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IslamicFinance.de installed on 18 April a new service to keep you updated with Islamic finance news by sending its content to a Twitter account allowing to follow news even by mobile phone, Wikipedia the online encyclopedia explains Twitter as follows:

"Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). [...] Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees." Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

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Lloyd's of London consider Takaful syndicate

Cecilia Valente reported on Reuters that Lloyd's of London is examining the viability of an Islamic reinsurance, or takaful, syndicate with interested parties planning capacity of up to GBP 200 mn (USD 294.5 mn) according to
Mohammad Khan, director for takaful at PwC. A previous syndicate in 2006, Creechurch Underwriting Limited , did not underwrite ultimately because the firm was taken over.

Royal Bank of Scotland sees big growth opportunities in Islamic investment banking

Royal Bank of Scotland sees big growth opportunities in Islamic investment banking, expecting asset growth rates to remain 15-20 percent annually and profitability levels to increase, Navid Goraya, RBS' global head of Islamic banking said.

Liquidity Management House combines 7 global banks in financing KFH-Turkey

Liquidity Management House, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance has succeeded in making a combined global 1-year Murabaha finance deal about USD 115 million for KFH-Turkey, after attracting 7 global and regional banks: Halk Bank-Turkey, Islamic Development Bank, Citibank, Garanti Bank International-Holland, Gatehouse Bank-UK, NBK International PLC, Standard Chartered Bank.

KFH-Turkey Chief Executive Officer is Ufuk Iwan.

Oliver Wyman says Islamic finance industry to grow to USD 1.6 trillion by 2012

Assets of the global Islamic finance industry are estimated to grow to around USD 1.6 trillion by 2012, a report by consultancy Oliver Wyman said. Growth opportunities lie in underpenetrated markets with large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Pakistan and South East Asia. Islamic wholesale banking needs to diversify from real estate finance to include advanced treasury services, innovative asset management, balance sheet management and securitisation management.

Request form: http://www.oliverwyman.com/ow/request.htm?name=The%20Next%20Chapter%20in...

Islamic Development Bank plans Sukuk

Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to issue USD 5 bn Sukuk, over the next five years to finance its programmes.

IDB's president Mr Ali said he expected 2009 issue would be priced higher and that the new sukuk would increase the IDB’s 2009 financing programme by 15 %.

BLME considers listing on London Stock Exchange

Bank of London and the Middle East plans to focus on its wealth-management business this year and then aim for listing on the London Stock Exchange next year.

European Finance House USD 200 mn Sukuk fund

Esteban Duarte and Neil Unmack reported on Bloomberg on 30 March that European Finance House Ltd. in London, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank seeks is planning the EFH Global Sukuk Plus Fund, managed by Aleksandar Devic, a former Lehman Brothers credi analyst. The Fund targets USD 200 mn.

EFH’s Luxembourg-based fund is targeting this year a yield of 6 % points more than the 3-m USD LIBOR. The fund will buy sukuk with an average credit rating of A, the sixth-highest investment grade ranking in Standard & Poor’s scale.

Mark Watts is head of asset management at European Finance House an he expects a strong rising Sukuk issuance once capital markets are free again.

Global finance structures must be revamped, says UN expert panel

International finance structures must be drastically overhauled in the face of the current global economic crisis, a panel of experts convened by the United Nations General Assembly chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics said.

The expert panel made a number of suggestions to support developing nations and creating an international infrastruture for the global markets led by the United Nations.

The panel included Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia.

French management school offers Islamic finance course

Grande Ecole Sup de Co Reims (Groupe Reims Management School) suggests a new course specialising on Islamic finance, which is coordinated by Ghassen Bouslama and offered in English.

Islamic Bank of Britain launches mortgage product in Scotland

Jane Bradley reported in the Scotsman on 3 April that Islamic Bank of Britain is introducting its mortgage product to Scotland. It is understood the launch is just the beginning of a wider push into Scotland – which is likely to include the opening of a physical branch and back office operations as well as the introduction of online retail banking for Scottish customers.

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Sustainability, Islamic Finance and Managing Risk While Seizing Opportunities

I just published an article with the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes Newsletter, giving an overview about the lines of arguments regarding performance and ethical screens, be it Islamic or Sustainability and what empiricial findings have been published.

It is claimed by critics that the reduction of the universe through ethical screens shall reduce the performance, likewise corporate social responsiblity comes against a cost. Similar counterarguments have been raised regarding Islamic screening criteria.

