Asia

VBI to take Islamic finance to next level of growth

#Malaysia is introducing value-based intermediation (VBI) to take its Islamic finance industry to the next level of growth. As a first step, Maybank Islamic initiated the pilot launch of its rent-to-own (RTO) home scheme, called HouzKEY, targeted at properties priced under RM1 million. For now, the product is limited to the bank’s employees but should become available to the public early next year. The bank is aiming for a portfolio size of RM1 billion within the first year. According to experts, this is just the beginning of more RTO schemes to come as several other Islamic banks are expected to launch their own versions. BIMB Holdings group CEO Malkit Singh Maan says the bank is hoping to launch its RTO product for affordable homes in the first quarter of next year. Other VBI products that banks may offer in the future are green technology financing and green sukuk.

#Takaful #Malaysia forms partnership with Ambank Islamic

Syarikat Takaful Malaysia said it has formed a partnership with AmBank Islamic and will market its general takaful products across the country. The takaful operator said that general takaful products for motor, fire/house and personal accident will be distributed across Ambank Islamic's distribution channels. The two companies will also promote new general takaful solutions tailored to Ambank Islamic's customers. Takaful Malaysia group CEO Datuk Sri Mohamed Hassan Kamil said he was delighted to bring the group's general takaful solutions to serve the evolving needs of AmBank Islamic customers.

CDNS to set up Islamic window for savings products

#Pakistan's Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) will set up an Islamic window Rafa National Savings to handle the transactions of sharia-compliant saving products. The government has appointed the Dubai-based sharia advisory firm Dar Al Sharia to replicate Islamic financial model for the conventional national savings certificates. Currently, the state-owned CDNS is finalising rules and governance structure for sharia-compliant products. However, the country’s savings-to-GDP ratio of 13.1% is still lowest in the region and attractive financial solutions are needed to foster savings.

The disruptive impact of #Islamic #fintech

Fintech is fast gaining traction in the financial services industry, as both start-ups and traditional companies proactively incorporate methods to stay in the lead. In Malaysia, the national bank itself supports the role of fintech in Malaysia’s overall finance industry. According to Bank Negara Malaysia assistant governor Marzunisham Omar, the next growth phase of Islamic finance requires the industry to ride the fintech wave. AmInvestment Bank CEO Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz said Islamic banks do not have an option not to adopt fintech. The only way that Islamic banks or Islamic funds or Islamic crowdfunding can reach out is to adopt mobile technology. She revealed that AmInvestment Bank is currently experimenting with its clients to use Distributed ledger technology (DLT) for the issuances of bank guarantee.

FINTQ to digitize Islamic #microfinance in Southern #Philippines

At the 7th Global Islamic Microfinance Summit, FINTQ Managing Director Lito Villanueva noted that there is a need to push for an enabling framework for Islamic microfinance in the Philippines. In the Philippines around 5.6% of the population are practicing Islam, with a geographic concentration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Villanueva says despite its resource-rich landscape, ARMM remains largely underdeveloped with less than 70% of the adult population either unbanked or underserved. There are only 20 banks and 28 ATMs servicing almost 4 million ARMM residents. Not a single bank there is Shari'ah compliant. For its part FINTQ launched a national initiative called KasamaKA, which provides greater access to financial services, such as micro savings via agent banking, lending, micro insurance, remittances, micro investments and payments to every Filipino via a bottom-up approach.

UPDATE 1-#Maybank posts 4th straight quarterly #profit gain on #Islamic #banking growth

Malayan Banking Bhd is Malaysia’s biggest lender by assets. It made higher profits for a 4th quarter in a row, which was driven by rising net interest income and growth at its Islamic banking operations.
Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy has recovered in 2017 after a challenging 2016, when growth slumped to its slowest pace since the global financial crisis in 2009. The turnaround has buoyed business for banks. Maybank posted a net profit of $496.70 million for the 3rd quarter ended September, up 13% a year ago. Its net interest income rose 8.6% while Islamic banking income increased by 24.3%. Revenue climbed 2.7%.
Earlier, CIMB Group Holdings, the number two lender of the country, reported a surprise rise in quarterly profit, helped by an improving domestic economy.
Malaysia‘s central bank has said the economy was on track to register growth of 5.2% to 5.7% this year, and may even exceed that estimate.

