UK

New Islamic endowment trust seeks to be UK’s first waqf to combine commercial and social investments

A new charitable foundation is being set up in the UK that aims to become a £1 billion waqf fund combining commercial and social investments. Sultan Choudhury, Executive Chairperson of the new One Endowment Trust (OET) said that the vision of the trust is to present Islam in a positive way through contribution to UK civil society. OET’s first investment is a £1.75 million 21 residential apartments with planning for four more in Creative Lofts in the Yorshire town of Huddersfield. The returns generated from OET’s portfolio of assets will cover the Trust’s costs and also be reinvested in designated social projects with partners. OET expects to begin investing in social projects particularly in the area of social care in 2022.

British Museum to exhibit 150 works by Middle Eastern artists in new major exhibition

The British Museum has emerged as one of the foremost sites for collecting and exhibiting Middle Eastern art in the UK. Much of the museum’s prominence is due to Venetia Porter, its curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle East art. The 150 works on paper that the museum will show are not loans, they have been acquired by the museum. The exhibition in the autumn will be accompanied by a major catalogue of the acquisitions and a conference. Among its subjects will be those of conflict and exile, two key areas for recent art of the region, explored by well-known artists such as Dia Azzawi, Hanaa Malallah, and Hayv Kahraman. There are also works of Syrian artists affected by the country’s civil war and more recently from Lebanon.

How the #UK tech startup scene has become a powerful engine for Islam

Today, technology and Islam are seeing a valuable convergence in its contribution to exercising faith in a modern era. Technology has been a real driving force in the introduction of Islamic business banking in the UK, with more than 20 banks now offering Islamic financial products. Recent technological innovation in augmented reality has seen a team of UK entrepreneurs create the Islamic GPS app, designed with a 360 degree interactive view to help consumers find Islamic heritage spots and halal sites. Britain is now also home to a host of tech platforms looking to support charities. The creation of MyTenNights showed sharp demand for automated, personalised nightly donation plans during Ramadan. To ensure they maximise their positive impact, Muslims are using the nightly automating donation platform to remove the admin of charitable donation.

Islamic Bank hires new CIO

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank has appointed Simon Nash as the new chief information officer.
Simon Nash has 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector with multinational businesses including RBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. He will lead information technology innovation as well the development and augmentation of information policies and processes. He will be responsible for a team of almost 50 colleagues and will oversee further technology projects scheduled for this year, including the ongoing development of the recently launched mobile banking app.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank extends $87 million financing for 2 deals in #UK

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has provided $87 million to help finance two deals in the United Kingdom that are valued more than $200 million. One of the clients is based in Abu Dhabi and plans to refinance a prime central London healthcare facility worth 900 million UAE dirhams ($245 million). The other client is a Bahrain-based company who plans to acquire a logistics hub in Edinburgh worth 55 million UAE dirhams ($15 million). The London property is operated by an international healthcare group. The Edinburgh property, let to Royal Mail, consists of an office facility and a distribution warehouse situated in Scotland.

Gassner's picture

Lecture in London: Islamic Social Finance and the Sustainable Development Goals,Wednesday, 12 February, 18.00-20.00

Dear readers,

Looking forward at the following public lecture in London, which I am planning to attend.

Best regards,

Michael Gassner

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PUBLIC LECTURE ON ISLAMIC FINANCE

CHAIR
Dr Jonathan Ercanbrack
Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law
(CIMEL)
Lecturer in Transnational Financial Law

TIME / DATE / LOCATION
Wednesday, 12 February, 18.00-20.00
Senate Wolfson Lecture Theatre
Senate House (North Block)
SOAS, University of London
10 Thornhaugh Street
London WC1H 0XG

SPEAKER’S BIO
Professor Habib Ahmed

Professor Habib Ahmed received his M.A. from University of
Chittagong, Bangladesh, Cand. Oecon. from University of Oslo,
Norway, and Ph.D. (Economics) from University of Connecticut,
USA. Before joining Durham University as Professor and Sharjah
Chair in Islamic Law & Finance in 2008, Professor Ahmed was
Manager, Research & Development, Islamic Banking Development
Group, National Commercial Bank and worked at Islamic Research
& Training Institute of the Islamic Development Bank Group in
Saudi Arabia. He has taught at the University of Connecticut, USA,
National University of Singapore, University of Bahrain and worked

ADIB plans to end several banking services in the #UK

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has announced plans to streamline its UK operations in a bid to end several banking services and to focus on commercial real estate financing. The bank will refrain from providing regulated services to customers, which includes account services, savings, deposits and safe deposit boxes. The bank said that the decision follows a rigorous evaluation process that took into consideration the high demand for commercial real estate financing in the UK. The bank has built a strong full-service property financing solution to support clients’ investment strategies in commercial real estate in compliance with Islamic Shari’ah principles.

