Europe

Turkey calls for stock markets to be Islamic shariah compliant

Chairman of Borsa Istanbul Talat Ulussever called on Tuesday for the development of trading in stock markets to be compliant with the Islamic Sharia. Transactions at the stock markets should be Islamic Sharia-compliant not only restricted on issuance of bonds, said Ulussever at the opening of the 1st conference on Islamic Finance. He said policies failed to revive the global economy since 2008, but rather increased burden of debts by more than USD 50 trillion. Ulussever said economic and financial crises were linked to huge debts. He said the Islamic financing should be fully based on Islamic foundations.

LCP launches UK's only Sharia-compliant fund

The London Stock Exchange already boasts 53 Sukuk issues, raising more than $38bn. It has a mounting presence in Sharia-compliant Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) too, with seven available based on Islamic indices. In addition, Takaful has reached a new high in the UK, with premiums estimated to have reached $30bn in 2012. However, since the launch of the Sovereign Sukuk, there has been a general hush around the subject, with the Government not considering another one in the near future. While investors will find a number of other commercial funds to take its place, curiously, there remain few opportunities to invest in Sharia-compliant residential funds. That gap in the market has been seized by the residential funds and asset manager, London Central Portfolio (LCP).

Crowdfunding et Finance Islamique : l’IFSO organise une conférence à Paris

IFSO – Islamic Finance Students Organization, association des étudiants et diplômés en Finance Islamique de l’Université de Strasbourg, organise dans le cadre de ses Universités Européennes de la Finance Islamique, une conférence sur le thème “Crowdfunding et Finance Islamique, convergences et perspectives”, le Samedi 10 octobre 2015 de 15h00 à 17h30 à Paris. Avec la participation de M. Tariq BENGARAI Abou Nour, enseignant chercheur en finance islamique, porte parole du CIFIE (Comité indépendant de la finance islamique en Europe). M. Amine NAIT DAOUD, co-fondateur 570 Asset Management et autres.

University for refugees launches crowdfunding campaign

Kiron University, a social enterprise company headquartered in Berlin, will offer refugees a two-year online programme in partnership with providers of Moocs (massive open online courses), followed by one or two years at a partner institution. Students will be awarded a double degree, from both institutions. Several universities in Germany have signed up to the initiative. The organisation is in the process of seeking more partners in the UK, before rolling it out to other countries in Europe. It is targeting about 400,000 refugees in Europe, and so far 15,000 have signed up to start the programme in October.

Al Rayan Bank finds business agility in cloud applications

Matthew Glover, head of IT and change delivery at Al Rayan Bank, says its use of cloud amounts to a competitive advantage against big banks, and its customer base of 60,000 gives it an edge against challenger banks which are similarly unburdened by legacy. Being an Islamic bank makes Al Rayan’s business different, too. Glover is not himself Muslim, and neither are many of its customers, he says. He heads a team of 14 IT and business professionals. The IT estate is a mix of on-premise and cloud. Apart from the core banking system, which is a Misys platform running on an IBM AS/400, Salesforce is the most important part of the bank’s technology landscape.

Albaraka Türk to boost deal beyond $400m

Turkish participation bank Albaraka Türk will sign its murabaha loan next week and increase the deal from the $400m launch size, according to bankers on the deal. The deal is comprised of a 367 day tranche with a margin of 110bp and a two year and three day tranche paying 125bp, according to one banker on the deal.

International Halal Tourism Conference comes to Istanbul

Istanbul will discuss halal tourism on Dec. 1-3, where more than 1,000 attendees will come together in the city for the second annual International Halal Tourism Conference. Industry and sectoral professionals are expected to formulate new strategies concerning the $150 billion sector. The concept of halal tourism, which concerns nearly 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world, is the fastest growing trend of global tourism. The conference will be crucial for professionals who are actively engaged in the sector or seeking ways to operate in this market. While countries such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are prominent actors in this sector, many more countries are trying to attract Muslim tourists from all over the world.

Gatehouse completes £8.6 million financing of UK petrol station portfolio

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the completion of an £8.6 million senior financing to support Investra's acquisition of a portfolio of five petrol stations in the UK. Based in Dubai and with an office in London, Investra is an investor of UK real estate. This transaction is the second financing which Gatehouse has completed in partnership with an equity sponsor based in the GCC region in the past six months. Investra is looking to increase our holdings of high-quality income generating assets. Henry Thompson, CEO of Gatehouse, said he was looking forward to announcing further transactions in the coming months.

Ethical Finance Experts to tackle question: Can Islamic Finance Governance Structures be used to Protect Reputation of Global Ethical Banking?

The Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF 2015) will serve as a platform for historic discussions on what Islamic financial governance can help address ethical lapses in the ethical finance industry. GEFF 2015 will take place on the 1 and 2 of September in Edinburgh. Experts from organizations such as the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), Al Rayan Bank, HSBC Amanah Malaysia, European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB-Rasmala) and Ernst & Young will engage fellow ethical finance leaders as part of GEFF's mandate to bridge the disconnect between Islamic finance and the rest of the ethical finance universe. During the panel discussions, experts will review the established regulatory infrastructure in Islamic finance. Find more information at www.geff2015.com.

Turkiye Finans, Albaraka Turk apply for lira sukuk

Turkish Islamic lenders Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi and Albaraka Turk have applied separately to issue Islamic bonds, according to Turkey's Capital Markets Board. Turkiye Finans has applied to raise up to 1.5 billion lira ($513.2 million) through its wholly-owned unit, TF Varlik Kiralama. No tenor or details of underlying assets were given for the deal, which could be sold as a public offering or to qualified investors. Albaraka Turk, a unit of Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group, has also applied to raise up to 1 billion lira through its asset-leasing company, Bereket Varlik Kiralama. The bulk of sukuk issuance in Turkey has come from the government and the country's Islamic banks, although corporate issuance is also growing.

