Singapore

Abu Dhabi builds a '#fintech bridge' to Asia

Abu Dhabi is taking ambitious steps to tap into financial technology. The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) signed a cooperation deal with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The goal of the arrangement is to spur financial entrepreneurship through mutual exchanges of fintech know-how. Last November the ADGM launched the FinTech Regulatory Laboratory, or RegLab, to provide a platform for foreign players to innovate. So far five companies have been selected to participate. Richard Teng, CEO of the emirate's Financial Services Regulatory Authority, said there was a clear trend toward cultivating sectors besides oil and the cooperation with Singapore is designed to make fintech the driving force of economic diversification. In his view, Asian financial companies have a big market in the Middle East to develop and explore business in wealth management, remittances and other fields.

BRIEF-Sabana Shariah Compliant Industrial #RealEstate clarifies on atricle in Straits Times

#Singapore's Sabana Shariah Compliant Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) clarifies the article published by Straits Times titled "Angry investors want REIT manager kicked out". Sabana REIT stated that the closing price of its unit was 37 cents on 24 Jan 2017. Sabana REIT clarified that the manager's fee structure is in line with market practice in Singapore's REIT sector. All acquisitions were approved by board of directors in accordance with property funds appendix and sgx-st listing manual.

Sabana Shariah Compliant #REIT Is #Singapore’s Worst-Performing REIT Over The Past Year: What Investors Should Know About Its Challenges

There are 38 real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Singapore’s stock market. The REIT with the worst performance over the last 12 months is Sabana Shariah Compliant REIT (SGX: M1GU), whose units have fallen by 49% in price to S$0.36 currently. Sabana REIT is unique for being the world’s first Shariah-compliant REIT. In the third quarter of 2016 Sabana saw its gross revenue decline by 9.7% to S$23.0 million while its net property income shrank by 24% to S$13.9 million. Although the REIT’s portfolio occupancy rate managed to step up from 88.8% in the second quarter of 2016 to 89.2%, the number is still lower than the 91.7% seen a year ago. Market researcher Knight Frank projected a decline in industrial rents in Singapore of 6% to 8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Put another way, Sabana REIT’s business environment is in a condition of low demand and oversupply.

SGX's kilobar #gold futures contract gets Shariah-compliant status

The #Singapore Kilobar Gold Contract of Singapore Exchange (SGX) has become the world's first Shariah-compliant gold futures contract. SGX said this endorsement by Islamic scholars on its physically settled futures contract unlocks a new investment and risk management option. The Singapore Kilobar Gold Contract seeks to serve as a transparent and centralised Asian price-discovery platform for the gold market. William Chin, head of metals and bulk commodities at SGX, said the move strengthens Singapore's position as an international centre for Islamic finance. Albert Cheng, CEO of the Singapore Bullion Market Association, said the Shariah-compliant SGX contract will be attractive to new customers in the region, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia.

Sabana Shariah Compliant REIT’s Latest Earnings: Challenging Conditions Ahead

Sabana Shariah Compliant REIT released its fiscal third-quarter earnings yesterday. The REIT’s portfolio currently consists of 21 industrial properties in Singapore. Gross revenue was S$23.0 million in the reporting quarter, down 9.7% compared to the previous year. Net property income declined 24% to S$13.9 million during the same period, mainly due to higher operating expenses. As a result, the REIT’s distribution per unit for the quarter also tumbled by 32.2% to 1.20 cents based on a unit count of 739.8 million units. At the end of the reporting quarter, the REIT had a net asset value per unit of S$0.81, down 23.6% from the S$1.06 seen a year ago. According to manager Kevin Xayaraj, industrial rents are expected to be under pressure with the onset of the softening demand and high supply of industrial space in the market. Market conditions are exptected to remain challenging.

