Asia

#Kazakhstan, #Malaysia plant seeds for green Islamic finance

Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) has gained the support of technology financier Malaysia Debt Ventures (MDV) to develop both green and Islamic finance in Kazakhstan. Under a newly agreed MoU, AIFC and MDV will work closely with each other to share best practices, expertise and knowledge in these two areas. Apart from sharing knowledge, both parties will also explore financing green projects using Islamic financing tools. While not fully operational yet, AIFC is keeping busy by setting the groundwork. Green finance received a huge boost earlier in January when the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to launch the Green Financial System for Kazakhstan project, financed by Finland. With eyes on a comprehensive green financial system, engaging MDV could culminate in a variety of Islamic financial products for sustainable eco-friendly projects including green Sukuk.

Yeow joins Alkhair International Islamic Bank as CEO

Alkhair International Islamic Bank (AKIIB) has appointed Yeow Tiang Hui as its chief executive officer effective Aug 1.
AKIIB said in a statement that he succeeded Datuk Adissadikin Ali, who left the bank last year to head RHB Islamic Bank. Yeow has worked at several multinational banks, including managing the multinational portfolio at Deutsche Bank and being vice-president of Citibank/Citicorp’s venture capital outfit and its head of commercial banking. From 2007 to 2016 he served as head of corporate banking at Kuwait Finance House in Malaysia.

#Malaysia in bid to lift Islamic finance

The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) announced that Malaysia could become the first country to incorporate the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Islamic finance. MIA president Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi said the accounting body was looking into the prospect. He added that MIA will come out with a book on how to apply the IFRS in Islamic finance, as many countries have not adopted it yet. The book will be launched later this month with the help of the regulators and banks. According to MIA, Malaysia adopted the IFRS in 2012, in keeping pace with global trends. The IFRS brings transparency, accountability and efficiency to financial markets. Faiz said MIA’s role was assisting Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) to prepare the market for IFRS. For that, MIA carries out various workshops and courses.

Amendment of Islamic financing bill pushed

The Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) is currently pushing to fast track the institutionalization of the Islamic Financing Mechanism. MINDA assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said they are proposing the amendment in order to have specific mechanisms for full implementation of the Islamic Finance Mechanism. He added the bill in the Senate is already in the committee level and are already waiting for the same version to be filed in the House of Representatives. Montenegro said they wish to have the Islamic Financing Mechanism to pilot at Marawi to help with the reconstruction efforts in the area. It is also targeted to be a channel for the Middle Eastern countries willing to shell out financial support for the victims of the Marawi siege.

Shahjalal Bank director wants to sell holdings violating rules

Mohammed Younus, a director of Shahjalal Islami Bank, gave a newspaper advertisement to sell his holding in the bank violating securities laws. Directors of listed companies must give announcement on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website if they want to sell their shares, but Younus did not make any such announcement. The board of the bank felt embarrassment about the issue as the director has not informed it about his planned sale of shares. The bank's executive director Subhankar Saha said this type of advertisement was undesirable. The current market price of 2 percent shares of Shahjalal Islami Bank is about Tk 26 crore.

ICD and Saturna launch #sustainable Islamic #fund

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Saturna have announced the launch of the ICD Global Sustainable Fund. The fund is designed for investors who seek to align their investment goals with social values. The launch of the fund enhances Malaysia’s position as the marketplace of innovation. ICD serves as one of the Fund’s seed investors and advisor, while Saturna is the Fund’s investment manager. The Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in equities of global issuers that demonstrate sustainable characteristics. The firm uses a proprietary ESG rating system to identify issuers with sustainable characteristics. Investors can buy the Fund with no sales charge, paying only low administrative fees and transparent distribution fees.

Fitch Rates Bank Jambi's First #Sukuk Issuance 'A(idn)'

Fitch Ratings Indonesia has assigned a National Long-Term Rating of 'A(idn)' to PT Bank Pembangunan Daerah Jambi's proposed Sukuk issuance. The proposed issuance is the bank's first sukuk with a total amount of IDR 120 billion and a maturity of three years from the issuance date. 'A' National Ratings denote expectations of low default risk relative to other issuers or obligations in the same country. Bank Jambi's rating reflects Fitch's view that the bank is important to the regional government of Jambi province on Sumatra island. Bank Jambi is owned by the government of Jambi province and by the governments of various municipalities. Although Bank Jambi is a small bank in the Indonesian banking industry, it has a strong franchise and has an important role in supporting development in the region.

