Investment Banking

SEDCO Capital discusses #ethical #investment in forum

#Saudi asset manager SEDCO Capital participated in the Islamic Finance Forum in London as an associate sponsor. Several panels and workshops were held focusing on trends in Islamic Finance and European markets. Panel topics included the role of European Stock Exchanges in facilitating Islamic capital raising, Islamic corporate financing activity in Europe and the impact of Brexit. Kamran Butt, Managing Director at SEDCO Capital, participated in the panel discussion entitled "Responsible Investing: The Shift towards Green Finance, ESG & Ethical Funds". Butt said SEDCO's Prudent Ethical Investing (PEI) strategy created optimal risk adjusted returns by integrating Shariah-compliant investment approach with ethical investing. PEI stresses the importance of due diligence and transparency. PEI investment products are getting increasingly popular. International investors can choose from over 14 SEDCO Sharia-compliant investment strategies in Luxembourg with total AUMs of $1.8 billion.

Rasmala Trade Finance #Fund surpasses $100 million

Rasmala Investment Bank Limited (RIBL) announced that assets under management in the Rasmala Trade Finance Fund have recently surpassed $100 million. The Fund specialises in providing short-term structured and/or asset-backed liquidity and has delivered 34 consecutive months of positive returns generating an annualised return of 4.5% for investors since inception. The Fund has seen interest from regional and international institutional investors as well as family offices, corporates, and high net worth investors. The Fund provides a regulated Shari'ah compliant investment vehicle to diversify international asset allocation. David Marshall, Head of Products at Rasmala, said the team worked hard on expanding the Fund’s asset base while matching inflows with investment opportunities. He promised to remain focused on tailoring products that offer clients real alternatives.

QINVEST bullish on #Turkey, bets on EM equities

Qatar’s QInvest is set to reinforce its presence in Turkey. Head of Asset Management at QInvest, Dr Ataf Ahmed is seeing huge opportunities in various asset classes in Turkey. In 2016, QInvest acquired ERGO Portfoy, rebranded as QInvestPortfoy and became a leading asset management group in Turkey. The company is also seeing opportunities within Emerging Markets (EM) equities, despite the inherent volatility of the asset class. Inflation is coming in under control and there are a number of positive surprises in economic growth. There is also exposure to broader EM within some of the global funds and mandates, however this represents approximately 10% of total assets across all QInvest funds. In the GCC region businesses have adjusted to low oil prices. According to Ahmed, GCC nations are reinforcing their plans to diversify the economies, moving into sectors like finance, trade and tourism.

Dubai’s Arqaam Capital launches specialist fixed income #funds in DIFC

Dubai-based investment bank Arqaam Capital has announced the launch of two specialist fixed income funds located within Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The high income fund will invest in emerging markets with a focus on the MENA region and will include a mixture of fixed and floating rate investments. The Islamic fixed income fund will invest in sukuk issued by sovereigns, quasi-sovereigns and corporates. Arqaam Capital said the funds are denominated in US dollars and pegged currencies and will target annual returns of 6 and 7%. The new funds will be co-managed by Abdul Kadir Hussain, head of fixed income asset management, and Zeina Rizk, director of fixed income asset management.

EPF to boost #investments in shariah-compliant private equity funds

The #Malaysian Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is prepared to increase its investments in shariah-compliant private equity (PE) funds. Deputy CEO Datuk Mohamad Nasir Ab Latif said the pension fund has not met its full asset allocation target for its PE segment. He noted that the fund allocated 10% to infrastructure and real estate investment, while PE investment currently stood at 4%, adding that there was a shortage of shariah-compliant funds in the domestic and international markets. He said EPF would continue to invest in both shariah-compliant and conventional funds concurrently. For the second quarter ended June 30, 2017, EPF's shariah-compliant savings accounted for RM820.71 million out of RM11.51 billion of its total investment income, while RM10.69 billion was generated from its conventional savings.

QInvest invests in #Spanish #marina OneOcean Port Vell

#Qatar's QInvest has invested in OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona, Spain. Originally built for the 1992 Olympic Games, the marina recently completed its transformation to a luxury facility, creating the ultimate destination for yachts up to 190m. QInvest will work with the city and port authorities in Barcelona to increase the profile of the marina by investing additional resources in the port infrastructure. OneOcean Port Vell is QInvest's second investment in Spain this year, having earlier invested into a Spanish real estate strategy focused on land developments in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Marbella. The objective is to acquire well-located land parcels across Spain and develop residential apartments for first home owners. QInvest’s revenues from all business lines were QR209mn, resulting in an operating profit of QR113mn and net profit of QR34.6mn in the first half of this year. The bank’s global assets stood at QR4.7bn at the end of June 30, 2017.

