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Hult Prize Competition for Student teams worldwide to solve food crisis

Over the past three years, the Hult Prize has taken on some of the planet's toughest challenges. These have included Education, Energy, Housing, and Water. For the 2013 Prize, President Clinton has personally selected the challenge: the Global Food Crisis.

A detailed case study, narrated by President Bill Clinton, will be released to all selected participants in early January to set the framework for this year's challenge. Competitors will then be asked to develop social enterprises that answer the President's Challenge.

The global food crisis can be approached through multiple lenses, such as: distribution, manufacturing, production, technology and many others. Each, represents an opportunity for innovation. Nearly 1 Billion people in the World are Hungry, that is over 1 out of every 4 children. Ironically, our global economy produces enough food each year to feed everyone, however more than one-third of the food generated for human consumption continues to be lost or wasted.

'Shariah' Bankruptcy Gets An OK

A U.S. judge Tuesday approved Arcapita Bank B.S.C.'s plan to gradually liquidate itself in a process that conforms with Islamic Shariah law, which generally prohibits borrowing money with interest. The Bahrain-based investment firm entered bankruptcy protection last year with a goal of restructuring itself but ended up with a plan to orderly liquidate its private-equity investments. The modified proposal solved several concerns from creditors, including creating a new entity that will retain the firm’s management, and setting a minimum valuation for the company’s remaining assets. Arcapita manages infrastructure, real-estate, private-equity and venture-capital investments that are compliant with Shariah.

Arcapita Bank Judge Greenlights Ch. 11 Plan

Arcapita Bank on Tuesday secured a New York bankruptcy judge’s approval of Chapter 11 reorganization plan, allowing it to exit bankruptcy, pay off its creditors and turn over its assets to a new entity that will manage and dispose of them over time. Sixteen months after it entered bankruptcy, the Bahraini investment bank sailed through a confirmation hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane with substantial support from creditors and shareholders.

Account Executive

At Guidance Residential, the nation’s leading provider of Islamic home financing, our sales division is our most valued company resource. Our Field Account Executives (AEs) are considered to be the front lines for our company’s brand. Field AEs meet regularly with potential home buyers and home owners to assist them with their home financing needs. They schedule and give presentations at local mosques and community centers in an effort to educate our target market about how our unique home financing products work. Our Field AEs also educate and build referral channels from professionals such as real estate agents in order to achieve their monthly production volume goals.

UPDATE: Arcapita Creditors Want to Go After Millions in Claims

In a Tuesday filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Arcapita's official committee of unsecured creditors said it wants to challenge three sets of claims that it says could unlock millions of dollars for creditors of the liquidating firm. The creditors think they can recover more than $33 million owed to Arcapita being held by three Bahrain banks and save Arcapita from $100 million in liabilities stemming from a 2011 transaction with its subsidiary Arcapita Investment Holdings that may have been insolvent. The creditors also think they can get $1.2 million more related to a "preference" claim, which typically refers to claims from the 90-day period before a company files for bankruptcy. In their filing, the creditors said they didn't think litigation would be overly expensive.

Goldman Breaks Drought With Saudi Property Bond: Islamic Finance

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) led its first sukuk in more than three years after helping a Saudi property developer raise $450 million. The bank was a lead arranger on Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. (ALARKAN)’s sukuk on May 21, reforging links with the Riyadh-based real estate company after helping arrange the sale of its $450 million five-year bonds in February 2010. The New York-based bank is seeking to catch up with U.S. competitors as demand accelerates for securities that conform to Islamic principles. Increased competition in the industry could work in banks’ favor, as lower fees increase the chances borrowers will come to market and more banks means a greater profile for the Islamic industry.