This REIT Has An 11% Dividend Yield: Here’s What Investors Should Know About It

Sabana Shariah Compliant REIT is the world’s first real estate investment trust that has adopted the standard of Shari’ah compliance. Sabana REIT currently has a portfolio of 21 industrial buildings that are all found in Singapore. Most of the properties are also located in close proximity to the principal industrial zones in the island, such as Penjuru and Tai Seng. For perspective, the SPDR STI ETF, an exchange-traded fund that mimics the fundamentals of the Straits Times Index, has a yield of 3.2%. In its latest quarterly earnings report Sabana REIT reported a 10.9% year-on-year decline in gross revenue and a 31.1% decline in income available for distribution.

A record first quarter for #Sukuk

Issuance of Sukuk is up all around the world, up on last year, due to current economic factors and the goodwill for the instrument among global investors
The good news on the Sukuk front is continuing. The proportion of Sukuk bond issuance hit a record in the first quarter of 2016 in the main markets for this form of finance, said Fitch Ratings. According to Fitch’s data, there is a clear upwards trend in use of Shari'ah-compliant borrowing as more countries create legal frameworks to support issuance and as issuers try to attract a broader investor base, including Islamic finance investors.
Total new Sukuk issuance in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore and Pakistan was around $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016, with a maturity of 18 months. Issuance was up 22% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and 21% from a year earlier, while non-Sukuk bond issuance of $17.1 billion was down 23% quarter on quarter and 45% year on year. Sukuk represented 39.3% of total bond and Sukuk issuance in these countries during the quarter—the highest proportion in the past eight years.

Swiss Bank Is Charged Over #1MDB Dealings

Authorities in #Switzerland and #Singapore took action against Swiss private bank BSI for failing to prevent money laundering and bribery related to its dealings with Malaysian development fund 1MDB. Switzerland's Attorney General opened criminal proceedings against the bank. The country's Financial Market Supervisory Authority ordered BSI to pay back 95 mn Swiss franks Swiss Bank Is Charged Over ($96 mn). Singapore’s central bank revoked BSI’s banking license there and fined it 13.3 mn Singapore dollars ($9.7 mn). The cross-border investigation related to 1MDB involves at least seven countries.

#Singapore charges ex-BSI banker with forgery in 1MDB-linked probe

Singapore charged a former wealth manager at Swiss private bank with forgery as part of a money laundering investigation related to 1Malaysia Development. The forgery charge is the seventh filed against Yeo Jiawei, a 33-year-old Singaporean banker. While the charges didn't mention 1MDB by name, they stem from investigations into the fund's money flows. The prosecutors charged Yeo with "fraudulently" signing a reference letter to the head of anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance of Citigroup Inc in Europe.

Hong Kong bank funds said frozen in 1MDB probe by #Singapore and other authorities

Hong Kong bank accounts belonging to several unnamed individuals have been frozen amid global investigations into the finances of the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Owners are being probed by authorities in countries outside of Malaysia. Authorities in Singapore charged two men following investigations into their dealings with the fund. A Malaysian parliamentary committee had identified at least US$4.2 billion of irregular transactions by the fund.

Australian Islamic Fund Manager Now in Singapore

Usman Siddiqui, the Managing Director of Equitable Financial Solutions (EFSOL), a Australian Islamic finance company announced the establishment of the company’s office in Singapore. The Singapore branch, which is registered as EFSOL Asset Management, will play a key role in the company’s regional strategy. EFSOL also announced the offering of its investment scheme, the EFSOL Income Fund, registered under the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a restricted Collective Investment Scheme.

Singapore: EthisCrowd targets $740k for real estate crowdfunding project in Jakarta

EthisCrowd.com, a Shariah compliant crowdfunding platform, is looking to raise up to S$1 million ($740,000) for a real estate crowdfunding initiative from senior executives and delegates present at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 5.0 in Kuala Lumpur next month. The funds will be raised for the Depok Dream Village in Jakarta. Founder Umar Munshi said he expects the projected returns to be 48 to 55 per cent over three to 3.5 years from a share of the development profits.

