Europe

Gatehouse Bank expands residential team with appointments from Al Rayan

London-based Gatehouse Bank has expanded its residential home finance team with two new appointments. Umar Ali joins Gatehouse Bank as Head of Home Finance after five years at Al Rayan Bank. Junaid Sarwar has been appointed as a London-based Business Development Manager. Junaid also joins after six years at Al Rayan Bank and has held previous roles at Santander and Barclays Bank. Paul Stockwell, Gatehouse Bank’s CCO, said the bank managed to build a strong team of experienced specialists as it expands into the residential home finance sector.

Gatehouse Bank partners with Blueprint Real Estate Company

London based Gatehouse Bank has partnered with Kuwait based Blueprint Real Estate Company to offer finance to expats looking to purchase property in the UK. Gatehouse Bank says this forms part of the strategy of its move into the home finance business. At the same time, Gatehouse Bank announced an expansion to its residential home finance team. Umar Ali has been appointed as head of home finance, while Junaid Sarwar has joined as a business development manager.

The First Investor acquires another #German asset

The First Investor (TFI) Qatar, a subsidiary of Barwa Bank Group has acquired a new office building in Frankfurt. The asset is another unique blend to TFI Euro Income Fund, which was launched in 2017 with sharia compliant stature. Europe continues to provide excellent investment and business environments given low inflation and low interest rate regime. TFI is keen to pursue its investment strategy with the aim to help clients achieve their objectives in a very challenging business environment. By that, TFI will soon launch another UK Income Fund and a US Income Fund together with many investment opportunities during 2018.

British International Campaign to Attract Islamic Investments

The UK's Department of International Trade has announced the launch of a wide-ranging campaign in the Middle East and the Gulf to encourage investment in the UK. London is considered the largest market for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world and has more than 20 banks providing Islamic financial services. According to the Dubai-based Media and Communications Center, Britain ranks 22nd out of 124 countries in the world that use Islamic banking, placing it first in Europe and fourth among non-Muslim majority countries after Singapore, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Supportive government policies created a tax and regulatory framework aimed at expanding the Islamic finance market, including the elimination of double taxation, the extension of Islamic mortgage tax and the reform of debt arrangements. The United Kingdom is the first sovereign Western country to issue sovereign sukuk. In September, London also hosted the fourth annual meeting of the Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group (GIFIG) to discuss inter-state cooperation.

#UK Firm Launches Sharia-Compliant Home #Insurance

Green Dome Financial Services has launched the UK's first Sharia-compliant home insurance policy. The company has begun selling policies that meet Islamic restrictions on uncertainty and usury, or unreasonably high interest rates, while falling within the scope of the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

BEP Systems to deliver Gatehouse Bank’s residential financing processes

BEP Systems has added Gatehouse Bank to its roster of financiers using their customisable Apprivo2 system. Gatehouse Bank will use the new system to help make their business more efficient. For Gatehouse Bank, BEP have re-configured their systems to comply with Shariah requirements when dealing with home purchase plans. Charles Haresnape, CEO of Gatehouse Bank, said it was vital that the software house understood Shariah requirements and BEP Systems delivered excellent solutions across home purchase plans and buy-to-let financing. Chris Little, managing director of BEP Systems, said Gatehouse Bank had seen the advantages Apprivo2 and strategic advantages would be delivered to fit their business model. He added that Apprivo2 was the fastest growing system in the UK serving specialist finance providers.

#Gulf #Islamic #Investments acquires two logistics facilities

The Gulf Islamic Investments, a Islamic financial services company based in the UAE, has revealed the acquisition of nearly one million square feet of logistics facilities on behalf of its investors, at the price of 144 million US-Dollar. The two state of the art logistics centres, are located in Dortmund Germany, and serves as key logistics centre of Amazon supplying goods to 29 other facilities. These newly built facilities are leased out to Amazon on a long-term lease that cannot be cancelled with regular rental uplifts linked to Germany CPI.

Dana Gas says #UAE court allows it to appeal British #sukuk ruling

Dana Gas announced it will appeal against a British court’s ruling on its $700 million sukuk, after a UAE court lifted an injunction preventing it from participating in the British proceedings. Dana previously said the sukuk was invalid under UAE law and refused to repay holders of the sukuk which matured at the end of October. The energy producer sought a declaration on the sukuk’s lawfulness at courts in the UAE and Britain. Last month, a British court ruled in favour of Dana creditors, deciding the purchase undertaking was valid and enforceable. Dana has said it aimed to appeal against the ruling because it could not take part in proceedings. A hearing in Sharjah on the validity of the sukuk under UAE law is scheduled for Dec. 25.

Dana Gas seen returning to table after London ruling

Dana Gas plans to appeal the UK court ruling on $700mn of its outstanding sukuk. According to Dana Gas, the decision by the London court is flawed because the UAE-based company was barred from participating in the proceedings due to an injunction at home. Judge George Leggatt said the English law contracts are enforceable in the case. Dana was challenging a provision called purchase undertaking, which allowed the trustee on behalf of investors to force Dana to buy them out of the agreement at par. Dana shares fell as much as 5.6% on the Abu Dhabi stock market on Sunday. The court ruling puts investors one step closer to resolving a dispute over the sukuk that highlighted one of the Islamic finance industry’s weak spots.

