Brunei

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

Brunei plans long-tenor sukuk in ‘very near future': Regulator

Brunei's financial regulator is preparing to issue long-term Islamic bonds in the "very near future" while widening the eligible list of buyers of its issuance programme. The Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) wants to develop the local capital market to help shift the economy away from oil and gas exports, with plans to launch a securities exchange as early as 2017. The AMBD did not give a specific timeframe or potential size for the deal. Since 2006, the AMBD has issued sukuk in maturities of up to 1 year for use by the country’s seven domestic commercial banks, but never in longer tenors. The new sukuk will be available to buyers outside the domestic banking sector.

Islamic banks will dominate finance sector according to report

According to a report from the Oxford Business Group Brunei's financial system is in transition to one in which Islamic banking and takaful are the dominant forms of banking and insurance. The publication of the Report says that in 2014, Brunei two Islamic banks, Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam had a total combined assets of $7.9 billion at the end of 2013. Takaful is also dominant in the general insurance sector with a 68 per cent share of the general insurance and takaful assets. Insurance Islam TAIB and Takaful Brunei compete in Brunei’s insurance market.

Brunei's BIBD eyes benchmark-sized Islamic loan this year

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) is helping to arrange a benchmark-sized Islamic syndicated loan which it hopes to close later this year for a petrochemical project in the oil-rich sultanate. Currency and tenor are being finalised for the deal, said Javed Ahmad, BIBD's managing director. The new syndicated loan could open a much wider pipeline of deals in Brunei, which might be denominated in both local and foreign currencies, Ahmad said. Besides, in the medium term BIBD will consider establishing a regional footprint across Asia to enhance its growth prospects, with Malaysia and Indonesia offering the greatest opportunities, Ahmad said.

Big in Brunei

Asia Asset Management’s 10th Annual Brunei Roundtable took place on Monday, October 13, themed “A Decade of Progress and Growth: The Roadmap Ahead”. The Borneo Bulletin reported about the event, saying Brunei’s biggest advantage is its capital. However, the ountry needs to slowly get the right infrastructure, the right air links and the right niche for people to actually want to come here. The insurance sector on the other hand is a bit easier as it is all about preparations, regulations, how much they are willing to do it and opening an investment. Brunei in itself is a very liquid market in the sense that it really doesn’t need foreign bonds.

Brunei bank seeks $1.6-billion sukuk mandates

Brunei Darussalam’s only Islamic bank hopes oil industry investment will help stoke a sukuk market now dominated by government issuance of short-term Shariah-compliant bills. Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam is seeking to arrange as much as B$2 billion ($1.6 billion) of corporate debt in the next 12 months as companies seek to fund projects aimed at boosting crude oil output. Islamic banking assets total about $6.8 billion in the Southeast Asian sultanate, which funds investment largely with its oil wealth. Bank Islam currently supplies Shariah-compliant loans and a global corporate sukuk it was underwriting two years ago never came to fruition.While Brunei’s corporate sukuk has been in a lull, the formation of a central bank is a positive development for the market.

Brunei to introduce new takaful guidelines by June

Brunei will introduce new guidelines for its takaful sector by June, in order to standardise the way agents are managed by firms. The guidelines will regulate commission rates payable to agents and the qualifications required for them to sell takaful products, Osman Jair, chairman of industry body Brunei Insurance & Takaful Association (BITA) said. An inter-company agreement will be signed, so companies will be better disciplined and the correct treatment of agents ensured. The impending guidelines are being reviewed by industry consultants and Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD), the country's central bank.

Brunei's takaful growth pushes ahead its Islamic finance ambitions

Assets held by the takaful sector in Brunei recently have grown significantly while those of conventional types of insurance have been declining, the monthly report from Brunei's monetary authority AMBD showed. In the year ended Sept. 30, takaful assets rose 21 percent to 425 million Brunei dollars ($336 million). Conventional insurers saw a drop of 1.3 percent in assets during the same 12-month period. At end-September, Brunei's takaful market accounted for 33 percent of total insurance assets. Although insurance assets have seen rapid growth in Brunei in the past decade, industry players say there is still poor awareness about insurance among its population. Brunei has four takaful operators.

Regional Conflicts in the South China Sea Could Rival the Middle East One Day

The South China Sea reportedly holds 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas; some experts estimate even more. Unfortunately, there's no clear way to define who "owns" these resources, as China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei all believe some, or all, of these resources belong to them. Many of these countries are forced to import a considerable percentage of their overall demand. Investors need to keep an eye on Southeast Asia, and the South China Sea in particular. The oil in place under that sea, as well as its importance as a trade route, could push some nations to the boiling point as they rush to secure their supply of oil. That's a catalyst for some stocks, while a big risk for others.

