USA

Islamic banking solutions gain ground in US

Islamic banks are beginning to make inroads into the banking scene in the US. Chicago-based Devon bank, for example, has transformed itself into an interest-free financing establishment, with Islamic financing accounting for more than 75 percent of the bank's mortgage portfolio. Giant financial institutions in the US now have their own Sharia advisory boards, while banks like Devon Bank in Chicago, with relatively small assets, rely on opinions from the Sharia Advisory Board of America. Muslims in America are becoming a significant demographic force, so Islamic banking is here to stay and offers a lot of potential.

Islamic Finance has a Huge Potential in North America

Islamic finance, banking, and takaful has a large potential in the US and Canada despite several setbacks and various obstacles and hurdles. In terms of the United States, a 100% truly Shariáh compliant takaful company may not be possible at this time in the USA as many states have limited investment of collected premiums to non-Shariáh compliant investment grade rated bonds. However, the US has seen two major sukuk issuances and there is a large potential for further sukuk. In terms of Canada, there have been no sukuk issuances and there are no Islamic banks. The only positive ruling for Islamic finance in Canada thus far has been the permission of Islamic mortgages under Canadian law. Aside from constitutional hurdles and the lack of regulations and laws, which permit Islamic banking in North America, many people have a fear of Islam and the words Shariáh and Islamic.

CIFA Retail Finance Specialist Course, 11-13 June 2014 Chicago

Course overview:

- Enable participants to apply the principles of Islamic finance
- ExamiEnable participants to apply the principles of Islamic finance
- Examine in detail the different Islamic retail banking products offered by Islamic banks in
various jurisdictions including depository and wealth management solutions.
- Analyze different product structures, and other business related issues - regulatory, legal,
marketing and implementation challenges in the US market.
- Compare and contrast the various Islamic products with their conventional financial
equivalents
- At the end of the course, delegates will have a comprehensive understanding of the different
tools applied by Islamic banks to finance retail consumer needs, and will be able to structure
different solutions that are suitable for the US market.
- The course will use discussions, team exercises, and case studies to ensure delegates learn by
doing.ne in detail the different Islamic retail banking products offered by Islamic banks in
various jurisdictions including depository and wealth management solutions.
- Analyze different product structures, and other business related issues - regulatory, legal,

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Names Michael Bloomberg as Chair

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Schapiro have taken up leadership positions with the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Bloomberg has been named as board chair and Schapiro as vice-chair of the organization. SASB was launched publicly less than two years ago. The San Francisco-based nonprofit provides an industry-specific reporting framework for crucial sustainability issues that integrates with the companies’ quarterly 10-K financial disclosures, which are required by the SEC. SASB is working on reporting guidelines for 88 industries across 10 sectors.

REFILE-London-based RiverCrossing debuts with Islamic real estate fund

London-based RiverCrossing Capital Partners, a new Islamic investment firm, has launched its first product, a U.S. real estate fund, as part of a plan to offer non-traditional asset classes to institutional investors in the Gulf. The firm will develop asset-based funds with a non-cyclical nature, chairman Mohammed Abdulmalik said. RiverCrossing's first fund will have a target investment horizon of five years and focus on medical offices, self-storage facilities and senior and student housing in the United States, he added. RiverCrossing aims to raise $45 million in the first tranche of its Alternative Real Estate U.S. Fund this quarter, reaching a total of $125 million with a second tranche in the next 12 to 18 months.

First Halal, US fixed-income mutual fund celebrates 4th anniversary

The Azzad Wise Capital Fund, America's first Halal, socially responsible fixed-income mutual fund, turned four years old this month. Falls Church, Virginia-based Azzad Asset Management launched the interest-free fund in 2010. Over its four-year history, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund has proven to be an diversification and income-generating tool for investors who observe the Islamic law. Although it does not deal with debt instruments created from interest-based lending, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund shares in the gains from its ventures, which include Islamic bank deposits and Sukuk. Bashar Qasem, Azzad President and CEO, started Azzad Asset Management in 1997. In 2000, Qasem and his colleagues oversaw the launch of the Azzad Ethical Fund, and ultimately created the Azzad Wise Capital Fund to diversify client accounts.

