USA

NINTH HARVARD UNIVERSITY FORUM ON ISLAMIC FINANCE

Ninth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance, Building Bridges Across Financial Communities,

March 27-28, 2010, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA., USA

The Ninth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance, hosted by Harvard Law School’s Islamic Finance Project, will be held at Austin Hall, Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 27th- 28th, 2010. The theme of the conference will be “Building Bridges across Financial Communities” as it relates to the field of Islamic Finance.

World Council of Credit Unions gets federal contract

Madison-based World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has received a $60.5 million federal contract to expand credit union services in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Reuters Plans Islamic Finance Portal

The international financial services information company Thompson Reuters is planning to launch a news portal covering information about the Islamic financial industry in early 2010.

Dow Jones Indexes Wins 18th Award for Its Islamic Market Index Series

Dow Jones Indexes, a leading global index provider, on December 16 announced that it has been named “Best Index Provider Shari’ah compliant Indexes” by Dubai-based Islamic Business & Finance magazine.

IFC lists USD 100 mn Sukuk in Dubai and Bahrain

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the multilateral development bank, will list a USD 100 mn 5-year Sukuk in Dubai and Bahrain. The IFC plans to return to the market with new issuances every 12 months to 18 months.

Islamic Finance in North America

Yasaar media published a new report called Islamic Finance in North America 2009 for free download, which is co-published by Codexa Capital, UM Financial Group, King & Spalding, and Doha Islamic.

According to the report Islamic finance in North America has developed along two quite separate paths:

  • The first path focuses on retail Islamic finance and centres mostly on home financing products and credit cards.
  • The second path involves a number of high profile GCC-based Islamic investment banks and their deployment of hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity and real estate developments in North America.

Read the full report for free at the link below.

Tariq Al Rifai new Director Islamic Indexes for Dow Jones Indexes

Tariq Al Rifai joined Dow Jones Indexes as Director for Islamic Indexes. He previously worked for Unicorn, a Bahraini investment bank. The former global director, Rushdi Siddiqui, moved on to ThomsonReuters as previously reported, spearheading the Islamic finance efforts.

Harvard Islamic Finance Program publishes short report on Risk Management Seminar

The workshop was made up of a group of influential Islamic legal scholars, academicians, economists, and bankers, who were welcomed by the Directors of IFP and LSE, Dr. Nazim Ali and Sir Howard Davies, respectively. The inancial crisis, which was the backdrop of the discussions, and the need to revisit risk management practices were underscored in the opening addresses. The crisis, at its core, demonstrates the dangers of “group think” and overoptimism in clouding corporate decision-making and risk reigning. In this regard, risk managers and board members of risk committees would have better served institutions as contrarians in their assessment approach. Understanding risk is key to managing risk. Undermining this key tenet was the complexity of financial instruments, which managers failed to understand. The resulting underassessment fed into misaligned models concerning the true risk interactions of various securities within portfolios, causing misleading enterprise risk measures and hedges.

The summary report is free for download

Harvard Islamic Program: Call for Papers

The Ninth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance is scheduled to be held at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 27-28 March, 2010.

The theme of the conference will be “Building Bridges across Financial Communities.” Papers are requested in the four following areas:

* FAITH AND FINANCE;

* SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY;

* ISLAMIC FINANCE AFTER THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS;

* CURRENT ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Candidates are requested to e-mail by 1 September 2009, in a Word document, the following to ifp@law.harvard.edu: 150-word abstract of the proposed paper, Biographical sketch up to 200 words, Single-page list of presenter’s relevant publications.

Seminar for Charities held in USA

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah reported on 12 June in the Tribune about a seminar for charities to comply with US provisions in their country.

The Internal Revenue Service, the MacArthur Foundation and a group of lawyers called Muslim Advocates instructed Chicago-area leaders in proper ways to report the collection of foreign funds, keep bookkeeping transparent and otherwise reassure U.S. officials that the money they raise never will end up in the hands of terrorists. The initiative has been inspired by a new generation of leaders and by what many Muslims perceive as a new climate under President Barack Obama, who mentioned the issue of charity, or zakat, during his landmark speech to the Islamic world from Egypt last week.

Thomas Weisel Asset Management LLC teams up With IdealRatings

Thomas Weisel Asset Management LLC partnered to form an alliance with IdealRatings, Inc. to create funds and separately managed accounts to invest in small and mid-cap U.S. companies.

Through an initial investment by Thomas Weisel Asset Management, IdealRatings, Inc. will manage the process of achieving individually tailored Shariah compliance for Thomas Weisel Asset Management clients, including supplying software, research tools and scholar support.

