Wadi and Al Rajhi Bank announce new #partnership, #Saudi Arabia's home-grown online shopping marketplace, announced a new strategic partnership with one of the kingdom's most trusted banks, Al Rajhi Bank.

Islamic Crowdfunding: Way to go

Islamic Crowdfunding has the potential to help us change our world for the better. There is an immense variety and scope of applications for crowdfunding. Crowdfunding continues to evolve and in recent years made strides into the investment world. Real Estate Crowdfunding is one of the fastest-growing segments of this booming industry worldwide. The Global Crowdfunding industry is still dominated by the US, but Asia has recently seen strong growth eclipsing Europe as the next-largest Crowdfunding region. The low-entry capital makes it especially accessible to the middle income and small-medium business owners.

Kuwait- Global sukuk issuances hit USD 114 bln over 11 months - KFH report

Between January-November 2014 , the global primary sukuk market recorded total issuances of USD 114.7 billion, compared to USD 105.7 billion in the same period last year. An important supporting factor for sukuk issuances are the major infrastructure needs in the GCC, South Asia, South East Asia and Africa. Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) globally are working towards full-compliance with Basel III; in this regard, recent sukuk issuances by IFIs in the GCC and Malaysia suggest that Basel III-compliant sukuks are a viable mechanism to meet the enhanced capital adequacy and liquidity standards.

Al Rajhi Capital Launches First Sukuk Fund

Rajhi Capital has started the offering period for the Al Rajhi Sukuk Fund. The Sukuk fund is an open ended fund designed to capture the opportunities available within the Shariah-compliant universe of sovereign, quasi-sovereign and corporate Sukuk, issued locally, regionally, as well as globally. The Fund will also invest in other income generating assets, within its mandate comprising of Commodity Murabaha Placements, Islamic Placements, Structured Islamic Products and Commodity Mudaraba Funds. The benchmark of the Fund is 3 month USD LIBOR 75 bps. Al Rajhi Capital is offering a special incentive whereby the subscription fees are waived for all new subscriptions until September 11 2014.

Capital Intelligence Raises the Ratings of Gulf Finance House B.S.C.

Capital Intelligence (CI), has raised Gulf Finance House's (GFH) Long-Term Rating to 'BB' from 'BB-' and affirmed the Short-Term Rating at 'B'. The Outlook for GFH's ratings reverts to 'Stable' from 'Positive' following the rating action. The ratings reflect the recent successful refinancing and resultant extended debt repayment period. Also supporting the ratings is the significant reduction in leverage in recent years and the moderately improved liquidity position. The factors constraining GFH's ratings are the forced debt restructuring a few years ago, an encumbered asset base, and the small balance sheet coupled with single name and sector concentrations. Also constraining the ratings is the still challenging investment environment.

Islamic Economies are set to Spiral Over the Next Decade

Islamic economies are set to become more important over the next decade with assets estimated to grow at 15 to 20 per cent a year. There are three powerful forces driving the growth: demographics, devotion and disposable income. Firstly, the Muslim population globally is 1.6 billion, or about 23 per cent of the global population. Secondly, this diverse and dispersed group of people, who span several continents, are drawn together by the devotion to their religion. Thirdly, with the inexorable shift in growth and wealth creation from the West to the East, and the rise in oil prices, the disposable income of this group is increasing. The Islamic economy, on the back of its value system, has the potential to cross religious boundaries and to attract participants with diverse backgrounds who are seeking ethical practices and values in all aspects of commerce-related activities.

Saudi Post Alinma Bank sign global remittance deal with Western Union

Saudi Postal Corporation and Alinma Bank, one of the fastest growing banking institutions in Saudi Arabia, have entered into an agreement with Western Union to offer Western Union money transfer services in the kingdom. Under the agreement, remittance services will be offered through the Ersal money transfer service which is the money transfer joint venture launched by Saudi Post and Alinma Bank in 2013. Starting in Ramadan, the service will be available at 15 post office locations across the kingdom, taking the number of Western Union locations in the country to over 200.

UAE- Dream come true courtesy of Noor Islamic Bank

In September last year, Noor issued an invitation to the world to help shape the future of banking, with the launch of its Bank of the Future initiative, aimed at creating innovative ways of banking. As part of the initiative, Noor created an online Shape Your Bank competition to solicit people’s expectations of banks in the future, with prize money of $20,000 for the best idea on enhancing the banking experience. Nurul Iksan from Malang, Indonesia, won the first prize in Noor’s online competition. With the $20,000 in cash, plus an iPad he can begin pursuing some of his business ideas. He will use part of the money to open a fashion shop in nearby Bali. Iksan’s suggestion was to introduce a family account that is held by the head of the family with supplementary cards and limited budgets assigned to all family members. Such a concept has not been implemented in the region yet.

Dubai's Nakheel announces new USD32.66m sukuk issuance

Dubai's Nakheel announced that it issued a USD32.66 million sukuk as part of its restructuring plan. This is the property developer's fourth issuance which brings the total amount issued by the firm to USD1.16 billion. Since November 2009, Nakheel has paid nearly USD2.72 billion to different trade creditors and contractors. Nakheel's first tranche was issued in August 2011, and in January, the company issued a sukuk worth USD32.93 million. Nakheel is going through a USD16 billion restructuring plan.

Saudi- Expert calls on women to invest frozen funds

Azeemeh Zaheer, vice president at the London-based Gatehouse Bank, has called on Saudi businesswomen to invest funds that are kept frozen in banks. According to the expert, with the accumulation of wealth, globalization and openness, women have begun to invest their funds and try to overcome all traditional barriers which limit their (financial) independence. She said women in GCC countries retain more than 300 billion and if 15 percent of that money, or 45 billion, invested in London, it would be a big success for shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank.

