Europe

AAOIFI seeks mandate to vet products according to their Sharia Standards

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will seek a mandate from its trustees to examine the degree of sharia financial products' compliance with its 40 standards, its secretary-general, Mohamad Nedal Alchaar, said according to Liau Y-Sing from Reuters.

Lack of common standards makes it difficult to sell products across borders, while possibly enhancing innovation.

Albaraka plans to enter France

Al Baraka Banking Group said it planned to enter the French market to tap into Western Europe's largest Muslim community reported Will Waterman in Arabianbusiness. Further Al Baraka's units in North Africa are planning tie-ups with French partners to "establish Islamic banking in France", it said in a statement on the Nasdaq Dubai, where it is also listed. However no legal agreements have been finalised

Arthur D. Little: Shariah-Compliant Banking is an Increasingly Attractive Option for Western Players

A new report released today by management consultancy Arthur D. Little entitled “Islamic Finance Comes of Age” has identified a surge in activity around Islamic finance as a promising opportunity for the global financial services industry as it emerges from the current recession. With Islamic finance assets currently standing at USD 800 bn, Arthur D. Little expects this figure to surge to as much as USD 4 trillion in the next six years, representing a major opportunity for Western financial institutions looking to develop new partnerships and global markets.

The report can be downloaded after free registration at: http://www.adlittle.com/islamic_finance

CEO Faisal Private Bank ask for harmonization of Sharia standards

Faisal Private Bank's Chief Executive, Marco Rochat, said the absence of a global set of harmonised rules on sharia compliance created an unlevel playing field, reported Martin de Sa'Pinto on Reuters. Faisal Private Bank adivses on nearly USD 500 mn.

BMB Islamic adviced on the Sharia compliant SRI fund of F&C

BMB Islamic adviced on the Sharia compliant F&C fund observing social responsible investing rules as well.

GFH plans UK property fund and Sukuk fund

Gulf Finance House plans to launch a GBP 50 mn UK commercial property fund and a USD 50 mn Sukuk fund in the GCC. The USD 50 mn sukuk fund, to launch in the next two weeks pending regulatory approval, would focus on government, quasi-government, or very stable GCC issues, reported Ulf Laessing and Raissa Kasolowsky on Reuters.

Unicorn Investment Bank looks for mergers and acquisitions

Unicorn Investment Bank consider mergers in the Gulf, and acquisitions of about USD 2 bn in the Gulf, Europa and Asia. It plans a Sukuk Al Ijara about USD 425 mn in Q3 to fund its expansion reported Ulf Laessing and Raissa Kasolowsky on Reuters. Current targets are two Gulf firms, retail banks in Pakistan, India and Malaysia and one in Britain or continental Europe. Unicorn received also a license in Malaysia for a new set up.

Plans announced last September to issue USD 1.5 bn Sukuk by the end of 2008 had been postponed due to market conditions.

E&Y sees takaful contributions grow to USD 7.7 bn by 2012

Ernst & Young released a report saying that the takaful market may reach USD 7.7 bn contributions by 2012, compared to USD 2.5 bn in 2006 and USD 3.4 bn in 2007.

Source: 

http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/4/pages/globaltakafulmarketmayhit$77billionin2012report.aspx

BLME forced to delay fund launches

Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), has delayed one global equity tracker and one emerging markets equities fund as the financial crisis constrains clients in the Middle East according to the CEO, reported Cecilia Valente and Daryl Loo on Reuters. One fund which has been delayed but is now poised to launch later this year with $70 million will aim to exploit a niche market for office space for doctors in the United States. BLME has also raised GBP 50 mn from an institutional investor for a UK property fund and plans to raise GBP 20 mn by June for a pooled UK property fund.

Follow IslamicFinance.de with Twitter

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

Please feel free to use just another free service related to IslamicFinance.de by following the news via Twitter:

Go to: http://twitter.com/IslamFinance

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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