IRCIEF: An important step toward Istanbul becoming world's Islamic finance and banking capital

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.

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Are Contract for Differences #CFD / #Binary Options halal? Well, no. Why?

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.

Finance islamique: ICD présente les Green #Sukuk à la conférence de Marrakech sur le climat

En marge de la Conférence sur le climat COP22 qui se tient à Marrakech du 7 au 18 Novembre 2016, la Banque Islamique de Développement (BID) animera son propre pavillon dans la dynamique amorcée par la BID pour devenir une banque multilatérale de développement Sud-Sud. ICD filiale de la BID dédiée à la promotion du secteur privé organise samedi 12 Novembre 2016 une conférence dédiée au Secteur Privé, à la Finance Climat et à la Coopération Sud-Sud. ICD participe à la COP 22 avec la volonté d’apporter une valeur ajoutée aux opportunités d’investissement vert, en démontrant le potentiel de la finance islamique de soutenir les projets durables et écologiques dans les pays membres, notamment par l’émission de Green Sukuk.

#Turkey aims to triple market share of Islamic finance

Turkey is committed to tripling the market share of Islamic finance, bringing it up to 15 percent by 2023. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said the Islamic finance market had been growing swiftly in Turkey and that the government aimed to further boost the sector. Simsek also pointed out the slowdown in global trade, saying there was a discontent against globalism after the recent global crisis. He urged countries to make immediate reforms, recalling the three main themes of the 2015 G-20 summit in Turkey, which were comprehensiveness, implementation and investment. The minister noted the income inequality in the world, saying 62 people’s wealth was equal to 3.62 billion people. He said Islamic finance could play a positive role in addressing this problem.

Istanbul-based university opens Center for Islamic Economics building

Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) is opening its International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) on Oct. 28. The IZU hopes to become a center for academic studies in the field. Launched by Kuwait, Turk and Albaraka Turk participation banks, the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance will offer market-based education to its students. By offering courses in Turkish and Arabic, the IZU will enable Turkish and foreign students to be specialized in the field. University rector and professor Mehmet Bulut said the center will train equipped students in undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programs. He promised that students will be educated in this center with the understanding of making Turkey stronger and noting that the accomplished projects will be carried out in collaboration with the participation banks.

Finance islamique au #Maroc: la Société Générale va créer 10 agences de banque participative

A l’occasion de la rencontre préparatoire du Salon International de la Finance Ethique et Participative SIFEP Mohammed Tahri, directeur général adjoint à la Société Générale Maroc a annoncé que son institution envisage de créer une dizaines d’agences dédiées à la banque participative. Dans l’attente de l’agrément de Bank Al-Maghrib, la Société Générale Maroc se prépare à exercer l’activité de banque participative à travers des succursales pour tester le marché. Le responsable de la Société Générale Maroc a annoncé que les résultats d’une étude de marché confiée par la banque à un cabinet marocain en coopération avec un cabinet français spécialisé en finance participative indiquent une attente manifeste du public marocain vis-à-vis de la finance participative.

#Turkey seeks huge piece of Islamic finance pie

Deputy Prime minister in Charge of the Economy Mehmet Simsek said the size of the Islamic banking sector globally was projected to grow to $3.5 trillion in the next five years and Turkey aimed to manage a sizeable portion of this huge sector. He said the government was committed to help the sector thrive in Turkey. Furthermore, he indicated that the total size of assets of participation banks reached $183.93 billion by the end of 2015. Pointing out that the participation banks' share in the overall banking sector was 5.1%, he stressed the goal set by the representative of the sector was to attain 15% by 2025. The Turkish Treasury elaborated on the action plan called "Strengthening Interest-free Finance and Participation Banking" as a component of the Istanbul International Financial Center (IFC Istanbul) program. It was decided that the board would work on the issues raised at the meeting to develop the interest-free finance sector.