CBN, IFC To Host 2014 International Sustainable Banking Forum In Lagos

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have announced plans to host the second International Sustainable Banking Forum in Lagos from March 3 to March 4. The forum will serve as a platform to share experience and build partnerships for sustainable banking in emerging markets. It is to attract policy makers from governments, multilateral development banks, financial institutions, civil society organisations and technical institutions. The IFC said that sustainable banking helped banks and financial institutions to understand better the benefits and risks of environmental and social impacts of their investments and loans.

Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

INVITATION TO A RESEARCH INQUIRY
Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropy’s Academy of Philanthropy is leading a research inquiry in collaboration with Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness. After London and Doha, the last of the three dialogues will take place in New York.

This concerns the barriers to giving for international development and relief that affect donors and recipients alike, in the light of continuing international agreements and practices enshrined in legislation. Our work is seeking to identify ways forward for international dialogues to best support and enhance accountable giving and its efficient flow between nations. The findings of the research will be reported to the WCMP’s biennial Global Donor’s Forum, to be held in Washington, DC from April 14-16, 2014.

Donors, nonprofit and development sector representatives, and financial institution executives are welcomed to participate in the dialogue and share their experiences and offer suggestions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Observer Mission to the UN

JPMorgan Said to Drop Saudi Bank Al-Rajhi Amid Controls Push

JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped Al- Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Shariah-compliant lender, as a correspondent banking client amid a push to improve risk controls. The relationship with the bank ended Dec. 31 because JPMorgan couldn’t get enough information on where payments in dollar-clearing services for Al-Rajhi had originated. JPMorgan said it cut off the service to about 500 foreign lenders last year as regulators press the world’s biggest banks to verify that transactions are used for legitimate business. The crackdown seeks to halt funds tied to money laundering, terrorism and countries covered by economic sanctions. The two banks haven’t been cited by U.S. regulators for involvement in illegal money transfers.

US' biggest Islamic fund to launch first plan here

US-based Islamic stock fund manager Saturna Capital Corp is selling its first plan in Malaysia, betting that Southeast Asian equities will weather a global emerging-market rout. The company, which has US$4.1 billion (RM13.6 billion) of assets under management globally, wants to raise RM100 million in the Malaysian fund's first year. The vehicle will invest in syariah-compliant companies in the region, focusing on building-material, healthcare and consumer stocks. The new ringgit-denominated fund will target local and overseas high net worth individuals and institutional investors. The outlook for Islamic fund management in Malaysia is still good, after a constant growth at an average rate of 25 per cent a year since 2009.

Cash-rich Islamic banks seek to invest in Western businesses

Cash-rich Islamic lenders are looking to partner with Western businesses that comply with Islamic law, according to a report by The New York Times. The report said there aren't enough acceptable places for Islamic banks to pour their money in, leading American investment bankers to put deals together. Real estate is a popular investment under Shariah since an agreement can be made without requiring interest payments. However, as the banks expand, they are looking to make more diversified investments. One of investments being studied by Islamic banks is that of Continental Rail, a business that focuses on running freight trains up and down the East Coast. If the cars are found to be halal, then it will be one of the first in the US to be completed following Islamic law.

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: “CELEBRATING PHILANTHROPY IN EMERGING ECONOMIES”

Global Donors Forum 2014
“CELEBRATING PHILANTHROPY IN EMERGING ECONOMIES”
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
April 13-16, 2014

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
Deadline: December 10, 2013
Dramatic shifts in the political and economic landscape of many low and middle income countries in recent years have resulted in the emergence of a new class of wealthy individuals. This has led to a rapid growth in private and family foundations in many emerging economies. But the benefits of economic liberalization have not always resulted in an equal distribution of wealth, and income disparities have only been exacerbated by the global economic crisis. This surge in social and economic inequality pleads the need and purpose of philanthropy, both individual and institutional, to be re-examined.

No longer is society looking outside their communities and national borders for change. Whereas once, Aid was the only option, now regional philanthropy is increasingly positioning itself as the “game changer”. This sliding dichotomy from Aid to philanthropy has already begun and nowhere is it more pronounced than in the “Emerging Economies”

Idealratings: Twitter Stock (TWTR) is Shariah Compliant

Due to the enormous requests received during the past few weeks IdealRatings research team conducted Shariah screening on the recent Twitter, Inc. IPO and the stock is to be considered Shariah compliant and eligible for investment as per AAOIFI guidelines.

contact support@idealratings.com for further details

American Muslim financial firm launches Islamic estate planning campaign

Azzad Asset Management has announced the launch of a series of estate planning seminars across the United States aimed at helping congregants at mosques and Islamic centers create inheritance plans that comply with both U.S. and Islamic law. It is the 1st Islamically compliant waqf model consistent with U.S. law. The Azzad estate planning seminars began in early September in the Southeastern United States. As part of those sessions, certified financial planners explain the fundamentals of Islamic inheritance law, the importance of wills, and the implications of bequests—in addition to the role each plays in conjunction with a family endowment.

