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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.

Islamic Bank of Britain reduces losses in 2008

Islamic Bank of Britain, which offers Sharia-compliant banking services for individuals and businesses, reduced its loss by 15 % to GBP 5.9 mn in 2008 down from GBP 6.9 mn 2007. The bank put the reduction down primarily to growth in fee and commission income.

The customer numbers increased by 10 % to over 47,000 and deposits increased by 15 % GBP to 158 mn.

Two new major products were launched, an Islamic home finance and a 60-day notice savings account, which was launched in December 2008.

UNEP FI Insurance Working Group conducts first-of-a-kind global survey on ESG factors and insurance

The UNEP FI Insurance Working Group, supported by leading academic institutions from the United States and Europe, is conducting a landmark global survey on the understanding and integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in insurance underwriting and product development. The nature and scope of this survey makes it the first of its kind.

The core objectives are to:

- Assess the understanding and integration of ESG factors in insurance underwriting and product development globally
- Assess the financial materiality of ESG factors in insurance underwriting and product development
- Provide recommendations for sustainable insurance underwriting
- Provide research input for potential projects on other core insurance processes (e.g. investment, claims management, and sales & marketing)
- Establish a solid business case for the development of "Principles for Sustainable Insurance"

Visit http://www.unepfi.org/events/2009/survey to find out more and participate.

Malta as Centre of Islamic finance

The Malta Institute of Management (MIM) met up with Opposition Leader Dr Joseph Muscat, to present a copy of Dr Robert Attard’s Principles of Maltese Taxation.

Hon Dr Muscat said that Malta has a big opportunity ahead of it. MIM has spearheaded the discussion in Islamic Finance in Malta and the Labour Party has supported it throughout. Reuben Buttigieg explained how Malta can be marketed as an Islamic Finance centre through the direct intervention of the government through the issuance of Sukuk.

Amiri Capital works with NewEdge for Islamic Hedge Fund Prime Brokerage needs

Cecilia Valente reported on 9 March on Reuters that Amiri Capital, the Islamic asset manager backed by investment firm Olivant, has teamed up with broker Newedge to launch an Islamic fund of long/short hedge funds to be marketed in the Middle East. The Amiri Equity Alternative Strategies Fund (AEAS) will operate under the same Sharia-compliant structure agreed with original prime broker Lehman Brothers to replicate short selling, which involves profiting as a stock price falls.

Amiri co-founder Richard Ellis told Reuters that Gulf-based investors have pledged assets to the fund of funds but investments will be made when the market shows signs of improvement. Philippe Teilhard de Chardin, global head of prime brokerage at Newedge, told Reuters that the market segment is small but developing.

Vatican related newspaper: Islamic finance suggests ideas for Western financial crisis

Loretta Napoleoni and Claudia Segre suggesting in the Vatican related L'Osservatore Romano, that Islamic finance offers ideas for the Western financial crisis. Citing the main concepts of Islamic finance and emphasizing specifically Sukuk.

The original article is in Italian linked via Source.

President of IDB addresses the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum

Press Release

Jakarta, 3rd March, 2009

The Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB Group) provided “Gold Sponsorship” to the 5th World Islamic Forum WIEF being held in Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia. In his speech in the Leadership Panel on “Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges”, HE Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the IDB Group praised WIEF for addressing these critical topics, and emphasized three avenues to new innovative solutions to meet global challenges, namely, ethics-based rather than rule-based financial governance structure, investment partnership with the poor and the vulnerable, and unleashing the God-given potential and innate strength of the full human resources. In his speech, he briefed the participants on IDB Group activities in meeting global challenges.

The first day of the Forum included two panel sessions titled “Leadership Panel” and “Global CEO Panel” followed by four plenary sessions namely; Beyond Scarcity: Overcoming the Global Food Crisis, Paving Greener World: Creating a Future for Alternative Energy, Stemming the Tide of the Global Financial Crisis, and Global SMEs: Business Beyond Boundaries.