Islamic finance key to Sarawak's infrastructure growth, says RAM Ratings

According to RAM Rating Services, the infrastructure growth in Sarawak is expected to be mainly funded by Malaysia's vibrant sukuk market. This year sukuk has been the preferred funding route for Sarawak-based entities, with majority from the power sector. Issuers from the port, construction, property, manufacturing, plantation, oil and gas support services, financial services and telecommunication sectors have tapped into the sukuk market as well. RAM Ratings deputy CEO Promod Dass said Malaysia's sukuk market will remain a key funding avenue for the infrastructure development in Sarawak. He applauded the Malaysian government and Securities Commission for building a solid foundation for the sukuk market.

The rise of the Islamic capital market

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) recently licensed Indonesia’s first full-fledged Islamic fund management company, Paytren Asset Management (PAM). This newly established Islamic fund manager is another milestone in the development of the country’s Islamic capital market.

Islamic finance calls for more talents

Over the last few years, Islamic finance has witnessed a remarkable growth at 15 to 20% Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). The industry's rapid growth undoubtedly creates a huge demand for new expertise. Like other countries, Malaysia also needs a significant boost of Islamic finance talents. Based on Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Sector Blueprint 2011-2020, the financial sector would require an additional 56,000 employees of whom 22,400 are specifically needed to support the Islamic sector by 2020. According to a survey by the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA), 80% of the respondent countries believed that the available Islamic finance talents do not satisfy industry needs. Malaysia has taken the lead and established three training institutions. They are the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM), the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) and the International Syariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA).

Maybank Islamic launches rent-to-own #housing #scheme

Maybank Islamic has launched a rent-to-own (RTO) housing scheme. Named HouzKEY, the product is targeted at first-time house buyers and those who want to upgrade their homes. According to Maybank Islamic's CEO, Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican, HouzKEY addresses the growing issue of concern for affordable home ownership. The new product will initially be made available to Maybank employees and is slated to be rolled out to the general public in early 2018. HouzKEY is the first such RTO product in the country fully enabled on a digital platform, with the application and submission of supporting documents being required to be made online. To be eligible, applicants should have a household income of at least RM5,000 and commit to a minimum rental tenure of five years. They will have the option to purchase the property after one year at a pre-agreed price.

SECP okays Shariah-compliant trading counter at PSX

The Shariah Advisory Board (SAB) of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has reviewed the proposal of Shariah-compliant trading counter. The main feature of the proposal is to convert the T+2 settlement into T+0 settlement mechanism in the Shariah-compliant securities listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). The Shariah Advisory Board has granted approval of the proposed trading counter. The board also reviewed and granted approval of three AAOIFI standards: Shariah Standard No 17 - Investment Sukuk, Shariah Standard No 18- Possession and Shariah Standard No 23 - Agency and the Act of an un-commissioned agent.

S&P assigns ‘B’ long-term rating to proposed #sukuk, unsecured notes

Standard and Poor’s (S&P) assigned a preliminary ‘B’ long-term rating to the proposed dollar-denominated sukuk issuance by Pakistan. A similar rating was assigned to the proposed benchmark sized US dollar-denominated senior unsecured sukuk, which will be issued by The Third Pakistan International Sukuk Company. The government may raise the amount with pricing in the range of 5.5 to 7% for 5 to 10 years. This is expected to provide the much needed support to Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves. In October last year, Pakistan raised one billion dollars through issuance of 5-year sukuk at a historic low rate of 5.5%. The country floated a 10-year Eurobond of $500 million at 8.25% in 2015. These bonds had S&P rating of B-.

#Pakistan all set to generate $3b through euro, #sukuk bonds

Pakistan is all set to generate up to $3 billion by issuing euro and sukuk bonds in the international debt market. Road shows for introducing bonds will soon start in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Europe and United States. The government’s plans to raise loans from the international market by issuing bonds would support the foreign exchange reserves, which are under pressure due to widening trade deficit. The deficit surged by 100% to $5.013 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year as compared to $2.259 billion of a year ago. Both Sukuk and Eurobond are expected to be offered with tenures ranging from 5 to 30 years. The S&P earlier has assigned preliminary B rating to Pakistan’s proposed dollar bond issue.

