wealth Index published by Arcadis. Qatar has become a global leader, toppling Singapore as the most asset rich country per capita, with built assets of US$198,000 for every citizen. The index, which was compiled for Arcadis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), calculates the value of all the buildings and infrastructure that contribute to economic productivity in 32 countries, which collectively make up 87% of global GDP. Total built asset wealth globally now stands at an estimated US$218 trillion, which is the equivalent to US$30,700 per person alive today.

Qatar Islamic Bank opens books for 5-yr benchmark dollar sukuk -leads

Qatar Islamic Bank has opened order books for a five-year benchmark dollar-denominated sukuk issue, a document from lead arrangers showed on Tuesday. The initial price guidance for the offering has been set in the area of 145 basis points over midswaps, the document showed. The bank has mandated Barwa Bank, Citi, HSBC, Noor Bank, QInvest and Standard Chartered as joint lead managers for the issue. The sukuk issue will be under Qatar Islamic's existing $1.5 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme.

Mashreq successfully closes an oversubscribed US$ 500 Million Islamic Facility for Ezdan Holding Group Company

UAE's Mashreq Al Islami has successfully closed a 5 year USD 500 million senior secured syndicated facility for Ezdan Holding Group Company Q.S.C., the largest private sector real estate developer in Qatar. Mashreq Al Islami UAE acted as Mandated Lead Arranger, Sole Book Runner and Facility Agent for the facility. Other banks that participated in the financing included Abu Dhabi Islamic bank, Ahli United Bank, Emirates NBD, Gulf International Bank, HSBC Bank Middle East as Mandated Lead Arrangers, Sharjah Islamic bank, Warba Bank as Lead Arrangers and QIIB as asset custodian. The Facility proceeds will be utilized to support the Company's expansion and developmental plans in its core market.

Qatar Islamic Bank plans roadshow for possible USD sukuk issue

Qatar Islamic Bank will hold investor meetings in Asia, the Middle East and Europe starting on Friday for a possible benchmark offer of U.S. dollar-denominated Regulation S senior sukuk, leads said on Wednesday. The bank mandated Barwa Bank, Citi, HSBC, Noor Bank, QInvest and Standard Chartered as joint lead managers for the possible issue, which would be off Qatar Islamic's existing $1.5 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme. Benchmark usually means at least $500 million.

QInvest launches sharia'a-compliant real estate fund in partnership with Pramerica Real Estate Investors

QInvest has launched the QInvest Pramerica Liquid Real Estate Fund in partnership with Pramerica Real Estate Investors, the real estate investment management business of U.S.-headquartered Prudential Financial, Inc. Pramerica will serve as the subadvisor of the Fund. The new Fund will invest exclusively in high yielding sharia'a-compliant real estate investment trusts and other real estate-related securities, sourced globally by the fully dedicated real estate securities team at Pramerica. The new Fund will be hosted on QMAP, QInvest's managed account platform.

QCB to grant licences to GCC banks to open branches in Qatar

The decision to allow new licences came at a meeting of Qatar’s Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment on 9 September. The council reviewed developments in both energy and investment before turning to the proposal by Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to grant licenses to open branches for GCC banks in Qatar. The council approved the proposal, with licenses set to be granted according to QCB requirements. Qatar currently licences 11 domestic banks and seven foreign banks. Among the foreign banks, Mashreq is the only GCC-based institution to have a Qatari banking licence. Bahrain’s Ithmaar Bank has a representative office in Qatar but not a full licence.

Barwa Bank has found its niche in Qatar’s growing Islamic banking sector: Moody’s

Barwa Bank, Qatar’s newest Islamic bank in which government is a majority owner, has found its niche in the country’s growing Islamic banking sector, benefiting from Qatar’s strong economy and favourable operating environment, according to Moody’s. Continued high public spending will continue to create further business opportunities for local banks, particularly those with well-established government links like Barwa, the rating agency said. Furthermore, Barwa will benefit from regulators’ policies, which prohibit conventional financial institutions operating Shariah-compliant banking windows and reduce the competition for a fast-growing customer segment. Nevertheless, the bank’s asset quality will likely remain stable over the next 12 to 18 months.

QCB extends deadline for insurance regulations

The Qatar Central bank (QCB) has extended the deadline set for the insurance, reinsurance and Takaful companies to implement its new regulations. As per original schedule, the institutions were supposed to comply to the new regulations from the end of May. After realising that the insurance companies needed more time to reposition themselves to implement the new regulations, the central bank has extended the deadline to November 30. The proposed regulations restrict the companies and insurance practitioners from getting involved in cross-border activities. Besides, the QCB regulation requires the insurance companies to simplify their procedures and finance agreements and to be transparent in relation to their pricing and features of products and services.

Moody's affirms Masraf Al Rayan's issuer ratings: outlook now positive from stable

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Masraf Al Rayan's (MAR) A2/Prime-1 issuer ratings and baa3 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA. At the same time, Moody's changed the outlook on the bank's long term issuer ratings to positive from stable. The change in the outlook to positive from stable reflects the ongoing improvements in MAR's business and geographic diversification, including the growth and transition to profitability of its recently acquired subsidiary Al Rayan Bank PLC based in UK. Further underpinning Moody's view on the outlook is Qatar's considerable economic strength, with robust growth prospects driven by the significant wealth and resources of the country, despite lower oil prices.

Barwa Bank official promoted to CCO

Barwa Bank has promoted Talal Ahmad Al Khaja (pictured) to Chief Communications officer. Al Khaja will oversee marketing and communications and public and shareholder relations. Prior to joining the bank in 2009, he worked across private sector institutions and organisations. Holding a Master’s in business management, a bachelor’s degree from Qatar University, and professional certifications, he has amassed over nine years’ experience in administration, marketing, public relations and corporate governance. During his tenure at the bank, he has contributed to acquisitions of the group’s affiliate companies and subscription management in capital financing in 2011. His efforts led to the establishment of the group’s Investor and Shareholder Relations Department.

Interview: Adbulbasit Ahmad Al-Shaibei CEO and director at Qatar International Islamic Bank

Fresh off the back of a strong first-half performance to the year, Qatar International Islamic Bank’s Chief Executive Officer and director Abdulbasit Ahmad Al-Shaibei is basking in a bumper era of growth. The bank has seen its profits grow by around 4-17 per cent every year since 2010 and, if the first six months of this year are any indication, 2015 should maintain the positive run. QIIB announced a net profit of 438 million riyals ($120.3 million) for the first half of the year, a 9 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2014. Al-Shaibei is seeing opportunity for further growth in some unconventional places.

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