Saudi- More women taking on key role in family businesses

Women are starting to play an increasingly influential role in the family businesses of the Gulf region that account for approximately 90 percent of commercial activity there. As women become more economically independent, the decision-making process has shifted to incorporate women's interests and motivations. However, it is essential that women are fully equipped with the right knowledge, tools and skills. Therefore, Gatehouse Bank has initiated a corporate social responsibility project to promote financial literacy among women in the GCC. The bank shares its skills and knowledge with women in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

KFH predicts Sukuk growth by 30 pct this year

According to a recent report by Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the Sukuk market is expected to grow by around 30 percent this year, and Sukuk issuance will grow by 20-30 percent. The Islamic capital market now stands aflush with more than US 230 billion in outstanding sukuk papers. Within the corporate sukuk market, USD 26.8 billion worth of papers or 73.5 percent of total issuances were issued in Malaysia, while US 4.2 billion (11.5 percent) was issued in the UAE and USD 3.4 billion (9.3 percent) was issued in Saudi Arabia, the report concluded.

Saudi- NCB set to join Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions council

National Commercial Bank (NCB) has received the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions' approval to become a member of the council. The resolution was made after a meeting in Jeddah. According to secretary-general of the council - Dr. Omar Zuhair Hafiz - the general assembly of the organization has nominated NCB to become a member of the council's board of directors. The bank's membership is likely to contribute to the promotion of the activities of the council through offering a series of innovative Islamic banking services and products.

Saudi- Courses in Islamic finance needed

The main focus of Islamic Finance News Forum was the continuous rise of the Islamic capital markets in the Gulf region as well as worldwide. According to managing director and chief executive officer of Alinma Bank - Abdulmohsen A. Al-Fares - the Sukuk market is part of Islamic Capital Market (ICM) and is growing at a quick pace. He further pointed out that even though the total ICM make up less than 2% of the worldwide bond issues, it still is a promosing area since Sukuk issues in 2011 amounted to about 84.4 billion worldwide with the tendency to grow further.

Middle East M&A activity doubles to US$ 15.7 billion in first nine months of 2012

According to the investment banking analysis for the Middle East by Thomson Reuters for 2012 so far, M&A activity has reached US15.7 billion during this period. During the same period last year the activity was only half of this year's (US7.5 billion). Telecoms is said to be the most targeted industry in the Middle East. The leading country in activity are the United Arab Emirates.

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BLME Celebrates 5 Years of Trust, Integrity and Ethical Banking

In July 2007 Bank of London and The Middle East ("BLME") celebrated its fifth anniversary of receiving FSA authorisation. Throughout these years BLME has successfully constituted and developed its business platform, providing various wholesale banking and wealth management services. Humphrey Percy, CEO of BLME, said that despite the challenges in the global economical turmoil, BLME had achieved key successes in the growth of their Wealth Management business and Corporate Banking divisions. BLME’s success is due to reliance upon traditional banking values of trust, fairness and integrity. Thus it provides clients with ethical corporate banking, treasury and wealth management services across Europe and the GCC.

Total provisions booked by GCC banks since start of crisis reached $11.7b

In a presentation for the performance of the GCC banking sector, KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO) Research Department presents a detailed analysis for the financial statements for 58 banks with the purpose of shedding the light on the repercussions of the crisis on the financial position of the banking sector in the GCC Region which represents a key sector for any country's economy.

Moreover, total provisions booked by the GCC banking sector since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, have reached USD 11.7 billion of which USD 4.72 billion or 40% booked by Kuwaiti banks. It is worth noting that the provisions of Gulf Bank reached USD 1.76 billion, representing 37% of the total provisions booked by Kuwaiti banks since the start of the financial crisis in Sep-08.

Total provisions booked by GCC banks since start of crisis reached $11.7b

KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO) Research Department had carried out a presentation of the performance of GCC banking sector by analysing the financial statements for 58 banks with the purpose of shedding the light on the repercussions of the crisis on the financial position of the banking sector in the GCC Region which represents a key sector for any country's economy and the analysis revealed as follows:
During 2008, GCC banks have witnessed record levels of provision for doubtful loans where together recorded total provisions of USD 7.1 billion. Provisions booked during FY 2008 represent a notable 243% increase from those booked during 2007 which recorded USD 2.1 billion, while provisions that had been booked during 2006 recorded USD 1.44 billion

Jordan Islamic Bank well rated and positioned

Arab News reported 28 April about Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB), being one of the oldest establishments along with Dubai Islamic Bank and Kuwait Finance House. Fitch Ratings end March 2008 assigned a 'BB-' foreign currency long-term issuer default rating (IDR) and a 'B' foreign currency short-term IDR to JIB with a long-term stable outlook.

JIB is a subsidiary of the Al-Baraka Banking Group (ABG), which is incorporated in Bahrain and is the restructured holding company of the financial services division of Jeddah-based Dallah Al-Baraka Group (DAG) headed by Saleh Kamel.

Musa Shihadeh is the general manager of JIB.


ICD studies new bank for Maldives and Sukuk for Mauritania and Indonesia

Khaleej Times reported on 26 March about The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), an arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
According to Khaled M. Al Aboodi, the new CEO, international projects include the feasibility study to establish an Islamic bank in Maldives and further studies regarding sukuk issues of banks in Mauritania and Indonesia. ICD has also initiated an Islamic investment bank in Azerbaijan.
In Saudi-Arabia ICD has established a real estate company called Ewaan, which is capitalised at SR4 00 mn. The company plans to build housing complexes for the low and middle-income people.
ICD provides a variety of financial products to its clients such as direct financing through equity participation, term-financing, line of financing to commercial banks and national development financing institutions (NDFIs), short-term corporate finance, asset management, structured financing, and advisory services to private and public companies.

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