MBSB-AFB Islamic banking entity to start off with RM42 bil assets, says CEO

Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) is expected to start off its new banking entity in the second quarter of next year with RM42 billion in Islamic assets. The company has recently secured an Islamic banking licence by acquiring Asian Finance Bank (AFB) in a RM644.95 million deal. MBSB’s banking subsidiary will be the country’s second largest standalone Islamic lender after Bank Islam Malaysia, which had assets of RM54.25 billion as at June 30. After the merger MBSB will continue to be the listed holding entity, while AFB will be the wholly-owned subsidiary that runs the banking business. According to MBSB's CEO, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman, the banking entity will have a similar composition, with 70% in retail banking and 30% in corporate banking. Also, it will solidify its presence in the property, housing and infrastructure segments.

Developing #Indonesia as Islamic finance hub

The world’s financial landscape has changed fundamentally over the last few years. Islamic equity funds experienced strong growth during the second half of the 1990s. In 1996, there were 29 Islamic funds, valued at US$800 million. Nowadays, Indonesia plans to become a leading Islamic finance hub. The Jakarta Islamic Index has 30 sharia shares accounting for Rp 2.1 quadrillion with 32.7% of market capitalization.

Global #sukuk likely to hit US$90b this year

Global sukuk issuance will likely reach US$85 billion-US$90 billion (RM356-377 billion) in 2017, driven by stronger issuance from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. RAM Rating Services said Saudi Arabia and its GCC neighbours had raised sukuk worth US$42 billion at end-October, which was a 215.3% increase from a year ago. Malaysia recorded RM138.7 billion worth of sukuk issuance as at end-October, which exceeded RAM’s full-year projection. Bank Negara Malaysia’s decision to maintain overnight policy rate at 3.0% could spur more sukuk issuance before the end of the year after hinting that monetary policy might be tightened next year.

#Brunei launches financial literacy body for saving-oriented culture

Brunei set up the National Financial Literacy Council for creating a prudent and saving-oriented culture. A study made in 2015 revealed that in Brunei 34% of the household respondents do not have a household budget, as for individual respondents 49% do not actively save, while 24% need credit to finance their everyday needs. The National Financial Literacy Council was established with the aim of ensuring that all Bruneians have access to well-suited financial products, independent and credible information and advice. Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah said the establishment of this council was timely and helpful in raising the quality of life of the people, specifically in terms of financial well-being.

National Savings plans launching of first Islamic product next year

#Pakistan's National Savings is expected to launch its first Islamic savings product by the start of 2018. According to Zafar Masud, director general of National Savings, the proposed product would begin with one year maturity and allow investors to earn monthly profit. The plan is to issue this product from the National Savings centres. Investors can invest a minimum of Rs10,000 with no maximum investment limit. National Savings manages a portfolio which is around 30% of Pakistan’s total banking deposits and serves more than seven million accounts. Experts see prospects of higher demand for Islamic finance to tap domestic savings. It is expected to increase competition among conventional and Islamic lenders to offer best returns to the savers.

#Pakistan eyes $3bn debt through #sukuk, Eurobonds

Pakistan has allowed immediate borrowing of up to $3bn from international debt markets by floating three sovereign bonds. The country is going to float the bonds in the largest transaction to take pressure off the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves that are depleting at a rapid pace. Earlier, the government borrowed $2bn in 2014 through similar capital market transactions. A consortium of banks have initially indicated that five-year sukuk, ten-year Eurobond and another 30-year Eurobond with combined proceeds of around $2bn to $3bn can be floated. The cabinet waived a dozen income taxes to make the float attractive for foreign investors. Road shows are expected to be held in the UK, US, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. Standard Chartered Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Citibank and Deutsche Bank were appointed for the Eurobond issue. For the proposed Sukuk, the Fourth Pakistan International Sukuk Company is being incorporated by the Finance Division.

7 Social Islami Bank directors resign, 9 new appointments made

In #Bangladesh seven members of Social Islami Bank’s board of directors have resigned from their posts. At the same board meeting nine new directors were appointed. Among the seven that have resigned, four were independent directors: Abdur Rahman, Abdul Muhith, Asaduzzaman and Moinul Hasan. The remaining three were shareholders of the bank. The names of the nine new directors are yet to be known. Earlier Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) faced what insiders claimed was a hostile takeover, when chairman and comittee chairman were replaced by Anwarul Azim Arif and Belal Ahmed. Former managing director of SIBL Shahid Hossain also stepped down and was replaced by Quazi Osman Ali. All new directors are connnected to the S Alam group, Belal is the son-in-law of S Alam Group Chairman and Managing Director Mohammed Saiful Alam.

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