IdealRatings, Inc. and Thomas Weisel Asset Management will target Shariah focused investors, Islamic institutions and international family offices.

Arthur D. Little: Shariah-Compliant Banking is an Increasingly Attractive Option for Western Players

A new report released today by management consultancy Arthur D. Little entitled “Islamic Finance Comes of Age” has identified a surge in activity around Islamic finance as a promising opportunity for the global financial services industry as it emerges from the current recession. With Islamic finance assets currently standing at USD 800 bn, Arthur D. Little expects this figure to surge to as much as USD 4 trillion in the next six years, representing a major opportunity for Western financial institutions looking to develop new partnerships and global markets.

The report can be downloaded after free registration at: http://www.adlittle.com/islamic_finance

Minnesota Housing offering Islamic Mortgages

Jessica Mador reported on 1 March on Minnesota Public Radio that the state's housing agency Minnesota Housing is launching a new program offering Islamic mortgages.

Chicago-based Devon Bank is underwriting the loans for the New Markets program. Devon is one of the largest Islamic lenders in the country. Corporate Counsel David Loundy says he expects the demand for Islamic financing to grow as more Muslims make their home in the U.S. Loundy says Muslims tend to be good risks.

Thomson Reuters Appoints Rushdi Siddiqui as Head of Islamic Finance

Mr. Siddiqui joined Thomson Reuters from Dow Jones, where he was Global Director for their Islamic Market Indices at Thomson Reuters he is appointed Rushdi Siddiqui to lead its Islamic Finance business.

Thomson Reuters, which has been active in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia since 1865, has strong Islamic Finance assets covering leading content, news, analytics and trading capabilities. In this newly created role, Mr. Siddiqui will be utilizing these assets and working closely with Islamic finance and banking professionals including fund managers, treasury, financial hubs, regulators, stock exchanges, central banks, Takafol (insurance) entities, Halal industry, intra-OIC (57 Muslim countries), trade, investment, as well as others to strengthen and grow this business.

Basil Moftah is Managing Director for Thomson Reuters in the Middle East and Africa.

Emaar US subsidiary files for bankruptcy protection Chapter 11

The US subsidiary of Emaar Properties, John Laing Homes, has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to sharp decline in home sales.

University Bank Receives the American Bankers Association's Community Bank Award for 2009

University Bank was nationally acknowledged by the American Bankers Association for its innovative programs to increase homeownership opportunities at the American Bankers Association's National Conference for Community Bankers in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 17.

The selection committee lauded University Bank for its innovative programs such as home financings for Muslim customers. Muslims are much less likely to be homeowners on average due to religious prohibitions on the payment or receipt of interest. University Bank designed a program to meet these needs, which has so far resulted in over USD 50 mn of financings for the purchase of homes by Muslim customers of the bank.

Dow Jones Islamic Market Index Monthly Performance Report

Press Release - full text attached:

New York (January 27, 2009) — Based on the close of trading on January 26, the global Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index, which measures the performance of 100 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks globally, lost -5.55% month-to-date, closing at 1646.71. In comparison, the Dow Jones Global Titans 50 Index, which measures the 50 biggest companies worldwide, posted a loss of -9.00%, closing at 131.03.

- The Dow Jones Islamic Market Asia/Pacific Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in the Asia/Pacific region, decreased -9.90%, closing at 1252.00. The Dow Jones Asian Titans 50 Index, in comparison, posted a loss of -11.40%, closing at 90.89.

- Measuring Europe, the Dow Jones Islamic Market Europe Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of the 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in Europe, closed at 1596.39, a loss of -7.60%, while the pan-European blue chip Dow Jones STOXX 50 Index lost -10.97%, closing at 1926.07.

S&P lowered rating on East Cameron Gas Co (Sukuk) 2006

Reuters published the release of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on 14 January regarding the downgrading of East Cameron Gas Co.'s USD 165.67 mn Sukuk series 2006 to 'CC' from 'CCC+' and placed it on CreditWatch with negative implications. The downgrade reflects the negative impact caused by shortfall enforcement event on the overriding royalty interest in oil and gas reserves (ORRI), which is the primary collateral for the Sukuk.

New Islamic ETF

US based Javelin Investment Management LLC plans to launch the JETS Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund according to the Wall Street Journal on 8 January. Further details were not provided.

JP Morgan eyes stake in Kuwait Finance House

Reuters reported on 20 April that JP Morgan eyes a stake in Kuwait Finance House quoting a local daily al-Anba based on an unsourced report. The local paper shall have said that the U.S. bank had applied to the central bank of Kuwait to approve a stake buy, adding it was unclear how large a stake it wanted to acquire.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/innovationNews/idUSL2066795520080420

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