Saudi Arabia

#Master in Islamic Finance

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) in collaboration with IE Business School offers a training program for the development of executives across the Islamic finance industry. The Master in Islamic Finance program has a blended format, combining on-site periods in Spain and Saudi Arabia with dynamic, interactive online modules to minimize the time away from work. The length of the training is 13 months and intake starts in October 2017. Throughout the program, participants will obtain practical knowledge of high-level financial tools, develop practical Islamic Finance technical skills and acquire leadership skills. Upon program completion participants receive a University Private Degree from IE Business School and IE Universidad. IE Business School is a school within IE Universidad, which is a University officially accredited by the Spanish education authorities.

#Saudi Arabia nudges yields down in 13b riyal #sukuk sale

Saudi Arabia auctioned 13 billion riyals ($3.5 billion) of local currency sukuk, with the offer 295% subscribed. It sold 2.1 billion riyals of five-year, 7.7 billion riyals of seven-year and 3.2 billion riyals of 10-year sukuk. The size of the issue was down slightly from the government’s offer in July, when it sold 17 billion riyals and attracted 51 billion of bids. The ministry qualified 13 Saudi banks to buy its sukuk issues in the primary market but hopes other institutional investors will eventually buy in the secondary market. Also, yields on Riyadh’s internationally issued US dollar sukuk have come down by about 12 to 15 basis points since the last domestic sale. Investment expert Mohieddine Kronfol said the way in which domestic and international Saudi yields were linked was a positive sign for Riyadh’s effort to develop a healthy debt market.

#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.

DGCX to launch region’s first Sharia compliant Spot #Gold contract

The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) and Ayedh Dejem Group have agreed to develop and launch the Middle East’s first Sharia compliant Spot Gold contract to be traded on an international exchange. This development is reflective of the growing potential of the Saudi Arabian and wider GCC regions Sharia compliant gold markets. Ayedh Bin Dejem, Chairman for the Group, said this cross-border collaboration offered access to the regional gold and commodities market. It provides customers with improved hedging and investment solutions in compliance with Sharia law. DGCX Chief Executive Gaurang Desai added that Amanie Advisors LLC, the leading global Islamic Finance advisory firm, have been selected to advise on the initiative. The launch of this product appealing to a wider range of investors in the region is an ideal way for the Exchange to extend its reach.

#Saudi developer Jabal Omar to raise 4b riyals via #sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar Development plans to raise 4 billion riyals (Dh3.91 billion or $1.06 billion) with local currency sukuk issues. Bank Al Bilad has been hired to arrange the fund-raising, but other banks are likely to have leading roles too. The developer’s flagship project, Jabal Omar, is within walking distance of the Holy Mosque in Makkah. It includes commercial malls, residential units and hotels over an area of 230,000 square metres. Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector was hit hard last year, with prices declining 8.7%, as a result of the government’s austerity measures after a slump in international oil prices. Jabal Omar missed in January last year the first repayment, worth 650 million riyals. It amended the terms of the loan in February 2016 to postpone the date, the first payment on the facility is now due in 2019 and the loan will mature in 2024. Jabal Omar has also borrowed 4 billion riyals in February 2015, then 8 billion riyals in September 2015. It is not clear whether the planned sukuk would be used as new funding or to refinance some of the company’s existing debt.

Moody's granted licence to conduct credit #rating activities in the Kingdom of #Saudi Arabia

The Capital Market Authority (CMA) authorised Moody's Investors Service to conduct credit rating activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Managing Director Monica Merli welcomed the announcement, emphasizing the Kingdom's increasing prominence in the debt capital markets. Saudi Arabia is a key market for Islamic finance, an area in which Moody's is recognised as a global thought leader through ratings, research and speaking engagements at leading conferences. The Kingdom completed the world's largest ever inaugural Sukuk issuance at $9 billion in April 2017, a transaction rated A1 by Moody's. Moody's currently rates 140 issuers and 92 debt programmes across the Middle East, including leading coverage in rating Islamic financial institutions and Sukuk.

#Qatar# Islamic #Bank #offers #certificates of deposit after Q2 outflow – Nasdaq

The Qatar Islamic Bank aims to boost its deposit base by offering certificates of deposit in Qatari riyals and US$, after it was hit by an outflow of money due to sanctions against Qatar by its neighbouring Gulf countries. The bank said this weekend, that it was offering 1 and 2 year CDs in its 2nd series of such papers. Its first series was launched End of 2015. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar beginning of June this year, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. This prompted some firms and individuals from those states to pull money out of the Qatari banks. As a result, deposits in the Qatari banks shrank 1.8 % from the previous month in June. Qatar Islamic Bank was particularly hard hit, with its customer deposits falling to US$26.6 billion at end of June, according to its financial statements.