Sukuk takes record share in Q1

According to Fitch Ratings the total new Sukuk issuance (with a maturity of more than 18 months) in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore and Pakistan was around US$11.1 billion (RM42.9 billion) in the first quarter of 2016. Fitch said that Sukuk issuance was up 22% from Q4’15 and 21% from a year earlier, while non-Sukuk bond issuance of US$17.1 billion was down 23% quarter-on-quarter and 45% year-on-year. Sukuk represented 39.3% of total bond and Sukuk issuance in these countries during the quarter – the highest proportion in the past eight years.

Singaporean ex-BSI private banker Yeo Jiawei charged amid 1MDB probe

The Singaporean ex-BSI private banker Yeo Jiawei has been charged with receiving benefits from criminal conduct. He was charged on April 16 for receiving S$200,000 in his Bank of China account in 2013. While the charge sheet made no mention of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Bloomberg reported earlier on Friday that Mr Yeo was charged with money laundering following investigations into 1MDB's money flows.

Maybank and RB Capital ink landmark RM751mil Islamic financing deal

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and Singapore-based RB Capital inked a S$260mil (RM751mil) Islamic financing deal, one of the biggest Islamic deals in Singapore. The landmark deal involved a 442-room mid-tier Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay as the underlying security. The bank is continuously looking at growing its Islamic banking business in the region, especially in Singapore and Indonesia, which each currently accounts for about 5.0% of Maybank Islamic’s revenue. Maybank Group’s Islamic banking business in 2015 surged 20.4% in total income compared to the year before.

Maybank Islamic optimistic of more revenue from Singapore

Maybank Islamic Bhd is confident its Islamic banking business in Singapore will contribute further to revenue in the future. Group head, Islamic banking, and chief executive officer Datuk Muzaffar Hisham said this was in view of the ongoing support from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in promoting Islamic banking. Muzaffar said in less than three years, Islamic banking in Singapore had contributed about 5% to its revenue. It is reported that Singapore's central bank will continue to strengthen Islamic finance owing to its cross-border growth. The report said that since MAS established its sukuk facility in 2009, there had been eight sukuk issuances totalling S$600 million (RM1.7 billion).

Singapore central bank asks banks to provide details of 1MDB-linked dealings

Singapore's central bank has asked financial institutions to provide details of any transactions linked to Malaysian state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as part of its probe into possible money-laundering in the city state. The statement came late Thursday after it was reported earlier this week that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has reportedly asked close to 40 banks with a presence in Singapore to provide information linked to 1MDB. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and National Australia Bank (NAB) are believed to be among those queried. ANZ and NAB both declined to comment.

Singapore Seizes Accounts Linked To 1MDB Malaysian Fund Controversy

Authorities in Singapore say they have seized a "large number" of bank accounts that various media have linked to a Malaysian government-run fund that stirred controversy around Prime Minister Najib Razak. While Singaporean authorities didn't confirm the link, the move comes days after Switzerland said it would submit evidence of illegal transactions to Malaysian authorities, asking them to help pursue the investigation. The developments come just before Najib and other Southeast Asian leaders hold a special summit with U.S. President Barack Obama in California this month. Obama is strengthening ties with the region to help counter China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea and to tap the region's large and fast-growing economies.

Singapore seizes bank accounts in 1MDB case

Singapore has seized a “large number” of bank accounts over possible money laundering offences linked to an international investigation into the Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB, authorities in the city-state said on Monday. In an illustration of the mounting pressure from global regulators on the troubled fund, Singapore confirmed that it was “cooperating closely” with relevant authorities in Switzerland and the US. The Swiss attorney general announced on Friday that there were “serious indications” that $4bn had been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies and that a portion of the funds was transferred to accounts held in Switzerland.

Global Islamic Crowdfunding: A Perspective from Singapore

Islamic Crowdfunding has the potential to help us change our world for the better. There is an immense variety and scope of applications for crowdfunding. Crowdfunding continues to evolve and in recent years made strides into the investment world. Real Estate Crowdfunding is one of the fastest-growing segments of this booming industry worldwide. The low-entry capital makes it especially accessible to the middle income and small-medium business owners. Islamic Crowdfunding has the unique ability to empower the masses to create and re-create products, lifestyles and communities independent of capitalist corporations or bureaucratic governments.

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