Lack of awareness behind low demand for Sharia-compliant mortgages

Specialist Sharia Islamic mortgages are available with certain lenders but take-up is currently low. According to Lilla Dilliway, mortgage and protection adviser at BlueWing Financials, the low demand is because applicable borrowers are unaware that a Sharia-compliant mortgage is a possibility, especially in the UK. When compared, a Sharia mortgage’s part rent, part capital repayment aspect means that borrowers may find it difficult to meet the affordability criteria and/or have eligibility issues based on their credit history. Sharia-compliant mortgages are often also more expensive due to the higher administration costs of the lender. Dilliway suggests that if Sharia-compliant mortgages were advertised and promoted in the same way as mainstream mortgages, an increase in take-up might be seen.

Evolving Islamic fintech

In this interview Stalla Cox CBE, the Managing Director of DDCAP speaks about her company and the evolving Islamic fintech scene. DDCAP Group was established over twenty years ago and has always selected its global expansion strategically. DDCAP opened in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in 2008. Following the turn of 2000, there was significant repatriation of Shari'ah compliant capital to the Middle East. At a similar point in time, DDCAP was also invited by Bank Negara Malaysia to join a steering group that was formed in response to the Malaysian financial authorities granting permissions to Islamic banks from the GCC to do business locally. Consequently, a regional office was opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The global financial services industry is moving at an incredible pace. With ETHOS AFP, DDCAP managed to create an enabling platform with global reach and provides a fully integrated treasury trading workflow for Shari’ah-compliant transactions.

Islamic finance gains ground in #UK despite confusion about offerings

According to the 2019 Islamic Finance Consumer Report from Gatehouse Bank, several new faith-based lending or savings accounts have been launched in the UK, but only 54% of Muslim consumers have tried any of them. Gatehouse Bank CEO Charles Haresnape sees that most people don’t really understand Islamic finance, even Muslims don’t understand it. He said that Gatehouse is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain. Haresnape predicts growth for the UK Islamic finance market, driven by the country’s expanding young Muslim population, but said awareness and education would be key factors in driving uptake.

19 Artworks From Abraaj Group To Be Auctioned This Evening At Third Christie's Middle Eastern Art Sale

The third Christie’s Middle Eastern Modern & Contemporary Art sale will take place this evening as part of Islamic Art Week in London. Approximately 90 Middle Eastern art works have been sourced from around the world – from New York, London and Paris to Beirut and Dubai. With a special focus on contemporary Iranian and Arab works, the sale sheds light on artists from around the region including Syrian artist Louay Kayyali, Iranian artist Manoucher Yektai and Lebanense artist Bibi Zogbé. Five works by Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout are also on offer. Further nineteen artworks worth $1.94 million (Dhs 7,125,329), that were once owned by private equity firm The Abraaj Group, are also being auctioned at Christie's. Other featured artists include late Syrian modernist Fateh Moudarres and French artist Kader Attia.

Inspired by the East review: British Museum looks at how Islamic world influenced western art

Over the past 15 years the British Museum has played a valuable educative role in Middle Eastern culture. It has shown us the legendary Babylon, introduced us to Persia’s great potentate, Shah Abbas, opened up the imperial court of Ashurbanipal, travelled to Afghanistan, the crossroads of ancient culture, and acted as tour guide on the Hajj. A splendid new suite of permanent galleries has also been opened to show off a world-class collection of Islamic treasures and explore their wider significance.

Islamic fintech pioneers test creative ways to engage consumers

Many Muslims’ reliance on community offers opportunities including halal robo-advice.

4 types of data necessary for outcome-based financing

The U.N. General Assembly is underway this week, and the global development community has descended upon New York en masse. Impact bonds are just one example of outcome-based financing, where private investors provide upfront capital, repaid conditional on the achievement of pre-determined metrics. Although evidence is sparse on the relative merits of this mechanism, millions of dollars are being invested in their design and implementation.

