UK

UK’s only Shari’ah-compliant fund investing in Prime London Residential Property, to close shortly

London Central Portfolio (LCP) announces today that they will be closing their latest GBP 100 million quoted property fund on April 17th. London Central Apartments II (LCA II) is the only regulated vehicle exclusively targeting Prime Central London’s (PCL’s) Private Rented Sector. It will acquire one and two bedroom units as these are the most highly demanded and offer the highest returns. The properties will be renovated and interior designed to maximise capital uplift and rental returns. It is a five year fund, projecting an IRR of 12 per cent p.a. and shares are to be quoted on the Channel Islands Securities Exchange Authority.

Islamic bank names new marketing chief

Al Rayan Bank PLC, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), has announced the appointment of Tim Sinclair as senior head of marketing and retail sales at its Birmingham office. Sinclair has played a role in the realignment of the bank’s sales channels, towards a more direct model. This has been achieved by developing the bank’s online capabilities, resulting in a 439% growth in direct sales between 2011 and 2014. Sinclair has also championed several research projects, which have helped Al Rayan Bank to develop a clearer understanding of the British Muslim consumer and business marketplace, a previously under researched area.

Threadneedle Investments makes strategic investment in Gatehouse Bank

Gatehouse Bank has announced the addition of Threadneedle Investments as a shareholder in Gatehouse. Threadneedle, an international asset manager based in London with assets under management of $148.2 billion, has acquired a shareholding of approximately two per cent in Gatehouse. The addition of Threadneedle to its shareholder base enhances Gatehouse's ability to continue to deliver value-added opportunities for its clients. The bank has a long history of bridging capital from the GCC region and Southeast Asia with investment in Western markets.

Qatar Islamic Bank opens new London headquarters

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has announced the opening of its new headquarters in the United Kingdom for its subsidiary QIB -UK. The new five storey office is located at 43 Grosvenor Street in the Mayfair district. QIB -UK's focus is on supporting the investment and trade flows between Qatar and the UK. The firm offers real estate investment opportunities for clients looking to purchase premium properties in London. QIB -UK has assembled a team of real estate specialists to ensure clients are well placed to get premium real estate opportunities in the market. QIB -UK, was fully authorised as an Islamic Bank by the UK Financial Services Authority in January 2008, and is fully owned by Qatar Islamic Bank .

European Islamic Investment Bank Appoints Temporary Finance Director

European Islamic Investment Bank PLC Wednesday said it has appointed Neil McDougall as its interim finance director. According to the company, McDougall is a qualified accountant who has held senior board and management positions at financial institutions including Europe Arab Bank and Commerzbank. The company has continued the search for a finance director after the appointment of Michael Warren Kidd, the chief operating officer of its majority-owned Rasmala Investment Bank and head of Strategy and Principal Investment at EIIB, fell through back in July of 2014. European Islamic Investment Bank shares were down 3.9% at 161.00 pence on Wednesday.

Britain to lead the world in Islamic finance

London has set its sights on becoming the world centre for the Islamic finance industry according to the UK's foreign office minister for Middle East, Tobias Ellwood. Britain was also committed to promoting a "peaceful and prosperous" Middle East and expanding trade ties with the region, which topped £35bn last year, said Mr Ellwood. Mr Ellwood also celebrated notable sharia-compliant investments that have been used to fund some of the capital’s largest developments, including The Shard and the Olympic Village. The sovereign Sukuk market, which makes up only 0.1pc of global financial assets, is predicted to expand by 20pc a year.

Iranian bank sues UK government for $4 billion over sanctions

Iran's Bank Mellat is suing the British government for almost $4 billion in damages after the Supreme Court quashed sanctions imposed against it over alleged links to Tehran's nuclear programme. The lender wants compensation for the "significant pecuniary loss" and substantial reputational damage it sustained as a result of sanctions imposed in 2009, according to a claim filed in London's High Court. It claims the UK government also successfully lobbied other authorities to impose their own sanctions that ultimately caused and continue to cause the loss of profitable business, customers, banking relationships and dealing services.

Emirates hires banks for UK-guaranteed sukuk of up to $1 bln

Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, has hired banks to help it arrange a sukuk of up to $1 billion, as the airline seeks to raise cash to finance its pipeline of aircraft orders. The issue will be backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF). UKEF expected to guarantee an Islamic bond in 2015 issued by a customer of Airbus, Britain finance ministry said in October. The upcoming U.K.-backed Emirates deal could close by the end of the first quarter. The transaction is likely to be worth up to $1 billion, with the lifespan being between five and 10 years. Eight banks are arranging the transaction: HSBC, Citigroup, JP Morgan , National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD and Standard Chartered.

European Islamic Investment Bank Wins Approval Of Regulatory Change

UK regulators have accepted European Islamic Investment Bank's application to vary its regulatory permissions, meaning it is now an exempt capital adequacy directive (CAD) investment firm. Last September, European Islamic Investment Bank had concluded that the scope of its UK regulatory permissions was in excess of requirements, and began talks with regulators to "vary its regulatory permissions" to enable it to focus on its core strategy. At the time it anticipated that the move would involve giving up its deposit-taking licence. The European Islamic Investment Bank is regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.

