Asia

Regulators to play in 'sandbox' with infant #fintech firms

In #Indonesia fintech startups will be invited to a safe space where they can test any service under the supervision of the central bank before it issues regulations and allows full authorization. The safe space, known as a "regulatory sandbox", has been adopted in many countries around the world. The central bank will also set up a designated fintech office to overlook the sandbox. The Indonesian Fintech Association applauded the planned sandbox approach as it will serve as a tangible platform for all fintech initiatives to be tested into the regulatory system. The association's secretary-general Karaniya Dharmasaputra said this concept was a good one as shown by many countries implementing it toward success.

Mohammad Faiz new Islamic Finance Consultative Group Chairman

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has appointed Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi as chairman of the Islamic Finance Consultative Group. Commenting on his appointment, Mohammad Faiz said he hoped to be able to continue the good work of the IASB in the area of global finance. He appreciates IASB's commitment in helping the emerging markets adopt their International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said Mohammad Faiz had always been a valued member of the IFRS community and is renowned for his expertise in Islamic Finance.

Here are the 3 major concerns of #fintech industry players in #Indonesia

Together with Fintech Indonesia Association, Deloitte released the Fintech Survey 2016 at the Indonesia Fintech Festival & Conference 2016. Conducted between June to August 2016, the survey interviewed 70 respondents from various Indonesian fintech companies. 27 different types of fintech companies participated in the survey. All of them shared three major concerns. A great number of fintech players agreed that the current regulatory process is "not so clear." Another pressing matter faced by Indonesian fintech players is talent shortage. The third concern is the local market’s low levels of financial education. Ironically, this problem happens not only among members of the general public but also among players in the conventional finance industry.

Fraudulent investment dressed up with religious symbols: Police

In #Indonesia the National Police have warned the public to be on guard against fraudulent investment companies. Criminal Investigation Department director Agung Setya said investors who understood investment often fell prey to fraudsters because of greed, while other were lured by religious symbols and public figures. He cited as an example the 2007 Gama Smart Karya Utama case and the 2012 Langit Biru cooperative case, in which the founders claimed to be spiritual leaders. Data show that fraudulent investments lead to billions of rupiah in losses per year. In 2007, losses amounted to Rp 16.13 trillion (US$1.21 billion), but decreased to Rp 604 billion in 2008. In 2011 and 2012, losses rose to Rp 68.62 trillion and Rp 10.22 trillion, respectively, but declined to Rp 235 billion (2014) and 285 billion (2015).

KFH #Malaysia appoints David Power as its CEO

Kuwait Finance House (KFH Malaysia) has appointed David Power as its new chief executive officer (CEO). Power, who has been Kuwait Finance House (KFHK) group chief retail and private banking officer since 2014, is now replacing Ahmed S. Al Kharji. KFH Malaysia had also appointed Nor Azzam Abdul Jalil as its deputy CEO and chief (consumer banking) effective June 1, and David Wee Kim Peng as chief operating officer, effective April 1. KFH Malaysia was established on Aug 8, 2005.

Khazanah Said to Weigh $500 Million Exchangeable #Sukuk Sale

Khazanah Nasional, the Malaysian sovereign fund, is considering selling as much as $500 million of exchangeable sukuk. The state-owned firm is currently choosing banks for the potential offering. Khazanah has been reducing stakes in listed Malaysian companies through Islamic debt offerings that can be converted into shares. The fund last sold $500 million sukuk that can be exchanged into shares of Tenaga Nasional, the country’s biggest power producer, in 2014. It is also the largest shareholder of IHH Healthcare, Asia’s biggest hospital operator. Sales of Islamic bonds in Malaysia surged 60% this year to 45.8 billion ringgit ($11.4 billion), while offerings of global sukuk climbed 19% to $28.1 billion.

