USA

Gassner's picture

Equity finance in form of Merchant Banking in the US under pressure

In the New York Times Deal Book, Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon writes about new steps to disapprove merchant banking by the FED to reduce risk but at high cost. From an Islamic point of view, it just looks like another door for equity investments by the banking sector is about to be shut down, while the contrary makes sense in times of an ongoing debt crisis.

Professor Solomon defines Merchant Banking as ""simply the practice of buying operating companies. The risk to a bank holding company is twofold. First, the bank could lose its money — as with any investment. Or second, it could be held liable for the debts of that company." Already he outlines that "banks are penalized for these investments by having a charge applied to their allowable capital. Second, the bank must sell the investment within 10 years, a period that can be extended by application to 15 years. These investments are monitored heavily these days to ensure they are not unduly risky."

Guidance Residential Hits $4 Billion Milestone in Delivering Islamic #HomeFinancing

Guidance Residential announced that it has reached the $4 Billion milestone in home financing. This $4 Billion threshold is more than the cumulative production of all other providers in the market. Guidance Residential has helped approximately eighteen thousand families to date, buy or refinance their homes. The company has grown into the largest Islamic finance employer in the United States. The workforce is diverse, 20% of the employees are Muslim Americans. Guidance Residential offers home financing products and services for Muslim Americans through their Shariah-compliant, Declining Balance Co-ownership Program.

MASIC partners on #Islamic #financing of $219 million New York Condo

Baker & McKenzie advised Mohammed I. Alsubeaei & Sons Investment Company a leading private equity investment company based in Saudi Arabia in a $219 mn dollar Murabaha facility to develop a luxury condominium development. MASIC provided the mezzanine financing for the development project, 45 Park Place, located in New York's TriBeCa neighborhood. The deal highlights the expansion of Islamic financing into the US real estate market.
MASIC partnered with other financial institutions and Soho Properties on the downtown condo project, which is scheduled for completion in 2018. Financiers for the project include Malayan Banking Berhad, London Branch; Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A.; Warba Bank K.S.C.P.; and MASIC.
Baker & McKenzie partner Mona Dajani said, “This successful financing by MASIC is a milestone transaction in the United States using tiered Shari’ah-compliant facilities for commercial transactions. This transaction aptly demonstrates the increased activity in Islamic financings in the United States which has emerged over the past year.”
The Baker & McKenzie team, led by Ms. Dajani, included partner, Pat McDonald and associates Michael Reed, and Maher Haddad.

Faith-Based Insurance Pools for Healthcare: A Better Alternative?

As healthcare insurance in the US has skyrocketed, despite passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in 2010, many Americans are turning to a new/old solution: mutualized self-help. Many Christian groups in the US are forming their own unregulated insurance pools to pay the medical bills of their members. This trend raises some fascinating questions about state/corporate bureaucracies vs. social commons. Religious faith is a big part of these expense-sharing plans. The plans themselves often reflect religious moral judgments: no medical payments for injuries caused by driving drunk, for example, or for sexually transmitted diseases contracted via an extramarital affair. Such conditions make these expense-sharing plans unacceptable to most secular consumers.

Bahraini banks acquire key US real estate portfolio

A consortium of Bahrain-based lenders Venture Capital Bank (VC Bank) and Seera Investment Bank has acquired a major real estate portfolio consisting of two multifamily residential assets in Atlanta (US) comprising 866 units. This marks the consortium’s first investment in the US multifamily sector and has been in co-operation with a local partner that has experience in the management and operation of multifamily residential assets. Atlanta remains a hot favourite among global investors, thanks to the large number of Fortune 500 companies that are headquartered there. It is also the fourth biggest city with headquartered Fortune 500 companies after New York City, Houston, and Dallas.

Islamic mutual fund increases social impact with trade finance investments

Azzad Asset Management today announced that it has further magnified the social impact of its flagship mutual fund by adding investments in ethical trade finance deals. These investments may provide returns for investors while helping underserved populations in Asia and Africa obtain reasonable financing to grow businesses and cooperatives. The Azzad Wise Capital Fund (WISEX) invests primarily in sukuk and community development banks. Through WISEX, the Virginia-based investment firm is participating in a group of syndicated ethical trade finance deals arranged by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). The ITFC is charged with advancing trade and improving the economic conditions of people around the world.

US sends mixed message to Europe on Iran sanctions

Since reaching the nuclear agreement that lifted economic sanctions on Iran, President Barack Obama has pledged to continue to punish foreign companies that do business with the regime’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In theory, this will chill European investment in Iran because the IRGC, along with its front businesses, controls major portions of Iran’s economy in vital sectors such as oil, construction and banking. But despite recent reports of billions of dollars worth of new European investment in Iran, the US Treasury Department has seen no evidence that European companies are conducting transactions with the IRGC. Many sanctions experts question whether this is really possible.

Arcapita acquires $85m real estate portfolio

Arcapita has partnered with Morningstar Senior Living for senior living communities based in Colorado worth $85 million. The current portfolio for Arcapita consists of three projects for assisted living and care communities and provides a total of 196 units and 243 licensed beds in the Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The focus on the state is to attract customers who are in the company’s target age demographic. The target age group for senior living facilities in Colorado is projected to grow by almost twice the national average over the next five years, stated Martin Tan, Arcapita’s chief investment officer.

