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According to Moody's Investors Service, the growth of shariah-compliant investment accounts at Malaysian banks will remain strong over the next three to five years. Moody's Vice President, Simon Chen, said Malaysian banks have strong incentives to promote the growth of such investment accounts because they provide capital benefits. He added that concerns also exist over the untested state of loss-sharing mechanisms in the accounts. The robust growth of shariah-compliant investment accounts in Malaysia began in July 2015 following the implementation of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013. By February 2017, these accounts had grown to RM74.2 billion, or 13%, of total banking system liabilities. On the question of risk, Moody's said that a significant loss event to test the resilience of this regime has yet to occur.
Bashar Qasem is the most outspoken voice among Muslim investors in the United States. He was the only Islamic financial representative among religious shareholder advocates who sent a letter in February to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Qasem's Azzad Asset Management firm started its work in 2005, weighing in on issues like worker safety, climate change and lobbying disclosures. This direct advocacy will test whether U.S. Muslim investors will support the sort of faith-based shareholder activism common among other religious groups. Qasem's strategy appears to be helping to differentiate his firm from other asset management firms. Azzad's assets increased 11% in 2016 to US$487 million (£393 million) at year-end. Growth included US$5.7 million into the firm’s mutual funds, the third consecutive year of inflows.
GCC is expected to account for about 31% of sovereign bond issuances from emerging markets this year. The expected 2017 sovereign issues will be distributed among GCC, Eastern Europe Middle East Africa and Latin America, according to forecasts by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Issues from the GCC has been increasing rapidly mainly due to low oil prices, with some new issuers in 2016, and analysts expect the 2017 issuance to continue to be high. Among those, Kuwait inaugurated the external sovereign debt market with $8 billion (Dh29.3 billion) to finance a budget deficit resulting from low oil prices. Sovereign issuance for 2017 is forecast to be 6% higher compared to the previous year. In 2016, sovereigns issued $135 billion, mainly from Latin America, while corporates issued about $300 billion, mainly from Asia. Analysts expect gross sovereign external issuance to come in at $144bn in 2017.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced an equity investment of $30 million via the consortium fund Network International to expand the payment infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa. Network International is jointly controlled by the Emirates NBD Bank and Warburg Pincus/General Atlantic consortium. The investment will help the company expand and modernise its banking client network in the Middle East and Africa. The investment is expected to allow MSMEs to access card-based payments and develop digital data records, to help them grow their customer base. Bassel Hamwi, Head of the IFC Middle East and North Africa Fund, said the shared infrastructure brings down costs and boosts financial inclusion, while reducing the risk of fraud.
Land prices in Makkah are higher than in downtown Tokyo or Paris, this ensures that five-star luxury hotel supply growth is the norm. Makkah is also at a macro inflection point since 25,000 three-/four-star rooms were demolished or reclassified by the Saudi authorities. The Saudi government intends to triple Umrah visas to 15 million by 2020 as per the kingdom's Vision 2030 policy. Makkah hotel investing is also attractive because the Makkah's religious tourism market is dominated by tour operators who pre-book rooms en masse and place a premium on new hotels. Makkah is unquestionably the world's most resilient, low-risk, price/demand inelastic, supply constrained, foreign capital inaccessible, secular growth hotel market.
The Bahraini Gulf Finance House (GFH) would seek to get rid of its Tunisian project, the Tunis Financial Harbor. The project was to be one of the largest Bahraini investments in Tunisia, which would be worth 7.5 billion USD. Tunis Financial Harbor was initially designed to make Tunisia a regional financial hub, but eventually turned into a simple real estate program. GFH is currently seeking to pass the hand and to pass the project on to another investor. The cause would be the financial difficulties of the Bahraini group.
