Bahrain's Gulf Finance House (GFH) is distancing itself from its major Tunisian property project, Tunis Financial Harbour (TFH). GFH's local subsidiary, Tunis Bay Project Co is to drop out of the residential golf course project.
Halic Leasing is expanding its sharia-compliant business portfolio to tap demand from small businesses. This is a sign that Turkey's Islamic finance market is growing beyond traditional banking services. According to Halic's General Manager Gokcen Sahin, the company is building a portfolio of leased assets and is targeting new business of around $25 million by the end of the year. Halic also aims to attract further investments from Islamic mutual funds while expanding into construction equipment later this year. The plans come after the firm's new shareholders injected fresh capital at the end of last year and set up a sharia committee to ensure its products conform to Islamic principles. Gokcen Sahid added that with a good quality portfolio, Halic may also consider raising funds via sukuk in the future.
A Turkish court indictment ruled that some 5,000 academics have deposited cash in Bank Asya after an order from U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. After the July 2016 coup attempt Bank Asya was seized by the state over its links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). The prosecutor of the case decided 15 years in prison for a total of 83 academics, of whom 21 are currently arrested. Some 33 of the suspects were alleged users of ByLock, an encrypted smartphone app that came to prominence after it revealed Gülenists used it to plan the coup. According to the indictment, the Gülen movement sent messages to senior members of the group on social media, ordering them to deposit cash in Bank Asya.
Turkey's privately-owned Aktif Bank has received regulatory approval to sell up to $120 million via sukuk. Turkey has seen steady issuance of sukuk from the government and the country's Islamic banks, but corporate issuance remains rare. Aktif Bank will sell the sukuk through its asset leasing company, Aktif Bank Sukuk Varlk Kiralama. Companies can sell sukuk directly by setting up their own asset leasing companies, but the process can be onerous for smaller firms. The government has previously granted tax exemptions for lease-based sukuk, but in August it extended those incentives to all other types of sukuk contracts.
The goal of this event is to strengthen boards of directors of microfinance institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The case studies include topics such as governance, risk management, client centricity, sustainable growth and operating in challenging environments. This event is organized by Calmeadow, the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) and Sanabel. Calmeadow is a Canada-based NGO with 30 years of experience in financial inclusion and corporate governance initiatives. CFI brings eight years of experience in risk management and governance. Sanabel is a microfinance network with 90 members which serve a total of approximately 1.6 million clients in 13 Arab countries.
The Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) has obtained the approval of the Bank Al Maghrib (the central bank of Morocco) to establish a new bank in Morocco. The Group is now represented in all countries in the Maghreb. The Group now owns banking subsidiaries in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, as well as the African continent in Egypt, Sudan and South Africa. The Group has already obtained the approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain to establish the Morocco bank and will carry the name of Al Baraka Bank Morocco. The new bank will be under the management of Al Baraka Banking Group and will operate within its network of subsidiary banking units, which are currently located in 15 countries and in turn own more than 700 branches.
Five Islamic banks are set to open in Morocco after Bank Al-Maghrib, the country’s Central Bank, approved five applications. A further three banks have been given permission to sell Islamic products. A Shari’ah committee which will govern all Islamic finance activities will also be established. The five banks are: CIH Bank in partnership with Qatar International Islamic Bank; BMCE Bank of Africa jointly with the Saudi/Bahraini group Dalla Al Baraka; Banque Centrale Populaire with the Saudi group Guidance; and Crédit Agricole du Maroc in partnership with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). Attijariwafa Bank is currently in talks about a future partnership. Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie, Crédit du Maroc and Société Générale have all been given the green light to sell Islamic products.
Middle Eastern syndicate and real estate asset management platforms are emerging as major and increasing sources of outbound capital from the region with new figures showing an increase in volumes.
“Typically, they exist to pool equity from multiple private and medium-size institutional investors to real estate assets on a deal-by-deal basis,” said Fadi Moussalli head of JLL’s International Capital Group, MENA. “In the first three quarters of 2016 the volume has already reached $5.1bn and we expect the end-year figure to reach around 7bn.”
ICS Financial Systems Limited (ICSFS), the global software and services provider for banks and financial institutions, today announced a successful implementation of its awards winning software; ICS BANKS® ISLAMIC System, in Noor Al-Iraq Islamic Bank, an Iraqi based bank which was formerly known as Sama Baghdad Islamic Bank.
Noor Al-Iraq Islamic Bank has officially announced the successful go-live of ICS BANKS ISLAMIC System, in its Head Quarter and branches all over Iraq. The bank experienced a smooth implementation with a record breaking time of two months, where it adopted ICS BANKS ISLAMIC Core Banking, Credit Facilities & Risk Groups, Remittances, Murabaha, Musharaka, Istisna’a, Investment Accounts & Profit Distribution, Time Deposit, Trade Finance and part of ICS BANKS Delivery Channels (DC); ICS BANKS Internet Banking.
La déclaration récente faite par le ministre de l’Economie et des Finances annonce que le premier sukuk émis au Maroc sera souverain. La structure juridique d’accueil de ce premier sukuk sera un fonds de placement commun de titrisation (FPCT) qui servira de levée de fonds auprès des investisseurs pour le compte de l’Etat. Cette entité spécifique (appelée aussi SPV «Special Purpose Vehicle») pourra être constituée sous forme de fonds de titrisation (FT) avec ou sans personnalité morale, ou de société de titrisation (ST). En optant pour un premier sukuk souverain, le Maroc n’échappe pas aux pratiques internationales en la matière. Les dernières émissions en Afrique vont également dans le même sens (Sénégal, Afrique du Sud, Côte d’Ivoire et Niger).