Japanese get into Islamic financing

Several Japanese institutions are establishing and expanding their Islamic finance businesses. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking for example made a Shariah-compliant deal with Brunei Gas Carriers (BGC). Other financial institutions and insurance companies focus on Malaysia to offer their Islamic products.

Japanese financials offering Islamic products

Japanese financial institutions have started offering Islamic financial services in Muslim countries in the region. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking for example arranged a Shariah-compliant deal with a shipping company affiliated with the Brunei government. Meanwhile, other financial institutions are expanding their Islamic banking services. Especially the markets for Islamic financing in Malaysia and Indonesia are expected to grow.

Barwa Bank in QR529m deal with NPS

Barwa Bank and National Petroleum Services Group (NPS) made an agreement to refinance an existing syndication and support its expansion and working capital. All this will be worth QR529m.
NPS group provides drilling and well services to customers in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries in the Middle East, North Africa, Far East, and Europe.
Its state-of-the-art equipment and sectorial services are embracing Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Syria, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Libya, and Iraq.

Winds of change in S. African tax laws for Islamic finance products

The South African government's recent confirmation that it is in the process of introducing tax neutrality laws for Mudaraba (trust financing), Murabaha (cost-plus financing) and Diminishing Musharaka (diminishing shared ownership) contracts is a long overdue recognition of the potential Islamic finance has for the country and the region. Financial services industry sources stress that the proposed tax neutrality measures are just the start and the wider objective is to introduce a comprehensive regulatory and legal framework to facilitate Islamic finance in the country both for financial inclusion and market liberalization and development reasons.
It may also have something to do with the ambition of the country to develop Cape Town into an international financial hub, an ambition which was confirmed by Alan Winde, the finance minister of the provincial government of the Western Cape; and South Africa's aim of attracting inward foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Middle Eastern countries and others such as Malaysia and Brunei.

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Gassner's picture

Congrats to Brunei for the new credit card rules

Dear Reader,

I am very glad to read the news that the first Muslim country is taking a strict policy against credit cards in its country. Brunei shows courage and leadership and shall be congratulated by the whole community of Islamic finance.

http://www.collectionscreditrisk.com/news/brunei-battles-credit-card-deb...

Even the US ambassador is supporting and defending the rules which for a transition period makes life of consumers more difficult, but he reminds for the good effect it has on the long run:

http://www.brudirect.com/index.php/Columnist-Column/bruneians-better-off...

Remember: Credit cards are a major part of the world financial crisis, hundred of thousands of people went into debt and even worse in a vicious circle of debt. There is barely on consumer level a financial product spreading more harm, whether or not it is Islamically replicated.

See my previous blog on it: http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/582 and the entry in the Islamic Finance WIKI: http://wiki.islamicfinance.de/index.php/Credit_Card

Best regards,

Michael Saleh Gassner

Brunei’s total sukuk issue tops $2 billion

THE Ministry of Finance issued $68 million worth of sukuk in two separate floats between November and December, bringing the total sold to more than $2 billion. The Ministry of Finance had completed the successful pricing of its 40th and 41st issuances of short-term Sukuk Al-Ijarah securities.

Full news of the about the issuance of the sukuk is available at the link given below.

Ambank enters Brunei market

Ambank Group entered the market of Brunei Darussalam with the opening of its subsidiary called AmCapital (B) Sdn Bhd. Ambank has regional expansion plans to bring its expertise in funds management, Islamic finance and investment advisory to the Sultanate, reported Amin Hosni in Brudirect.com

Brunei Darussalam welcomes Islamic finance players such as takaful and sukuk to promote the country as another Islamic financial centre.

Brunei short term Sukuk

The Ministry of Finance, Brunei Darussalam announced the successful pricing of its 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th issuance of short-term Sukuk Al-Ijarah securities. The accumulated total of these four Sukuk issuance was B$ 165 million; B$ 31 million for Series 24, B$ 60 million for Series 25, B$ 11 million for Series 26 and B$ 63 million for Series 27.

Brunei sells 148 mn in local currency short term Sukuk

Reuters reported on 6th January that Brunei has sold Brunei Dollar 148 million (USD 100.7 mn) of short-term Sukuk, it sold the bonds in four different issuances, with maturity periods ranging from 91 days to 364 days.
This brings total government issuance to Brunei Dollar 1.3 bn to date. Brunei government has been issuing Islamic debt since April 2006.

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