United Arab Emirates (UAE)

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.

Islamic banking gets increased public acceptance in #UAE

According to the findings of Emirates Islamic’s second Islamic Banking Index, there has been an increasing public acceptance and demand for Islamic banking in the UAE. Chief executive of Emirates Islamic, Jamal Bin Ghalaita, said 51% of banking consumers had at least one Islamic product, demonstrating that the efforts by Islamic banks to improve their customer outreach were paying off. As far as perception is concerned, Islamic banks’ trustworthiness rose 42% among Muslim consumers compared to 37% in 2015. Among the non-Muslim population, there was a sizable increase in the number of non-Muslim consumers willing to consider subscribing to an Islamic banking product. The survey also highlights the key challenges for Islamic banks. For a second consecutive year, Islamic banks lag behind conventional banks in technology, innovation and customer service.

Sheikh Mohammed says Islamic Economy has proved its efficiency over the years

Vice President and Prime Minister of the #UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that the Islamic Economic system offers a real opportunity for economic, commercial and financial growth. He added that the Islamic Economic system has been tested by various international financial institutions and the UAE has started reaping the benefits of this system. Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 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. Sheikh Hamdan made these remarks ahead of the start of the third Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai. He expressed his hope that the Summit would also discuss how Islamic Economy instruments can stimulate the development of the private and public sectors.

Noor Bank to support arts and design component of Global Islamic Economy #Summit 2016

Noor Bank has committed its support to the art and design exhibition at the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES 2016). GIES 2016 is scheduled between 11-12 October at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai and is under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The summit is anticipated to convene more than 2,000 policymakers to discuss key developments of the Islamic economy sector. Speaking on the bank’s participation in GIES 2016, Hussain Al Qemzi, CEO of Noor Bank, said that this event deeply resonated with Noor Bank’s core values. Noor Bank is looking forward to showcasing the exhibition which features signature art works of this year’s emerging artists alongside established names in the field.

Islamic finance set to unleash the power of social investment

The third Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) to be held in Dubai on October 11 and 12 will set a special focus on the utilisation of Islamic funds for social and entrepreneurial development. One plenary session will deal with the issue of Islamic charity funds or trusts (waqf) created by philanthropic giving in Muslim communities which remain an underused social development instrument. These funds contain significant assets, estimated by some to exceed a value of $500bn annually. Waqf can not only be used in its traditional, real estate-related form, but also in movable form of cash, potentially creating wide-reaching opportunities for social investment. Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair, chairman of Dubai-based Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said the concept was about harnessing the abundance of underutilised capital for social development.

Fidor to provide digital backbone for ADIB

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has partnered with Fidor Bank to launch the region’s first 'community based digital bank'. The new platform is designed to fit the lifestyle of millennial consumers also known as Generation Y. Fidor Bank is Europe’s original digital challenger bank. The bank centres around an online community, where users can exchange financial advice and also help co-create banking products. According to CEO of ADIB, Tirad Al Mahmoud, the new platform will allow users to completely change the way they bank and manage their finances using digital technology to serve all their banking needs. The 'new digital bank' will be available for existing and new customers to sign up to in the upcoming months.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Said to Cut More Than 200 Jobs in #U.A.E.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has cut more than 200 jobs over the past three months. The cuts were made mostly in the retail business and about 100 people were dismissed last month. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank joins other lenders in the U.A.E. that have cut jobs to adjust to slower economic growth after oil prices halved over the past two years. Union National Bank dismissed about 50 people in August, while Emirates NBD, the nation’s biggest bank, reduced its workforce by more than 250 people at its small and medium enterprise and Islamic lending businesses in April.

#Qatar-backed fund seeks to improve lives in Muslim countries

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) was officially launched on Thursday. It was first announced two years ago by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and is now supported by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decision-making body approved projects worth $363mn for the first of the five years that the fund will be operational. These projects will be primarily in the Middle East and several Islamic and African countries. The funds will be used to protect communities from the risk of malaria and HIV/Aids, increase access to water and primary healthcare, and empower poor farmers to grow more food. Administered by the IsDB, the fund combines $2bn of IsDB financing with $500mn in grants from donors.