Al Rajhi ahead of major international banks in market value

According to a survey published originally by the newspaper Al Qabas it results that Al Rajhi Bank with its market value of USD 22.4 bn was ahead of leading global banks, including: Morgan Stanley with USD 20.88 bn, Deutsche Bank with USD 13.83 bn, Barclays with USD 11.58 bn, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) with USD 10.93 bn and Citibank with USD 10.63 bn.

Parsoli promoters barred from trading

Zafar and Uves Sareshwala, promoters of broking firm Parsoli Corporation, were debarred by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) after they were found to have fraudulently transferred shares of genuine investors to their own accounts.

Gatehouse financing European Property

Cecilia Valente reported on 25 February that UK Islamic bank Gatehouse, a unit of Kuwait's Securities House, is set to close its first real estate deal in the coming months, refinancing a continental European property worth about 100 million euros ($128.5 million). The CEO David Testa is cited to have said the bank expected to seal the deal by the end of the second quarter, declining to identify precisely the property or its location. He defines the range of business the four wholesale Islamic banks in the UK could do at deals between GBP 20-40 mn.

Gatehouse, the latest UK-based Islamic bank to be approved by UK market regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA), will finance the deal through a lease and buy-back bond issuance, known as Ijara sukuk.

The sukuk will be placed in the market through the Channel Island-listed Milestone Capital Platform, which the bank said has the capacity to issue debt to up to $1 billion.

Testa said Gatehouse was also involved in raising $50 million for a commodity deal with a Latin American company, which he declined to name.

Thomson Reuters Appoints Rushdi Siddiqui as Head of Islamic Finance

Mr. Siddiqui joined Thomson Reuters from Dow Jones, where he was Global Director for their Islamic Market Indices at Thomson Reuters he is appointed Rushdi Siddiqui to lead its Islamic Finance business.

Thomson Reuters, which has been active in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia since 1865, has strong Islamic Finance assets covering leading content, news, analytics and trading capabilities. In this newly created role, Mr. Siddiqui will be utilizing these assets and working closely with Islamic finance and banking professionals including fund managers, treasury, financial hubs, regulators, stock exchanges, central banks, Takafol (insurance) entities, Halal industry, intra-OIC (57 Muslim countries), trade, investment, as well as others to strengthen and grow this business.

Basil Moftah is Managing Director for Thomson Reuters in the Middle East and Africa.

UK working to offer sukuk in sterling

Rachna Uppal reported on 16 February that the UK Sterling Sukuk will be offered in the foreseeable future. There is work ongoing on the issue how t o treat the coupon of the Sukuk and put it on par with bonds.

Britain's First Islamic Motor Insurance

Salaam Halal Insurance, Britain's first Shari`ah-compliant insurer, was launched last July and price-comparison websites show a great demand and competitiveness.

Islamic Securitization - The Right Way Forward?

Heiko Hesse, Andreas Jobst and Juan A. Sole published on RGEmonitor on 13 February an analysis regarding Islamic Securitization and the grown interest for Islamic finance during the financial crisis.

Islamic finance is driven by the general precept of extending religious doctrine in the shari’ah to financial agreements and transactions. Predatory lending, deteriorating underwriting standards, and a series of incentive problems between originators, arrangers, and sponsors, of which all have infested the conventional securitization process, belie fundamental Islamic principles.

The article linked in the source relates the characteristics of this form of securitization to calls for enhanced disclosure and standardization, ratings agency reforms, and better transparency of origination and underwriting practices in conventional structured finance. In particular, it assesses the potential of conflicts of interest (which became apparent in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis) to contaminate the integrity of the securitization process if it were conducted in compliance with shari’ah principles.

Western companies looking to Sukuk

Cecilia Valente and Frederik Richter reported 10 February on Reuters, that Western companies, especially in the UK and France, are considering issuing Sukuk to tap Middle Eastern investors.

Bank of London and the Middle East plans three funds

Bank of London and the Middle East, or BLME, plans to launch at least three funds in 2009 targeting a US dollar based fixed income fund, a UK real estate distressed assets fund and an equities fund according to Adrian Gayler, the newly appointed head of private banking at BLME, told Zawya Dow Jones.

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