Americas

Al Rajhi ahead of major international banks in market value

According to a survey published originally by the newspaper Al Qabas it results that Al Rajhi Bank with its market value of USD 22.4 bn was ahead of leading global banks, including: Morgan Stanley with USD 20.88 bn, Deutsche Bank with USD 13.83 bn, Barclays with USD 11.58 bn, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) with USD 10.93 bn and Citibank with USD 10.63 bn.

Eiger launches Sharia compliant coffee fund

The Hedge Fund Review reported on 24 February that the Coffee trading advisor Eiger Trading Advisors has targeted a March launch for four coffee related funds. The funds aim to give investors exposure to the coffee markets through the choice of a hedge fund, a Shariah-compliant fund and two tracker funds. The funds will be domiciled in the Cayman Islands and will launch with approximately $150 million collectively.

The Shariah-compliant Eiger Green Coffee Fund will provide Islamic investors with access to coffee as an asset class. It aims for returns of around 12% a year. The company decided to launch the funds based on its understanding of the coffee industry and the growers. This, the company said, will enable it to exploit trades and generate attractive risk adjusted returns for investors. The funds will target mainly Middle Eastern investors but will not limit itself to particular investors.

The share class will be in dollars. Newedge will act as prime broker for the Coffee Alpha Fund and BNP Paribas will be the prime broker for the Green Coffee Fund. All three funds have a 2% management fee with a 20% performance fee with a high watermark.

Thomson Reuters Appoints Rushdi Siddiqui as Head of Islamic Finance

Mr. Siddiqui joined Thomson Reuters from Dow Jones, where he was Global Director for their Islamic Market Indices at Thomson Reuters he is appointed Rushdi Siddiqui to lead its Islamic Finance business.

Thomson Reuters, which has been active in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia since 1865, has strong Islamic Finance assets covering leading content, news, analytics and trading capabilities. In this newly created role, Mr. Siddiqui will be utilizing these assets and working closely with Islamic finance and banking professionals including fund managers, treasury, financial hubs, regulators, stock exchanges, central banks, Takafol (insurance) entities, Halal industry, intra-OIC (57 Muslim countries), trade, investment, as well as others to strengthen and grow this business.

Basil Moftah is Managing Director for Thomson Reuters in the Middle East and Africa.

Emaar US subsidiary files for bankruptcy protection Chapter 11

The US subsidiary of Emaar Properties, John Laing Homes, has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to sharp decline in home sales.

University Bank Receives the American Bankers Association's Community Bank Award for 2009

University Bank was nationally acknowledged by the American Bankers Association for its innovative programs to increase homeownership opportunities at the American Bankers Association's National Conference for Community Bankers in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 17.

The selection committee lauded University Bank for its innovative programs such as home financings for Muslim customers. Muslims are much less likely to be homeowners on average due to religious prohibitions on the payment or receipt of interest. University Bank designed a program to meet these needs, which has so far resulted in over USD 50 mn of financings for the purchase of homes by Muslim customers of the bank.

Islamic Securitization - The Right Way Forward?

Heiko Hesse, Andreas Jobst and Juan A. Sole published on RGEmonitor on 13 February an analysis regarding Islamic Securitization and the grown interest for Islamic finance during the financial crisis.

Islamic finance is driven by the general precept of extending religious doctrine in the shari’ah to financial agreements and transactions. Predatory lending, deteriorating underwriting standards, and a series of incentive problems between originators, arrangers, and sponsors, of which all have infested the conventional securitization process, belie fundamental Islamic principles.

The article linked in the source relates the characteristics of this form of securitization to calls for enhanced disclosure and standardization, ratings agency reforms, and better transparency of origination and underwriting practices in conventional structured finance. In particular, it assesses the potential of conflicts of interest (which became apparent in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis) to contaminate the integrity of the securitization process if it were conducted in compliance with shari’ah principles.

Western companies looking to Sukuk

Cecilia Valente and Frederik Richter reported 10 February on Reuters, that Western companies, especially in the UK and France, are considering issuing Sukuk to tap Middle Eastern investors.

