Asia

Exclusive - #Malaysia's Maybank prepares to spin off and list #insurance unit: sources

Malayan Banking (Maybank) is preparing to spin off and list its Etiqa insurance arm on the local stock exchange. Etiqa operates in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia and is estimated to be worth at least $1 billion. As part of the transaction, Maybank’s investors are expected to receive shares in the insurance company in proportion to their existing holding in the bank. Etiqa provides life and general insurance as well as family and general takaful. In 2017 Eitqa reported a record revenue of 6.2 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion). Profit before tax rose 18.5% to 1 billion ringgit last year. In March, Etiqa said it maintained its top position in Malaysia’s general insurance and general takaful segment with an 11.8% market share. It was ranked fourth in the life and family segment, with an 8.9% market share.

MBSB starts afresh as a full-fledged Islamic bank

MBSB Bank, the result of a merger between Malaysia Building Society and Asian Finance Bank, starts afresh as a full-fledged Islamic bank. According to group CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman, the bank intends to differentiate itself in the area of transactional banking, as well as in digital capabilities. One of the key targets in MBSB Bank’s three-year business plan is to have fee-based income account for at least 25% of its total income by the end of 2020. The bank hopes that its approach towards customers will also set it apart from other lenders. MBSB Bank is starting out with total assets of RM43.7 billion, making it the second largest standalone Islamic bank after Bank Islam Malaysia (RM57.7 billion). Personal financing constitutes the biggest portion of the bank's gross financing and is extended mainly to civil servants. MBSB plans to make a stronger push in the industrial hire purchase segment, which involves SME financing. Zaini plans to offer a lot more products and services for SMEs, especially in the area of current accounts.

Allianz still keen to acquire #takaful business

Despite a failed merger with HSBC Amanah Takaful a year ago, Allianz Malaysia is still keen to acquire a takaful business. According to Allianz CEO Zakri Khir, there is bright takaful business growth potential because the penetration rate in Malaysia is just 15%. Allianz Malaysia has recently sealed a partnership with insuretech start-up PolicyStreet to offer potential clients to purchase insurance policies online. Four Allianz digital products will be offered on PolicyStreet’s digital platform namely Enhanced Road Warrior, Smart Home Cover, Allianz Travel Care and Allianz Flight Care. In 2017, Allianz Malaysia's profits fell 7.7% to RM287.96 million from RM312.13 million on the back of 2.6% rise in revenue from RM4.68 billion to RM4.8 billion. Zakri said Allianz Malaysia was impacted by Bank Negara's detariffication of motor and fire insurances from July 1 2017.

#Bangladesh Bank suggests regulator encourage Islamic Shariah compliant investment certificate in capital market

The central bank of Bangladesh has suggested encouraging Islamic Shariah compliant investment certificate Sukuk in the capital market. Capital market regulator BSEC pointed out that other Muslim majority countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, KSA, UAE as well as non-Muslim majority countries like the UK and Singapore have Sukuk in their capital market. It also pointed out that Bangladesh needs to undertake measures to expand capital market for financing productive investments and infrastructural projects. Finance Minister Ama Muhith has recently expressed his plan to pave the way for the long-term financing of the capital market.

Maybank Islamic to grow trade financing biz

Malaysian Islamic banks are boosting their trade financing market share with various measures. Maybank Islamic CEO Mohamed Rafique Merican said the bank intended to grow its trade facilities in line with growing demand for Islamic finance in Malaysia. Mohamed Rafique was speaking to reporters after a forum on "Islamic Trade Finance: Revitalising Trade and Unlocking New Potential". He said a lot more could be done to boost Islamic trade facilities, which stood at 1.5% out of US$50 billion. RHB Islamic Bank CEO Datuk Adissadikin Ali said Islamic banks would need to collaborate with the financial technology players to provide e-commerce trade financing. He added that RHB Islamic Bank was developing an e-commerce trade financing platform to enable companies to boost their working capital and the platform was likely to be implemented next year.

#Malaysia remains lead in Islamic finance

Malaysia has great potential to broaden its market share and strengthen its leadership in Islamic finance. According to the latest report by the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre, Asia’s Islamic financial assets amounted to US$528.7 billion (RM2.05 trillion), or 26% of the world’s Shariah-compliant financial assets as at end-2017. Malaysia continued to be the main driver for both sukuk outstanding and issuance for the year, with a market share of 51% and 36.2% respectively as at end-2017. The country also led in the Islamic wealth management industry with US$28.3 billion (36.5% global share). It also ranked first in terms of number of funds with a total of 394 funds and 27.9% global share, followed by Pakistan with 147 funds and Indonesia with 143. In the banking sector, Malaysia ranked third globally after Iran and Saudi Arabia with a total Islamic banking assets of US$204.4 billion as at end-2017.