Bank Sarasin published a study doing own research with partners and reviewing published empirical analyses in the literature. It shows that there is no negative impact on performance. My review of empirical analyses in regard to Islamic finance concluded the same and all publications let conclude that ethical screens add value by way of risk management. An example is the debt limitation of the Sharia tolerance criteria.

Ethical screens may therefore improve the investment decision process and more research shall determine, which factors add value to the portfolio and therefore form part of a professional process.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Address The Growing Takaful Market

Press Release

LONDON, March 30, 2009 -- In a report published today, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services explains the way that its rating approach has been adapted to meet the growth of takaful insurance.

The article, "Standard & Poor's Approach To Rating Takaful And Retakaful (Islamic Re/Insurance) Companies," says that the last five years have seen takaful (Islamic insurance) grow from a niche product servicing relatively limited demand to become a mainstream risk management offering.

"In particular, we have seen rapid growth in the Arab world and an expansion across Europe. A further market development has been the growth of retakaful as a Sharia-compliant version of reinsurance," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Kevin Willis.

Standard & Poor's has rated a number of Islamic insurers and reinsurers and so is able to comment on the way that the rating criteria have been adapted to address the specifics of this product.

President of IDB urges G-20 to assess Islamic finance and consider observer status

"The opportunities offered by Islamic finance in promoting global financial stability and financial inclusion are worth assessment by the leadership of the G-20 countries," said Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank President Ahmed Mohamed Ali, reported Mushtak Parker in the Arab News.

The President told an Islamic Financial Architecture Colloquium hosted yesterday by Lord Mayor of the City of London Ian Luder at his official headquarters that it is time that the wider world should consider mainstreaming Islamic financial services. And the best way to do this is to accord the relevant Islamic finance stakeholders "observer status" within the framework of the G-20 and the expanded Financial Stability Forum of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Amanie Business Solutions LLC. launches its Shariah compliant stocks screening service

Amanie Business Solutions LLC. officially launched its web integrated Shariah stock screening service, the service will target new entrants into the Islamic fund management industry.

The web delivery platform of Amanie Screening can be accessed through http://www.amaniescreening.com . Investors and fund managers will be able to view the details and features of the Shariah Stock Screening service.

Amanie is a Shariah advisory and education company seeking to serve the global Islamic finance community.

2nd World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists: Fostering Partnerships

PRESS RELEASE

Conventional to Strategic: A New Paradigm in Giving

March 22-23, 2009 • Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The 2nd World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) concluded today after several key developments had been achieved that indicate an evolution in Muslim giving. The WCMP is a high-level network of donors and foundations established to promote informed and effective giving. The annual Congress itself is a unique event which brings together a diverse set of participants, with the hope that enhanced cooperation between different philanthropies through strategic partnerships will add profound value to address global challenges that affect both humanity and the environment.

Dr. Tariq Cheema, the founder of the WCMP, affirms that the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP)' brings together leaders who understand the risks and opportunities they have are common as global citizens, and therefore realize that collaboration across the lines of faith and race is a necessity and not merely a choice'.

Developments

KuveytTürk aims to enter German retail market

KuveytTürk aims to cater for German Muslims from payment services to the whole range of Islamic finance products in the years to come. The application process for a financial services branch with both regulators is ongoing but not yet finished contrary to what media sources were reporting yesterday.

Russian VTB Bank to enter sukuk issuance market

Oksana Kobzeva reported on 18 March on ArabianBusiness that Russia's second largest bank VTB may become the country's first issuer of sukuk. VTB Capital and Liquidity Management House, a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House, on Wednesday signed a protocol of intention aimed at cooperating in the development of Islamic finance in Russia and other former Soviet countries.

VTB Capital is headed Yuri Solovyov

AlKhabeer joins Islamic finance conference in Spain

Al-Khabeer has been invited to participate as the only private company from the Arab World in the first-ever Business Forum on Islamic Finance, organized by the IE Business School in Spain in collaboration with the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. A total of 50 senior-level corporate executives, ambassadors and journalists are expected to take part in the forum, which will include working papers, round-table discussions and Q&As.

The forum will be an excellent venue to identify new growth opportunities and discuss business prospects with potential partners from Spain and Latin America.

Global sukuk sales to fall again in 2009

Experts are expecting further drop in Sukuk isssuance in 2009. Local currencies help to support the markets, K. Salman Younis, head of Kuwait Finance House's Asian operations was cited.

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