Emirates Islamic contributes AED 1 million to #Dubai #Charity Association

Emirates Islamic disbursed AED 1 million to Dubai Charity Association from its Zakat fund. The contribution will fund the association’s various charitable activities, such as helping the poor and needy and individuals in debt. The cheque was presented by Awatif Al Harmoodi, General Manager at Emirates Islamic and handed over to Abdul Rahim Gargash, Vice Chairman at Dubai Charity Association. In 2016, the bank has so far distributed more than AED 30 million to various charitable causes. Emirates Islamic has disbursed funds towards medical and rehabilitation equipment to government and privately run institutions including Ministry of Health, Ajman Club for disabled and Al Ihsan Medical Complex.

Emirates Islamic bank and the Muslim finance revolution

Mirroring the conventional banking sector, Islamic finance institutions are turning to IT directors to lead the change towards business innovation. Zubair Ahmed, head of IT and business innovation at Emirates Islamic Bank, says the IT department is no longer viewed as simply an enabler, but as a business innovator in its own right. Ahmed says many of the bank’s innovations are born in the IT department. The bank’s integrated tech innovation approach is yielding results. Emirates Islamic was recognised among Global Finance’s 2016 'The Innovators' of Islamic Finance for EI trade, a Shariah-compliant online trade finance and supply chain platform. In May 2016, it also became the first Islamic bank in the UAE to enable its customers to access basic account services via Twitter.

National Bonds unveils findings of financial health check for Q3 2016

National Bonds Corporation, a Shari'ah-compliant savings and investment company in the #UAE, announced the results of its financial health check for Q3 2016. The survey found that the majority of the UAE’s residents are yet to sign up for Takaful coverage while only a minority is covered by traditional insurance. Within the UAE national pool of respondents, 89% admitted to not being insured against disabilities through Takaful in contrast to 11% that have traditional coverage against disabilities. The financial health check also charted the financial stability of participants. The results of the present survey are encouraging and indicate that 67% of UAE nationals and 72% of expat residents plan to pay off their liabilities and become debt free by end of this year.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Islamic #Microfinance #Summit, September 26-27, 2016, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Islamic Microfinance Summit takes place on September 26-27, 2016 in Dubai and is organized by Uniglobal, a Prague-based provider of workshops and conferences. The theme of this conference is "raising awareness and ensuring compliant and targeted product development to aid poverty alleviation." Its goal is to promote Islamic microfinance, particularly to the international donor community.

#GCC’s Islamic banks have stronger liquidity profiles

Retail-focused Islamic banks in GCC countries have strong liquidity coverage ratios (LCRs) due to their large base of core retail customer deposits and low reliance on market-sensitive wholesale funding. According to Moody’s, retail deposits in 2015 comprised around 67% of Islamic banks’ customer deposits for the three GCC countries, compared to 40 for conventional banks. Islamic banks in GCC countries have become systemically important and continue to increase their market penetration, outpacing conventional banks. Sustained lower oil prices continue to reduce the flow of deposits and could lead to a gradual weakening of the LCR metrics for both Islamic and conventional banks.

Bahrain's GFH sells remaining 18 pct of Leeds United

A Dubai-based subsidiary of Islamic investment bank GFH Financial Group has sold its remaining 18 % stake in English football club Leeds United, ending nearly 4 years of Middle Eastern involvement in the club. GFH Capital sold the stake to Eleonora Sport, operated by Italian businessman Massimo Cellino. Eleonora now owns 100 % of the club, Leeds United said.

GFH bought Leeds United in December 2012 but within months began looking for new investment in the club, and in 2014 Cellino bought a majority stake in it. GFH Financial did not reveal the price at which it sold its remaining stake but said the deal would reflect positively on its financials and liquidity for 2016. Crippled during the global credit crisis in 2008, GFH Financial went through several debt restructurings but has resumed expanding in the financial services sector. In August it signed a memorandum of understanding to buy most of Bahrain's Bank Al Khair.

Opinion: Halal and Tayyib – the next wave

If we look back at the emergence of the Muslim Lifestyle markets as a global phenomenon, we can see an interesting pattern developing. From 2004 - 2007, Malaysia was the epicenter of the Halal movement, bringing the terms ‘Halal market’ and ‘Halal industry’ into the global business vocabulary. Bidding to become a global Halal hub, the development of their Halal food sector made Malaysia a role model for other countries looking to position themselves in this fast-growing marketplace. Abdalhamid David Evans, Founder, HalalFocus.net/ImaratConsultants.com, will be speaking about this topic at the Muslim Lifestyle Expo 2016 in Event City, Manchester on the 30 October 2016.

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