Dow Jones Islamic Market Index Monthly Performance Report

Press Release - full text attached:

New York (January 27, 2009) — Based on the close of trading on January 26, the global Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index, which measures the performance of 100 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks globally, lost -5.55% month-to-date, closing at 1646.71. In comparison, the Dow Jones Global Titans 50 Index, which measures the 50 biggest companies worldwide, posted a loss of -9.00%, closing at 131.03.

- The Dow Jones Islamic Market Asia/Pacific Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in the Asia/Pacific region, decreased -9.90%, closing at 1252.00. The Dow Jones Asian Titans 50 Index, in comparison, posted a loss of -11.40%, closing at 90.89.

- Measuring Europe, the Dow Jones Islamic Market Europe Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of the 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in Europe, closed at 1596.39, a loss of -7.60%, while the pan-European blue chip Dow Jones STOXX 50 Index lost -10.97%, closing at 1926.07.

S&P lowered rating on East Cameron Gas Co (Sukuk) 2006

Reuters published the release of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on 14 January regarding the downgrading of East Cameron Gas Co.'s USD 165.67 mn Sukuk series 2006 to 'CC' from 'CCC+' and placed it on CreditWatch with negative implications. The downgrade reflects the negative impact caused by shortfall enforcement event on the overriding royalty interest in oil and gas reserves (ORRI), which is the primary collateral for the Sukuk.

New Islamic ETF

US based Javelin Investment Management LLC plans to launch the JETS Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund according to the Wall Street Journal on 8 January. Further details were not provided.

Crisis offsets Islamic wealth management 2008 gain

Guardian reported based on Reuters on 7 January that market volatility wiped out all of the asset gains made by the Islamic fund management industry in the year to September 2008, citing US-based research and data provider Cerulli Associates. Sharia-compliant fund managers had assets of USD 65 bn at the end of the 3rd quarter 2008, including assets managed via discretionary mandates for institutions and high net-worth individuals and mutual funds. Assets invested in Islamic-compliant mutual funds rose by 50 % while the number of such funds doubled in the three years to 2008. Islamic mutual funds alone accounted for USD 35 bn-- up from USD 23.2 bn gathered in 2005. Sukuk funds remained a rare offering. Once markets stabilise this industry can potentially expand at a rate of above 10 % a year, the report said. Saudi Arabia is currently the largest domestic market for shariah investments. Challenges named in a poll by Cerulli were named the Sharia compliance costs, convincing investors of the Sharia compliance, the discrepancy in Sharia standards and the lack of 3rd party distribution.

Report order form: http://www.cerulli.com/pdfs/2008_Shariah_Info_Packet.pdf

Islamic Microfinance

Dear All,

Please post here any information, concepts and ideas to foster Islamic Microfinance.

Best regards,

IslamicFinance.de

Academic Research Papers

Dear Members,

Please share your opinion about the following proposal in regard to

- Academic Research Papers

This forum could facilitate to publish your research papers and having them rated by peers afterwards. This would speed up the time from production to publishing tremendously compared to traditional journals.

It also gives a chance to see unusual papers published, however, a good number of submissions might be of lower quality at the same time.

The action question: Is there interest in the community to use such a platform in this way???

Please comment!!!

New IFSB documents on Capital Adequacy and Liquidity Management

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) released on 1 April that the IFSB Council adopted two documents to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry.

In its 12th meeting held at the Islamic Development Bank's (IDB) headquarters in Jeddah on March 26th 2008, the Council of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) resolved to approve two documents that aim to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry. The two documents are:

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

Technical Note on Issues in Strengthening Liquidity Management of Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services: The Development of Islamic Money Markets (Technical Notes)

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

Lawyer Michael McMillen joins Fulbright & Jaworski

The reknown Islamic finance specialist lawyer, Michael McMillen, joins Fulbright & Jaworski as partner to lead its global Islamic finance practice. He used to work previously for Dechert and King & Spalding.

Source: legalweek.com

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Sukuk market challenged by subprime crisis

Arthur Macdonald reported in Gulf Daily News that the Sukuk market has suffered from the global financial crisis, but it is likely to recover. It impacted pricing and access to investors. Further the discussion on the Dollar peg of Gulf currencies created addtional uncertainties. Nevertheless the market has grown in ten years from millions to billions, participants of a Sukuk conference in Bahrain said.

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=211884&Sn=BUSI&IssueID=...

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