How Muslims in the U.S. Follow the Islamic Financial System

Thousands of Muslims in Chicago use the Islamic finance system while also using traditional banks and conventional financing structures. Cynthia Shawamareh, Islamic law and finance lecturer at the University of Chicago, described how Muslims in the U.S. find it more challenging to follow faith-based financing. Some Muslims in the U.S. obey the Shariah-based financial system with different workarounds to process their economic operations under the purview of Islamic finance while still operating in mainstream American financial systems. The Devon Bank initiated a Shariah-based financing alternative for its Chicago customers in 2003, creating a system of residential mortgage and commercial leasing options that are Shariah-compliant.

Warba Bank acquires equipment leasing portfolio in United States

Kuwait's Warba Bank has announced the acquisition of equipment leasing portfolio managed by ATEL Capital Group, an independent equipment lessor based in the United States of America. As part of the transaction, the Bank has initially invested US$8.2 million in a diversified portfolio of Operating leases comprising of high-quality low-tech low-obsolescence mission-critical equipment leased to investment grade corporations in United States. Established in San Francisco, California, in 1977, ATEL has originated and managed over $2 billion of equipment leased to primarily investment grade US corporations. Over the last three decades, ATEL has built a reputation as one of the largest independent equipment leasing enterprises in the United States.

Impact Investing and Equity Pledges: The New Landscape of Corporate Responsibility

The movement to reimagine the social purpose of business is accelerating at lightning speed, spinning off a renaissance of entrepreneurship that’s exhilarating to behold. This wave of corporate creativity for good is transforming the relationship that businesses have with their communities and the possibilities for real change. A new generation of businesses is filling the leadership vacuum by building philanthropy directly into their founding missions. For this innovative breed of companies, giving back is not optional or half-hearted; creating sustainable and measurable impact is as core to their definition of success as a high return to their shareholders.

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.

Islamic insurance products come to market

The US and Canada are expected to follow London's lead with the development of Islamic insurance products. Not just because of the burgeoning market for Shariah-compliant financial products worldwide but also because of increasing demand for old-fashioned transparency.

So says James Bagshawe, a member of the executive committee of the recently established Islamic Insurance Association of London (IIAL) and COO of UK-based Cobalt Underwriting.

Earlier this month, the London Market pointed to the growth of commercial Shariah-compliant products as an important example of the innovation required by London to maintain its position as a global insurance hub. At the inaugural conference of the IIAL in Dubai, chief executive of the International Underwriting Association (IUA), Dave Matcham, said that Islamic financial activity in London is developing a growing maturity and said the IUA and IIAL are cooperating to support the trade in Islamic insurance, promoting standards and transparency.

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.

Gassner's picture

Securities Regulation: USA-SEC Adopts Rules to Permit Crowdfunding

Dear Readers,

The US Securities Exchange Commission has issued recently press release regarding equity crowd funding and its regulation:

"Washington D.C., Oct. 30, 2015 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted final rules to permit companies to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding. The Commission also voted to propose amendments to existing Securities Act rules to facilitate intrastate and regional securities offerings. The new rules and proposed amendments are designed to assist smaller companies with capital formation and provide investors with additional protections."

http://www.sec.gov/news/pressrelease/2015-249.html

Equity funding is discriminated threefold in finanical markets despite most people assume that a market economy would leave choices to market participants. The three key problems are: 1) Risk weighting of equity finance a multiple higher than debt finance, thus making it unattractive for banks to provide equity finance and consequently destabilizing economies with excess debt. 2) Tax deductibility of interest expense. 3) Entry barriers to the securities markets to raise equity.

White House turns to crowdfunding campaign for Syrian refugee crisis

The Obama administration has launched its first-ever crowdfunding campaign this week to raise money for Syria’s growing refugee crisis, in a bid to draw the American public into supplementing the U.N. refugee agency’s strained budget. The initiative is also a first of its kind for Silicon Valley crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. As of Wednesday, the second full day of the campaign, donors had raised over $800,000 for the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) — enough to cover immediate necessities and a place to sleep for 3,000 people in need, the campaign page says. However, the UNHCR has only received $1.8 billion of the $4.5 billion it has requested from foreign governments for Syrian refugees in 2015.

What Happens If We Redistribute Bill Gates Wealth to the Poor?

The Robin Hood Index chart shows the effect of confiscating all of the wealth of each country’s wealthiest individual and redistributing it to the poorest 15 percent of the nation’s population. Consider what happens if we took all of the wealth ($80 billion) of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and redistributed it to the poor. According to an analysis by Bloomberg News, the poorest 15 percent of Americans would get a one-time payment of $1,736 each. By adding the next billionaires on the list, that payment increases to $20,000. While a one-time payment of $20,000 might be nice for a few weeks or months, it solves precisely none of the long-term problems facing the poorest Americans.

Kickstarter is now a Public Benefit Corporation

Kickstarter announced the company’s reincorporation as a public benefit corporation, meaning that the crowdfunding company is now legally obligated to make a positive impact on society. The company has legally changed its name from Kickstarter Inc. to Kickstarter PBC and is now required to submit an annual public benefit statement detailing its work for public good. The first of these statements will be issued in February 2017. The crowdfunding company still serves as a for-profit, while doubling down on its social mission of supporting creative endeavors. Time will tell what this move will mean for the company’s financial projections.

Syndicate content