Albaraka Türk nears close for $400m murabaha deal

Turkish participation bank Albaraka Türk is set to close books for its $400m-equivalent murabaha loan next week. Albaraka Turk is expected to sign the loan in mid-September, according to a banker on the deal. The $400m-equivalent deal has one year and two year tranches in euros and dollars.

CBI governor: Iran to set up two new banks in London

Iran has four banks in Britain and will set up two new banks in London in near future, Governor of Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif said on Sunday. He made the remarks on the sidelines of a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Speaking to IRNA, he said the two banks to be set up are the London branch of bank Melli of Iran and Persian International Bank. In the meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and his entourage, the two sides studied grounds for expansion of cooperation and the history of banking cooperation as well as existing grounds for expansion of such cooperation, he said. UK delegation voiced their willingness of the British banks to come back and resume operation in Iran, he said.

Turkish Banks at the Forefront of MSME Lending, but Gaps Remain

In Turkey almost all businesses are micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (MSME), and only 0.1 percent of businesses are large firms. MSME lending constitutes a significant share of banks’ lending – it was 26% of the total banks’ portfolio in 2013, including 7% extended to microenterprises, despite the naturally much smaller average loan amounts. There are several barriers preventing Turkish banks from increasing their lending to microenterprises, despite an interest in reaching further down market. One such barrier is the high level of informality and semi-formality in the micro-segment of the Turkish MSME sector. Turkey has no dedicated microfinance sector of a significant scale.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Triple Bottom Line Investing Presents ‘TBLI Conference Europe 2015’, November 19-20, Zurich, Switzerland

The TBLI Conference Europe 2015 is going to take place at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Zurich on November 19-20, 2015. The cost of the event is CHF 625 (USD 639). A set of three private meetings with potential investors and business partners is available for an additional fee of CHF 500 (USD 511). Additional meetings can be booked at CHF 150 (USD 154) each. TBLI Conference offers a series of presentations and workshops that focus on environment, social, governance (ESG) and impact investing topics. This year’s conference will focus on ESG and impact investing across asset classes. Find more information on http://www.tbligroup.com/tbliconference/europe2015.html.

Union vows to object to growing number of layoffs at Bank Asya

The growing number of dismissals at the recently seized Islamic lender Bank Asya has drawn a reaction from the Pak Finance Employees Union (Pak Finans-??), which announced it would file complaints against the layoffs and demand that those dismissed be reinstated. In a written statement on Friday, Pak Finans-?? said nine regional managers, 13 branch managers, two directors and 264 workers have been laid off since Feb. 3. In the latest of what the union calls politically motivated decisions, three managerial-level employees were dismissed on Wednesday, the statement read. The common denominator of those discharged from the bank is that they all refused to overlook irregularities and criminal practices that had been ordered by the managing board.

Progress and Opportunities for Financial Inclusion in Turkey

Turkey is one of the largest upper middle-income countries with a vast potential to expand financial inclusion. A closer look at the data reveals that the progress regarding account ownership among women has been paralleled by an equally steep (and frankly, perplexing) decrease of account ownership among men (from 82% to 69%). Similarly, while borrowing from a financial institution has more than quadrupled and is more than six times higher for women than it was in 2011 (albeit starting from an extremely low level of 2.4%). What can be said with some confidence, however, is that there is room for improvement, as the overall account ownership remained unchanged.

Turkey and the GCC: ‘A win-win dynamic,’ economists say

Momentum is building for economic relations between the Gulf States and Turkey, economists say. Turkey can increase the existing trade volume with the Gulf States by setting sector-based targets and by taking advantage of international conditions, according to Sedat Kutlu, an expert with the Turkish Arab Countries Businessmen’s Association. Exports and imports can open access to a broad base of businesspeople, The Economist Intelligence Unit noted in a July report that Turkey is developing as an increasingly important economic partner for the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) countries. Trade volume between Turkey and the GCC was close to $16 billion in 2014, according to EIU statistics, up from about $5 billion in 2005.

2015 IREF Summit: Global Real Estate Investment Opportunities

ICG-Events is organising its annual IREF Summit which is now in its 11th year. The event is scheduled to take place on the 1st-2nd of December 2015 in London. On the evening of the 1st of December, ICG will also be hosting the IREF Summit Awards of Excellence which will take place at the event's Gala Dinner. The IREF Summit prides itself on being industry led and industry focused and over the years has established itself as the foremost gathering based on its ability to bring together the leading industry experts and institutions to explore the key issues impacting the sector and its future development. For further information on the Summit please visit www.irefsummit.co.uk or contact info@icg-events.com

BRIEF-Albaraka Turk mandates banks for murabaha syndication with initial amount of $400 mln

Albaraka Turk Katilim Bankasi AS mandates BC Islamic Bank (E.C.), Barwa Bank Q.S.C., Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, Emirates NBD Capital Limited, Kuwait International Bank ve Standard Chartered Bank for a murabaha syndication loan with a total initial amount of $400 million in EUR and USD currency. The loan is going to have maturity periods of 367 days and 2 years 3 days.

Cameron woos Muslim investors with sharia-compliant opportunities

Muslim investors have been urged to pour money into major British construction projects as David Cameron revealed a catalogue of sharia-compliant opportunities. UK Trade and Investment has produced a "pitch book" containing details of 18 projects which comply with the strict conditions of Islamic law. A total of £17 billion of projects are included in the document, with schemes including a transport upgrade project in Leeds, the regeneration of Slough town centre and housing developments in Manchester. At a lavish reception in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Cameron set out his vision of making the UK a centre for Islamic finance.

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