#Indonesian #fintech event IFFC 2016 is set to champion financial inclusion

Indonesia is all set to host the Indonesia Fintech Festival & Conference 2016 (IFFC 2016). The event is organised by Indonesia Financial Services Authority (OJK) in association with Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and will be held in Tangerang from August 29 to 30. IFFC 2016 will focus on several issues related to fintech, including financial inclusion. A series of workshops and conferences for fintech players will be conducted. Also, a startup competition will take place as part of the event. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands will be special guests. According to the organising committee, up to 2,000 tickets have been sold so far.

Amana #Takaful Life shares debut on Colombo Stock Exchange

Amana Takaful Life Limited (ATLL) rang the opening bell to commence trading and celebrate the listing of its shares on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). Speaking at the event, ATLL Director Dato' Mohd Fadzli Yusof stated that the listing brings ATLL to the mainstream of the financial landscape in Sri Lanka. Chairman of CSE Vajira Kulatilaka congratulated ATLL for achieving a successful listing. He also added that while listing on the CSE adds immense value and prestige, it also comes with obligations to investors and other stakeholders. Amana Takaful Life Limited and its parent, Amana Takaful PLC are fully fledged Takaful companies, offering life and general insurance solutions. ATLL distributes its products through an island-wide network of 26 branches, covering 22 districts.

Shahjalal Bank to issue #bond worth Tk 4.0b

The board of directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank has approved for issuance of Mudaraba Subordinated Bond worth Tk 4.0 billion. The new issuance is part of a process of inclusion in Tier-II Capital for a period of 7 years through private placement. The bond issue is subject to approval of the regulatory authorities – Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank’s paid-up capital is Tk 7,346.88 million and authorised capital is Tk 10,000 million, while total number of securities is 734,688,133.

#Malaysian insurers to target Europe in Islamic finance push

Malaysia’s Islamic insurers are considering a move into Europe by targeting the continent’s growing Muslim population. Amat Taap Manshor, chief of the Financial Accreditation Agency (FAA), said it may not happen right away but a lot of Islamic insurers are looking to target the Muslim middle classes in the UK, Germany and France. Manshor made the comments during the signing of a memorandum of collaboration between the FAA and the British accreditation council (BAC). The partnership hopes to offer financial services globally accredited courses in Islamic finance.

'MBSB's Islamic banking strategy will spur growth'

#Malaysia Building Society's (MBSB) move to strengthen its presence in Islamic banking is in line with majority shareholder Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) endeavour. MBSB president Datuk Ahmad Zaini Othman said being a prominent Islamic player would help the firm’s growth plan. MBSB aspires to graduate from a non-lender into a full-fledged Islamic bank to increase its competitiveness. For the first six months ended June, MBSB’s net profit dropped 53.4% to RM97.8 million, despite an 11.6% jump in revenue to RM1.6 billion. The first-half results were below estimates, with operating income declining 1.8% as management continued to focus on corporate loans portfolio in place of the higher-yielding personal financing portfolio.

‘Endless investment opportunity: that is what we offer’

Dr. Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s former Finance Minister and current Minister of National Development Planning, discusses the recent tax amnesty legislation and current economic prospects for Indonesia. Hosting the recent 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Jakarta aims to promote Indonesia to the Muslim community, sending a message that Indonesia is a reliable economy with a lot of potential. The WIEF tries to develop Islamic finance that is more inclusive. Indonesia wants to focus on Islamic microfinance and on Muslim-friendly tourism. Beyond tourism, Muslim fashion is a sector that already has a huge market and will be increasingly important for Indonesia.

#Indonesia launches master plan to breathe new life into Islamic finance sector

The Indonesian government has launched a national master plan to develop its Islamic finance industry. Indonesian Islamic banks hold roughly 5% of total banking assets, compared with more than 20% in neighbouring Malaysia. According to Farrukh Raza, managing director of IFAAS, an Islamic finance consultancy which designed the 10-year master plan, the government would increase its use of Islamic debt instruments to as much as 50% of total issuance in 10 years time. Indonesia's pilgrims' fund would also see the establishment of a dedicated asset management arm to implement a more rigorous investment policy and attract external fund managers.

