United Arab Emirates (UAE)

#Emirates #Islamic fosters #innovation in #Islamic #Finance

The Emirates Islamic Bank recently organised an ‘Innovation Day’ where various internal teams shared and showcased their innovations with working prototypes, to the bank’s management.
Emirates Islamic staff across business units participated in the event, designed to ideate and showcase innovative solutions in banking and financial technology. Emirates Islamic’s Innovation Day was aligned with the National Innovation Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai as a primary tool to achieve UAE Vision 2021 in the finance and banking sector.
Commenting on the bank’s push toward innovation, Jamal Bin Ghalaita, CEO of Emirates Islamic said: “Banking today demands an innovative and fresh approach to keep pace with the evolving needs of our customers. Tapping into our internal talent pool for ideas allows us benefit from their varied skills and experience to create products that match customers’ expectations and needs.

Emirates NBD launches #edutainment mobile simulation game to promote financial literacy

Emirates NBD has launched the new edutainment mobile simulation game Banki in its efforts to promote financial literacy in the #UAE. Banki will target the country’s youth to become economically aware at a young age and consider careers in the banking and financial services sector. Banki allows users to play five engaging games that help them understand the concept of savings, trading, simple financial transactions and digital banking. They can learn about the basics of banking products, financial services, stock markets, economics and additional topics aligned to the Ministry of Education’s curriculum. Husam Al Sayed, Chief Human Resource Officer at Emirates NBD said the launch of Banki aims to communicate the benefits of being financially literate to the next generation of customers. Available on both the Google Play and Apple stores, the edutainment game can be downloaded for free and can be used by registering with an email ID.

Safe innovation in #Islamic #Banking

According to Noor Bank's CEO Hussain Al Qemzi, Islamic banks need to understand that they need to provide efficient and transparent services to their clients. Just being Sharia compliant cannot make a product less transparent and more expensive to access. Technology remains an important driver for innovation. Islamic banks that only look at product development and not product delivery or customer acquisition, will risk being left behind. There is a need to continue product development. Variable return products need to be developed and propagated in the market. According to Al Qemzi, it is important to refute traditional sayings that Sharia compliance limits innovation. Sharia principles reject prohibited practices but do not reject innovation. Progressive Islamic education is a key area, the Islamic banking curricula have to be developed so that they combine financial sciences with other economic sciences.

Building a #partnership between Islamic and traditional finance

According to Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), leveraging the opportunities that Islamic banking and finance instruments represent is now more critical than ever before. DIEDC has identified a five-pronged approach to achieve this. First, Islamic economy has to be treated as one organic ecosystem that transcends borders and special interests. Second, a partnership is needed between Islamic and traditional finance to develop real projects in which both can work as stakeholders. It is also important to look for new strategic partners, not excluding countries that are experiencing internal conflicts. Such partnerships should be a true reflection of mutual interests. Islamic financial institutions have to factor in inclusive development and social impact as key priorities.

#Shares in Abu Dhabi banks suspended after merger speculation

Trading of shares in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank were suspended on Sunday. The shares jumped last week because of renewed speculation that the Abu Dhabi government might engineer a merger between ADCB and UNB, and another between ADIB and Al Hilal Bank. Both moves would be part of an efficiency drive. There was no immediate official statement from the banks, but banking industry sources said the banks were expected to send statements denying that they had plans to merge.

Talal Al Zain to head new Islamic investment bank in Abu Dhabi

The newly formed Islamic investment bank ADCorp has named Talal Al Zain as its chief executive. Its two main shareholders, Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) and GFH Financial, said the new company has an authorised capital of US$100 million and will be the first Sharia-compliant institution in Abu Dhabi Global Market. Mr Al Zain, formerly chief executive of PineBridge Investments Middle East, said that ADCorp would focus on corporate finance, wealth and asset management for institutions and ultra high net worth ­clients. He said that geographically the firm’s investment strategy will allow ADCorp to become the long-term business partner of choice for clients in the region.

GCC banks looking to Africa for new opportunities: EY

According to EY’s GCC Wealth and Asset Management Report 2016 'Global forces drive regional realities', the larger local banks in the GCC are approaching saturation in their home market and are starting to venture out to new markets such as Africa. George Triplow, EY's Wealth and Asset Management Leader says the UAE’s strong ties with African markets has encouraged a number of African businesses to use Dubai and the Dubai International Financial Center as an infrastructure hub. The regional retail wealth management sector faces the ongoing issue of lack of transparency and independence. According to Triplow, the key would be to provide lower costs, genuinely independent advice and technology-supported portfolio diversification with a focus on passive funds and exchange-traded funds, rather than complex structured products.

Nasdaq Dubai and IdealRatings launch Islamic bond indices

Nasdaq Dubai and IdealRatings have launched a suite of indices tracking the performance of global Islamic bonds. The indices may serve as the underlying to future investment products including exchange-traded funds. To be eligible for inclusion in the indices, each bond must have a minimum size of at least $100m, a remaining time to maturity of at least three months, and must be approved by a Shariah accredited board. The Nasdaq Dubai IdealRatings Sukuk Index family comprises the Global Sukuk Index as well as several indices covering distinct segments of the market. They include investment grade issuances, issuances by sovereigns, issuances by corporates, issuances by financial institutions and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issuances. As of 1 October 2016 the Global Sukuk Index has returned 3.1% year-to-date and 15.2% since the index’s base date of 1 November 2012.

