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Academic and Practioners invited to share documents

Dear Writers,

Whether you are an academic or practionner: If you wish to see your paper published on IslamicFinance.de please send us the relevant document along with a confirmation that you hold the copyrights of it and we can upload the work with your abstract provided.

As simple as that!

Best regards,

Michael Saleh Gassner

UK court's intervention is worst-case scenario, says NMC Health chairman

According to hospital operator NMC Health and its Executive Chairman Faisal Belhoul, getting placed in administration by a UK court order would be the "worst-case scenario" for the company’s future. The threat of coming under administration is a live one after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank had filed a request with a UK court for NMC to be placed under a joint administration. ADCB – which has an exposure of Dh3.6 billion to NMC and affiliates - filed its request in a UK court because NMC Health is listed on London Stock Exchange. According to Belhoul, international institutional investors are keen to take an exposure in NMC despite its current predicament.

Middle East investors target $5.3bn London commercial property spend in 2020

According to Knight Frank, Middle East investors are set to increase commercial real estate investment in London this year. Investors from the region are forecast to spend £4.1 billion ($5.3 billion) in the UK capital this year, up by £100 million compared to 2019. China remains by far the biggest potential investor in London, with £12.7 billion of capital ready to buy assets in 2020, followed by Singapore. Knight Frank’s annual London Report reveals that in 2019 London investment activity fell 15% to £13.9 billion, down from £16.8 billion in 2018, as Brexit uncertainty and a shortage of available assets constrained the number of deals.

#UK digital challenger bank Rizq eyeing summer launch

Rizq, a UK-based Islamic digital challenger bank is preparing for its launch this summer. Akmal Saleem, the fintech’s co-founder and CEO is positioning Rizq from the Muslim lifestyle perspective, so the new bank wants to solve mainstream banking issues for Muslims in the West. According to Saleem, Muslims in the UK still use conventional current accounts because they do not see a true alternative. Established in late February, Rizq will be both an app and web-based digital challenger bank. The company has applied for a license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the registration is on track for acceptance by May 29. The digital challenger will offer a current account first and a premium account at a later stage. The company is working with a major card provider and will offer a debit card for both accounts.

Administrators of NMC Health Revamp Company's Board

The administrators of troubled hospital operator NMC Health have announced a new board of directors. Previous board members, including executive chairman Faisal Belhoul have been removed. The move came after London's High Court on Thursday placed NMC Health into administration, on the application of one of its biggest lenders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). Michael Brenden Davis remains as interim chief executive officer and chief operating officer, but does not sit on the company's board.

NMC’s Deepening Debt Crisis Heads to a Showdown in U.K. Court

The crisis surrounding NMC Health widened, as the struggling hospital operator rejected a call to be put into administration and United Arab Emirates’ banks disclosed more than $2 billion of exposure. The next chapter opens Thursday when a U.K. court is scheduled to hear Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC’s bid to place NMC into the hands of administrators. With a market value of $2.4 billion and total debt of $6.6 billion, NMC now faces an investigation by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

New Islamic endowment trust seeks to be UK’s first waqf to combine commercial and social investments

A new charitable foundation is being set up in the UK that aims to become a £1 billion waqf fund combining commercial and social investments. Sultan Choudhury, Executive Chairperson of the new One Endowment Trust (OET) said that the vision of the trust is to present Islam in a positive way through contribution to UK civil society. OET’s first investment is a £1.75 million 21 residential apartments with planning for four more in Creative Lofts in the Yorshire town of Huddersfield. The returns generated from OET’s portfolio of assets will cover the Trust’s costs and also be reinvested in designated social projects with partners. OET expects to begin investing in social projects particularly in the area of social care in 2022.

