Europe

Is the Current Model of Shari’ah Governance Fit for Purpose?

IFC & ISRA Thematic Workshop 2016, in association with K&L Gates
Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) and the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), in association wih K&L Gates invite you to an event addressing the Shari’ah governance model. The event will include the UK launch of the IFC and ISRA External Shari’ah Audit Report 2016.

Location: K&L Gates, One New Change (Watling Street entrance), London

Presenters: Jonathan Lawrence

Sponsors: K&L Gates, IFC, ISRA

REGISTER
http://www.klgates.com/resources/xpqEventRegistrationKNLG.aspx?xpST=Even...

9.30am - Registration and breakfast
10.00am - Morning sessions
12.00pm - Networking lunch
1.00pm - Afternoon sessions
3.00pm - Event concludes

The event will cover several key themes including:
How the current Shari’ah governance model works; its gaps and limitations
Examining the role of scholars alongside areas of potential conflict and impairment
The role of external Shari’ah audit
Regulatory differences in approach – is there a ‘best practice’?

Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance

in September 2016:

In the growing area of Islamic microfinance, a diverse skillset is required. Professionals have to be knowledgeable in traditional retail banking, in the ethics of Islamic finance and in the relevant compliance and regulation issues. In order to provide you with the necessary skills and know-how to become a well-rounded Islamic microfinance professional, we have designed the certification course ‘Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance’. This e-learning course was jointly developed by a team of experts from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and the Islamic Relief Academy. This combination of expertise provides you with the opportunity to have a rich learning experience based on the broad knowledge of diverse, highly qualified professionals.

This 6-month certification course is designed to be a part-time training, offering you the flexibility to follow your own schedule and the ability to combine daily work with your professional development.

The "Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance" was funded with UK aid from the UK government.

#Swiss firm buys two #Malaysian insurers to add #takaful products to its portfolio

Swiss insurer Zurich Insurance Company has bought MAA Takaful (MAAT) from MAA Group and Solidarity Group Holding to expand its insurance and takaful business in Malaysia. Zurich Insurance Malaysia CEO Philip Smith said the company will be able to provide a wide range of insurance and takaful solutions across multiple customer segments, supported by the technical and servicing expertise in the wider Zurich Group. The acquisition cost RM525 mn and about RM400 mn was paid at the closing of the transaction. The remaining amount will be paid on the third anniversary after the closing.

Chelsea Barracks: #Tax consequences of Islamic Finance product heard by the Court of Appeal

In 2008 the #Qatar owned Project Blue entered into an arrangement to acquire the former Chelsea Barracks in West London from the Ministry of Defence for £959 million. Monies were advanced by Masraf al Rayan Bank using an ijara arrangement for the transaction. Now the Court of Appeal has found that the Revenue and Customs authority should have sought Stamp Duty Land Tax from the bank rather than the purchaser, but was apparently out of time to raise such an assessment. Eventually, the machinery in the Finance Act 2003 was not up to the task of ensuring an ijara was treated for tax purposes in the same way as any other transaction. As the adoption of Islamic Finance instruments increases, British tribunals, courts and regulators will need to understand the structures more clearly.

Why #London remains a favourite destination for #GCC buyers

On a pure investment basis, London has a transparent property market. Property tenure is clear cut and underpinned by the legal system. There has long been a trend for overseas buyers to purchase homes or investment properties in central London. Over the past few years, Russian and Asian buyers have become more active, but the interest from the Middle East has never waned. While the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) Wealth Fund has been diversifying its portfolio away from Europe, it still has at least $7 billion directly invested in equities traded on the London Stock Exchange, in which it also holds a 10.3% stake.

#Luxembourg set to take over London’s Islamic finance hub position in Europe

The small European nation of Luxembourg is expected to threaten and take over London’s role as European hub for Islamic finance in a post-Brexit world. The big hit the UK is suffering politically and economically by the June 23 "Leave" vote will result in years of uncertainty and the risk of thousands of job cuts or relocations to mainland Europe. Over the past years Islamic finance has gained a strong foothold in London which served as a gateway for Arab investors to Europe. Now that the UK voted to quit the European Union, an exodus of investors is expected as they fear tighter regulations and higher taxes looming.
As an alternative, Luxembourg has shown readiness for innovation and will continue to improve its competitiveness. Luxembourg was the first European country that joined the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM). In September 2014, Luxembourg also issued the first sovereign sukuk in the eurozone and is soon expected to host its first fully-fledged Islamic bank on its territory.