Finance Ministry initiates works on legal infrastructure of Istanbul's Finance Center

#Turkey's Finance Minister Naci Agbal said the ministry initiated studies on a draft law on the Istanbul International Finance Center (IIFC). Agbal stated that the government introduced new financial instruments step by step, including the founding of the Sovereign Welfare Fund (SWF), real estate certificates and Islamic finance tools, in an attempt to intensify Turkey's financial markets. The draft law on the IIFC aims to offer opportunities to financial players and attract international financial institutions to Turkey. At the IIFC 50,000 people will be employed and it will have 25,000 daily visitors once opened. The joint infrastructure work of the financial center includes an administrative building, a police station, a health center, fire department, continuing education center, various academic courses, a mosque, a nursery, an underground parking lot and a trestle.

Aktifbank starts to operate in Islamic #leasing in #Turkey together with ICD and IMC

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Aktif Bank and Ijarah Management Company (IMC) have signed a Shareholders Agreement for Joint Strategic Collaboration. Aktif Bank has entered into the Turkish leasing sector by acquiring 32% shares of Haliç Finansal Kiralama (Haliç Leasing) and is planning to primarily fund the growth of SMEs in Turkey. Haliç Leasing will be able to raise the long term funds locally and internationally via Sukuk issuances thanks to extensive knowledge of Aktif Bank on capital markets. CEO of Aktif Bank, Serdar Sümer, said that instead of increasing the number of branches, the bank focuses on diversifying its products and alternative distribution channels. CEO of ICD, Khaled Al Aboodi, said that Haliç Leasing will be the eleventh Islamic leasing company that ICD has invested.

#Jordan closes its Inaugural Sovereign Local Currency #Sukuk in Cooperation with Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

The Kingdom of Jordan closed its inaugural local currency Sukuk, which was more than three-times oversubscribed. The Kingdom raised Jordanian Dinar JOD 34 million (USD 47.9 million) maturing in 2021, with an expected profit rate of 3.01%. The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) acted as Transaction Technical Support and Advisor. The sovereign issuance is part of a comprehensive joint-Technical Assistance Package provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and ICD. According to Finance Minister Omar Malhas, Jordan aims to widen the use of Sukuk in the short-term. The Sukuk will play a critical role in increasing the effectiveness of the financing mechanisms of government needs to cover the budget deficits.

Fitch Rates Kuveyt Turk's #Sukuk 'BBB(EXP)'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Kuveyt Turk's proposed US dollar-denominated sukuk certificates an expected 'BBB(EXP)' rating. The expected rating is in line with Kuveyt Turk's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB', which has a Negative Outlook. The issuer is KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama (KKSVK), which is wholly owned by Kuveyt Turk. The documentation includes a negative pledge provision that is binding on Kuveyt Turk, as well as financial reporting obligations, covenants, Kuveyt Turk event (including cross default) and change of control clause. Certain aspects of the transaction will be governed by English law while others will be governed by Turkish law.

Bank Asya's shareholders to receive funds remaining after liquidation

According to Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) Chairman, Sakir Ercan Gül, Bank Asya's shareholders need to wait until the end of the bank's liquidation process to receive their remaining funds. Gül said the process of paying deposits would not be immediately initiated and the finalization of the liquidation process would be delayed. The law regarding deposits grants a three-month period for payments, which will expire this month. There are nearly TL 2 billion ($653 million) worth of deposits in the bank, including TL 950 million worth of insured deposits. If the bank has any remaining funds after the liquidation process, these will be distributed to the bank's shareholders in accordance with the percentage of their shares. According to Gül, the bank is now hovering between bankruptcy and liquidation.

L’UIC lance un Executive MBA en finance islamique

L’Executive MBA en finance islamique a été lancé par l’Université Internationale de Casablanca (UIC) en partenariat avec et Al Maali Consulting Groupe (ACG), filiale d’Al Maali Consulting Group. Ce MBA permettra aux cadres et managers de la finance, particulièrement du secteur bancaire, d’être former aux métiers de la banque, de la finance, de l’assurance et de la gestion d’actifs. Notons que la formation est assurée pendant les week-ends, répartie sur 12 mois. Elle comprend des séminaires animés par des experts nationaux et internationaux, des dirigeants d’entreprise et des influenceurs. Mais aussi des projets intégrés en relation avec les business stratégiques de la finance islamique; des séances de coaching et d’encadrement des projets professionnels.