Silatech founder and chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser witnessed the signing of a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with its partners to support the Arab youth. HH Sheikha Moza also chaired the first meeting of the new Board of Trustees of Silatech at which Silatech’s annual performance 2016 and strategy and achievements report 2016 were presented. Silatech signed an agreement with QNB Africa to empower Youth in Sudan with Sama Al Shabab Portfolio. This way QNB Sudan will direct 12% of its portfolio towards financing youth enterprises. Another MoU to employ Tunisian youth was signed in order to create 50,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce migration of Tunisian competencies abroad. In another agreement, Silatech partnered with the World Congress for Muslim Philanthropists to develop the first innovative Micro-waqf platform to connect youth entrepreneurs with donors and investors.
In #Turkey the insured participation funds at the Bank Asya are being paid to the rights holders through the state-owned Vakif Participation Bank. On May 29, 2015, the Banking Supervisory and Regulatory Authority (BDDK) ruled for a complete takeover by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) of all Bank Asya shares. According to yesterday's announcement, up to TL 100,000 ($28,247) of the total of insured participation funds at the Asya Participation Bank have been paid to the right holders in Turkish liras. The banks operating permit has been abolished. It was put on sale by the Fund Board, but did not receive any offers despite the extension of the bidding period.
The Moroccan government granted state-owned Crédit Agricole of Morocco (CAM) approval to open a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). In addition to IDB, three foreign banks are looking to launch subsidiaries with domestic partners after Moroccan officials encouraged partnerships rather than fully owned subsidiaries. Morocco could see additional Islamic products introduced into the domestic market if new regulations are passed. Morocco will also see the introduction of mobile-to-mobile payments next year, which is expected to extend banking coverage, as well as reduce the number of cash transactions. New regulations will allow non-bank entities and individuals to open accounts to expand e-payments to transactions such as retail, utility and mobile phone payments.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt announced its board of directors has appointed Fareed Farouk Al Bilbisi as acting chairman, and Zuhair Hamada Idris as acting chief executive officer of the bank. The statement comes after the death of ADIB Egypt’s chief executive officer, Nevine Lotfy, who was found murdered in her home on Tuesday. Lotfy, whose murder is currently being investigated, became managing director and CEO of ADIB Egypt in 2008.
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has signed an agreement with Turkey's Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB) to support SMEs. The group plans to provide $1 billion for Turkish companies. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by ITFC CEO Hani Salem Sonbol and KOSGEB President Recep Bicer. The MoU also examines the possibility of providing Islamic Trade Finance solutions to SMEs in Turkey. The suggested cooperation program includes developing joint programs for capacity building activities for SMEs in Turkey and Reverse Linkage Programs for transferring KOSGEB's know-how to other OIC member countries.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said people in Turkey paid some of the world's highest interest rates, something which had to change soon. He said the overnight interest rate reached 7,500 percent after Turkey’s economic crisis of 2001. The Turkish leader suggested adopting the gold standard to combat international pressures. Erdogan also said he had no words on the central bank's independence but said that as a politician he had a responsibility to the public who were being hurt by high rates. Turkey's Borsa Istanbul and the IDB signed a strategic cooperation agreement which aims to expand Islamic finance in Turkey and other IDB member countries. According to the agreement, the IDB will explore opportunities for its strategic stake acquisition from the country's exchange operator, Borsa Istanbul.
The CEO of the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Nevine Loutfy was found murdered at her home in Cairo. An investigation and forensic team arrived at the murder scene shortly after the incident. With over three decades of banking experience, Loutfy had a diverse background and had worked across the corporate, SME and retail sectors. She had extensive international experience gained in the US, Europe and emerging markets. Nevine Loutfy was the first ever female head of an Islamic bank.
New market research conducted by Timetric expects the rise of contactless payment services (CPS) and Sharia-compliant credit cards in Morocco over the next few years. According to the United Kingdom-based research, Centre Monetique Interbancaire, Morocco’s own internal network switch, launched CPS in the kingdom just over a year ago alongside MasterCard. So far the CPS point of service terminals have only been deployed in Casablanca, but they are expected to reach Rabat and Marrakesh in the coming months. By the end of 2016, Moroccans will be able to take advantage of 6,000 terminals, and by 2017 that number will more than double to 17,000. By the end of the year, the government plans to authorize a total of 10 banks which provide Sharia-compliant credit card services.
Istanbul's Sabahattin Zaim University established the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) in order to produce relevant research to guide policy design and implementations. It also organizes workshops and training programs to provide society with opportunities toward a better understanding of Islamic economics. According to IRCIEF director Prof. Dr. Arif Ersoy, the center will also intensify its research activities on finding new solutions for the problems encountered by SMEs, who are the main consumers of Islamic banks. IRCIEF offers graduate studies on Islamic Economics and Finance, furthermore post graduate studies on Islamic Economics and Law in Arabic. For next year the center is planning to open the programs in English as well.
Many Muslims contacted me in the last years with one single repeating question: Are CFD and/or Binary Options halal meaning permissible in Islam? There are indeed forex brokers offering so called Islamic accounts avoiding outright interest. But still: A contract of difference does not involve the ownership of any underlying (currency, stocks etc.) hence money against money is exchanged in different amounts - this is the most simple test for the prohibited Riba. Any Muslim receiving such offers should therefore insist of receiving the Fatwa and if not provided leave out.
The intention on those trading activities everyone can ask himself; mostly it will be akin to gambling and this on top of the fact that the trading activity itself is a zero sum game; meaning what one wins another looses, which rules out again to participate in such business. It does not do any better that aside from luck the outcome is influenced by know how - the same is true for classical money games as Poker or Backgammon. Still nobody would classify Poker therefore as halal.