The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) introduced the FIS E-Learning Portal. The portal provides both IFSB members and non-member organisations a learning and knowledge management suite with a number of interactive features that will assist in developing and enhancing knowledge as well as understanding of IFSB standards. The E-modules will cover seven standards which have been transformed into a total of 14 E-Learning modules with a collective seat time of 15 hours. The modules are available by subscription. As an extension of the IFSB membership benefits, a certain number of complimentary subscriptions are made available to organisations from the various categories of IFSB membership.
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM). The purpose of the MoU is to establish and implement a framework for the cooperation between the two parties for contribution to economic development and financial inclusiveness in the Asian and African region, and in so doing to enhance the ability of both organisations to achieve their respective objectives and mandates. The MoU was signed by Mr. Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the ICD, and Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Chief Executive Officer of the IILM.
The collapse in the price of oil, which began in June 2014, came as a surprise to industry analysts and insiders. They were quick to place blame on OPEC, for its perceived high production, and on China for slowing demand. The truth includes some of these elements but it is not the entire story. Much of the blame for the fall in the price of oil can be traced back to the U.S. Federal Reserve and financialization of the market. Shale producers are now stuck. Many were not profitable at $100 per barrel and are now faced with bankruptcy unless they can continue to refinance their debt and get new funding, which is highly unlikely at this stage.
President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, led a high-level delegation to the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21)" underway in Paris, France. Addressing a side event dubbed: "Climate Change: Financing and Capacity Building Challenges", Dr. Ali expressed his pleasure to see 51 of IDB Group member countries amongst the more than 180 countries had submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The IDB Group President, stated that financing and capacity building featured prominently in the INDCs as two major areas for preserving environment.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Al Baraka Bank are cooperating to expand the availability of trade finance for Egyptian importers to help spur economic growth and create jobs. Under this agreement, Al Baraka Bank becomes the third Egyptian bank, and the first Islamic bank in the country, to join IFC's Global Trade Finance Programme (GTFP). IFC guarantees will help Al Baraka Bank clients import commodities that are critical to the local market, including raw materials, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and spare parts that will support different manufacturing sectors. In fiscal 2015, IFC's GTFP committed over $1 billion in the Middle East and North Africa region and over $6 billion around the world.
Thomson Reuters and the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) have unveiled a major study, the Canada Islamic Finance Outlook 2016, during the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) held in Bahrain. Canada is looking to position itself as the regional hub for Islamic finance in North America. Its main competitor in the region, the United States, is a much larger market overall, but Canada has a proportionately larger Muslim population. This advantage is coupled with an arguably more favourable federal regulatory regime and an outward looking orientation that is potentially more favourable and conducive to the growth of Islamic finance.
Thomson Reuters and Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) have released the key findings of the Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI) Report 2015. The report examines the key statistics and trends across five indicators that are deemed to be significant for measuring the development of the US$1.8 trillion Islamic finance industry. These include Quantitative Development, Knowledge, Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility and Awareness. According to the report, Malaysia leads IFDI again while GCC countries continue to dominate the top of the rankings for a third year in a row.
Thomson Reuters in partnership with Barwa bank released today the findings of its fourth consecutive Sukuk Perceptions and Forecast study. A buoyant 2014 had sukuk market players optimistic for another robust year but market uncertainty, especially with the drop in oil prices and the expected increase in global interest rates, have dampened activity in the market. The global sukuk market in 2015 welcomed significantly fewer new issuers compared to 2014. Total sukuk issued in the first 9 months of 2015 dropped a drastic 38.6% to $48.8 billion from $79.5 billion for the same period in 2014. The sukuk papers were a lso issued in 12 currencies in first nine months of 2015 compared to 16 over the same period in 2014.
Al Baraka Islamic Bank-Bahrain is interested in purchasing Islamic bonds expected to be issued by the Kuwaiti government before the end of the year, CEO Mohamed Isa Al Mutaweh said. Kuwait's finance ministry said in September that it intends to issue bonds and sukuk before the end of 2015 to finance its public deficit, which is estimated to reach KWD 8 billion (USD 26.3 billion). The CEO said the bank, owned by Al Baraka Group, hopes to achieve growth in assets in line with the expected growth of the global Islamic banking at an annual average of 15-20%. Real estate financing accounts for around 40% of Al Baraka Islamic's portfolio in Bahrain and Al Mutaweh said the housing sector was expected to see strong activity due to rising demand.
Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has published its new five issuances: the Shari'ah standards books (both in Arabic and English), the Accounting, Auditing, and Governance Standards and Codes of Ethics (both in Arabic and English), and the compendium of Shari'ah standards research papers. The new publications will be available for sale across various markets. They will be inaugurated at a special gala dinner to be hosted by AAOIFI on 6 December 2015 in Bahrain. The gala dinner will feature inauguration of the five hard copies editions as well as the digital version and the mobile and tablet applications, in addition to the launch of the projects of translating the Sharia standards to French and Russian languages, and other initiatives.
The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is pleased to announce the second dissemination of its Prudential and Structural Islamic Financial Indicators (PSIFIs) from 16 member countries. The PSIFI data, which aims to provide data on the financial soundness and growth of the Islamic banking systems in participating IFSB member jurisdictions, covers the quarterly data from December 2013 to December 2014.