Arcapita Fights $70 Million Claim as Plan Confirmation Nears

Last week, Arcapita took on Tide Natural Gas Storage LP's contention that Arcapita's bankruptcy plan shouldn't be approved by a judge because of $70 million it says it is owed.The $70 million lies in an escrow account and stems from Tide's 2010 purchase of natural-gas storage facilities from an Arcapita subsidiary. Tide has been fighting for the money in U.S. district court in Manhattan for two years saying its claim to the $70 million shouldn't be placed behind the claims of other creditors. In its filing made last week, Arcapita says the $70 million claim by Tide should be subordinated to those of other creditors. The filing comes as Arcapita tries to finalize its exit from Chapter 11. Tide lawyers have said they will most likely fight the plan at a hearing next month.

Treasury Sanctions UAE-Based Evaders

The U.S. Treasury Department has placed sanctions on Al Hilal Exchange and Al Fida International General Trading, both based in Dubai. The two institutions were targeted for their role in providing financial services to Bank Mellat, which is itself under U.S. sanctions for being involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Both the exchange house and the trading company helped Iran maintain access to foreign currency Exchange. Moreover, Al Hilal also provided services to Bank Melli, which is also under U.S. sanctions. Representatives from each firm couldn’t be reached.

Goldman Bests Fortress In Arcapita Bank Loan Battle

Goldman Sachs International on Wednesday outbid Fortress Investment Group LLC to provide exit financing to Arcapita Bank BSC worth up to $350 million, money that will allow the Bahraini bank to meet outstanding obligations and work its way out of bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane noted that the bank was in the unusual position of having two institutions fighting over which would be able to provide the financing.

Azzad Hosts Leader in Turkish Finance

Azzad Asset Management recently hosted Dr. Mehmet Yesilyaprak of Turkiye Finans Bank at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Yesilyaprak gave the Azzad staff an update on the banking sector in Turkey and met afterwards with Azzad management to discuss areas of future collaboration. The Azzad Wise Capital Fund invests in deposits and notes from Turkiye Finans Bank, among other Islamic banks. The Fund also invests in sukuk. As of March 31, 2013, deposits from Turkiye Finans Bank represented approximately 13% of the Fund's holdings. Portfolio Manager Jamal Elbarmil recently highlighted the contribution of Turkey's Islamic banking sector to the Azzad Wise Capital Fund's first quarter results, stating that exposure to bank deposits from the four Turkish Participation Banks, including Turkiye Finans Bank, helped the Fund outperform its benchmark for the period.

S&P BSE 500 Shariah First Index Launched By Bombay Stock Exchange And S&P Dow Jones Indices Strategic Partnership

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and S&P Dow Jones Indices have announced the launch of the S&P BSE 500 Shariah index, the first new index resulting from the strategic partnership formed between the two companies in February of this year. The S&P BSE 500 consists of 500 of the largest, most liquid Indian stocks trading at the BSE. The index represents nearly 93% of the total market capitalization on the BSE and covers all 20 major industries of the economy. S&P Dow Jones Indices has contracted with Ratings Intelligence Partners (RI) to provide the Shariah screens and to filter the stocks. BSE and S&P Dow Jones Indices announced on February 19, 2013, a strategic partnership to calculate, disseminate, and license the widely followed suite of BSE indices.

Gatehouse Bank's associate realises $71m real estate investment in San Francisco with a 100% return on equity

London-based Gatehouse Bank plc (Gatehouse) has announced that its associate has successfully completed the sale of a real estate investment located in San Francisco's South Financial District in California. The total amount of the sale reached $71m (£46.4m), which yielded a profit on equity of 100% post costs and taxes. This real estate investment consists of two office buildings situated on a 15,306 sq ft parcel of land and is adjacent to the proposed Transbay Redevelopment Project. Gatehouse Bank and its associate were assisted by Arch Street Capital Advisors, L.L.C. and SKS Investments in this transaction.