Noor Bank closes AED850 Million syndicated Islamic Financing Facility for Ajman Bank

Noor Bank closed an AED 850 million Syndicated Islamic Financing Facility for Ajman Bank. The two-year Shari’a compliant facility shall be utilised towards Ajman Bank’s future growth plans. Noor Bank was mandated for the second time to act as Lead Arranger. Dubai Islamic Bank, First Gulf Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, The Arab Investment Company and Warba Bank joined the deal as Mandated Lead Arrangers, while National Bank of Bahrain participated as an Arranger. Commenting on the facility, Noor Bank's CEO Hussain Al Qemzi said that this syndication was testament to Noor Bank's service quality and the relationship amongst the two institutions. He expressed his gratitude to Ajman Bank and all the partner banks who helped to close the transaction.

Gulf Islamic Investments raises US.$145 million for Silicon Valley Technology Company Apttus

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.

Etihad could raise $1 bln in planned #sukuk debut

Etihad Airways plans to issue a debut US dollar-denominated benchmark sukuk and will soon meet investors to determine its size, maturity and interest rate. Investors said the sukuk could be as large as $1 billion. HSBC, JP Morgan, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and First Gulf Bank are the deal underwriters, according to an investor presentation dated Nov. 3. The airline, whose credit is rated A by Fitch, reported total revenues of about $9 billion in 2015. At the end of last year it had 121 aircrafts and it plans to take delivery of a further 188 by 2026.

First MENA Green Finance option from Emirates Islamic

Dubai Green Economy Partnership (Dubai GEP) has signed an agreement with Emirates Islamic to provide easy financing options for consumers in Dubai to purchase green products on the Green Deal website. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) recently. According to Faisal Aqil, Deputy CEO at Emirates Islamic, the bank will offer flexible financing schemes at competitive rates. He expects that a convenient financing option will be a huge incentive for the higher uptake of products from the Green Deal platform. The Green Deal site features products that can improve sustainability in day to day life, which include technologies for Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Energy Auditing, Water Efficiency and Thermal Control.

DIFC home to the first Equity #Crowdfunding platform

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.

MOVES-Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank appoints Craig Bell as CFO

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank has recently appointed Craig Bell as chief financial officer. Bell previously worked in New Zealand, Britain, Costa Rica, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, Al Hilal said. According to his LinkedIn profile, his previous post was chief financial officer at Saudi British Bank.

#Emirates REIT becomes the World’s largest listed Shari'ah compliant REIT

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.

Dubai: The Islamic finance waystation on the New Silk Road

The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, or the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is central to China’s evolving role in the global economy. OBOR, unveiled in 2013, is China’s ambitious policy of revitalising the infrastructure of the ancient Silk Road trading routes and forging new trade routes. It offers great opportunities for the GCC in terms of inbound investments from China as well as the chance to deepen economic, cultural and diplomatic ties with Beijing. For the UAE is particularly important to showcase Dubai’s ability to provide China with a gateway to accessing regional liquidity and its expertise in Islamic finance. However, there are constraints arising out of stakeholders’ lack of familiarity with Islamic finance and the current Chinese policies and laws, which only cater for conventional financing methods.

ADIB latest #UAE bank to see profit hit by bad loan rise

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) reported nearly flat third quarter net profit, thus being the latest bank in the United Arab Emirates to suffer from a rise in bad loans as a result of the economic impact of lower oil prices. ADIB made a net profit of 508.9 million dirhams ($139 million) in the three months ending Sept. 30, compared to 503.2 million dirhams in the same period a year ago, up 1.1%. Earlier this month, ADIB chief executive Tirad al-Mahmoud said the bank's earnings in the second half would be similar to the opening six months of 2016. ADIB booked credit provisions and impairment charges totalling 267.7 million dirhams in the third quarter, compared to 193.0 million dirhams in the year-ago period. Net revenues in the third quarter were up 7%, reaching 1.37 billion dirhams compared to 1.28 billion dirhams in the prior-year quarter.

Emirates Islamic Bank shareholders approve plan to raise capital

Emirates Islamic Bank has approved a new plan to double its share capital to Dh10 billion from the earlier Dh5 billion. The shareholders also approved a plan to issue and allot Dh1.5 billion at the nominal value of Dh1 each. The bank has also approved the change of the memorandum and articles of association to reflect changes in the share capital.

Emirates NBD and UTI International to launch Islamic #funds in #India

Emirates NBD Asset Management (Emirates NBD) has entered into a partnership agreement with UTI International (UTI) to launch the Emirates Islamic India Equity Fund. The fund will expand Emirates NBD’s global portfolio and offer investors exposure to Shariah compliant Indian equities. Emirates NBD is looking to develop a portfolio of global funds with leading international partners, and its latest collaboration with UTI forms part of this strategy. Leo Puri, managing director of UTI, said the new fund presents an excellent opportunity for GCC investors to realise strong returns on Shariah compliant Indian equities. The rationale for the agreement is driven by Emirates NBD’s strong interest in India as a growth market. According to a recent McKinsey report, India is expected to rank in the top five global economies by 2020 and to reach the top three by 2030.

DAMAC Properties shares obtain Sharia Compliance Certification from Dar Al Sharia

Dar Al Sharia Islamic Finance Consultancy has recently confirmed that the shares of DAMAC Properties are Sharia-compliant for the purposes of investment and trading. Adil Taqi, Group Chief Financial Officer of DAMAC Properties, said this certification will open up new horizons by attracting a wider range of potential investors that seek Sharia-compliant financial instruments. DAMAC's financial ratios are within the acceptable limits prescribed by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institution (AAOIFA) Sharia Standards and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) Sharia Standard for share trading. DAMAC Properties’ financials will be reviewed on a quarterly basis in order to ascertain the ongoing Sharia compliance status.

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