Shariah compliant #Robo #Advisor ‘Algebra’ to pilot in Asia before going global

#Malaysia-based private wealth management firm Farringdon Group is all set to launch its Shariah compliant Robo Adviser 'Algebra'. A robo-advisor is an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use of human financial planners. Farrigdon Group CEO Stuart Yeoman said that Algebra can take minimum investments worth $4000 and the launch is planned for next month. Before going global, Farringdon is piloting the product in Asia frst. Algebra is backed by smart beta trading algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio and blends it with Sukuk bond funds to derive a risk weighted portfolio. The robo-advisor will follow basic Islamic principles. It has received the approval of Shariah Scholar Datuk Dr Daud Bakar of Amanie Advisors for its shariah investment strategy.

Bursa #Malaysia-I Welcomes Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd As Islamic Participating

Bursa Malaysia added Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd (Inter-Pac Securities) to its Islamic Participating Organisations (Islamic POs) list. Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan welcomed the new company and said that with this addition investors would have a wider choice of Islamic POs to represent them. Inter-Pac Securities Director Tan Mun Choy expressed his gratitude for Bursa Malaysia's approval to carry out Islamic stockbroking services.
With the inclusion of Inter-Pac Securities, there are now 12 Islamic POs carrying out Islamic stockbroking services of which 1 is on a full-fledged basis (BIMB Securities) and the other 11 are on a window basis.

Shariah Compliant #Robo to Launch

#Malaysia's Farringdon Group is about to launch its new Robo-adviser service which follows Shariah investment guidelines. Their new system branded Algebra relies on smart beta trading algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio. It blends the data with fixed interest Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) or Sukuk bond funds to derive a risk weighted portfolio suitable for any investor. Its shariah investment strategy is approved by Shariah Scholar Datuk Dr Daud Bakar of Amanie Advisors, the official launch date is set for July 10th 2017. By asking questions online, Algebra can complete a fact find and calculate its clients risk attitude and this cuts out the need for expensive consultants. Together with the Shariah version of this platform Farrington have also built and incorporated a Non-Shariah option.

Maybank Islamic named Asia-Pacific's Islamic Bank of the Year 2017

Maybank Islamic was named the Islamic Bank of the Year 2017 in Asia-Pacific by The Banker. The bank also received recognition in the country awards category for Malaysia. The Banker noted that Tier 1 capital and total Shariah-compliant assets enjoyed notable growth, climbing by 12% and 16%, respectively. Maybank Islamic’s return on equity for the year was 15.4%, while its cost-to-income ratio was a respectable 36% and non-performing financing were just 0.8%. The bank’s steady growth pace in Singapore and Indonesia also contributed to its recognition as the best in Asia-Pacific. Maybank Islamic's CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican attributed the bank’s achievements to its employees and sound risk management practices. He said the bank intends to further enhance its global brand visibility, while also deepening its existing regional presence.

#Brunei's largest bank aims to raise up $500 mln in #Malaysian #listing -IFR

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam aims to raise as much as $500 million in an initial public offering (IPO) and the bank will be listed on the Malaysian bourse. JPMorgan and Malayan Banking (Maybank) are set to be joint global coordinators for the initial public offering of $200 million-$500 million this year. The IPO is expected to raise around $300 million but the final amount will depend on the size of the greenshoe option. Brunei is one of the world's richest countries on a per capital basis. The country does not have a stock exchange although its central bank last year announced draft rules to form one.

ABAC backs development of Islamic Infra Investment

The #Philippine team of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has expressed interest in developing the Islamic Infrastructure Investment Program (I3P), making it a priority for the country. ABAC Philippines said it would look into how the Philippines can tap into the available funds from the Islamic banks in the region. The advisory council has identified infrastructure investment, areas involving people and labor, and micro, small and medium enterprise development as key priority areas for the country. For people-to-people connectivity, ABAC Philippines agreed to continue advocating for labor mobility and working on the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). It will also work with the Department of Foreign Affairs on how to improve access to ABTC and to increase penetration of the travel card among Filipino business people.

