New Straits Times

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.

Lessons from Dana Gas #Sukuk debacle

Dana Gas invited holders of its outstanding sukuk to open discussions on restructuring the payment. The reason given by Dana Gas was that the sukuk has now been declared non-syariah compliant and, therefore, not valid. The company also proposed to exchange the sukuk with a new four-year enforceable, syariah-compliant instrument. It seems that Dana Gas is trying to restructure cheap on the back of credit deterioration, hiding behind the façade of syariah validity. Moreover, the company has filed for protection in the Federal Court in Sharjah to impose its structuring plan on certificate holders. It is obvious that the sukuk debacle may have serious implications for Dubai’s ambitions of being a premier sukuk origination and Islamic economy hub. The Dana Gas sukuk is a failure of inadequate capital market legal framework, underdeveloped regulatory framework and a serious lack of uniformity.

#Tawarruq - the 'new kid' in islamic banking

Islamic financial products have evolved from simple and straightforward structures to highly sophisticated instruments. Tawarruq, popularly known as commodity murabahah, has become a new phenomenon in the Malaysian Islamic banking system. This is particularly after the issuance of a 2012 Bank Negara Malaysia circular on bay’ inah (sale and buy-back), which substantially tightens the syariah requirements. Since then, the Malaysian Islamic banking system has started to actively use tawarruq as an alternative to bay’ inah. Nevertheless, its extensive use has raised several questions. The International Islamic Fiqh Academy held in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 resolved that the modern practice of tawarruq is impermissible. As such, the Malaysian regulators and syariah committees have to put certain parameters and limitations in the use of tawarruq.

Maybank Islamic unveils Islamic #Private #Wealth Solution

Maybank Islamic launched a new account for its Islamic private wealth clientele. The new feature will provide high net worth (HNW) clients with comprehensive private banking services. The bank explained that the enhanced platform will allow HNW clients to view and monitor their various Islamic investment portfolios holistically, in one single statement. The recent Asia Pacific Wealth Report by Capgemini indicates that the greatest enthusiasm for putting portfolios to work for social gain comes from high net worth individuals in the emerging markets of Indonesia, followed closely by Malaysia. Maybank's Group Head of Community Financial Services, Datuk Lim Hong Tat, said that Maybank Islamic provides an avenue for HNW individuals to earn returns in a more socially-responsible manner.

IMF acknowledges #Islamic #banking's prolific growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been a proactive supporter of Islamic banking and has declared it a priority for its operations in countries with Islamic banking. In a recent report titled "Ensuring Financial Stability in Countries with Islamic Banking", IMF economists have created a plan of action that would have game-changing implications for the industry. The report acknowledges the progress achieved in developing prudential standards, but concludes that the current framework governing the global industry contains many gaps. Particular attention needs to be paid to developing resolution, financial safety nets, such as deposit protection insurance and a lender of last resort, and liquidity management frameworks. According to IMF, the emergence of complex hybrid Islamic financial institutions and products is a regulatory challenge.

Islamic capital market can support financing needs

The #Malaysian Securities Commission (SC) released its SC 2016 Annual Report. The report states that the Malaysian capital market remains resilient and sustainable, growing in an orderly trajectory, attracting sound investor interest. According to SC chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh, the outlook for the Malaysian capital market in 2017 is positive. The SC is in capacity-boosting mode armed with several initiatives. These include launching the new Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance, the approval of RM5.95 million by the nascent Capital Market Development Fund aimed at encouraging new entrants into the industry, and the establishment of an Institute for Capital Market Research in 2017. This complements the initiatives by the SC in 2015 and last year, including the introduction of the first Equity Crowdfunding Framework in the region and a peer-to-peer financing framework.

Malaysia remains a forerunner in global sukuk

Malaysia remains a forerunner in global sukuk with the global outstanding sukuk amounting to over US$148 billion as at June 2013, which represents 60.4 per cent of the total global sukuk. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said credit must be given to Bank Negara Malaysia, the Securities Commission Malaysia, Shariah scholars and the Islamic financial industry community for their efforts to bring Malaysia's Islamic finance marketplace to the current level of sophistication. Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, also pointed out that shortage of qualified experts in Islamic finance was the constraining factor for the innovation of new products and services in most countries.

Bank Islam lodges report against chief economist

Bank Islam Malaysia lodged two police reports against its suspended chief economist, Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin for allegedly possessing and leaking confidential documents. Azrul was found in the possession of the minutes of the bank’s board of directors’ meeting which were reportedly sent to a third party last June. The police is investigating the case. Azrul was suspended by the bank last week after airing his comments on political issuses.

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