Zawya

Ebdaa Bank backs #microfinance proposal for GCC charity projects

Ebdaa Bank has agreed to a proposal to microfinance charity projects to achieve their objectives to support low-income families. Ebdaa Bank CEO Dr Waleed Al Ghazawi welcomed officials from Almajdouie Group and stressed the need for the GCC to adopt microfinance due to its benefit for charity donations. The Almajdouie Group is visiting Bahrain to share ideas about their sustainable charity projects. The group’s new project is called "Basta", which has already launched six booths in Saudi Arabia, distributed in Dammam and Al Khobar. The project aims to support kiosks to develop their projects.

DFSA hosts accounting standard-setters for Islamic finance

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently hosted the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) as part of a consultancy meeting. The Authority's involvement reflects its commitment to developing an effective and supportive regulatory framework for Islamic finance. The DFSA is a member of the Islamic Finance Consultative Group (IFCG), which focuses on challenges that may arise in the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The meeting was attended by IFCG members from Bahrain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the United Kingdom.

IDB Group and World Bank launch second edition of Global #Report on Islamic Finance

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and the World Bank Group launched the second edition of the Global Report on Islamic Finance. The report is entitled "The Role of Islamic Finance in Financing Long-Term Investments". It presents a global perspective on the need for long-term investments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and proposes the use of Islamic finance. Despite the huge potential in Islamic finance, the report notes that the Islamic financial sector is a small player in the global financial markets and requires a concerted push for the regulatory and legal changes to take root. It therefore recommends strengthening the Islamic financial system by developing a supportive legal, administrative, and regulatory environment. The biennial Global Report on Islamic Finance is a joint initiative of the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the IDB Group and the World Bank.

CBK-IFSB #Conference on Islamic Finance themed "Islamic Finance: A Universal Value Proposition"

The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) are organizing a conference on Islamic Finance on the 2nd of May 2018. The conference will be held in the State of Kuwait in conjunction with the IFSB Annual Meetings 2018, hosted by the CBK. The CBK-IFSB Islamic finance conference is expected to attract senior-level participation from among the global and financial industry stakeholders and thought leaders. Discussions will revolve around the role Islamic finance can play in government strategies to build a diversified and sustainable economy. The IFSB Annual Meetings 2018 will be held in Kuwait from 1–3 May 2018. Alongside the conference, CBK is also hosting the IFSB Public Lecture, Members and Industry Engagement Session, the IFSB’s General Assembly and Council Meetings during the 3 days.

Corrected: Arkan Bank could tap investors for $200mln through Nasdaq Dubai listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $200 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

Arkan Bank could tap investors for $100mln through Nasdaq listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $100 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

Emirates Islamic Bank supports Rental Disputes Center initiatives

The Rental Disputes Center (RDC) has received a generous donation of AED 500,000 from Emirates Islamic Bank to support insolvent tenants in rental claims disputes. The RDC has already set up the "Yad Al Khair Committee" to study the cases that require support from the donation. Awatif Al Harmoodi, General Manager of Operational Quality & Processes at Emirates Islamic Bank, said Emirates Islamic Bank is keen to expand its corporate social responsibility strategy to cover all segments of the UAE and will continue to cooperate with the RDC.

Al Hilal Global #Sukuk Fund delivers 3.93% dividend

Al Hilal Bank has announced the dividend payout of the Al Hilal Global Sukuk Fund. The Fund, which was launched in March 2012, distributed a 3.93% dividend to all registered unit holders. Al Hilal Bank CEO Alex Coelho said the Fund had registered excellent cumulative total returns since its inception in 2012. Al Hilal Bank currently offers 3 open-ended mutual funds inclusive of the Global Sukuk Fund. In 2017, Al Hilal Global Sukuk Fund was awarded the title "Best Fund over 3 years", while the GCC Equity Fund received the "Best Islamic Fund" award in 2013 and 2014. The bank plans to continue launching investment products as part of its ongoing efforts to create value and increase diversification for its clients.

London court again finds for creditors in Dana Gas #sukuk dispute

A London High Court judge again ruled in favour of creditors in a dispute over whether Dana Gas must repay $700mln sukuk. Judge George Leggatt rejected an attempt by the company to overturn his decision last November that the purchase undertaking behind the sukuk was valid and enforceable. There was no immediate comment from Dana.

#Saudi SEDCO Capital launches #REIT Fund

Saudi SEDCO Capital announced the offering of its first Shariah-compliant real estate investment traded fund SEDCO Capital REIT. The fund will be offered to the general public through an initial public offer during the period of Jan. 24 to Feb. 6. With an occupancy rate of over 92%, SEDCO Capital’s real estate portfolio has grown to include seven assets across various geographical regions. According to CEO Hasan Al-Jabri, SEDCO Capital Real Estate Income Fund targets to generate an initial net yield of 7% through the acquisition of additional assets and by utilizing capital. To facilitate the offering period, three receiving entities were appointed for investors to subscribe, these include NCB, Al Rajhi Bank and Samba Financial Group.

INTERVIEW-#Bahrain's Salam Bank to launch Islamic #insurance products in #Algeria in 2018-CEO

Bahrain's Salam Bank will launch Islamic insurance products and Visa credit card services in Algeria this year. Salam Bank CEO Hideur Nasser said the lender would open 10 more branches in the country as the market for Islamic products was growing. He added that Islamic banking made up only 15.5% of the private sector in Algeria. The government wants to develop the sector, as the country looks for more ways to offset the sharp fall in oil prices and its energy revenues. For this, technical expertise and new legislation is needed in a country where powerful elites have resisted changes. Nasser said the legal framework had to be amended and sukuk could not be sold under current laws despite great appetite for them.

