New Straits Times

Realising SDGs through Islamic finance

According to Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Islamic finance has a variety of social finance tools which can be used to increase funds and mobilise donations from a diverse range of sources. Through zakat, sadaqah and waqf, Islamic finance enshrines sustainability, responsibility and generosity. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is now looking to the tools of Islamic finance for humanitarian funding. The United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also concerned with protecting the planet and conserving the environment. Malaysia has paved the way for green sukuk and this may become the catalyst for further responsible investments all over the world.

Bursa #Malaysia launches Islamic Securities Selling and Buying Negotiated Transaction

Bursa Malaysia launched the first Shariah-compliant alternative to the Securities Borrowing and Lending Negotiated Transaction (SBLNT) framework, called Islamic Securities Selling and Buying Negotiated Transaction (ISSBNT). The new ISSBNT framework is based on the SBLNT model and is expected to provide a more facilitative trading environment for securities. Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said market participants would now have an alternative avenue which is compliant with Shariah principles. The model was chosen because it is more widely used by the market due to its flexibility. Tajuddin noted that ISSBNT is expected to bring an uplift of around 5 to 10% growth in funds transaction in the next 12 months.

Islamic finance calls for more talents

Over the last few years, Islamic finance has witnessed a remarkable growth at 15 to 20% Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). The industry's rapid growth undoubtedly creates a huge demand for new expertise. Like other countries, Malaysia also needs a significant boost of Islamic finance talents. Based on Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Sector Blueprint 2011-2020, the financial sector would require an additional 56,000 employees of whom 22,400 are specifically needed to support the Islamic sector by 2020. According to a survey by the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA), 80% of the respondent countries believed that the available Islamic finance talents do not satisfy industry needs. Malaysia has taken the lead and established three training institutions. They are the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM), the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) and the International Syariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA).

Bank Islam issues its third #Sukuk #Murabahah RM300 million

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (BIMB) had obtained approvals from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia to establish the third subordinated Sukuk Murabahah programme with the issuance of RM300 million. BIMB said the sukuk has tenure of a 10-year non-callable five years with maturity date on November 12, 2027. BIMB noted the proceeds shall be utilised to finance Bank Islam’s Islamic banking activities, working capital requirements and other corporate purposes.

MBSB buys Asian Finance Bank for RM645m, set to be an islamic bank

#Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) is buying Asian Finance Bank (AFB) for RM644.95 million in cash. MBSB stated that the proposed merger would result in it becoming a full-fledged Islamic bank. MBSB entered into a conditional share purchase agreement with the shareholders of AFB. MBSB will pay RM396.89 million in cash and RM255.51 million via the issuance of 225.51 million new MBSB shares at RM1.10 each. The cash option was based on a valuation of 1.2 times AFB net assets valued at RM496.12 million as at December 2016, while the shares option was based on a valuation of 1.5 times the accepted net asset. MBSB said the proposed merger was expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2018. The subsequent tranches of the proposed transfer of assets and liabilities and disposal of the residual should complete in three years from the first tranche transfer.

Scope of #waqf in #Malaysia should be expanded

The scope of waqf funds need to be expanded in Malaysia beyond the traditional norms of building mosques and Muslim cemeteries. Bank Rakyat chairman Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh said the waqf funds can be fully utilised in other programmes. Cash waqf, he added, had been identified as one of the major tools that could resolve poverty issues in Malaysia. In order to eradicate poverty, Shukry said waqf funds should be distributed within four key sectors, namely health, education, economic development and financial assistance for small enterprises. He also said that even though a lot of waqf efforts have been made, the waqf collection system needs to be streamlined and improved professionally.

#Malaysia's #Green Islamic #Sukuk funds green tech projects

Malaysia has the potential for green financing 130 potential projects comprising 111 renewable energy (RE) projects and 19 energy efficiency (EE) projects that are worth about RM1.9 billion and RM248 million. Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the country was on the right path to be the world leader in green investment. Maximus said Malaysia was leading the world in green investment through the introduction of Green Islamic SRI (Sustainable and Responsible Investment) Sukuk. This year Malaysia issued the Green Islamic SRI Sukuk amounting RM250 million for solar project to Tadau Energy and RM1 billion for Quantum Solar Park Malaysia. The recently launched Green Technology Master Plan 2017 (GTMP) is aimed to create a low carbon economy. Maximus also said Malaysia was committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emission intensity of its Gross Domestic Product by up to 45% by year 2030 in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Danajamin an unsung hero of Islamic capital market

In #Malaysia Danajamin is of national importance because of its role to ensure continued flow of credit in the financial system. It contributes to the democratisation of the capital market by giving financial guarantee insurance to companies that are raising funds from the market through the issuance of bonds and sukuk. Danajamin has provided credit enhancement guarantees for RM9 billion bond/sukuk programmes issued by 31 Malaysian companies across various sectors. These include guaranteeing sukuk issuances to finance the West Coast Expressway Project, connecting the west coast of the peninsula from Banting, Selangor, to Taiping, Perak. Recently, Danajamin has become the first financial guarantee insurer in the world to issue its own sukuk. The agency issued its maiden Tier II Subordinated RM500 million Sukuk Murabahah, with a tenure of 10 years and priced at a yield of 4.8% per annum on Oct 6. The demand from investors was so encouraging that Danajamin decided to upsize the issuance from an initial RM300 million to RM500 million.