Unleashing Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

16th October 13 - 8:00am to 17th October 2013 - 12:00pm
Hosted by the Fung Inst. & Silatech, this conference is the first chance for top thought leaders from the Middle East, Silicon Valley, the Venture Capital community & the academic community to spur innovation, create jobs & encourage entrepreneurship throughout the middle east.

The conference is being generously supported by a donation from Silatech, a Qatar based foundation focused on expanding economic opportunity and jobs in the Middle East. This leading institution is partnering with UC Berkeley to bring in some of the world's top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Islamic Finance, Crowdfunding and Accelerators, to discuss the opportunities in the region to develop a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This conference will bring together top experts from the region, scholars and venture capitalists and innovators from Silicon Valley to explore how we can work together to create economic opportunity through entrepreneurship in the Middle East.

For more information, please contact Richard Swart: rswart@berkeley.edu

Iran Ruling In Europe Draws Anger From U.S.

In a setback for the United States’ attempts to isolate Iran, the General Court in Brussels threw out sanctions Friday on seven Iranian companies, including four banks, rejecting arguments that they were acting as front companies to bypass the punitive measures. The United States Treasury took the opposite tack on Friday, imposing restrictions on a network of six individuals and four businesses for links to oil sales. These actions represent a renewed crackdown to curb the use of front companies, financial institutions and businesspeople to conceal the direct involvement of the Iranian government and entities like the National Iranian Oil Company and the Naftiran Intertrade Company. European officials are expected to hold initial discussions on whether to appeal on Tuesday.

New York financial regulator investigates European banks Turkish family dealings

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has asked half a dozen European banks to submit their official records pertaining to their financial dealings with Turkey's Uzan family. The six banks covered by the order are France based BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole; Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank of Germany and Standard Chartered. The state banking regulator is investigating the case over the illegal business dealings with Uzans. Standard Chartered assured its full co-operation with the regulators, while representatives of the other European banks either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

Islamic Banks Could Be The Answer To America's Over-reliance On Credit And Risk

Islamic banking is a growing option in America as various Islamic banks pop up across the country to service those who wish to preserve Shari’aa law or those who just want to use an Islamic bank. The key to these Banks is the shared risk. If the financial models show that the borrower is making a bad investment, the bank will tell them that it’s a bad economic decision and it will not invest with them. The underlying message is that the borrower is in a partnership with the bank, so there are no hidden fees. This may be a much better and less risky model to consider that can get you on the property market with just a 5 percent deposit. Islamic bank also offer Islamic bank accounts. Money from demand and checking accounts cannot be used in lending, it’s considered a trust.

Islamic portfolios attract ethical investors in US

Ethical investment which has similarities with Islamic based investments has reached US$32 trillion (RM105.6 trillion) in size in the US and the European Unión, according to Nicholas Kaiser, a global investment manager specialising in the issues of ethical and Islamic investment. Though the number of very wealthy Islamic investors in the US were scarce compared to investors in conventional funds, he said his Amana funds are doing very well in the US. The funds attracted American citizens from all backgrounds and Muslim investors are only a small number of the investors in the Amana fund, he added. Nevertheless, it appears that while Amana’s success is the result of the discipline of its Islamic investment nature, investing in Islamic stocks does not necessarily bring profit to the investors.

Court orders HDG Mansur to pay $5.8M in dispute with Islamic funds

A judge has ruled that HDG Mansur Investment Services must return $5.8 million in fees it paid itself from two equity funds it managed under Islamic law. The Indianapolis real estate fund asset manager didn’t have the right to recalculate its fees to claim a higher take for itself, according to federal Judge Colleen McMahon of New York. The lawsuit contends that, starting in early 2012, HDG Mansur began paying itself fees in advance for future real estate transactions. When those deals never happened, the Indianapolis company came up with the underbilling rationale in an effort to cover up the unearned payments that they had been making to themselves. HDG Mansur was dropped as the funds’ manager earlier this year. The judge also ordered HDG Mansur to pay 9 percent interest on the fees that are to be returned.

Syndicate content