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre enrols as observer member of Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) has enrolled as an observer member of the Responsible Finance & Investment (RFI) Foundation. DIEDC and the RFI Foundation will collaborate towards the common goal of shifting the focus of the financial sector from accumulating wealth to supporting equitable, inclusive, and sustainable growth. As a member, DIEDC gains access to the RFI Foundation’s research and its diverse network. Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, said by joining the RFI Foundation, the efforts of the two entities integrate to identify universal principles that guide responsible finance. Blake Goud, CEO of the RFI Foundation, welcomed DIEDC as an observer member. He added that DIEDC was a valuable addition to the RFI Foundation’s member community that includes multilaterals organisations, commercial banks and asset managers.

Islamic finance assets will grow 72% to $3.78trn

The total size of the global Islamic finance assets is projected to grow by nearly 72% to $3.78 trillion (Dh13.87 trillion) by 2022 from $2.2 trillion (Dh8 trillion) last year. According to the Islamic Finance Development Report, Malaysia topped followed by Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Brunei in terms of industry growth. The report studied key trends across five indicators: quantitative development, knowledge, governance, corporate social responsibility and awareness. Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, said Islamic finance was still tiny in comparison with the global financial industry, but the industry's rapid development suggested it would continue to grow.

What is holding back #corporate #sukuk issuers in the GCC

In the GCC there are only a few corporate entities that currently issue sukuk. GCC governments have so far prioritised external capital market funding for plugging fiscal deficits rather than for corporations. Prevailing subdued oil prices continue to lead to fiscal deficits for GCC nations. According to S&P analysts, governments are yet to be fully convinced of the merits of the private finance model for infrastructure. The GCC corporate and infrastructure sukuk market has yet to exceed double-digit growth in issuance or to attract a wider variety of entities. The Dana Gas restructuring announced in May also influenced sukuk activity in the third quarter of 2017. At the moment, it remains unclear what ramifications the Dana case would have for the sukuk market.

How loyal are Islamic banking customers?

Islamic banking is a growing industry, however still much smaller than conventional finance, even in Muslim majority nations. In the UAE, 76% of residents are Muslim, yet Islamic banks only hold 19% of banking assets. The question is: why would Muslims choose conventional banks when Halal options are available? Research has found that the chief reason was a better rate of return. A recent study shows that 25% of Islamic banking customers preferred conventional banks and products when interest rates were the same. When conventional banks offer 1% better interest rates, the share that would switch to conventional banks rose from 25% to 44%. About 25% of Islamic banking customers came to it because of their employers, while 35% use both Islamic and conventional banks. A group of about 40% of Islamic banking customers are truly loyal to Islamic banking, most likely for religious reasons.

King Abdullah Financial District set for Phase I launch

The first phase of the King Abdullah Financial District project is due to be launched next year. The business hub in Riyadh has been under construction since 2006 and will soon get a fresh lease of life under the management of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) will take over the management of the King Abdullah Financial District from the Public Pension Agency. As outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, the new hub is to be an economic free zone with visa exemptions and a direct connection to the airport. The government is now exploring new incentive options to attract financial institutions to occupy space in the district. The 73-building development has been restructured to reduce office space and increase the number of residential units.

#Saudi #fund ‘to take over Riyadh financial district’

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has finalized a deal to take over the management of the King Abdullah Financial District from the Public Pension Agency. As outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030 economic reform plan, the financial district is to be an economic free zone with visa exemptions and a direct connection to the airport. The first phase of the project is due to launch next year with plans to host the G-20 meeting there in 2020. The government is now exploring new options to attract financial institutions to occupy space in the district. The 73-building site has been restructured to reduce office space and increase the number of residential units. PwC and local regulator Capital Market Authority are among the companies due to take space in the area.

#Innovation in Islamic finance is better cultivated from the roots than the branches

Although Islamic banking and Sukuk comprise the lion’s share of Islamic finance assets, there are significant untapped opportunities in the securities, equity markets, investment funds, insurance and microfinance markets. For Islamic finance to flourish, time would be more valuably spent creating new financial products that are Shari'ah-based rather than adapting existing conventional products to become Shari'ah-compliant. The innovative magic is in the roots, not the branches. On 14 November 2017, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will host the Global Financial Forum (GFF). The invited industry experts are set to provide valuable insights on the progression of the sector and innovation in Islamic finance.

Islamic banks in #Bahrain urged to fully comply with new standards

Islamic banks in Bahrain have until June-end next year to fully comply with new standards mandated by Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). According to CBB executive director for banking supervision Khalid Hamad, the new Islamic banking legislation, where independent external scrutiny is a mandatory requirement, will promote corporate governance and compliance with Basel III norms. Hamad said the CBB was also preparing comprehensive and detailed risk management legislation. According to him, Islamic investment banking needs to develop a sustainable business model as well as more mergers for a clear competitive advantage. To enhance governance and performance, Islamic banks are required to obtain a credit rating. The industry also needs to work on building the capacity of board members, senior management and officials, particularly those in risk management, through qualifications and training.

The resurgence of Islamic social finance

The growth of the global Islamic finance has provided a niche market with solutions through a well-defined Islamic ethos. Unfortunately, Islamic finance has been criticised for having diverted from its core principles of socio-economic empowerment. As a model, Islamic finance has advocated the narrative of a sharing economy through risk-sharing and fairness. However, the growth of Islamic finance has been witnessed primarily in wealthy nations without equally impacting those that are less fortunate. International organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are now actively considering Islamic finance solutions. In terms of sukuk, the era of the 'Green' Sukuk is upon us. With regards to research, the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) initiated a whole unit dedicated to Social Finance.

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