Europe

Two Gulf banks possibly to be licensed in France

Stanley Carvalho reported on 21 January in Arabianbusiness that two financial institutions in the Gulf may be licensed to introduce Islamic banking in france later this year according to a member of the French banking delegation, one of them being Qatar Islamic Bank, the second possibly located in Bahrain.

Europlance wants to promote Islamic finance and banks in Paris

Nasser Al Harthy reported in The Peninsula on 21 January about Paris-based Europlace that it welcomes sukuk issuers on NYSE Euronext and the setting up of Islamic banks in Paris. Arnaud de Bresson, Managing Director of Paris Europlace, said the new reforms that were adopted concerned authorisation of Shariah-indexed mutual funds, listing of sukuk in France, tax neutrality on Murabaha (transactions on real estate property, shares, machinery and commodities) as well as tax deduction on renumeration of sukuk.

Sukuk Issuance Fell Dramatically In 2008 But Long-Term Market Prospects Are Good, Says S&P

Press Release

PARIS, January 14, 2009--Despite a dramatic decline in volumes in 2008, the long-term perspectives for global sukuk issuance are still good, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a report published today "Sukuk Market Declined Sharply In 2008, But Long-Term Prospects Remain Strong."

"The decline in sukuk issuance in 2008 was as a result of global market turmoil, drying up of liquidity, widening of credit spreads, and investors' wait-and-see attitude," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Mohamed Damak. "Although difficult to measure, part of this decline could also have been due to comments about the Sharia compliance of some sukuk by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions.

More than 45% of sukuk issued in 2008 were "ijara" (lease financing), most probably as a direct consequence of the debate about Sharia compliance among some scholars. The value of sukuk issued in 2008 dropped by more than 56% compared with 2007, to $14.9 billion. "We do not expect the market to start reviving before the second half of 2009 or early 2010," added Mr. Damak.

Deutsche Bank launches new platform in Luxembourg

Deutsche Bank announced the launch of “Al Mi’yar”, a platform to facilitate the issuance of Sharia compliant securities domiciled in Luxembourg with Luxembourg Financial Group AG as the Sharia investment manager. Deutsche Banks Trust & Securities Services group providing the settlement framework. The platform allows for access of all asset classes including money market instruments.

4 million child trust funds opened in UK

A total of 4.01 million child trust funds have been opened since the scheme stated. Latest data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show since January 2005 4.3 million child trust fund vouchers have been issued – but only three-quarters of parents are investing the vouchers. However, parents investing the average GBP 24 a month into an account could provide their offspring with GBP 9,750 at the age of 18, according to estimates from the Children’s Mutual.

Source: 

http://www.myfinances.co.uk/news/investments/child-trust-fund/4m-child-trust-funds-now-open-$1259681.htm

Gatehouse Bank appoints new head of real estate

Gatehouse Bank released that Philip Churchill has been appointed as Head of Real Estate. Philip Churh has been previously Head of Investment Management, Europe for four years with HDG Mansur, fund manager of the HSBC Amanah Global Properties Income Fund.

Crisis offsets Islamic wealth management 2008 gain

Guardian reported based on Reuters on 7 January that market volatility wiped out all of the asset gains made by the Islamic fund management industry in the year to September 2008, citing US-based research and data provider Cerulli Associates. Sharia-compliant fund managers had assets of USD 65 bn at the end of the 3rd quarter 2008, including assets managed via discretionary mandates for institutions and high net-worth individuals and mutual funds. Assets invested in Islamic-compliant mutual funds rose by 50 % while the number of such funds doubled in the three years to 2008. Islamic mutual funds alone accounted for USD 35 bn-- up from USD 23.2 bn gathered in 2005. Sukuk funds remained a rare offering. Once markets stabilise this industry can potentially expand at a rate of above 10 % a year, the report said. Saudi Arabia is currently the largest domestic market for shariah investments. Challenges named in a poll by Cerulli were named the Sharia compliance costs, convincing investors of the Sharia compliance, the discrepancy in Sharia standards and the lack of 3rd party distribution.

Report order form: http://www.cerulli.com/pdfs/2008_Shariah_Info_Packet.pdf

Bank of London and the Middle East plc completes GBP 31.5 mn refinancing for client

Bank of London and The Middle East plc (“BLME”), has announced on 7 January the completion of a 3-year GBP 31.5 mn finance transaction for Premio Group Holdings to refinance Premio’s property portfolio in Mayfair, London. This is the first Islamic finance transaction completed by Premio Group Holdings.

Premio Group Holdings is a joint venture between Chelsfield Partners LLP and Rollpost established in December 2005. Premio owns over 50,000 square ft of prime residential and commercial property in London’s Mayfair.

Advisers to both firms were Alexander Marks, SJ Berwin and KPMG for Premio and Herbert Smith LLP for BLME.

Reuters: Turkey's main investors eye possible Sukuk

Cecilia Valente and Selcuk Gokoluk reported on 7 January on Reuters that the Sukuk planned by the Turkish government, finds potential buyers in Turkey's institutional investors like Oyak Emeklilik or AK Portfolio. On average, Turkish pension schemes allocate more than 70 percent of their assets to government bonds, with the rest in shares, repo or bank deposits.

Shariah compliant green fund launched

Hedge Fund Review reported on 22 December about the Falcon Fund launched by Da Vinci Invest of Zurich, aiming to invest in the carbon markets and forestry.

The fund will actively trade the carbon markets on a short-term basis and invest in forestry for the long term. Da Vinci Invest expects this strategy provide consistent value growth, diversification and an environmental benefit. Rainforest Invest, Forest Finance and Miller Forest will source opportunities in Panama, Costa Rica and Paraguay.