CBJ to release Islamic #sukuk worth JD34m

The Central Bank of #Jordan (CBJ) announced it will release the first sovereign issue of Islamic sukuk to fund the government's special purpose vehicle projects. The CBJ said the value of the new issue is JD34 million for a five-year term, to be issued on October 17, 2016 and due on October 17, 2021. The CBJ expected these sukuks' revenues to stand at 3%, with paying revenues, after adding a percentage of the sukuk value, via 10 equal payments on April 17 and October 17 of each year. The issuance is released in cooperation between the government, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector. The CBJ is the issuance manager, while the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank is the secretary of the issuance.

#Qatar-backed fund seeks to improve lives in Muslim countries

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) was officially launched on Thursday. It was first announced two years ago by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and is now supported by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decision-making body approved projects worth $363mn for the first of the five years that the fund will be operational. These projects will be primarily in the Middle East and several Islamic and African countries. The funds will be used to protect communities from the risk of malaria and HIV/Aids, increase access to water and primary healthcare, and empower poor farmers to grow more food. Administered by the IsDB, the fund combines $2bn of IsDB financing with $500mn in grants from donors.

Turkish Private Equity Deals Signal Investment Appetite After Failed Coup

Turkey’s biggest casual dining chain, Big Chefs, sold a minority share to an internationally backed private-equity firm, a sign that resilient consumer demand is drawing some investors to the country, despite July's failed coup rattling the economy. Meanwhile, leading Turkish ice-cream maker Mado is in advanced discussions with Bahrain-based Venture Capital Bank to sell a sizable minority stake, said Mr. Kotan, who is advising the Kahramanmaras-based deserts-and-food company.

Credit Agricole to Open #Morocco’s First Islamic Bank

Moroccan state-owned bank Credit Agricole (CAM) received the approval of the Ministry of Finance to open an Islamic subsidiary with The Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Credit Agricole will reportedly own 50% of the Islamic banking window as a joint venture with the IDB with an initial capital of 200 million dirhams. The two institutions have expressed plans to raise it to 400 million dirhams eventually. The central bank said earlier this year it had received seven requests to open Islamic banks and three to open windows selling Islamic finance products.

Better Understanding the Demand for Islamic #Microfinance

To close the severe gaps in financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa, more and more governments are starting to develop national financial inclusion strategies driven by evidence-based studies. So far, demand studies on Islamic finance have produced mixed results. To examine the distinction between preference and actual choice, CGAP, Yale University and Tamweelcom took a novel approach to the study of demand for Islamic and conventional loans in Jordan. According to the experiment, more people opt for the Islamic microloan than the conventional one when offered both (17% versus 2%). Sharia certification appears to have no significant impact on loan take-up at all. The study found that in Jordan people who are more religious are willing to pay a higher price for an Islamic microloan.

State fund probes 1.6 mln Bank Asya accounts for Gülen links

Turkey’s Saving Deposits Insurance Fund (TMSF) has probed more than 1.6 mn bank accounts because a number of public institutions wanted to learn whether any of their employees had an account with Bank Asya. The bank was linked to the controversial Gülen movement, which was believed to be the mastermind behind the failed July 15 coup attempt. In line with these probes, some 700,000 people have been searched since the end of 2013. When suspending public officials after the failed coup attempt, one of the main criteria under consideration was whether they were a Bank Asya customer and if they had made financially suspicious banking transactions. Turkish regulators canceled the banking license of Islamic lender Bank Asya on July 24.

Credit Agricole authorised to establish Islamic banking unit

Moroccan state-owned bank Credit Agricole (CAM) has won authorisation to create an Islamic subsidiary with The Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Morocco’s central bank is in the final stages of launching an Islamic finance industry. The North African kingdom adopted legislation allowing Islamic banks and insurers in the domestic market, and the central bank has set up a central sharia board to oversee the new industry. IDB and CAM will inject 200 million dirhams ($20.55 million) of capital into the offshoot of the new subsidiary before doubling it to 400 million later. The Moroccan bank will hold 51% stake in the new banking unit.

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