Dubai investors digest implications for #sukuk market after Dana Gas ruling

A High Court judge in London ruled in favour of creditors in a case regarding the validity of the purchase undertaking for about $700 million of sukuk issued by Dana Gas. The idea that Dana Gas has been able to assert for the past five months that its own sukuk were non-sharia-compliant has struck many observers as unusual. Judge George Leggatt said that Dana Gas' challenges to the validity and enforceability of the purchase undertaking were unfounded and declared the purchase undertaking for Dana's sukuk as valid and enforceable.

'We've been badly served by banks': the small firms seeking #ethical #banking

Dave Fishwick, the founder of Burnley Savings and Loans, put millions of pounds behind the belief that there’s a demand for ethical banking. He aims to link local savers with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of finance, run by a locally based bank manager who makes lending decisions based on deep personal knowledge, rather than an algorithm. Fishwick believes that ethical banks are needed: small, simple, honest banks run by the community to serve the community. While SMEs often can’t get loans from major banks, Conrad Ford, CEO of Funding Options, notes that a wave of challenger banks are offering help. They include Metro Bank, Civilised Bank and Greater London Mutual, all with an emphasis on integration with a defined community or locality.

Dana Gas shares fall 4.17% on London #sukuk ruling

Dana Gas share prices fell 4.17% following Friday’s English High Court ruling against Dana Gas and in favour of bondholders. Danas said it plans to appeal the decision by the London court that declared the company’s $700 million sukuk valid and enforceable. Friday’s ruling was made in Dana Gas’s absence from the court. Dana Gas had earlier refused to repay debt owed to investors for two mudaraba sukuk worth $350 million each. The latest ruling does not mean that Dana Gas has to pay bondholders just yet, with another hearing in a UAE court scheduled for December 25.

Shepherd and Wedderburn secures Islamic finance deal

Shepherd and Wedderburn has completed the Shariah-compliant refinancing of high-value office accommodation in Aberdeen. The properties, which total 159,170 sq ft of floor space, are fully let to the oil and gas service provider Petrofac as its North Sea office headquarters and NHS Scotland. The funding was completed by way of a commodity murabaha facility from an established international bank. Peter Alderdice, a senior associate at Shepherd and Wedderburn, said the team was pleased to have used its expertise in Islamic finance to help secure the refinancing of two of the largest commercial properties in the city.

English court rules in favour of Dana Gas bondholders in key Islamic bond case

An English High Court judge has ruled in favour of Dana Gas’s bondholders, reported the Financial Times.

More details at the source.

CEO of Al Rayan Bank receives OBE from Prince William

The CEO of Al Rayan Bank, Sultan Choudhury, has received his Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Prince William. Choudhury was appointed OBE in the Birthday Honours of Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his services to Islamic finance. Choudhury was part of the management team that obtained Western Europe’s first authorised Islamic banking licence in 2004. He has since grown the Bank to become the UK’s largest Islamic bank. Al Rayan Bank offers the largest Sharia compliant product range in the UK. The Bank currently has more than more than 80,000 customers throughout the UK, more than a quarter of which it estimates to be non-Muslim.

#Saudi Co. Liable For $668M In Back Rent Tied To #Sukuk Bond

Financial services company Saad has been ordered to pay around $668 million to Citicorp Trustee Company and Golden Belt Sukuk Company. Saad's obligations are tied to sukuk bond and linked to the leasing of land in Saudi Arabia. The judgment was handed down Friday in London's High Court, where Judge Peter Macdonald Eggers ordered Saad to honour its obligations.

Gatehouse Bank names new BDM

Gatehouse Bank has expanded its residential property finance team with the appointment of Mehwish Mirza as its business development manager for residential home finance. Mehwish has joined the specialist bank from Together, where she was also a business development manager and held the same role for seven years at Al Rayan Bank. She will be working across the North of England and Wales, having previously provided residential Sharia-compliant finance in the North West while at Al Rayan. The appointment comes on the back of Gatehouse hiring Sim Gill and Mehraj Bari to its residential property finance team as part of its expansion into the sector.

British judge to issue ruling on $700 million Dana Gas #sukuk case soon

British High Court judge George Leggatt said that he would not further adjourn a trial in the Dana Gas case and would issue a judgement soon. Dana is claiming it does not need to redeem its $700 million sukuk, which matured at the end of last month, because the instruments became invalid under UAE law. Dana had asked for further postponement of the trial pending developments in a UAE court, where motions in the case have also been filed.

Islamic finance in #Malta

In 2008, the Malta Financial Ser­vices Authority was the first EU regulator to issue guidelines on Islamic finance, which were updated in 2015-2016. In 2016, the Malta Stock Ex­change launched an Islamic Equity Index in order to attract investment and business from the Middle East. From a legislative aspect, Malta is already well-geared to welcome new structures that provide for Islamic finance. Malta is the only EU member country whose regulatory framework provides for protected cell companies and incorporated cell companies. Thus it may easily accommodate Takaful insurance solutions. Islamic investors are given the opportunity to set up their funds as Special Purpose Vehicles, Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities, Alternative Investment Funds or Professional Inves­tor Funds. Islamic finance institutions may also generate funds by listing on the Malta Stock Exchange.

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