Finance Islamique: déjà 500 familles devenues propriétaires en #France avec 570easi!

Il y a 6 ans, la société 570easi réalisait en France la toute première opération de financement immobilier conforme à l’éthique musulmane. C’est le cas pour plus de 500 familles qui sont devenues propriétaires via un financement immobilier Murabaha. Le grand public a la possibilité à ce jour de solliciter une durée de financement allant jusqu’à 20 ans.

What a #Brexit could mean for the UK’s aspiring #Islamic #finance #market

As the referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union looms in the UK, voices are getting louder, particularly in the country’s financial industry that it would not necessarily be a good idea to vote for a Brexit. Since the weight of the UK in the global financial market is substantial – the financial sector of the City of London has a 20% share in the global market for trading foreign securities and a sizeable part of it depends on the UK’s access to the internal EU market – such a strong position would be certainly threatened.
This could have serious impact on the growing role of Islamic finance in Europe which is entrenched in the UK and from there makes its way into the continent. Since the 1990s, when the first mortgages in the UK were set up in line with Shariah law, the country has aggregated the most advanced experience in Shariah-compliant finance in the Western world. Corporate sukuk followed a decade later, and in 2014, the UK became the first country in the EU to issue some sovereign sukuk and listed them on the London stock exchange. From then on, Islamic finance steadily entered the rest of Europe.

A record first quarter for #Sukuk

Issuance of Sukuk is up all around the world, up on last year, due to current economic factors and the goodwill for the instrument among global investors
The good news on the Sukuk front is continuing. The proportion of Sukuk bond issuance hit a record in the first quarter of 2016 in the main markets for this form of finance, said Fitch Ratings. According to Fitch’s data, there is a clear upwards trend in use of Shari'ah-compliant borrowing as more countries create legal frameworks to support issuance and as issuers try to attract a broader investor base, including Islamic finance investors.
Total new Sukuk issuance in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore and Pakistan was around $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016, with a maturity of 18 months. Issuance was up 22% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and 21% from a year earlier, while non-Sukuk bond issuance of $17.1 billion was down 23% quarter on quarter and 45% year on year. Sukuk represented 39.3% of total bond and Sukuk issuance in these countries during the quarter—the highest proportion in the past eight years.

Second #Vatican #Conference on Impact #Investing

Church and Business Leaders Respond to Pope Francis' Call to Make Wealth Work for the Poor
At the invitation of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Catholic Relief Services, impact investing experts and Catholic leaders from around the world will convene in Rome to explore how the Catholic Church and other faith-based institutions can harness the power of impact capital to attain and sustain their social mission.
These institutions, at an early stage in their social enterprise journey, will interact with and learn from successful social entrepreneurs, along with thought leaders from the sector. They will develop strategies, form partnerships and lay the foundation for catalyzing private investment to serve the poor and vulnerable. Celebrating the Extraordinary Year of Mercy established by Pope Francis, the conference is titled Making the Year of Mercy a Year of Impact for the Poor.
The conference begins on June 26, 2016 and is sponsored by Omidyar Network and the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. It ends on June 28.

#Moody's: Bidding deadline for #Bank Asya Katilim Bankasi will end uncertainty

The bidding process for Asya Katilim Bankasi A.S. - with a June 23 deadline - will end uncertainty over the future of the bank, but creditors face either its successful sale or its liquidation, says Moody's Investors Service in a report published today.
Bank Asya's creditors face two outcomes -- either a transfer of ownership to a successful bidder or the bank is liquidated and its banking license withdrawn," says Irakli Pipia, a VP - Senior Credit Officer at Moody's.
Moody's notes that the bidding process is nevertheless a positivedevelopment for creditors, as it provides a potential upside scenario.In the event of a winning bid by a new owner committed to recapitalizingthe bank, the rating agency would expect a rapid recovery in its credit profile.
"An acquisition of Bank Asya by a well-established player is likely to restore customer confidence in the bank and turn around the outflow of deposits," explains Mr. Pipia. "However, the likelihood of such an outcome is impossible to assess given the limited information about potential interest from bidders."

