IslamicFinance.de

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Are Contract for Differences #CFD / #Binary Options halal? Well, no. Why?

Many Muslims contacted me in the last years with one single repeating question: Are CFD and/or Binary Options halal meaning permissible in Islam? There are indeed forex brokers offering so called Islamic accounts avoiding outright interest. But still: A contract of difference does not involve the ownership of any underlying (currency, stocks etc.) hence money against money is exchanged in different amounts - this is the most simple test for the prohibited Riba. Any Muslim receiving such offers should therefore insist of receiving the Fatwa and if not provided leave out.

The intention on those trading activities everyone can ask himself; mostly it will be akin to gambling and this on top of the fact that the trading activity itself is a zero sum game; meaning what one wins another looses, which rules out again to participate in such business. It does not do any better that aside from luck the outcome is influenced by know how - the same is true for classical money games as Poker or Backgammon. Still nobody would classify Poker therefore as halal.

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The lack of equity finance - really a problem of moral hazard?

Michael Gassner, Editor of IslamicFinance.de presented on the 3ème Congrès International de la Finance Islamique “Les Banques Islamiques et le Financement des Entreprises: Pratiques et enjeux théoriques” en Marrakech, 25/26 Mai 2015.

The presentation discussed that exponential growth of debt in Islamic finance is ruled out, nevertheless, debt and equity finance exists. The specific significance of equity finance (musharaka, mudaraba) lies in need for solid debt/equity ratio, as Muslims shall never die being in debt. Still Islamic banks barely provide any equity finance and the reason often given are moral hazard costs. This is denied as debt as well as equity has specific moral hazard problems, and if anything, even conventional banks would offer a mixture of debt and equity. Rather the assumed reason appears to be in the regulation (capital weight) and taxation (interest deductibility), which makes equity financing from a bank 2-4 times at least more expensive than debt finance, and thus not worth being offered.

The attached presentation is in French.

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How to achieve a soft landing of a deleveraging, while growing economy?

For many years we see in the media experts believing in inflation and even hyper inflation. However, in the same time we face proponents warning against deflation. So far we all noticed.

Only a about a week ago I read an article by Myret Zaki clarifying that unfortunately inflation and deflation co-exists.

Myret Zaki's thesis is that we face inflation on financial markets, and deflation in the real economy (in French):

http://www.bilan.ch/myret-zaki/redaction-bilan/inflation-et-deflation-co...

In my view there is a general major shift in the price matrix and I still try to figure the magnitude and implications thereof. It is a bit irritating as at University we learned about neutrality of money:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_of_money

This means any extra supply will increase prices equally, 5 % more money, all prices going up 5 %. Pretty plausible at first hand. However, it seems it does not work in reality any more (or never did).

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Idea for a student thesis

Dear Reader,

Frequently I am being asked about advice on topics for student's thesis. More often than I actually would have ideas at hand.

Now, what I would suggest is two things:

1) In general: Write about a topic useful for Islamic banking rather than the 1001 work about the core principles. Responsible investment, impact investing and the like is good to study and then learn from each other.

2) Specifically, my idea of the idea: Sukuk is a new market. A concern in the first years was that nobody knows how a default would be turning out. Now as we have a small number of default and near default cases there is a possibility of analyzing the outcomes and derive conclusions. A topic with real practical relevance.

All the best,

Michael Saleh Gassner

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IslamicFinance.de aims to raise USD 2'500 for quarterly running costs

Dear Reader,

IslamicFinance.de is privately funded for many years. Now, for the first time, you have the possibility to make a contribution, from one Dollar upwards!

The technical details, and the money transfer via paypal is organised by Kapipal a new online fundraising tool:

http://www.kapipal.com/islamicfinance

On the blog I gave some more thoughts about Islamic finance media for those interested: http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/3454

Please also note: The fundraising action has a deadline, so act today, not tomorrow and tell your friends about it!

All donors who will leave a message will be listed in the article, which follows after closure of the fundraising period.

I am happy to meet you in person either on 19th March in Milano (http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/3396) or on 10th May in Frankfurt (http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=BAFINII) at the respective Islamic finance conference.

Wa at Taufiq min Allah, all the best,

Michael Saleh Gassner

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Islamic finance media - a challenge, and what one could do

Dear Readers,

Islamic finance media are a tricky service. This is true for various reasons: The Internet eats up the revenues, because everything ought to be free. Islamic banks are still a niche phenomena, and international banks like UBS or Deutsche are almost as large as the entire global Islamic finance industry. Consequently the marketing budgets are much lower, too.

Last not least, who should advertise? The banks among themselves or to the clients? Advertising from bank to bank, does usually not make much sense, but real client oriented formats are hard to find, too. May be this is a niche. Others, who could finance Islamic finance media are basically the service providers to the banks, but due to the limited number of Islamic financial insitutions, direct marketing, e.g. face to face meetings will be preferred.

This in short is the background why Islamic finance media are not so well established in terms of journalism and research, but mostly reflecting the press release as criticised by the makers of the Islamic Globe. See: http://www.theislamicglobe.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article...

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Islamic Finance Group on ResearchGATE, the largest social network for scientists!

ResearchGATE is the largest social network for academic research globally. Dedicated social profiles of researchers allow to enter academic careers, published articles in journals and books, announce fields of research for international exchange just to name a few of the features.

IslamicFinance.de took another effort to create a dedicated group and invite researchers globally to use this platform and foster research in Islamic finance. The last academic initiative taken was to sponsor and start a full fledged platform for the Islamic Finance WIKI, the online encyclopedia.

Researchers are invited to participate in these initiatives.

Please visit:
http://www.researchgate.net/group/Islamic_Finance/

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