British Museum to exhibit 150 works by Middle Eastern artists in new major exhibition

The British Museum has emerged as one of the foremost sites for collecting and exhibiting Middle Eastern art in the UK. Much of the museum’s prominence is due to Venetia Porter, its curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle East art. The 150 works on paper that the museum will show are not loans, they have been acquired by the museum. The exhibition in the autumn will be accompanied by a major catalogue of the acquisitions and a conference. Among its subjects will be those of conflict and exile, two key areas for recent art of the region, explored by well-known artists such as Dia Azzawi, Hanaa Malallah, and Hayv Kahraman. There are also works of Syrian artists affected by the country’s civil war and more recently from Lebanon.

How the #UK tech startup scene has become a powerful engine for Islam

Today, technology and Islam are seeing a valuable convergence in its contribution to exercising faith in a modern era. Technology has been a real driving force in the introduction of Islamic business banking in the UK, with more than 20 banks now offering Islamic financial products. Recent technological innovation in augmented reality has seen a team of UK entrepreneurs create the Islamic GPS app, designed with a 360 degree interactive view to help consumers find Islamic heritage spots and halal sites. Britain is now also home to a host of tech platforms looking to support charities. The creation of MyTenNights showed sharp demand for automated, personalised nightly donation plans during Ramadan. To ensure they maximise their positive impact, Muslims are using the nightly automating donation platform to remove the admin of charitable donation.

Swiss fintech firms venture deeper into Middle East

Swiss fintech company Instimatch has launched into the Middle East, having won a licence to operate in Qatar, and signed up its first Kuwaiti bank. The company is poised to incorporate Islamic finance-compliant solutions and blockchain into its platform. Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan and Ahli banks are among the 80-plus entities signed up by Instimatch, along with Kuwait's Gulf Bank. Instimatch plans to have Qatar as a springboard for further expansion in the Middle East and later to Africa and Asia. Along with other countries in the region, Qatar recently launched a national fintech strategy to beef up its financial centre with digital innovations.

Islamic Bank hires new CIO

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank has appointed Simon Nash as the new chief information officer.
Simon Nash has 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector with multinational businesses including RBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. He will lead information technology innovation as well the development and augmentation of information policies and processes. He will be responsible for a team of almost 50 colleagues and will oversee further technology projects scheduled for this year, including the ongoing development of the recently launched mobile banking app.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank extends $87 million financing for 2 deals in #UK

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has provided $87 million to help finance two deals in the United Kingdom that are valued more than $200 million. One of the clients is based in Abu Dhabi and plans to refinance a prime central London healthcare facility worth 900 million UAE dirhams ($245 million). The other client is a Bahrain-based company who plans to acquire a logistics hub in Edinburgh worth 55 million UAE dirhams ($15 million). The London property is operated by an international healthcare group. The Edinburgh property, let to Royal Mail, consists of an office facility and a distribution warehouse situated in Scotland.

Gassner's picture

Lecture in London: Islamic Social Finance and the Sustainable Development Goals,Wednesday, 12 February, 18.00-20.00

Dear readers,

Looking forward at the following public lecture in London, which I am planning to attend.

Best regards,

Michael Gassner

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PUBLIC LECTURE ON ISLAMIC FINANCE

CHAIR
Dr Jonathan Ercanbrack
Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law
(CIMEL)
Lecturer in Transnational Financial Law

TIME / DATE / LOCATION
Wednesday, 12 February, 18.00-20.00
Senate Wolfson Lecture Theatre
Senate House (North Block)
SOAS, University of London
10 Thornhaugh Street
London WC1H 0XG

SPEAKER’S BIO
Professor Habib Ahmed

Professor Habib Ahmed received his M.A. from University of
Chittagong, Bangladesh, Cand. Oecon. from University of Oslo,
Norway, and Ph.D. (Economics) from University of Connecticut,
USA. Before joining Durham University as Professor and Sharjah
Chair in Islamic Law & Finance in 2008, Professor Ahmed was
Manager, Research & Development, Islamic Banking Development
Group, National Commercial Bank and worked at Islamic Research
& Training Institute of the Islamic Development Bank Group in
Saudi Arabia. He has taught at the University of Connecticut, USA,
National University of Singapore, University of Bahrain and worked

ADIB plans to end several banking services in the #UK

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has announced plans to streamline its UK operations in a bid to end several banking services and to focus on commercial real estate financing. The bank will refrain from providing regulated services to customers, which includes account services, savings, deposits and safe deposit boxes. The bank said that the decision follows a rigorous evaluation process that took into consideration the high demand for commercial real estate financing in the UK. The bank has built a strong full-service property financing solution to support clients’ investment strategies in commercial real estate in compliance with Islamic Shari’ah principles.