The #Malaysian government is encouraging investors from China to tap into the estimated USD3 trillion global demand for halal products by exploring business opportunities in Tanjung Manis Halal Hub (TMHH) in Bintulu, Sarawak. According to Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Malaysia is a pioneer in halal certification ensuring the integrity of halal products and services through strict compliance with Syariah requirements. Awang Tengah added that the Sarawak Government had established the TMHH which covers an area of 124,517 hectares making it the largest among all the other halal hubs in the region. Among the investment potentials in TMHH he revealed is the cultivation of food crops, aquaculture, poultry and livestock, food processing, cosmetics, and health products. On another note, Awang Tengah revealed that China has remained an important trading partner as well as a major source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Sarawak.
Summit will explore intersection of #fintech, #ESG and #Islamicfinance. #RFISummit17
January 24, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland –
Bringing together a diversity of perspectives is critical for continuing the growth occurring within responsible finance. On this premise, the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2017 will convene in Zurich, Switzerland from 3-4 May 2017 around the theme “Building Bridges, Expanding Impact”.
Recent estimates from industry stakeholders show continued growth in responsible finance assets in many geographies and sectors. Responsible investment in Europe grew by 42% during the past 2 years, while in the U.S., assets grew by 33%. In Islamic finance, which has a global presence with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, growth in the last 2 years has been 21%. Identifying actionable areas for collaboration will support continued growth towards a more sustainable financial system.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has launched its First Shari'ah compliant equity investment structured note of the year 2017. The note is linked to a basket of undervalued blue chip companies from diversified sectors including healthcare, technology & telecommunications. The investment note has a maturity of one year and minimises investment risk by providing 100% capital protection to the capital invested. The note is currently open for subscription until 22 January, 2017 with a minimum investment requirement of $30,000. ADIB’s last three matured equity investment notes have yielded returns of 4.2%, 4.8% and 6.2%, respectively.
The #Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has scheduled investment roadshows in the Middle East to attract investors to explore the Philippine market. According to Peza director general Charito Plaza, this will be in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to visit the Middle East on Feb. 26 to March 3. Plaza mentioned that the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local government officials, and economic zone developers would join the investment promotion agency in its roadshow in the Middle East. PEZA recently held a seminar on sukuk to help local companies understand doing business with Middle East-based firms. Plaza noted the government aimed to expand the presence of Islamic banks in the country to facilitate investments.
Nigeria is looking for financial and legal advisers and trustee firms to organise its first Islamic bond in the domestic market, the country's Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Monday. The Opec member, which is Africa's largest economy, is working on a debut sovereign sukuk but has yet to determine the size of a potential deal. Nigeria, which is in a recession and needs to raise funds to plug a budget deficit, has set up a government committee to advise on the amount to be raised from the Islamic bond sale, the timing and jurisdiction of the issue. Issuance of a sovereign sukuk is part of a plan by Nigeria's debt office to develop alternative sources of funding and to establish a benchmark curve.
Funding Africa’s huge development needs has long represented a big challenge. This has spawned all kinds of innovative financing mechanisms in the past and could spell an opportunity for Islamic finance, notably haria-compliant bonds, or Sukuk. Still in an embryonic state in Africa – but growing nonetheless – these instruments could play a potential role in delivering large infrastructure projects, from building new airports to constructing power plants and building roads. While it is early days for Africa, on a global scale Islamic finance is not a new concept.
A longstanding feature of the financial markets of Malaysia – a world leader in the field – and across the Middle Eastern Gulf, its spread now encompasses non Muslim-centric territories worldwide. This is a pattern that is catching on, albeit slowly, in Africa. While northern Africa has provided a natural entry point for Islamic products, current activity now focuses on sub-Saharan markets, notably in West Africa.
Bahrain-based Venture Capital Bank seeks investment in the health, education and food sectors in Turkey, according to the bank's chief executive officer. "We trust the growth potential of the Turkish economy. We want to make new investments in health, education and food sectors in Turkey in 2017," Mohammed Janahi explained this week. Further he said Turkey had always been on the agenda of the bank since the day it was established. Janahi also explained the bank's first move was to buy the majority of the shares of a Turkish company in 2012 that produces concentrated fruit, which he said amounted to around $300 million.