Islamic finance body IILM auctions first four-month #sukuk

#Malaysia-based International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) has lengthened maturities in its Islamic bond programme by auctioning $500 million of four-month sukuk. Previously, the IILM has issued three-month and six-month papers, which were introduced to manage short-term funding needs. The IILM sold the four-month sukuk at a profit rate of 1.37389%, attracting 17 bids worth a combined $1.3 billion. It also sold $840 million of three-month sukuk at a profit rate of 1.24411%, attracting orders of $1.6 billion via 14 bids. The issues were bought by 11 primary dealer banks.

Re-energising Islamic finance talent

The central bank of #Malaysia plans to undertake an in-depth review of important organisations to re-energise the Islamic finance talent development landscape. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said over the years, the central bank had established specialised institutions to enrich the talent ecosystem. These include the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, International Shari’ah Research Academy (ISRA), Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM), the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals and the Association of Shariah Advisors in Islamic Finance Malaysia. Ibrahim noted that the new Educator’s Manual on Shariah Standards on Murabahah has several benefits for universities and stakeholders. One benefit is strategising talent deployment, while another area is the reconfiguration of academic programme to nurture talent with enhanced employability.

Bank Negara governor: Islamic finance key segment in financial system

In #Malaysia Bank Negara governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said Islamic banking assets made up 27% of the total banking system, surpassing Bank Negara’s Financial Sector Masterplan. He said that there were 27 takaful players offering more than 100 financial products now compared with fewer than four Islamic banks and takaful players before year 2000. He added that the penetration rate for takaful now stood at 14.8% of the population, indicating growing acceptance of takaful products. On the launch of the Educator’s Manual on Shariah Standard Murabahah, Muhammad said that the manual was aimed to act as a comprehensive teaching guide to enhance the Islamic finance syllabus. It was jointly developed by Bank Negara in collaboration with the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance and IBFIM.

#Brunei can provide platform for growth in Islamic financing

Brunei is strongly encouraging the growth of the Islamic finance industry. According to the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator, Brunei was recently ranked 10th out of 92 countries. Yusof bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Managing Director of Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD), noted that the Brunei Government Sukuk Al-Ijarah Programme has been consistently issued since 2006 as a benchmark. He said public–private sector dialogue has been increased to raise awareness of the benefits of takaful products. He said he believes that Islamic finance can be a solution to support economic growth and promote long-lasting financial stability.

RHB Bank, Bank Mandiri plan Islamic funds

The race to tap an US$11.5 trillion pool of wealth held by Muslim individuals, institutions and governments is intensifying. The asset management units of Malaysia's RHB Bank and Indonesia's PT Bank Mandiri plan new Islamic funds. RHB Group Asset, which oversees 54 billion ringgit ($13.5 billion), will offer new Islamic funds in Malaysia and may make some of them available in Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and the Middle East. The Indonesian Mandiri Manajemen’s plan for more Shariah investment vehicles comes after the company’s global Islamic stock fund drew $10 million from institutional investors when it was set up on Aug. 4. According to Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre, the global Islamic asset management industry is forecast to grow to $77 billion by 2019 from $58 billion at the end of 2015.

Bank Negara Launches Educator's Manual On Shariah Standards

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) launched the Educator's Manual on Shariah standards and operational requirements in accordance with the Murabahah principle. BNM Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said the manual serves as an important material towards enhancing the quality of Islamic finance education. The manual was developed by BNM together with the International Shari'ah Research Academy for lslamic Finance (ISRA) and the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM). A panel of 20 experts in various fields contributed to its content.

Rise in Islamic banking assets

In #Malaysia islamic banking assets now stand at 27% of the total banking system, surpassing the targeted 20% under Bank Negara Malaysia’s financial sector master plan. Bank Negara governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said there were now 27 players offering more than 100 financial products compared with fewer than four Islamic banks and takaful players before 2000. The Educator’s Manual on Shariah and Practical Operational Standards was launched on Tuesday to enhance the quality of education. Of the 14 syariah standards that are being developed by Bank Negara, Murabahah is the first series in the educator’s manual. The manual for other contracts will be developed gradually.

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