#Turkey's Banking Regulation and #Supervision Agency BRSA" officially an Institutional Member of #AAOIFI

The important role of the Republic of Turkey in the global Islamic finance industry as well as its distinct standing both at the official and popular levels, the steady growth both of Islamic banks and financial institutions operating there, in addition to the parallel evolution of its regulatory and supervisory framework, the AAOIFI has been keen to strengthen professional and technical ties with this country. This was translated into an official visit by AAOIFI to a number of banking regulatory and supervisory bodies as well as a number of Islamic banks and financial institutions, professional entities and academic institutions.

World’s leading financial institutions in Hall of Shame for #investments in #cluster munitions producers

From Canada, CI Financial, Manulife Financial, Royal Bank of Canada and Sun Life Financial are also included in the Hall of Shame. Jointly, these Canadian financial institutions invested US$565 million in cluster munitions producers between June 2012 and April 2016.

The report by Dutch peace organisation PAX was released today in Ottawa, together with the Cluster Munition Coalition and Mines Action Canada, to put pressure on Canada and other governments to put an end to these investments.

“It is an absolute outrage that financial institutions are investing billions into companies that produce weapons which are banned under international law”, says Suzanne Oosterwijk, author of the PAX report. “Canada has also banned these weapons. It is time for financial institutions to stop disregarding the international norm with these explosive investments into producers of illegal weapons that maim and kill civilians.”

London Stock Exchange welcomes ICD, a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group

London Stock Exchange welcomes ICD to mark the listing of its MTN Programme and inaugural $300 million five year Sukuk. ICD will use the proceeds of the Sukuk to support investments in private sector projects. The MTN program, which is a Wakala structure, will serve as ICD’s main funding platform for regular issuance of Sukuk. HSBC was the arranger for the MTN Program and the syndicate group for the Sukuk included 13 international and regional banks.

Islamic finance becomes popular for affordable #housing schemes

Home financing resembling Islamic finance structures is becoming popular to solve the housing affordability crisis in Western countries. Housing cooperatives began using profit-and-risk-sharing schemes modelled after ijara or musharaka to help home buyers purchase properties. In the UK the idea based on the Islamic contract of ijara came up in 2015. The rent-to-own scheme was proposed by the Liberal Democrats party and involves an Islamic bank or another intermediary, who purchases the property for a customer. In Canada various cooperative frameworks are providing home financing loans to members of their cooperatives in a Shariah-compliant manner. In the US the Ijara Community Development provides Shariah-compliant home financing for both US clients and customers in Canada.

Swiss Bank Is Charged Over #1MDB Dealings

Authorities in #Switzerland and #Singapore took action against Swiss private bank BSI for failing to prevent money laundering and bribery related to its dealings with Malaysian development fund 1MDB. Switzerland's Attorney General opened criminal proceedings against the bank. The country's Financial Market Supervisory Authority ordered BSI to pay back 95 mn Swiss franks Swiss Bank Is Charged Over ($96 mn). Singapore’s central bank revoked BSI’s banking license there and fined it 13.3 mn Singapore dollars ($9.7 mn). The cross-border investigation related to 1MDB involves at least seven countries.

Gassner's picture

#Education #Crowdfunding - A direct and effective way of #Giving with #Givology

Dear Reader,

For some time I did private research on crowdfunding and fintech for the social good. Only recently I found the long existing platform givology.org - it allows to donate specifically for education to individual pupils in poorer countries and getting in touch with them! Personally this one of the causes important to me, because it ensures that the funds are being spent on education, and therewith building a future.

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In case you wish to receive further updates on Givology please register your email here: https://www.givology.org/register/

Are #UK universities mis-selling Islamic finance masters' degrees?

Where UK based students are led to take Islamic finance masters' degrees as a route to an Islamic finance career, mis-selling may be taking place. In world rankings, many UK universities rank relatively highly, and such a UK degree can enhance the promotion prospects of foreign students in their home country. However, many UK origin students are persuaded to take a master's degree in Islamic finance immediately after graduating. Unfortunately, the number of available positions in Islamic finance in the UK is very limited. Also UK Islamic financial institutions are too small to train people, and typically only hire experienced Islamic bankers.

Sharia #studentloans that do not conflict with the rules of Islam to be offered for the first time in drive to get more Muslims to university

Sharia student loans will be set up for the first time in Britain as part of a drive to boost the number of young Muslims applying to university. The government vowed to tackle the issue by creating a Takaful model, which is Sharia-compliant. Although no interest would be charged, the government said that repayments would be structured so that the total paid back would be the same as that paid by a student with a regular loan.

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