#Sharjah says no immediate plan to issue #sukuk

According to officials, Sharjah does‘nt have immediate plans for a sukuk, contrary to previous media reports. These had suggested that Sharjah had hired HSBC for a US dollar sukuk programme which could happen in the 4th quarter of 2017.
But, Tom Koczwara, Director, Debt Management Office, Finance Department at Government of Sharjah reiterated that the situation is still the same as in early May. “There is currently no immediate plan for a further sukuk issuance,” Koczwara said in an email. “The Debt Management Office reviews all financing options on an ongoing basis, assessing market conditions and the government’s financing requirements, and we will make appropriate recommendations on the different options to the relevant government authorities.“
S&P expects the Emirate’s fiscal deficit to narrow to 1.9 % of GDP in 2017 compared to closer to 3 % of GDP in 2016.

GCC #Islamic #insurance companies to #face #headwinds: S&P Global

Islamic insurers in the GCC will probably continue to face headwinds, despite a better overall. The forcasted slowdown follows years of annual growth in gross premiums of up to 20 %, which was mainly driven by the introduction of new mandatory covers, as well as strong increases in premium rates in Saudi Arabia, as new covers and actuarial pricing guidelines were adopted, S&P Global Ratings noted yesterday.
“Now that more policies are adequately priced, overall premium growth has slowed,” said S&P Global Ratings’ credit analyst Emir Mujkic. “The slowdown in premium growth has also been influenced by lower economic activity across all GCC states, as governments are trying to reduce or delay their spending due to lower revenues from hydrocarbon sales,” Mujkic added.

#Indonesia takes big step towards #boosting I#slamic #finance industry

Indonesia, that is so far a behind in developing a comprehensive Islamic finance industry, has taken a big leap towards the creation of a supportive framework for Shariah-compliant banking end of July. On that day, the country’s President Joko Widodo inaugurated the National Committee for Shariah Finance, as part of the government’s push to make Indonesia a global hub for the Islamic financial industry.
It has been tasked to accelerate, expand and develop Shariah-compliant financial services to support the country’s development, National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said in a statement. The ministry is the one that introduced its master plan for the development of the country’s Islamic finance future last year.

New #Efforts to #Boost #Sharia #Banking in #Indonesia

Although between 85 and 90 % of the Indonesian population is Muslim, Islamic banking, also known as sharia banking, remains underdeveloped in the country. In 2016 sharia banking assets only accounted for 5.3 % of total assets in Indonesia's banking sector. But at the same time in countries like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia these figures are much higher at 51.1 % and 23.8 %, respectively.
In order to boost Islamic banking in his country, President Joko Widodo formed the National Committee for Sharia Finance. This institution was installed to investigate and tackle the challenges surrounding sharia banking in Indonesia. Together with the Indonesian Islamic Economy Expert Association, KNKS is tasked to unite the vision and strategy of all stakeholders in this industry and turn the country into a global center for Islamic banking.
General Chairman of the IAEI Bambang Brodjonegoro said, the challenges in Indonesia's Islamic banking industry involve both the supply and demand side. The lack of business sectors that are based on Islamic banking makes it tough for the industry to develop, he added.

#Saudi finance ministry says domestic #sukuk program established

Saudi Arabia's ministry of finance has established a program to issue local currency sukuk, as the government covers a large budget deficit caused by low oil prices. The program has been submitted to the Capital Market Authority, the ministry said without specifying when the first sukuk issue would take place. Saudi commercial bankers said they expected the first issue in the next few days and believed 10 billion riyals ($2.7 billion) would be offered. The ministry noted that 13 domestic banks had qualified to participate in the sukuk issues. The Saudi government issued its first international sukuk in April and raised $9 billion.

Alinma Bank's CEO on Growth Strategy, #Sukuk Issuance

In this interview Abdulmohsen Al-Fares, CEO of Alinma Bank, discusses the growth in the company's balance sheet, credit growth, their Sukuk issuance and competition from other banks. Alinma Bank has maintained its growth pace and Al-Fares is optimistic about the upcoming Saudi Arabian government sukuk. It is an opportunity not only for companies and banks, but also for the secondary markets. Timing and size of the sukuk has not been decided yet. In his opinion, competition from other banks will not affect Alinma Bank, as they will compete only in very small segments, not in retail. He added that the stand-off with Qatar would not have a negative impact on the Saudi economy, as the kingdom's economy is strong and the economic relationship with Qatar is small in size.