Syed Alwi is Agrobank’s new CEO

Agrobank has appointed Syed Alwi Mohamed Sultan as its new president and CEO. The appointment has received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance. Previously, he had held several senior management positions with various banks such as Bank Muamalat Malaysia, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Saadiq, The Islamic Bank of Asia and HL Bank Singapore. Syed Alwi has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a first-class master of business administration in Islamic finance from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Agrobank became a full-fledged Islamic bank in 2015. It provides Shariah-compliant banking products and funding to cater for the halal food industry and agriculture-related activities.

Public Mutual launches e-Islamic flexi allocation #fund

Public Mutual has on Tuesday launched an e-series fund called Public e-Islamic Flexi Allocation Fund (PeIFAF). The fund's objective is to achieve capital growth over the medium to long-term by investing up to 98% of its net asset value in Shariah-compliant equities or sukuk. Public Mutual CEO Yeoh Kim Hong said PeIFAF has a flexible fund mandate that enables the fund managers to capitalise on investment opportunities. The minimum initial and additional investment amount is only RM100 and the sales charge is up to 3.75%. The initial issue price for PeIFAF is 25 sen per unit during the 21-day initial offer period from Tuesday to April 23. To coincide with the launch of this fund, it is holding a campaign during the initial offer period. The campaign offers 203 prizes. The grand prize is RM3,000 of money market fund units.

MBSB rebrands AFB as MBSB Bank

Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) has rebranded its recently acquired Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB) as MBSB Bank. MBSB Bank's CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman said the bank would provide Shariah-compliant products and services, such as consumer banking, business banking and trade financing. He added that the bank would also focus on developing its financial technology capabilities to attract more customers. The lender has already embarked on several digitisation initiatives, including big data projects started in June 2017. MBSB Bank plans to launch its fintech capabilities for wealth management and trade facilities by the third quarter of this year, and to have Internet banking facilities ready by end-2018. MBSB finalised its acquisition of AFB in February for RM644.95 million with the latter becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of MBSB. With the transfer of all MBSB’s Shariah-compliant assets and liabilities to AFB, MBSB Bank is the second-largest full-fledged Islamic bank in the country.

Call for Good Practices on Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Activities

Click here to apply http://bit.ly/2tN5RAZ

Purpose of this call is to invite private and public sector to share their good practices on
•Islamic finance funded impact investments and dedicated vehicles
•impact investment vehicles in the OIC region
•Islamic social finance vehicles

for the mapping study that is being carried out under the Global Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Platform (GIFIIP). The selected cases will be analysed by the research team managed by IICPSD and IRTI. Subsequently the good practices, information on vehicles and further findings will be published as part of the study.

Investment Focus

#Malaysia central bank to launch revised #takaful operational framework

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) plans to revise its takaful operational framework. Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said the revised framework would be published for consultation before the middle of the year. He said it would strengthen the governance of takaful operators, including how takaful funds are managed, to further safeguard the interest of takaful participants. On the objective of 25% family takaful penetration by 2020, he said it was ambitious, but achievable. Muhammad noted that the industry was lagging in terms of migration to e-payments. He added that another area that is wide open for innovation was the integration of takaful with elements of waqf, sadaqah and zakat.

Republic of #Indonesia’s $3 Billion Sovereign #Green #Sukuk Offering

Indonesia issued a 5-year US$1.25 billion green Wakala Sukuk as the first issuance under its recently established Green Bond and Green Sukuk Framework. Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citigroup, CIMB, Dubai Islamic Bank and HSBC, acting as joint lead managers and joint bookrunners. The Republic intends to use the proceeds exclusively to finance green projects, including renewable energy, sustainable transport, waste management, climate-related projects and green buildings. Alongside the 5-year green Sukuk, Norton Rose Fulbright also acted for the joint lead managers and joint bookrunners in the Republic’s 10-year US$1.75 billion Wakala Sukuk issuance.

Bank Rakyat to continue Islamic Banker Programme for the second edition

Bank Rakyat has recently launched its second edition of the Islamic Banker Programme which aims to produce future leaders for the banking industry. The programme recently received recognition from the 26th World HRD Congress 2018 by winning three top awards: Innovation in Recruitment, Best Apprenticeship and Usage of Digital Media in Recruitment. Throughout the training period, each trainee will be assigned to a mentor from the senior management team. Initially, each trainee will go through a two-month training program before they undergo job rotation across the key business units within the Bank for 10 months. Then, they will be placed in a particular sector based on their respective strengths and interests for a year. At the end, their performance will be assessed before being offered permanent placement at Bank Rakyat. At the end of the two year internship, participants will also be awarded with the Chartered Professional in Islamic Finance (CPIF) certificate from the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF).