Abu Dhabi builds a '#fintech bridge' to Asia

Abu Dhabi is taking ambitious steps to tap into financial technology. The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) signed a cooperation deal with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The goal of the arrangement is to spur financial entrepreneurship through mutual exchanges of fintech know-how. Last November the ADGM launched the FinTech Regulatory Laboratory, or RegLab, to provide a platform for foreign players to innovate. So far five companies have been selected to participate. Richard Teng, CEO of the emirate's Financial Services Regulatory Authority, said there was a clear trend toward cultivating sectors besides oil and the cooperation with Singapore is designed to make fintech the driving force of economic diversification. In his view, Asian financial companies have a big market in the Middle East to develop and explore business in wealth management, remittances and other fields.

Maybank Islamic appoints Zainal Abidin as chairman

Maybank Islamic has announced the appointment of lawyer Zainal Abidin as its chairman. Zainal has been a director of Maybank Islamic since 2010 and previously served as chairman of Maybank Trustees. Prior to that, Zainal was a director of Malayan Banking (Maybank) from July 2009 to April 2014. Zainal, 63, is a practising corporate and commercial lawyer. As the founder and senior partner, Zainal established the firm Zainal Abidin in 1987.

TH confirms backing Badlisyah for Bank Islam, denies bad blood with board

Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has confirmed its support of deputy CEO Datuk Badlisyah Abdul Ghani to lead Bank Islam Malaysia following the retirement of the bank’s group managing director, Datuk Seri Zukri Samat. TH has a 52.5% stake in BIMB Holdings which wholly owns Bank Islam. Bank Islam’s board had already put forward its choice, Khairul Kamarudin, to Bank Negara and the decision now lies with the central bank. TH CEO Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah confirmed recommending Badlisyah to be appointed to lead Bank Islam. He added that the choice of leadership and succession is subject to nomination of the board of directors and approval by Bank Negara Malaysia. He said TH was never at odds with the board of directors.

MIDF Amanah to introduce new shariah #fund for high net worth investors

#Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) Amanah will introduce a new Shariah Equity Wholesale Fund for high net worth investors with a target to raise RM100 million. The fund will have two special key features, the first being that the fund will have zero entry fee, which means no sales fee will be charged to investors. Secondly, the fund will pay zakat on behalf of its investors. MIDF Amanah Asset Management and Amanah International Finance have also transitioned into fully Shariah-compliant entities.
The equity portfolios under MIDF Amanah have seen an overall exceptional performance in the first quarter this year with gains ranging from 10% to a high of 15%. MIDF managing director Datuk Mohd Najib Abdullah said the conversion of the asset management arm into a Shariah-compliant entity will cater to the ever growing demand for Islamic finance products and services.

#TA #Securities gets nod to #offer #Islamic #stockbroking #services

Bursa Malaysia Bhd has added TA Securities Holdings Bhd to its Islamic participating organisations list, making it the 11th stockbroking house and Islamic PO partnering with Bursa Malaysia-i. TA Enterprise Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah stated, that the inclusion will complement and broaden its product offerings.
Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said in a statement: "We hope that with the support from our brokers, we will be able to provide a conducive marketplace for the Shariah investing community which will, in turn, continue to spur the growth and vibrancy of the Islamic capital market domestically and regionally.”

Bank Islam #Brunei said to choose #Malaysia for US$500mil IPO

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam has picked Malaysia as the destination for a planned initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as US$500mil. The IPO would be the first from a company based in Brunei, an oil-rich country without its own stock exchange. First-time share sales in Malaysia raised US$833mil so far this year, up from US$235mil during the same period last year. Shareholders of Bank Islam include the Brunei finance ministry, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, private equity firm Fajr Capital and about 6,000 Bruneian investors. The lender had 7.5 billion Brunei dollars (US$5.4bil) of total group assets at the end of 2015. Its Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio was 23.3%.

Source: 

http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/05/31/bank-islam-brunei-said-to-choose-malaysia-for-us$500mil-ipo/

Zukri: Islamic banking sector ripe for M&As

According to outgoing Bank Islam director Datuk Seri Zukri Samat, there are too many Islamic banks in Malaysia, which means that this segment of the local financial sector is ripe for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Zukri is also advocating direct listings of such banks. There are 16 Islamic banks in Malaysia of which two are full-fledged banks, eight are subsidiaries of conventional banks and the remaining, foreign banks. Zukri hopes to see the creation of mega Islamic banks that can potentially become regional champions under the Asean banking integration framework. It is not yet known who will replace Zukri, but one name has already been submitted to Bank Negara for approval. Bank Islam’s parent company BIMB is at the same time contemplating a group-wide restructuring to fulfil regulatory compliance requirements.

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