#Malaysia to issue more #green #sukuk for infra projects

Malaysia will issue more green sukuk to finance environmental-friendly infrastructure projects. Energy and Green Technology Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili said the government was confident it would achieve its renewable energy generation target of 7,200 megawatts (MW) by 2020. The solar energy will contribute 2,080MW to it. In July this year, Malaysia issued the world’s first green sukuk, RM250 million Sustainable Responsible Investment (SRI) sukuk, to finance the construction of an LSS project in Kudat, Sabah. Quantum Solar announced the world’s largest green SRI sukuk issuance of RM1 billion recently. The projects are expected to create up to 3,000 jobs, generate electricity for up to 93,000 households and reduce carbon emissions by 210,000 tonnes annually.

SC and ISRA publish textbook on "#Sukuk: Principles and Practices"

In #Malaysia the Securities Commission (SC) and The International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) have released a joint publication on "Sukuk: Principles & Practices". The textbook was launched by His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah. The new textbook focuses on the theories and practices governing sukuk across various jurisdictions while adopting a global perspective. Is serves as a source of reference to academicians, students and practitioners to gain greater understanding on sukuk. Recently, Malaysia witnessed the issuance of the world’s first green sukuk under SC’s Sustainable & Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk framework. This affirmed the country’s position as a leading Islamic finance marketplace and centre for sustainable finance.

Bank Negara: Islamic finance will focus on quality growth

#Malaysia is second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of Islamic banking in the world. Of the US$71 billion Syariah-compliant asset funds managed, 33% are in Malaysia. The country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) continues to raise awareness of Malaysia as an international Islamic financial centre. According to BNM assistant governor Marzunisham Omar, the next area of focus is quality growth. The 16 Islamic banks and 11 takaful operators are seeing value-returns by embarking on initiatives through Value-Based Intermediation (VBI). VBI is a business strategy by Islamic financial institutions, driven by a desire to create value rather than focus on short-term objectives. VBI is a business strategy of the institution to drive growth and sustain growth. It is a collaborative effort by the central bank together with Islamic banking institutions. Today nine Islamic banks are already involved and the central bank is working to develop a value-based scorecard to measure the success of banking institutions.

Felda to issue #sukuk before year-end

In #Malaysia the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will issue a RM2 billion long-term sukuk before the end of the year. Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad added that apart from the sukuk, Felda is also finalising the sale of their hotel in London. Three years ago, Felda Investment acquired Grand Plaza Hotel in the upmarket Kensington area and this hotel became a status symbol for Felda. Shahrir likened the hotel sale to monetising non-core assets of Felda. Earlier in the year, Felda also made some money when it sold its 2% stake in Malayan Banking to the bank for RM280 million. The chairman also noted that sentiment among the settlers had improved considerably. Of the original 112,635 settlers, Shahrir said 94,956, or 84%, had continued to sell their fruits to Felda mills.

CIMB Islamic outlines #growth #plans

In this interview CIMB Islamic Bank CEO Mohamed Rafe Mohamed Haneef talks about the bank's achievements in Malaysia and its growth plans. The most significant segment for CIMB Islamic Bank is retail banking. When Haneef joined the bank, consumer banking’s contribution was between 40 and 45%, while at the end of June it was almost 60%. The bank came up with an embedded model which enables both CIMB Islamic and the conventional side from CIMB Group to tap the same talent. CIMB operates on two separate licences, but out of the same branches, as relationship managers offer both Islamic and conventional banking options. According to Haneef, the bank plans to focus on the Asean region first before eventually building inroads into the Middle East beyond 2018. CIMB Group’s Islamic Asset Management is in close contact with the Securities Commission (SC) and plans to contribute to the development of Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI).

Cagamas issues country's first dual tranche #sukuk reopening

Cagamas announced its 14th issuance for the year, a three-year, RM1 billion sukuk, which represents Malaysia's first ever dual tranche sukuk reopening. Proceeds from the issuance will be used to fund the purchase of Islamic house financing from the financial system. CEO Datuk Chung Chee Leong noted that the final yield was priced competitively at a spread of 50 basis points over the three-year Government Investment Issue. He said as at September 8, 2017, Cagamas' secondary trading volume stood at over RM5 billion. He added that subscription from foreign-based investors indicates continued confidence in the company. The new issuance will bring the company’s aggregate issuance for the year to RM8.5 billion.