Chevening OCIS/ Abdullah Gül Fellowship applications are now open

The Chevening Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) Fellowships are aimed at mid-career academics or professionals who are dedicated to a more informed understanding of the culture and civilisation of Islam and contemporary Muslim societies. Chevening OCIS Fellowship and Chevening OCIS Abdullah Gül Fellowship are a collaboration between the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and OCIS. The fellowship programmes will commence in October 2020. Fellows will need to develop their own research project to focus on during their fellowship prior to arriving in the UK. The Chevening OCIS Abdullah Gül Fellowship is available to applicants from Turkey. All applications for a Chevening Award must be made through the Chevening designated online application system (OAS), which can be accessed through www.chevening.org.

ADIB UK provides Dh120m acquisition funding

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) UK has provided financing for The Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) to acquire a Dh120 million (£26.95 million) Grade A office building in Edinburgh. The building is now leased to Centrica as their corporate headquarters in Scotland until 2035. The building has received several design awards including the Scottish Design Award for Commercial Interior and the British Council for Offices National and Regional Awards for Commercial Workplace. BLME is a UK Shari’ah compliant bank with a branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre, regulated by the DFSA. Boubyan Bank is BLME’s largest shareholder. BLME sources and co-invests in commercial real estate opportunities alongside professional investors from the Middle East.

ACCA hosts Dr Amjad, founder of Islamic micro finance

Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib, the founder of the Islamic micro finance company, Akhuwat, met with Alan Hatfield, executive director for strategy and development at ACCA London headquarters. In Pakistan, micro finance is proving popular amongst the growing SME sector. The country’s SME development authority calculates that nearly 90% of companies are SMEs, most of them operating in the informal sector, so the demand for micro finance is also growing. Akhuwat has opened over 850 branches in 486 cities/towns across Pakistan, enabling over 3.5 Million families to become self-reliant by extending interest-free loans worth more than £400 million. Dr Saqib's latest initiative is called Akhuwat University, which will provide higher education without any tuition fee to support the upward social mobility in the country.

#Saudi Arabia's Arbah Capital buys Glasgow's Sauchiehall building

Saudi Arabia-based Arbah Capital has acquired the Sauchiehall building in Glasgow, UK, valued at $76m (SAR285m), through a sharia'a-compliant investment structure. Arbah Capital stated that the acquisition represented a core long term investment and would help attain value at a time of uncertainty in the UK. The investment firm added that the Sauchiehall building aligned with its main strategy to focus on acquisitions of distinctive assets. The mixed-use property is a 2.87ha LG+G+6F structure, and features a multi-storey car park as well. Arbah Capital's CEO Mahmood Al Kooheji says this purchase enhances Arbah’s strategic alliances and relationships which further supports its position as an international gateway into the investment market.

London VC Hambro Perks to invest in 'two to three' Islamic startups

The UK hosted its first halal startup pitch event in mid-June, when five prominent Islamic SMEs met with investors to showcase their wares. Prominent Islamic SMEs at the 'Smart Capital Startup Pitches' event included VIP halal travel firm Serendipity Tailormade, Muslim lifestyle platform Salam Planet and halal e-commerce site OneAgrix. The event was hosted by London-based venture capital firm Hambro Perks, who plans to invest this year in "two or three" of the start-ups that featured at the pitch event. Hambro Perks managing director Ali Qaiser said rapidly growing populations in emerging markets offer ripe regions for halal technology products and services. The company made its first investment when it funded British Muslim dating app MuzMatch. Qaiser expects halal tourism to take off. He also expects to see massive growth in the 'gamification' of Islamic lifestyles, such as apps to help prayer rituals and maps for Hajj pilgrimage.

College launches degrees in Islamic finance

Dundee’s Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education is collaborating with the University of Dundee to offer qualifications in MSc Islamic Finance, MSc Islamic Banking and Finance and MSc Islamic Banking, Finance and International Business. Dr Salah Alhammadi, assistant professor in Islamic economics at Al-Maktoum College, said Islamic finance has been adopted in Muslim majority countries as well as non-Muslim countries. The London Stock Exchange recently claimed that the UK is leading western countries in Islamic Finance. Designed for students who have completed an undergraduate degree and are now looking to specialise, the programmes are suitable for those with a background in finance and business but also anyone new to the subject.

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