"The company's profits have tripled since that day. We intend to expand our capacity with additional acquisitions," he said. According to Janahi, they focused on the food, education and health sectors as they are least affected sectors by everyday events in the country. "From the beginning, we need to explain that our main goal is to establish a strategic partnership and enlarge the business," he added.
The local unit of HSBC Holdings is advising Saudi Arabia’s Public Pension Agency on the sale of its struggling financial hub to the country’s sovereign wealth fund. The Public Investment Fund is offering to acquire the Riyadh district for less than the pension fund’s 30 billion riyals ($8 billion) investment. The wealth fund is being advised by JPMorgan Chase, but a deal hasn’t been reached yet. The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is about 70% complete and is failing to attract its target clientele, banks, auditors and lawyers. The sale is meant to rehabilitate the 1.6 million square-meter district which includes over 70 buildings. The district will become a special economic zone with looser visa rules and direct links to Riyadh airport as part of plans to restructure the development.
Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), a UAE based Islamic financial services company, announced the closing of US.$145 million fund raising for Apttus, a Silicon valley based software company. The funds will be used to complete the Quote-to-Cash customer process and the Procure-to-Pay supplier process. This is the fourth company out of Silicon Valley for which GII has raised funds for in the last 2 years, bringing the total amount raised to $350 million. GII further confirms a continuing partnership with Apttus to lend strong support to the company’s business development and market penetration in the GCC region. According to GII Founding Partner, Mohammed Alhassan, Apttus provides a golden opportunity at the level of business model and also in terms of achieving satisfying returns.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is home to the first Equity Crowdfunding platform in the region, Eureeca. It is the first multi-regulated global Equity Crowdfunding platform and has over 12,000 investors from 42 countries. It enables entrepreneurs and high growth businesses to raise much needed expansion capital and create new partnerships for growth. The platform's co-founder Chris Thomas said Eureeca creates a corridor of investment opportunities between Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It recently raised $400,000 in 12 days on its self-funding campaign with the funds being used to fuel Eureeca’s international growth plans and continued development of their product offering.
Emirates REIT, one of the UAE’s first regulated Shari'ah compliant Real Estate Investment Trusts listed on Nasdaq Dubai, saw a 13% increase in total portfolio value. The total portfolio value stood at $742 million, a year-over-year increase of $85 million, making it the largest Shari’ah compliant REIT globally. The total property income for the nine months also increased 22% to $36.3 million. The net asset value increased to $1.60 per share, or $480.7 million. CEO Sylvain Vieujot thanked the UAE’s leaders who established a stable financial ecosystem with solid laws and regulations that have allowed the United Arab Emirates to become a world leader in Islamic finance.
Sabana Shariah Compliant REIT is the world’s first real estate investment trust that has adopted the standard of Shari’ah compliance. Sabana REIT currently has a portfolio of 21 industrial buildings that are all found in Singapore. Most of the properties are also located in close proximity to the principal industrial zones in the island, such as Penjuru and Tai Seng. For perspective, the SPDR STI ETF, an exchange-traded fund that mimics the fundamentals of the Straits Times Index, has a yield of 3.2%. In its latest quarterly earnings report Sabana REIT reported a 10.9% year-on-year decline in gross revenue and a 31.1% decline in income available for distribution.
EthisCrowd has been recognized as the Best Islamic Crowdfunding Platform for its social impact real estate campaigns in Indonesia. The Singapore-based platform received the award at the 6th Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2016 in Jakarta. EthisCrowd said the inclusion of the crowdfunding category symbolized the growth and adoption of Islamic Crowdfunding. The platform’s community now claims 17,000 registered members who have invested in projects to build 5,000 houses for the needy in Indonesia. Ronald Yusuf Wijaya, EthisCrowd’s head of Indonesian operations, stated that affordable housing projects are commercially viable and can provide excellent returns for the crowd. EthisCrowd uses Mudarabah contracts to formalize rights to profit or revenue sharing for investors, directly with real estate developers and contractors. There is no capital guarantee or fixed interest rates for investors.