International Borrowers Take to Islamic Bond Market

Until recently the issuance of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, was confined to the Muslim world. But now a number of international borrowers are tapping the markets, including Nomura Holdings in Japan and Europe's first corporate borrower, International Innovative Technologies.
The ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s say they expect to see a rise in the number of sukuk issues by new players over the next 12 months, including issues by borrowers in Singapore, Australia, Luxembourg, Thailand, Hong Kong, France and Russia.
While the Islamic Financial Service Board and the accounting and auditing organization have defined standards for sukuk, defaults over the past year have shown that new guidelines must be set as problems arise, particularly as sukuk start to generate global attention.

France in focus for Al Baraka in 2011

Al Baraka Banking Group has confirmed its plans to open in France, saying it will open up five branches in metropolitan France from 2011.
Press reports in France claim that Al Baraka Chief Executive Adnan Yousif confirmed the bank's intentions to establish a presence in the country. The news that Al Baraka Banking Group plans to set up in France follows two years of activity by the French authorities aimed at attracting Islamic banking institutions.
Al Baraka has selected Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered as advisers.

Islamic finance faces political hurdles in US

From Australia to Britain and even France, which recently banned the face-veil, Western economies are adjusting their laws to encourage growth in the Islamic finance sector they hope will attract wealthy Gulf investors.
Enthusiasm in the US has been tempered by politics, however, which could slow the growth of Islamic finance and push business from the oil exporting Gulf elsewhere. Islamic finance has faced scrutiny in the US, with critics suggesting the $1tn industry was a front to funnel funds to terrorists or a plot by Muslims to spread Shariah principles, which include a ban on interest.
The US Federal Reserve has launched an Islamic finance study group and is seeking consultants within the Islamic finance industry.
The US Treasury has launched the Islamic Finance 101 programme to teach government agencies about Shariah-compliant business.
The programme is run with Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project, which was created in 1995 to study Islamic finance from a legal perspective and foster collaboration among scholars inside and outside the Muslim world.
But these initiatives have also been politicised.

New Islamic Finance Tax Instructions in France

France has now a tax neutrality regime in place for facilitating Islamic financial products including Islamic bonds and certificates; cost-plus-financing; leasing and construction industry forward financing.

The measures were passed at end July 2010 but were published in the Bulletin Officiel des Impôts n° 78 on Aug. 24. They supersede the instructions published by the French government on Febr. 25, 2009, relating to sukuk and Murabaha transactions only.

The text in original can be found here:

A&O ships in French Islamic finance pioneer with CMS property tax team

Allen & Overy (A&O) has bolstered its Paris arm with the hire of a tax team from CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre.
Jean-Yves Charriau joined A&O as a partner last week (1 October) from Bureau Francis Lefebvre, where he was also a partner, with a team including counsel Sophie Maurel and associate David Sorel.
Charriau, who specialises in advising real estate companies and foreign funds on their real estate investment transactions, becomes the third partner in the firm's Paris tax practice. He was previously at Bureau Francis Lefebvre for seven years prior to which he spent a decade at Ernst & Young.

Dr. Muhammad Nedal Alchaar: Islamic finance is the example of perfection and laziness

On 21st of September this year the meeting took place between Dr. Muhammad Nedal Alchaar Secretary general of Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), and the Russian association of experts in Islamic financing .
On the meeting the experts exchanged their opinions concerning prospects of development of Islamic financial institutions and products in Russia, application of AAOIFI standards in the field of accounting, audit and norms of Shariah, and also actual world tendencies of the young industry.
Doctor Alchaar has informed that now the AAOIFI members consist of 220 Islamic financial institutions from 46 countries of the world and informed about the basic aspects and complexities of development of the Islamic finance in separate countries, in particular, in the UK, France and the USA.

New Islamic finance instructions in France

The possibility of the first sovereign or corporate sukuk origination out of France took a step nearer when the French government announced that it had passed new instructions to facilitate the introduction of sukuk, Ijara, Murabaha and Istisna products in France.

It is claimed that France now has a tax neutrality regime in place for facilitating Islamic financial products including Islamic bonds and certificates; cost-plus-financing; leasing and construction industry forward financing.

French banks such as Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, UBAF, Calyon (Banque Credit Agricole) have long been involved in global Islamic finance. BNP Paribas for instance recently listed its first Islamic exchange-traded fund (ETF) in Asia on Bursa Malaysia. Some two years ago it had advised the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, to launch its first Islamic ETF, MyETF i. The new measures are not limited to a particular transaction but form a basis for a framework for Murabaha, Istisna, Ijara and sukuk transactions which satisfy both French law and Shariah principles.