#Saudi #insurer Enaya to offer Sharia-compliant policies

Health insurer Saudi Enaya has joined hands with Shariyah Review Bureau, a global Sharia Advisory firm, to offer Sharia-compliant value creating policies. CEO Lee Shurey stated that offering Sharia compliant products provides a tremendous opportunity to strengthen Enaya’s position in the region. The company had already identified Islamic cooperative insurance as a major potential more than three years ago. Enaya's HR director Moneer Brembali said that the insurer has undertaken several initiatives over the years and this agreement with SRB is another demonstration of their commitment to customers. He added that SRB’s Sharia Review Certification and Audit experience will complement the company's knowledge. SRB is a Sharia Advisor which currently serves 24% of the Saudi Cooperative Insurance market in the kingdom. It also has an established record of innovation to expand and improve leading insurance practices.

World’s Largest Islamic Bank Successfully Completes Ripple #Blockchain Trial

Saudi Arabia’s largest bank recently completed its first cross-border transfer using Ripple technology. Having Al Rajhi Bank on board is a major validation for the blockchain service provider. Money was transferred between Al Rajhi Bank offices across Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The transfer took mere seconds to complete and reduced fees to a bare minimum. Completing this trial will help Saudi Arabia digitize the customer banking experience even further. More specifically, digitizing the banking experience will allow for faster and cheaper transactions. Al Rajhi Bank runs over 200 remittance centers across the country. The whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may soon see mass adoption of Ripple’s ecosystem.

#Saudi Arabia's Sedco Capital launches #green #investment strategy

Saudi Arabia's Sedco Capital has launched an investment strategy combining environment-conscious and sharia-compliant principles. The move could help develop green investing in the Middle East and make Islamic finance appeal to a wider client base. Green finance is increasingly important for Islamic firms seeking to differentiate themselves from peers. Sedco said its new strategy, dubbed Prudent Ethical Investing, would focus on due diligence and transparency around investment structures, while integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. The firm launched two ESG funds in 2012 and has published research which showed how a combined investment approach
can outperform conventional funds. According to its research, such a strategy can lead to investments with lower financial leverage and better cash conversion qualities, adding a prudential element to those portfolios.

STC Establishes Venture Capital #Fund

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has decided to form a $500 million venture capital fund to develop digital innovation in the region. During a news conference in Riyadh, STC CEO Khaled Biyari said the huge growth of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia represents an additional value to the expected success of the new fund. He stressed that Saudi Arabia has ambitious youths who have entered the field of e-commerce and the digital sector and achieved success. STC Ventures CEO Abdulrahman Tarabzouni said that the first investments of the new fund will be launched in the first quarter of 2017.

ICD, stakeholders tackle opportunities, challenges

On the occasion of the Islamic Development Bank Group 42nd annual meeting, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) organized a side event entitled ICD Clients Day. During the event, ICD seized the opportunity to meet with potential clients and stakeholders from private sectors. In addition, ICD presented its achievements in 2016 and awarded its Best Clients for 2016, namely Coris Bank International, Vitamed Medical Diagnostic Center and Al-Qadi Specialty Hospital. ICD general manager Khaled Al-Aboodi opened the session welcoming all the participants. Later on, Thomson Reuters presented the last edition of the Islamic Finance Development report. The event was a chance to share knowledge, to assess new opportunities and to network with the decision-makers, industry leaders and experts.

Islamic Development Bank launches Innovation #Forum to empower youth

The week-long Innovation Forum hosted by the Islamic Development Bank brought together international experts as well as youth to discuss ways to foster an innovation culture. Experts agree that the major challenges of the IDB member countries include cultural barriers, lack of adequate investment in research and development and a low rate of graduates in scientific fields. Dr. Mimics Begivic, innovation specialist at the UNDP Regional Center for Europe and CIS, said that youth unemployment is a stubborn problem faced by countries that has both a direct and indirect cost on governments. Dr. Nabeel Koshak, president of Baha University, said that there remains a gap in funding to support SMEs in the Islamic world. In Saudi Arabia, the last five years have seen a boost in innovation. Dr. Koshak said the major obstacles for Saudi SMEs are the regulations, followed by competing and entering the market.

#Saudi Electricity in talks with banks for dollar #sukuk issue - sources

State-controlled utility Saudi Electricity is in talks with regional and international banks about issuing a US dollar-denominated sukuk. A number of companies in the kingdom are considering sukuk issuance to offset a decline in revenues due to lower oil prices. Oil giant Saudi Aramco issued a debut $3 billion-equivalent sukuk in the Saudi local market in April, while ACWA Power is expected to issue an international bond of at least $600 million this week. Saudi Electricity issued $2.5 billion in sukuk in 2014, split between a $1.5 billion sukuk maturing in 2024 and $1 billion due in 2044. The company recently repaid a $500 million five-year sukuk it issued in 2012.

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