North Africa: UK Partners With Islamic Development Bank On Arab Women's Business Initiative

The UK and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to help boost business opportunities and create jobs for thousands of women across the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab Women's Enterprise Fund will see the IDB and the Department for International Development working together to improve the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the Arab world. It will also address legal and cultural barriers that block women getting ahead in business. DFID will contribute £10 million to provide grants to help poor women access markets. IDB will match this with a further £10 million in Sharia-compliant Islamic finance.

Aston Martin to receive much needed cash for investment strategy

Aston Martin has plans to reveal an overhauled model lineup at the Geneva auto show in March. Investindustrial S.p.A., owner of 37.5 percent of Aston Martin’s shares since 2012, has now announced new cash investments into the automaker if needed, according to the private-equity firm’s chairman, Andrea Bonomi. He also added that Investindustrial has no intentions in selling the holding in the near future – disclosing that their investment needs to mature over a period of seven to 10 years. The automaker has other main shareholders such as Kuwaiti companies Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co. Daimler also acquired a five percent stake in the company.

British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled

The British Muslim Awards sponsored by the Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), aim to recognise a wide range of achievements which cover various aspects of society including business, charity, sport, arts and culture and much more. This year the event took place at the Chateau Impney Hotel, Worcestershire on Tuesday, January 27. Several nominees for each of the categories had been announced prior to the event. Categories include Muslim in the Community, Arts & Cultural Awareness, Young Achiever of the Year, Charity of the Year, Responsible Media of the Year, Religious Advocate of the Year, Muslim Woman of the Year, Best at Sport, among others.

Gatehouse Bank appoints head of real estate investment

Gatehouse Bank has appointed David Swan in a newly-created role as head of real estate investment. Swan will lead the firm’s real estate investment department in the origination, management and realisation of real estate equity investments. Gatehouse currently advises funds with approximately £1bn assets in the UK and US. The business is focused on diversifying its investment capabilities and expanding the geographical footprint of its portfolio. Swan has more than two decades of experience in the real estate investment sector. Prior to Gatehouse, he founded Bridgeport Real Estate in 2012, a real estate company advising investors on a range of large scale off-market transactions.

New Sharia-compliant property deal offers additional security

Gatehouse Bank is marketing a new CMBS-style transaction backed by the rental cashflow from a Paris office property. The deal is backed by an acquisition facility of more than EUR100m, where the rental payments will be securitised through two classes of fixed-rate certificates. This new structure, labelled a commercial rental-backed security (CRBS) by Gatehouse, removes the uncertainty because the certificates are backed by the direct legal ownership of the building. The bank will look to attract typical CMBS buyers, which are increasingly seeking to access this asset class.

Islamic Bank of Britain shareholders endorse Al Rayan Bank name change

Shareholders of the Birmingham-based Islamic Bank of Britain have given their approval to change its name to Al Rayan Bank. As a result of the rebranding, the bank has introduced a new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity, which are being implemented across its website, literature and branches. Al Rayan Bank’s activities will continue to be monitored by an independent Sharia supervisory committee and a dedicated compliance officer. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank and customers’ deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Ogier advises Shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank plc on its joint venture with Sigma Capital

A combined team of partners and associates from the corporate and finance groups of Ogier's Cayman office recently advised Gatehouse Bank plc on its joint venture with Sigma Capital, for the construction of an initial 927 new rental homes, with a total development cost of approximately £110 million.

IPAFEM 2015 Call for Papers- An Islamic Perspective of Accounting, Finance, Economics - University of Glasgow

The Adam Smith Business School will host an international conference, themed “The Role and Contribution of Islamic Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Management in Contemporary society” at the University of Glasgow, UK, on 7-9 April 2015. This two-day conference will provide opportunities for participants to present their current research on the Islamic perspective of accounting, finance, economics & management as well as to build their collaboration network with other delegates. The deadline for abstract submission is 31st December 2014. For more information about the conference, please check the website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/business/newsandevents/headline_351155_en.html

European Islamic Investment Bank Puts Tender Offer On Hold

European Islamic Investment Bank PLC Friday said it has cancelled its tender offer for up to GBP20 million as it is still in talks with regulators and is yet to receive their full approval, though it intends to launch a new tender offer with the same terms as soon as permission is received. As a result, acceptances of the tender offer are no longer valid and do not bind shareholders; shareholders who have already accepted the tender offer are now free to trade their shares if they so wish. European Islamic Investment Bank said it is confident of being in a position to complete a new tender offer before its next annual general meeting, when the authority it has to undertake the tender offer expires.

CastleHill plans £100m shariah-compliant student accommodation fund

CastleHill Capital, a fund with bases in the UK and Middle East, aims to launch its first shariah-compliant UK student accommodation fund in early 2015. The fund is part of the CastleHill Group, which runs student recruitment services in partnership agreements with over 50 universities. CastleHill Capital said it would leverage these strong relationships to offer high quality student accommodation in the UK. Clyde & Co, an international law firm, has been appointed on the role of advisory on the creation of the fund.

Gatehouse Bank completes first offshore real estate financing deal

Gatehouse Bank has announced the closure of its first offshore real estate financing in St Helier, Jersey. The Bank provided £10 million of senior financing to Apache Capital Partners, for the acquisition of Mourant Ozannes’ HQ offices, a offshore law firm. Apache Capital Partners, a niche Real Estate and Private Equity Investment Management Firm, specialises in investing capital from the Middle East into the UK. Given this client base, the company has offices in both London and Bahrain and currently has an approximate total of £340 million assets under management.

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