France eyes top spot in Islamic finance industry

In 2010 Qatar Islamic Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Banque Populaire Caisse d'Epargne, France's second largest banking group, in order to gain access to the French retail banking and small medium-size business markets. Recently, Paris Europlace signed an agreement with AAOIFI paving the way for greater cooperation to drive the development of Islamic finance in France.

Strassbourg, France: Second Workshop on Islamic Finance "What Islamic Finance does (not) change"

Title: Second Workshop on Islamic Finance "What Islamic Finance does (not) change"
Begin: 17.03.2010
End: 17.03.2010

European Research Group (Groupement de Recherche Européen (GDRE)) “Money, Banking & Finance” (Monnaie Banque Finance) and its working group Financial and Monetary European Integration (Intégration Monétaire et Financière Européenne); EM Strasbourg Business School; LARGE Research Center; Institut de Finance de Strasbourg

Contact: Laurent Weill (
Call for Papers: 18.12.2009

Abstract: With the forthcoming venue of Islamic banks in France and the worldwide growth of Islamic finance, the impact of Islamic banking presence and more generally of Islamic finance activities becomes of utmost interest. This academic workshop aims investigating these changes and more globally enhancing the scientific knowledge on Islamic finance.

After established the first diploma in Islamic Finance in continental Europe in January 2009, EM Strasbourg Business School will welcome this workshop.

France seeks Islamic financial system

The laicist French government seeks to make amendments to laws improving Islamic finance investors access to France. Although a relevant draft law was turned down by the Constitutional Council in form, but not in content, French Minister of Economy, Industry and Employment Christine Lagrade made it certain that the government would work further. The French minister's advisor Thierry Dissaux told KUNA that the government would introduce amendments to French legal and tax systems in order to match Islamic financial principles.

According to recent studies, Islamic financial investments in France are estimated at roughly USD 120 billion.

Talal al-Kandari reported on Kuna.

France: Islamic Finance Seminar on Risk Management in Islamic Finance

If Islamic finance has been more resilient to the crisis than its conventional counterpart, it is because it is less risky, have found many industry players. However, this statement does not reflect the inherent risks of Islamic banks themselves. [...]

For this conference co-organized by the University Paris-Dauphine and Arrow Financial Consulting, six roundtables will address the specifics of risk management in Islamic banks (credit risk, market risk, operational risk, legal risk, risk liquidity risks in order of religious interpretation.

Paris Thursday, January 28, 2010

University Paris-Dauphine

Raymond Aron Hall 2 nd Floor

Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny 75775 PARIS Cedex 16

Finance: Paris learns to play to the euro’s strengths

A focus on Islamic finance could also attract sovereign and other funds from oil-rich Gulf states and help provide the investment that France needs.

Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and Paris EUROPLACE signed a Memorandum of Understanding

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and Paris EUROPLACE signed a Memorandum of Understanding defining the range of cooperation.

Mrs Christine LAGARDE, Minister of economy, industry and employment sees the MoU to improve the relations between the countries, and to increase the attractivity of the financial market place of Paris on the long term including the Islamic finance players.

First Islamic bank in France already in June?

Gilles Saint-Marc, a Paris based lawyer is cited that the first Islamic bank in France may start already in June 2009.

New consultancy founded "Quantis"

Quantis was founded recently to provide expertise in responsible Islamic finance combined with quantitative methods by Marwan Muhammad and others.

Albaraka plans to enter France

Al Baraka Banking Group said it planned to enter the French market to tap into Western Europe's largest Muslim community reported Will Waterman in Arabianbusiness. Further Al Baraka's units in North Africa are planning tie-ups with French partners to "establish Islamic banking in France", it said in a statement on the Nasdaq Dubai, where it is also listed. However no legal agreements have been finalised

French management school offers Islamic finance course

Grande Ecole Sup de Co Reims (Groupe Reims Management School) suggests a new course specialising on Islamic finance, which is coordinated by Ghassen Bouslama and offered in English.

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.

BNP Paribas Investment Partners launches Sukuk Fund

BNP Paribas Investment Partners currently manages about half a billion USD in Sharia compliant assets and targets according to the chief executive MENA Tariq Al Samahiji to multiply this amount. The bank currently offers equity Sharia management and has recently started marketing its first Islamic bond or sukuk fund.
Al Samahiji expected the sukuk fund to attract investments from institutions and wealthy individuals, but stressed BNP would not market the fund to the retail market.

Two Gulf banks possibly to be licensed in France

Stanley Carvalho reported on 21 January in Arabianbusiness that two financial institutions in the Gulf may be licensed to introduce Islamic banking in france later this year according to a member of the French banking delegation, one of them being Qatar Islamic Bank, the second possibly located in Bahrain.

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