Gotta have faith: The rise of #religious #ETFs

There is a growing number of faith-based exchange-traded funds that attempt to marry moneymaking with religious principles. In the spring, Silicon Valley-based Inspire Investing launched its Global Hope Large Cap and its Small/Mid Cap Impact ETFs, pledging to apply Christian values as a screen. Those products join Global X’s Catholic Values ETF, which applies the investment guidelines of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Inspire’s funds have garnered a respectable $80 million in their first six months and CEO Robert Netzly believes that biblically responsible investing will be the fastest-growing investment niche over the next decade. Investment giant Blackrock offers Islamic-oriented ETFs that are shariah-compliant. There are not any specifically Jewish-themed ETFs at the moment, but this can change easily. Juggling core values and full-on capitalism, however, remains a delicate business.

Toronto-Based Wealthsimple Launches Shariah-Compliant Portfolio

#Canadian Wealthsimple Financial introduced a Shariah-compliant portfolio to expand its product offerings in an increasingly crowded robo-adviser market. According to co-founder Michael Katchen, Wealthsimple’s Halal Investing portfolio is aimed at setting the company apart from its peers. He expects the portfolio’s interest to closely mirror the company’s socially responsible products. Wealthsimple’s fees are a flat 0.5% for the first $100,000 invested and drop to 0.4% on any additional investment. Privately held Wealthsimple has raised 100 million Canadian dollars ($79.6 million) over several funding rounds over the past three years led by a subsidiary of the Power Corporation of Canada. Katchen said he expects to tap another round of venture funding before seeking an initial public offering.

#Saudi Arabia's Largest Bank Said to Hire #Investment Banking Head

Sameer Nawaz has been appointed head of investment banking at Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Capital. Nawaz will be responsible for building an investment banking team at the securities division of Al Rajhi Bank. Previously, he was co-head of investment banking at Saudi Fransi Capital. Usman Sikander, who was co-head of investment banking at Saudi Fransi Capital with Nawaz, will become head of investment banking. Banks are hiring in Riyadh in anticipation of a boom in fees as the government ramps up efforts to wean the economy off oil. Elyas Algaseer, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's co-head said that the bank was looking to hire in Saudi Arabia in expectation that privatizations in the country could exceed $350 billion in about five years.

#TNB issues RM2bil #Islamic #bonds

The Tenaga Nasional Bhd informed the stock exchange that it has issued RM2bil Islamic medium-term notes (sukuk wakalah). This is the first issuance under the sukuk programme of up to RM5bil in nominal value set up last month. The programme has a tenure of 50 years starting from the date of this first issue.
Tenaga Nasional Bhd told the Bursa Malaysia that based on its consolidated statement of financial position as at May 31, 2017, its consolidated gearing would then increase to 0.70 times from 0.66 times. Additionally the sukuk wakalah issuance would not have any impact on the earnings, earnings per share and net assets per share of the company for the current financial year.
Earlier this year, Tenaga Nasional Bhd had said the proceeds raised from the programme would be used to finance capital expenditure, investment, general corporate purposes, working capital requirements and/or refinance any existing financing facilities and to defray any fees and expenses of the sukuk programme.

#Abu #Dhabi #Islamic #Bank praises #UAE #Central #Bank clampdown on mis-selling #investments

Central Bank issued a notificaiton in May this year about mis-selling of investments. The UAE‘s largest Sharia-compliant lender, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, has welcomed efforts by the central bank to clamp down on unscrupulous sales of investment plans to UAE expats It said, the reputation of the industry as a whole had been damaged by dishonest brokers.
“More regulation is a good thing and we work very closely with the central bank” and other wealth management institutions who wish to improve their services, said Daffer Luqman of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. “At the end of the day the reputation of the business affects everybody. If an institution does a bad job of promoting or marketing a service it affects the whole industry so it’s very important that this business is regulated, that it’s regulated effectively and that everybody plays by the rules.”

