UK

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.

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.

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.

President of IDB urges G-20 to assess Islamic finance and consider observer status

"The opportunities offered by Islamic finance in promoting global financial stability and financial inclusion are worth assessment by the leadership of the G-20 countries," said Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank President Ahmed Mohamed Ali, reported Mushtak Parker in the Arab News.

The President told an Islamic Financial Architecture Colloquium hosted yesterday by Lord Mayor of the City of London Ian Luder at his official headquarters that it is time that the wider world should consider mainstreaming Islamic financial services. And the best way to do this is to accord the relevant Islamic finance stakeholders "observer status" within the framework of the G-20 and the expanded Financial Stability Forum of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Islamic Bank of Britain reduces losses in 2008

Islamic Bank of Britain, which offers Sharia-compliant banking services for individuals and businesses, reduced its loss by 15 % to GBP 5.9 mn in 2008 down from GBP 6.9 mn 2007. The bank put the reduction down primarily to growth in fee and commission income.

The customer numbers increased by 10 % to over 47,000 and deposits increased by 15 % GBP to 158 mn.

Two new major products were launched, an Islamic home finance and a 60-day notice savings account, which was launched in December 2008.

Amiri Capital works with NewEdge for Islamic Hedge Fund Prime Brokerage needs

Cecilia Valente reported on 9 March on Reuters that Amiri Capital, the Islamic asset manager backed by investment firm Olivant, has teamed up with broker Newedge to launch an Islamic fund of long/short hedge funds to be marketed in the Middle East. The Amiri Equity Alternative Strategies Fund (AEAS) will operate under the same Sharia-compliant structure agreed with original prime broker Lehman Brothers to replicate short selling, which involves profiting as a stock price falls.

Amiri co-founder Richard Ellis told Reuters that Gulf-based investors have pledged assets to the fund of funds but investments will be made when the market shows signs of improvement. Philippe Teilhard de Chardin, global head of prime brokerage at Newedge, told Reuters that the market segment is small but developing.

USA: Panel Discussion - The Evolution of the Global Financial System from the Current Crisis

Monday, March 16, 2009
3:30 to 5:30 pm
Pound Hall 335, Harvard Law School
Confirmed panellists: Samuel L. Hayes, Baber Johansen, E. Roger Owen, Aamir A. Rehman

More details: ifp@law.harvard.edu

Gatehouse financing European Property

Cecilia Valente reported on 25 February that UK Islamic bank Gatehouse, a unit of Kuwait's Securities House, is set to close its first real estate deal in the coming months, refinancing a continental European property worth about 100 million euros ($128.5 million). The CEO David Testa is cited to have said the bank expected to seal the deal by the end of the second quarter, declining to identify precisely the property or its location. He defines the range of business the four wholesale Islamic banks in the UK could do at deals between GBP 20-40 mn.

Gatehouse, the latest UK-based Islamic bank to be approved by UK market regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA), will finance the deal through a lease and buy-back bond issuance, known as Ijara sukuk.

The sukuk will be placed in the market through the Channel Island-listed Milestone Capital Platform, which the bank said has the capacity to issue debt to up to $1 billion.

Testa said Gatehouse was also involved in raising $50 million for a commodity deal with a Latin American company, which he declined to name.

HSBC offers more funds for local UK Muslims

FT Adviser reported on 23 February that HSBC is making a number of Sharia-compliant funds available to UK investors for the first time by restructuring them into a single, Luxembourg-domiciled offering. The funds in the range include Global Equity Index, Global Equity, Europe Equity and Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity.

Andy Clark, managing director for UK and Mena wholesale at HSBC, recognises the demand in UK as growing and denounces the perception that Islamic finance is only applicable in the Middle East.

UK working to offer sukuk in sterling

Rachna Uppal reported on 16 February that the UK Sterling Sukuk will be offered in the foreseeable future. There is work ongoing on the issue how t o treat the coupon of the Sukuk and put it on par with bonds.

Britain's First Islamic Motor Insurance

Salaam Halal Insurance, Britain's first Shari`ah-compliant insurer, was launched last July and price-comparison websites show a great demand and competitiveness.

Western companies looking to Sukuk

Cecilia Valente and Frederik Richter reported 10 February on Reuters, that Western companies, especially in the UK and France, are considering issuing Sukuk to tap Middle Eastern investors.

Bank of London and the Middle East plans three funds

Bank of London and the Middle East, or BLME, plans to launch at least three funds in 2009 targeting a US dollar based fixed income fund, a UK real estate distressed assets fund and an equities fund according to Adrian Gayler, the newly appointed head of private banking at BLME, told Zawya Dow Jones.

Gatehouse Bank plc announces the establishment and first issue under the Milestone Sukuk platform

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the establishment of a USD 1 bn Sukuk programme by Milestone Capital PCC ("Milestone"). Gatehouse Bank is the Arranger and Dealer of the Milestone programme as published in a press release via Zawya on 27 January.

The first Sukuk issue under the Milestone platform was successfully completed recently. The Milestone programme is listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and certificates issued under the programme are entered into the Euroclear and Clearstream clearing systems, with BNP Paribas Securities Services acting as common depositary. Milestone Capital PCC is a Jersey based orphan Protected Cell Company, designed to allow the efficient creation of new, segregated, bankruptcy remote cells. Each cell has the ability to issue a diverse range of Sukuk certificates, which is proving very appealing for issuers and investors alike.

David Testa is the CEO of Gatehouse. Ashurst LLP is the legal advisor to Gatehouse Bank on the transaction.

Bank of London and the Middle East launches Private Banking

TradeArabia reported on 27 January that the Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), will be extending its wealth management division with the launch of a private banking business. The new project will be headed by the newly appointed head of private banking Adrian Gayler, who joins BLME from Merrill Lynch International Bank Limited. Gayler will be based in BLME’s new private banking offices in Mayfair, London, along with the already established specialist wealth management team

Bank of London and the Middle East arranges GBP 10 mn facility for OCADO LTD

Press Release

London, 27 January, 2009 – Bank Of London And The Middle East plc (BLME), the London based wholesale, Sharia’a compliant bank, today announced that it is providing a £10 million leasing facility to Ocado Ltd (Ocado), the UK independent online grocer.

Full text attached

4 million child trust funds opened in UK

A total of 4.01 million child trust funds have been opened since the scheme stated. Latest data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show since January 2005 4.3 million child trust fund vouchers have been issued – but only three-quarters of parents are investing the vouchers. However, parents investing the average GBP 24 a month into an account could provide their offspring with GBP 9,750 at the age of 18, according to estimates from the Children’s Mutual.

Source: 

http://www.myfinances.co.uk/news/investments/child-trust-fund/4m-child-trust-funds-now-open-$1259681.htm

Gatehouse Bank appoints new head of real estate

Gatehouse Bank released that Philip Churchill has been appointed as Head of Real Estate. Philip Churh has been previously Head of Investment Management, Europe for four years with HDG Mansur, fund manager of the HSBC Amanah Global Properties Income Fund.

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