Hong Leong Islamic lends RM350m to TERAJU

Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) has pledged RM350 million for the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (TERAJU) via its new Bumiputera companies programme. Of that amount, RM225 million will go to working capital and the balance for asset acquisition. The programme aims to increase Bumiputera SME's participation in the Malaysian economy by enabling small medium enterprises (SMEs) to scale up and compete in the open market. HLISB chief executive officer Jasani Abdullah said the bank targets to provide financing facilities to between 20 and 30 companies annually. He pointed out HLISB would be focusing on industries such as construction and infrastructure, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing and green technology sectors. Meanwhile, TERAJU chief executive officer Datuk Husni Salleh said HLISB's participation would assist Bumiputera participants to expand locally and overseas.

BNM to measure VBI adoption in Islamic FIs

Bank Negara #Malaysia is developing a scorecard with Islamic banking players that will measure the adoption of value-based intermediation (VBI) initiative. According to deputy governor Abdul Rasheed Abdul Ghaffour, the VBI marks the next step to realise the full potential of Islamic finance. The VBI Community of Practictioners (COP) includes nine Islamic banking institutions, Bank Islam, Bank Muamalat, CIMB Islamic, Agrobank, HSBC Amanah, Maybank Islamic, AmBank Islamic, Alliance Islamic and Standard Chartered Saadiq. While VBI shares similarities with ethical finance, ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) and SRI (sustainable, responsible, impact investing), the distinguishing factor is the Syariah aspect. Business propositions from new sectors such as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would benefit from financial applications based on potential value creation and not just their credit scores.

World Bank sees massive potential in #green #sukuk

The #Malaysian company Tadau Energy became the first entity in the world to issue a green sukuk. Called Green SRI Sukuk Tadau, the RM250 million Sustainable Responsible Investment (SRI) syariah-compliant bond holds a tenure of up to 16 years. RAM Rating Services assigned it a long-term rating of "AA3". The framework underlying the green sukuk’s debut is the result of a collaboration between Bank Negara Malaysia, the Securities Commission (SC) and the World Bank. World Bank country manager Faris Hadad-Zervos called the issuance of the green sukuk a historic event, not just for Malaysia but for the whole world. Faris stressed the creation of the framework was key in making the world’s first SRI sukuk a reality. World Bank financial specialist Jose De Luna Martinez said the Tadau sukuk would potentially lead Malaysia to be a green sukuk hub of the Asean region.

Do more to boost Islamic #trade finance

As the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reaffirmed commitment to its Aid for Trade initiative, the outlook for global trade over the next two years is indeed mixed. WTO is forecasting that global trade will expand by 2.4% this year and between 2.1 to 4% next year, reflecting the continued uncertainty of the global economy. In Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Muhammed Ibrahim wants Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry to boost trade finance to increase largely untapped business opportunities using technological capture. BNM is keen for Syariah-compliant trade financing to support 10% of total trade in the next three years. Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry has assets under management totalling RM742 billion. BNM wants the industry to leverage this pole position and to account for 40% of total financing in Malaysia by 2020.

#Malaysia in bid to lift Islamic finance

The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) announced that Malaysia could become the first country to incorporate the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Islamic finance. MIA president Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi said the accounting body was looking into the prospect. He added that MIA will come out with a book on how to apply the IFRS in Islamic finance, as many countries have not adopted it yet. The book will be launched later this month with the help of the regulators and banks. According to MIA, Malaysia adopted the IFRS in 2012, in keeping pace with global trends. The IFRS brings transparency, accountability and efficiency to financial markets. Faiz said MIA’s role was assisting Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) to prepare the market for IFRS. For that, MIA carries out various workshops and courses.

Dana gas saga far from over

Last month, Dana Gas tried to impose on investors a restructuring of the payment of its two outstanding sukuk tranches totalling US$700 million. The company got an injunction in the High Court in London restraining sukuk holders from taking any hostile action against Dana. The overriding concern is that if the High Court in London rules against Dana Gas, the matter goes to trial and Dana Gas wins, it would set an appalling precedent that can undermine the integrity of sukuk as a fundraising instrument. Syariah advisories agree that the only solution would be the introduction of a world sukuk standard supported by local laws, an Apex Sukuk Standard, which would give legal and syariah certainty. Any dispute could either be subject to arbitration or recourse to law. Dana Gas re-scheduled yet another conference call with sukuk holders to discuss the matter. The High Court in London scheduled a hearing for September. This saga is far from over.

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