Woodbridge University’s Effective MBA Program in Islamic Banking Draws More Than 1,500 New Students

In response to the exponential growth of Islamic Banking as a field, Woodbridge University has introduced its MBA program in Islamic Banking. The program is designed to equip executives with the specialist knowledge required for professional development in the international finance sector. It follows many of the same core modules as the Banking and Finance MBA, but also includes specialist modules in Islamic Banking and Finance. The MBA Program has attracted over 1,500 new students so far.

‘US, UK banks refusing Islami Bank’

Banks in the United Kingdom and the United States are not accepting transactions made through the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited after allegations surfaced about its alleged funding of militant groups across the globe. The matter came to light when a team of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) met the central bank Governor. According to BGMEA, banks in the United Kingdom and the United States are not accepting export bills and documents through the Islami Bank Bangladesh. Apparel sector’s apex body has requested Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman to resolve the issue, saying many of its members were facing troubles. The bank posted a clarification on its website and denied the charges.

Nicholas Kaiser: Fund that targets U.S. Muslims has wider following

Nicholas Kaiser, chairman of Saturna Capital Corp., has been managing the shariah-compliant Amana Funds which target Muslim investors in the U.S. since 1994. Mr. Káiser can't invest in companies that derive a significant part of their business from activities unacceptable to the principles of Shariah law. Another challenge is managing his cash because earning interest is prohibited. He currently holds 4.3% of the fund's assets in cash. The fund has a 10-year average annual return of 12.2%. It now has $2.2 billion in assets, and Mr. Kaiser estimates that only about 10% to 12% of investors in it are Muslim.

Natural Gas Co. Wants Trustee For Arcapita Subsidiary

Tide Natural Gas Storage I LP, which paid $515 million for natural gas assets from a subsidiary of Bahrain's bankrupt Arcapita Bank BSC, asked a New York bankruptcy court Monday to appoint a trustee of the subsidiary's bankruptcy because of conflicts of interest. Tide asked to convert Arcapita subsidiary Falcon Gas Storage Co. Inc.'s bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 and for the court to appoint a trustee because Arcapita reorganization's plan will give the Bahraini bank and its creditors too much power.

Can top corporations develop needed water solutions?

Nearly 300 asset managers, water infrastructure and energy sector executives attended the event ‘Water: Emerging Risks and Opportunities' in New York to learn about opportunities for investing in water and the growing water demands of the United States’ booming unconventional energy sector. The event was sponsored by Goldman Sachs, GE and the World Resources Institute. On the other hand, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility convened a roundtable on the obligations of companies to respect the human right to water. Seventy religious investors, major water-intensive companies, and grassroots activists came together to tackle the question of what companies can and should do to ensure their operations “do no harm” to water supplies of local communities. Investors at the Goldman event very well may be driving the green technologies that can help the industrial companies at the ICCR session clean up their acts. But the problem for companies is that in most places, water is so cheap that investing in these solutions can sometimes be hard to justify on a traditional ROI basis, if not on a moral one.

Financial lobby group warns on emerging markets

The Institute of International Finance (IIF) warns that rich-country central banks may end their stimulus measures for emerging markets and warned investors to be prepared. Although there are few indications that the world's central banks are about to change course soon, the risk for reversal of rates needs to be discussed in order to avoid a “boom-bust cycle”.

Building a Healthy & Sustainable Social Impact Bond Market: The Investor Landscape

Building a Healthy & Sustainable Social Impact Bond (SIB) Market is the name of new report by Godeke Consulting that was supported by the Rockeffeller Foundation. The aim of the report is to explore the landscape of potential SIB investors in order to clarify the ways in which a sustainable market can be built up. Beside that, the report provides a look at social and environmental conditions and current economical issues.

Gatehouse Bank acquires US industrial real estate portfolio

Gatehouse Bank's acquisition of a diverse industrial portfolio of 19 operationally critical properties all over the USA has been competed. The properties are leased to 16 tenants, whereby the remaining lease term is 14 years in average. The portfolio is stabilised at 100% occupancy. The acquisition worth $178 million was carried out in partnership with the Brennan Investment Group (BIG).

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