Secretary-General of the IFSB, Mr Jaseem Ahmed stated that "The support of multilateral organisations - such as the IMF, ADB and IDB - have greatly assisted the progress on this project. It is our aim to continue to expand the scope of the PSIFI to include the participation of new jurisdictions, as well as expansion of data to the Islamic capital market and Takaful sectors of the industry".
The inadequate availability of Sharia'a-compliant financial instruments is a challenge for the GCC Islamic banking industry, leading to excess liquidity and an uneven playing field for Islamic banks that might affect their growth, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
An IMF working paper released on Monday said liquidity management has been a long-standing concern in the Islamic finance industry as there is a general lack of Sharia'a-compliant instruments that can serve as high-quality short-term liquid assets.
'The inadequate availability of Sharia'a-compliant financial instruments seems to have forced Islamic banks to hold a significant amount of cash reserves, limiting the flexibility of the central bank's monetary operations with Islamic financial institutions. Therefore, a key challenge is to broaden the range of Sharia'a-compliant instruments and build liquid markets', the report said.
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), in collaboration with Anfaal Capital agreed to establish a Saudi Arabia-focused venture capital fund.
The joint initiative aims to promote and foster the development of the domestic venture capital market in Saudi Arabia. The initiative leverages KAUST's expertise in new technologies, as well as the ICD SME Program's experience in the development and management of investment vehicles.
Corresponding with the launch of its Social Responsibility Report for 2013 and 2014, Al Baraka Banking Group (B.S.C.) has also announced its 2016--2020 Social Responsibility Priorities.
With this announcement Al Baraka has become one of the first global financial institutions to pledge its targets for supporting the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which were adopted by the United Nation's General Assembly on September 25, 2015.
At this occasion, Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group noted that "we are very proud to continuously demonstrate our keen commitment to contributing to the communities that we serve and operate in. Being one of the pioneers of Islamic banking, we believe that we have a greater responsibility to keep our core business model socially responsible and relevant to the growth and development of our customers and their communities".
1. Adding 50,000 jobs across the countries we operate in as a result of financing new and existing customers operations. We will prefer working with customers that are adding and retaining jobs and offer equal opportunities for men and women.
Guidance Investments has announced the first closure of its Logistics Real Estate Investment Fund, South East Asia's first Fund focused on the logistics and industrial sectors, at USD 100 million. The first close puts the Fund in a strong position to hit its target of USD 400 million with a number of additional closings planned over the next 18 months. A Malaysian financial organization is the anchor investor of the landmark Fund. Other investors include pension funds, a supra-national institution, endowment funds and family offices from the GCC and the Middle East. The Fund has secured 3 transactions to-date, with a steady pipeline in active negotiations.
Malaysia's Royal Award for Islamic Finance commenced a global search to honour an exceptional individual in the field of Islamic finance. The Royal Award, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a biennial award, is spearheaded by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia in support of Malaysia as an Islamic finance marketplace. The Royal Award recognises Islamic finance visionaries who contribute significantly to the growth of the global economy and social progress of communities around the world. The closing date for nomination is 14 December 2015, and interested persons and parties can submit their nomination online via the website www.theroyalaward.com.
Professor Badr El Din A. Ibrahim, President of the Microfinance Unit at the Central Bank of Sudan, discusses ways to implement Shari'ah-compliant microfinance. There are some options to introduce it in the existing conventional microfinance institutions (MFIs). Hence, separate windows for conventional MFIs, not banks, are necessary to extend interest-free finance. Challenges for the Islamic windows-based business model are Shari'ah compliance and the need for changing regulatory requirements to allow for this model. The choice of Islamic windows requires raising new capital exclusively for the window.
One of the featured sessions at the Global Islamic Economy Summit from 5-6 October was on the role of Islamic finance in financial inclusion. This is an interesting subject because it has primarily been seen only from the perspective that Islamic finance is able to promote inclusiveness by offering a Shari'ah-compliant solution to people whose exclusion is driven by their reluctance or unwillingness to engage with the conventional financial sector. While this represents an important segment of the market for Islamic finance, this mindset limits its potential greatly to just those Muslims located in jurisdictions friendly to Islamic finance and within those countries to the Muslims who have access.
The WIBC Leaderboard announced today the global rankings of Islamic banks in terms of Cost-to-Income ratio, one of the financial performance sub-indicators of the Leaderboard. No less than three Qatar-based banks have appeared in the top 5 Islamic banks in the GCC based on the Cost-to-Income ratio rankings. As per the rankings, Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar International Islamic Bank, both based in Qatar are positioned at the top of Islamic financial institutions in the GCC with a ratio of 20.6% and 24.4% respectively. The Cost-to-Income ratio is calculated based on non-interest operating cost divided by the sum of net interest income and non-interest operating income.
Alkhabeer Capital, an asset management and investment firm based in Saudi Arabia, announced the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement with waqf incorporation and regulation law firm Al-Zamil & Al-Kharashi. The agreement provides for synergy between Alkhabeer Capital and Al-Zamil & Al-Kharashi Law Firm in the creation and regulation of waqf solutions. The agreement follows Alkhabeer's unveiling of its proprietary "Waqf" program earlier this year, which provides waqf wealth structuring and management advisory services to educational and charitable institutions, family offices, high net worth individuals and philanthropists who aspire to establish waqf entities.