#Fintech: First robo-adviser in Asia to offer shariah-compliant #investments

Robo-advisers are seen as a more transparent, convenient and low-cost alternative to human financial advisers. However, these platforms have limited options when it comes to shariah-compliant investments. To solve this problem, Malaysian Farringdon Group has recently launched its new robo-adviser called Algebra. According to CEO Stuart Yeomans, the company’s Virtual Mutual Fund Technology (VMFT) allows robo-advisory services for shariah-compliant investments to be offered at a lower price. Algebra can offer a wider range of investments and asset classes than other robo-advisory platforms. It adopts a smart beta strategy, which uses algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio before blending with fixed-income ETFs or sukuk funds. The shariah-compliant strategy used by the platform has been approved by Kuala Lumpur-based shariah advisory firm Amanie Advisors.

Goldilocks Investment builds Dana Gas stake

An Abu Dhabi Global Market fund, Goldilocks Investment, has acquired 5% of Dana Gas. Goldilocks has a reputation of buying companies going through financial difficulties. Goldilocks has recently acquired 350 million shares in Dana Gas, which has seen its share price rise by nearly 70% in the past month. Goldilocks is part of Jassim Alseddiqi's Abu Dhabi Financial Group, a diversified investment company with about US$5 billion under management. Dana Gas has assets in Egypt and the Kurdish region of Iraq that have had good operational results but have suffered from erratic payments. Dana Gas also has an ongoing dispute with holders of its $700 million in sukuk, for which it has taken preemptive legal action to avoid a declaration of default.

Shariah Compliant #Robo to Launch

#Malaysia's Farringdon Group is about to launch its new Robo-adviser service which follows Shariah investment guidelines. Their new system branded Algebra relies on smart beta trading algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio. It blends the data with fixed interest Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) or Sukuk bond funds to derive a risk weighted portfolio suitable for any investor. Its shariah investment strategy is approved by Shariah Scholar Datuk Dr Daud Bakar of Amanie Advisors, the official launch date is set for July 10th 2017. By asking questions online, Algebra can complete a fact find and calculate its clients risk attitude and this cuts out the need for expensive consultants. Together with the Shariah version of this platform Farrington have also built and incorporated a Non-Shariah option.

Middle East and other sovereign #investors put major asset allocation decisions on hold

Invesco has released its fifth Invesco Global Sovereign Asset Management Study. The study was conducted amongst 97 individual sovereign investors and asked them to rate the importance of economic and geopolitical factors on their investment strategies. Middle East and other sovereign investors see low interest rates as the greatest tactical asset allocation factor. Brexit and the US election results are expected to grow in importance for future allocations, as the implications of political shifts on investment performance becomes clearer. Sovereign investors have ranked the US as the most attractive market. However, long term confidence is still restricted by concerns about growing protectionism limiting access for foreign sovereigns. The UK saw the biggest drop in attractiveness and Continental Europe's attractiveness has also fallen. However, Germany stands out from its European neighbours because of its perceived safe haven status. Despite target return gaps increasingly widening, geo-political uncertainty is causing sovereign investors to make fewer allocation changes than at any point in the last five years.

Islamic finance is making a case for ‘impact investment’

Islamic finance is increasingly being discovered as a vehicle to support sustainable development goals by a method called "impact investing". For this the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development launched the "Global Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Platform". A report was also launched which sheds light on the potentials of Islamic finance in impact investment. The basic idea is that ethical values within finance are deeply rooted in Islamic theology and jurisprudence. Ethical and sustainable investment products can tap a wider range of demand if they are made Shariah-compliant to appeal to Muslims. At the same time, non-Muslims may embrace them if they are designed for an ethical purpose. Malaysia was the first to announce guidelines for the issuance of socially responsible sukuk as early as 2014. Meanwhile, Islamic finance companies from the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and GCC countries joined impact investing through Islamic finance.

Gulf Islamic Investments expands #investments into lucrative transportation and logistic

Gulf Islamic Investments (GII) successfully completed a Shari’ah compliant growth capital financing round for transportation company Bion Group. The UAE-based Group provides both heavy haul transportation services and the manufacturing of heavy transport equipment. Pankaj Gupta, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Gulf Islamic Investments, said this partnership was an excellent opportunity for Bion Group to take advantage of the uptrends in the ever-increasing construction sector. Noas Al Rawi, CEO of Bion Group, said that with GII's assistance Bion will improve its services portfolio and increase production capacity. He added that Bion will target the refrigerated transportation sector and further consolidate its position in the country’s construction sector.

Moody's: Shariah-compliant #investment accounts at #Malaysian banks to continue growing

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.

In the Trump era, one US Muslim #investor tries a louder voice

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.

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