#Indonesia sells 8.44 trillion rupiah in retail #sukuk

The Indonesian government sold 8.44 trillion rupiah ($613.19 million) of sukuk bonds to local retail investors. The sales were slightly higher than the initially-allotted 8.11 trillion rupiah. The tradeable sukuk carry a fixed annual rate of 5.9%, similar to the average rate offered by Islamic banks for 12-month and longer time deposits. The sukuk was sold to a total of 17,922 Indonesians this year. Since the retail sukuk was first launched in 2009, the government has sold a total of 144.78 trillion rupiah of the debt to nearly 250,000 people.

How interfaith #philanthropy can minimize violence in the name of religion

Religion-based philanthropy entails sharing and assistance activities conducted without discrimination between ethnicity, religion or race. In Indonesia it is increasingly common for philanthropic agencies to collaborate and develop interfaith partnerships to carry out humanitarian missions in conflict and disaster areas. For example, The Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation assists the community of pesantren and builds housing for Muara Angke residents, who are predominantly Muslim. The catholic Karina Foundation develops emergency response and disaster risk reduction programs. Islamic Philanthropy Institutions such as Dompet Dhuafa, Lazismu, Rumah Zakat, PKPU, Aksi Cepat Tanggap, Wahid Institute, also work together and readily help non-Muslim communities. Interfaith philanthropy is especially important in the current environment in which the unity of Indonesia is under attack by religious separatists. Many institutions collaborate on running programs. Through collaboration, suspicion can be minimized and the programs can be run optimally.

ICB Islamic Bank hit by fresh liquidity crisis

ICB Islamic Bank has sought restructuring of the repayment package for depositors of its predecessor Oriental Bank on grounds of a liquidity crunch. The bank still has to return Tk 444.34 crore of now-defunct Oriental Bank's clients, which it was supposed to do by November 2021. ICB Islamic was supposed to refund all clients that had deposits of up to Tk 20 lakh with the Oriental Bank within the next three years. Once returning those clients' funds, ICB Islamic would have to move to refunding those who had deposits of up to Tk 50 lakh. Their claims will have to be settled over the next one and a half years. ICB Islamic has so far repaid Tk 1,521 crore of its predecessor's deposits of Tk 1,946 crore.

Project Ar-Rahn 2 listing oversubscribed

Muamalat Venture, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank Muamalat Malaysia had a second listing on Malaysia's Investment Account Platform. The investment book was oversubscribed by more than 1.05 times on the first day of its listing. Project Ar-Rahn 2 is an investment in a share of aggregate capital contribution of Muamalat Venture under the musharakah joint venture with Permodalan Kelantan, in selected branches of Islamic pawn broking (Ar-Rahn) business activities. The investment of RM20 million in Project Ar-Rahn 2 is for a tenure of one year and expected to generate a return of 7% per annum for investors.

MIMOS and INCIEF sign MOU for collaboration in the area of Islamic #Fintech

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Malaysia’s Applied Research and Development Centre MIMOS and the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), to develop a blueprint for an Islamic finance-based investment technology platform. The MOU was signed by INCEIF President Dato' Dr Azmi Omar and MIMOS President Ahmad Rizan Ibrahim. Under the MOU, the two institutions will collaborate in research and development, in particular the areas of Big Data Analytics, Deep Learning and Fintech. Further, INCEIF and MIMOS may also cooperate in field-testing, technology transfer and commercialisation of technological products.

'Waqf' can boost science

#Malaysia hosted a conference in which experts considered the relevance of waqf and how it could be engaged to alleviate poverty. In his keynote address, Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah explained that the concept of waqf preceded trusts and endowments. A donor endows a waqf with an asset and the waqf institution then spends its revenue in perpetuity on the fulfilment of public needs. The law governing waqf was borrowed by the English following the Crusades in the Holy Land. For example, Merton College at Oxford University was established with a financial endowment in 1264. This endowment has facilitated centuries of scholarship, learning and teaching. Sultan Nazrin highlighted the need for a better system for the governance of waqf. He believes that digital connectivity will open up new opportunities for innovative business models, as well as research and development-related investments, to unlock the full potential of waqf assets.

Green, Islamic investors find common ground with Indonesian #sukuk

#Indonesia became the first Asian sovereign to sell green sukuk, raising $1.25 billion via a five-year deal, alongside a $1.75 billion 10-year sukuk. Proceeds will be used on eligible projects, ranging from renewable energy to waste management. Indonesia’s sukuk was based on an agency contract known as wakala and also incorporated a green framework assessed by the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO). Such a convergence of investment principles could widen the appeal of sukuk beyond Asia and the Middle East to include ethical investors in Western countries. More transactions might be needed to fully test the appetite of green investors for sukuk, as Indonesia’s green sukuk saw stronger takeup from regional investors.

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