Only land formerly used for agricultural will be planted. No rainforest will be cut to farm the plantations. The Da Vinci Green Falcon Fund will charge a 2% management fee and a 20% incentive fee.

Da Vinci Invest, incorporated in 2004 as a UK company, is based in Zug.

Zurich launches takaful venture

Switzerland-based Zurich Financial Services Group has established a joint Islamic insurance venture with Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company (ADNTC). The joint venture, called Zurich Takaful Company Limited, will be based in Dubai at Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) and will deal with family takaful businesses across the Middle East. It is 51% owned by Zurich and 49% owned by ADNTC. Zurich’s initial focus will be establishing its DIFC office as a regional hub, which will then act as a springboard for future growth in the region.

Islamic Microfinance

Dear All,

Please post here any information, concepts and ideas to foster Islamic Microfinance.

Best regards,

IslamicFinance.de

Dar eyes UK Islamic banking unit

Arabian Business reported on 28 April that Investment Dar its proposed British bank unit 'Dar Capital' might start with capital of up to GBP 100 mn. A project study should be finished by year-end.

Chairman of Investment Dar is Adnan Al-Musallam.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517695-dar-eyes-uk-bank-with-up-to-100-ml...

Gatehouse Bank licensed as 5th Islamic investment bank in London

Gatehouse Bank, a subsidiary of the Kuwait-based investment firm The Securities House KSCC, has been approved as an investment bank by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and can now offer Shariah-compliant products.

David Testa is chief executive at Gatehouse.

Source: http://www.ukinvest.gov.uk/OurWorld/4029877/en-GB.html

France to host meetings on ‘Islamic finance’

Arab Times reported that the French Senate,is organizing two round table discussions May 14 to examine the role France can play in attracting Islamic funds.

Senates Finance Commission president Jean Arthuis will preside the meeting and Zubeir Bin Terdeyet, Director of Isla Invest, Maya Boureghda, a legal counsellor at BNP Parisbas, Anwar Hassoune, vice-president of Moodys rating company, Vincent Lauwick, SGAM Asset Management, London, Jean Francois Pon from the Federation of French Banks and Gilles Saint Marc, a lawyer from AARPI.

Source: http://www.arabtimesonline.com/kuwaitnews/pagesdetails.asp?nid=16009&cci...

Turkey: Shamil Bank's Real Estate Fund

Shami Bank released on 13 April the successful closure of its USD 90 mn Shamil Bosphorus Modaraba, an investment vehicle with an expected 60 % over three years focussing on residential and mixed-use real estate developments in Istanbul, and secondary homes on the Turkish coast.

The total cost of the projects targeted is approximately USD 450 mn. Shamil Bank subscribed to 10 % of the USD 90 mn.

Abdul Hakim Al Mutawa is Investment and Private Banking Head of Shamil Bank.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_pressreleases&view=d...

Bank of London and the Middle East appoints Senior Advisor

Bank of London and the Middle East released on 14 April the appointment of Mahmoud Faruqui as Senior Advisor.

Having been involved in the Islamic finance industry for over 30 years, Mahmood has extensive experience in advising banks on Strategy, Governance and Sharia'a aspects of product structuring and documentation.

Mahmood has previously worked as Board Member/Advisor of Habib Bank, Alfaysal Investment bank, Faysal Bank, Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain, Dar-Al-Maal Islami (DMI) Geneva, and Habib Bank AG Zurich.

As a founder member and secretary at the Pakistan Banking Council, he played a key role in negotiating and obtaining authorised bank status for five Pakistani banks from the Bank of England.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_pressreleases&view=d...

British Islamic Insurance Holding undertakes Private Placement

Gan Yen Kuan reported on 10 April in The Edge Daily that MNRB Holdings Bhd has proposed to invest GBP 8.96 mn in the non-listed British Islamic Insurance Holdings Ltd (BIIH), being an equity stake of maximum 9.99 % based on a private placement effort. MNRB aims to diversify the business and to expand into international business and the potentially lucrative market in Europe.

MNRB is Malaysia’s largest re-insurer.

BIIH has an authorised share capital of GBP 100 mn. Its issued and paid-up share capital is GBP 4.1 mn with a share premium of GBP 42.1 mn. It is incorporated on 27 February 2006.

BIIH has two wholly owned subsidiaries, namely BIIH General Ltd (BIIG) and BIIS Ltd., both have yet to obtain permission from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) to carry out their respective business in general insurance and insurance intermediation services.

BIIH is unlisted but aims to be listed on the Alternative Investments Market in London and on one or more suitable GCC based exchanges later.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

UK: Takaful coverage for mobile phones

FoneShield UK Ltd, a UK mobile phone insurance provider, is set to launch the first mobile phones takaful coverage.

Though a 'Sharia' compliant standard for ethical insurance has been chosen to meet the upwardly-mobile European Muslim market, it is also believed to be a standard that will have a wider appeal amongst ethical consumers.

FoneShield UK Ltd is an FSA regulated insurance provider, based in London and has been operating since 2005. It is one of the first to offer an online, self-service option to mobile phone dealers and recently launched 'CaShield' to protect mobile phone cashbacks.

Amian Moaven is Director of FoneShield UK Ltd

Source: http://www.freepressreleases.co.uk/Press_Releases/Telecoms_News/Sharia_E...

Academic Research Papers

Dear Members,

Please share your opinion about the following proposal in regard to

- Academic Research Papers

This forum could facilitate to publish your research papers and having them rated by peers afterwards. This would speed up the time from production to publishing tremendously compared to traditional journals.

It also gives a chance to see unusual papers published, however, a good number of submissions might be of lower quality at the same time.

The action question: Is there interest in the community to use such a platform in this way???

Please comment!!!

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