Lack of awareness behind low demand for Sharia-compliant mortgages

Specialist Sharia Islamic mortgages are available with certain lenders but take-up is currently low. According to Lilla Dilliway, mortgage and protection adviser at BlueWing Financials, the low demand is because applicable borrowers are unaware that a Sharia-compliant mortgage is a possibility, especially in the UK. When compared, a Sharia mortgage’s part rent, part capital repayment aspect means that borrowers may find it difficult to meet the affordability criteria and/or have eligibility issues based on their credit history. Sharia-compliant mortgages are often also more expensive due to the higher administration costs of the lender. Dilliway suggests that if Sharia-compliant mortgages were advertised and promoted in the same way as mainstream mortgages, an increase in take-up might be seen.

Interest-Free Banking in #Sweden: How much is it Islamic? – Dr. Akmal S. Hyder

This study goes into the depth of a European bank which entirely practices interest-free banking for its saving and lending operations. The study shows that there are some similarities between JAK and Islamic banks but differences are many. One difference lies in the service offerings as JAK only deal with savings and lending and does not get involved in profit-loss sharing which is central to Islamic banking. Islamic banks can learn from JAK how to educate their customers so that business gets clear to them. By comparing with Islamic banking, the European bank management can have the idea how far they do Islamic banking and what is unique with their bank. The European bank management has to deal with new challenges how much they can grow of being a non-profit organization in the long run.

One of Germany’s senior Muslim diplomats, Murad Hoffman, returns to his Lord

The well-known scholar and diplomat, Murad Hoffman, has passed to meet his Lord. May Allah have mercy upon him. Murad Hofmann was born a Catholic in 1931 in Aschaffenburg, Germany. He later studied at the University of Munich and Harvard University. Hofmann converted to Islam in 1980 as a result of witnessing the Algerian War of Independence, in addition to his admiration of Islamic art. His reversion was met with political resistance due to his high profile in the German government. Hofmann served as a diplomat for Germany for 33 years, beginning in 1961. He served as ambassador to Algeria and Morocco from 1987 to 1994, and was director of information for NATO.

Islamic finance gains ground in #UK despite confusion about offerings

According to the 2019 Islamic Finance Consumer Report from Gatehouse Bank, several new faith-based lending or savings accounts have been launched in the UK, but only 54% of Muslim consumers have tried any of them. Gatehouse Bank CEO Charles Haresnape sees that most people don’t really understand Islamic finance, even Muslims don’t understand it. He said that Gatehouse is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain. Haresnape predicts growth for the UK Islamic finance market, driven by the country’s expanding young Muslim population, but said awareness and education would be key factors in driving uptake.

Islamic finance gains ground in UK despite confusion about offerings

The UK Islamic finance sector holds an estimated £15 billion ($19 billion) of assets, the largest outside the Middle East and Asia. The Gatehouse Bank is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain.

À la recon­quête de la finance islamique

Présentée comme un nouveau pilier de la place financière il y a quelques années, la finance islamique était en veilleuse. L’organisation du deuxième Sukuk Summit au Luxembourg le 11 novembre dernier l’a remise en lumière. Bandar Hajjar, président de la Banque islamique de dévelop­pement a annoncé que son institution allait installer une «présence légale» au Grand-Duché pour développer les sukuk en Europe. Aujourd’hui, le Grand-Duché est le cinquième pays pour la domiciliation de fonds d’investissement conformes à la charia.

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