United Arab Emirates (UAE)

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.

DWE supports female leaders, strengthens role in corporate #governance

Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) in collaboration with the Institute for Corporate Governance recently held the second session of its training programme entitled "The Principles of Corporate Governance in Government Entities". The session targeted second and third level female leaders to promote the role of Emirati women and support their leadership. Shamsa Saleh, CEO of Dubai Women Establishment stressed the important role of the training in highlighting good corporate governance practices. The training session was attended by representatives of various sectors and featured presentations about a range of governance elements. The session supports the UAE Cabinet's decision to make the representation of women on boards of directors compulsory.

ADIB Bank enters into a multi-year data centre co-location services agreement with du

UAE-based telecommunications provider 'du' has been selected by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) to deliver opex-driven co-location services in the UAE. ADIB will be able to develop its operations with a foundation in secure data centre infrastructure as well as flexible and scalable network options. Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, said the company's Data Centre and Managed Services are designed to enable rapid growth. ADIB will drive new cost-efficiencies while benefiting from infrastructure that is ready to scale and adapt as its business grows. du provides an ecosystem of network infrastructure to give customers easy access to Cloud service providers and markets across the MENA region. du’s data centre services won the best Enterprise Service award at Telecoms World Awards 2016.

DCIBF and HBMSU release report on Islamic economy

The Dubai Center for Islamic Banking and Finance (DCIBF), a joint initiative of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, has formally released its second annual report on Islamic economy. The report titled 'Islamic Banking: Growth, Efficiency and Stability' focuses on the efficiency performance of 131 Islamic banks operating globally and other key aspects of Islamic banking. The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) received the highest efficiency score, followed by Al Inma Bank from Saudi Arabia, which obtained the top score in terms of the most cost-efficient Islamic bank in the world. The top 20 most efficient Islamic banks come from seven countries, including the UAE, Qatar, Malaysia, and Bahrain in addition to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Outside the GCC region, it is only Malaysia that made it to the top 20 list. Mansoor Al Awar, HBMSU Chancellor, said the results would positively impact the entire global Islamic economy, as more essential reforms will be implemented to improve competitiveness.

Dubai in advanced talks to set up Islamic trading bank

Dubai has announced it is in advanced discussions to set up the Shari'a compliant Emirates Trade Bank which will specialise in international trade and commodity financing. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council, has nominated a founding committee for the establishment of the bank. Emirates Trade Bank will be the first of its kind global Shari’a compliant bank exclusively offering integrated trade solutions, through mobilising the infrastructure and logistics ecosystem of the UAE. Sami Al Qamzi, vice chairman of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), said the Emirates Trade Bank is set to reap synergies from Dubai's strategic positioning. On Tuesday, Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai is set to launch ambitious projects as part of a plan to transform the city into the capital of the Islamic economy by 2021.

Nasdaq Dubai, IdealRatings launch benchmark indices to track performance of #Sukuk

Nasdaq Dubai and IdealRatings has announced the launch of benchmark indices that track the performance of global Sukuk, in order to provide investors with new data to make informed trading decisions. The data includes daily movements in price and total return, with monthly updates on yield and other key indicators. It tracks a universe of more than 1,800 Sukuk globally, with eligibility criteria including a minimum issue size of 100 million US dollars. The Global Sukuk Index covers all currencies and has five sub-indices. The sub-indices reflect distinct segments of the market, which are: investment grade issuances, issuances by sovereigns, issuances by corporates, issuances by financial institutions and GCC issuances. According to Hamed Ali, CEO of Nasdaq Dubai, the indices add a valuable new stream of information to investors’ existing trading tools.

Emirates Islamic aims to complete rights issue by early December

Emirates Islamic (EI) plans to complete a Dh1.5 billion ($408 million) fund-raising from existing shareholders by early December. Chief executive Jamal Bin Ghalaita said EI was not expecting a pick up in the banking market until the second half of 2017 at the earliest, once an upswing in oil prices happens. EI announced plans for the rights issue on Thursday, saying it would increase its paid up share capital to Dh5.43 billion from Dh3.93 billion. EI, which has recorded falling net profits for the past three quarters, is due to report third-quarter results later this month. Bin Ghalaita said the outlook remained uncertain. He added that EI planned no further job losses after some cuts mainly within the department servicing small and medium-sized enterprises.

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