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Michael Saleh Gassner
Summit will explore intersection of #fintech, #ESG and #Islamicfinance. #RFISummit17
January 24, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland –
Bringing together a diversity of perspectives is critical for continuing the growth occurring within responsible finance. On this premise, the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2017 will convene in Zurich, Switzerland from 3-4 May 2017 around the theme “Building Bridges, Expanding Impact”.
Recent estimates from industry stakeholders show continued growth in responsible finance assets in many geographies and sectors. Responsible investment in Europe grew by 42% during the past 2 years, while in the U.S., assets grew by 33%. In Islamic finance, which has a global presence with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, growth in the last 2 years has been 21%. Identifying actionable areas for collaboration will support continued growth towards a more sustainable financial system.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd said the proposed move to allow developers to provide loans to house buyers will not have a severe impact on the bank, as it will continue to focus on its target market.
“For us, we don’t see any reduction in (our) approval rate, mainly because our target market remained stable,” its deputy CEO Khairul Kamarudin told reporters after launching the bank’s Visa Infinite Business Credit Card-i (business card-i) here yesterday. “Our target market has always been the middle income (segment) and we will continue focusing on our target market and we are seeing the same approval rate (going forward)”. Khairul said the bank’s approval rate last year was 70%, and slightly better this year at 71%, to date. He also said the bank has not experienced high loan rejections despite the current uncertain economic conditions. “People (borrower) who are eligible last year are also eligible this year. For the ones who have their applications get rejected are maybe for the ‘high ticket’ properties,” he added, noting that the bank is more focused on providing loans for affordable housing.
A new international bond and grant scheme to help countries dealing with the fallout of war and instability in the Middle East and North Africa should be in place by spring, a senior World Bank official said.
In a Reuters interview, Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank's vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said the type of investment targeted by the plan - education, infrastructure and jobs - was vital to addressing the region's refugee crises. He said that humanitarian aid alone was not enough and the alternative was “one or two lost generations” in a region with 15 million refugees or internally displaced people.
SINGAPORE's nascent Islamic finance industry is finding it tough going amid volatile financial markets and depressed oil revenues.
So far this year, there has been only one sukuk, or Islamic bond, deal in a fairly brisk fixed-income market which saw 136 bond deals worth S$17.7 billion sold in the first nine months of 2015 - Malaysia's mortgage lender Cagamas Bhd sold a S$163 million sukuk in September. The lack of a natural pool of Islamic funds in secular Singapore is a major barrier to sukuk launches, according to Clifford Lee, DBS Bank head of fixed income.
"And so you try to sell in other markets which need education (leading to) higher costs; if you're a strong issuer, the conventional bond market is more than ready to meet your needs," explained Mr Lee.
Islamic finance bans interest, products with excessive uncertainty, gambling, short sales and the financing of prohibited activities considered harmful to society. The strongest indicator that it's not smooth sailing for Islamic finance players here came in September when DBS Group Holdings said it will be winding down its Islamic banking unit, which it said has been unable to achieve the necessary economies of scale.
Malaysian telecoms giant Axiata Group on November 13 issued a US$500 million Wakala Sukuk, or Islamic bond, to fund its investment into a Myanmar towers business. This is the largest-ever corporate bond issued with proceeds to be invested into a Myanmar towers business, demonstrating considerable investor confidence in the frontier market. Telecoms towers companies have led the way in terms of innovative cross-border financing into Myanmar – last year Pan Asia Majestic Eagle completed the first cross-border, non-recourse financing arrangement in the country.
A spokesperson for Axiata told The Myanmar Times yesterday that around $125 million of the bond’s proceeds will be used to fund the acquisition of a majority share in Myanmar Tower Company (MTC) under Axiata’s wholly owned subsidiary Edotco Group.
The remaining funds will be used for “general corporate purposes,” she said, though did not disclose whether or not this would include capex for MTC’s Myanmar rollout. In the bond’s prospectus the use of proceeds is listed as “general corporate purpose/other”.
Iran, frozen out by sanctions, has not been a fixture in the international debt markets since 2002. But when it eventually returns, which it surely will in the next year or so, its first step back may turn out to have been a little-noticed domestic issue that took place on September 30. The issue of Islamic government treasury bills, it could even be said, was the country’s first true domestic bond. There has been a sort of debt market in Iran for years, but it does not resemble anything like local currency markets elsewhere in the world. The predominant vehicle is the Agh Mosharekat (participation paper) an instrument which carries a fixed coupon, is not tradable, and can be returned to the bank at any time during its (typically three-year) duration and redeemed.
From 2002 UK banks, led by Lloyds and HSBC, tried to appeal to British Muslims by offering specialised mortgage products differing in structure. The lender generally buys the property outright and leases it to the consumer, charging a rental fee in addition to taking repayments. However, the mainstream market’s foray into the sector did not go as planned and Lloyds ceased offering the products in 2010 with HSBC following suit in 2012. Sharia home purchase plans can be more expensive than standard mortgages, with the Islamic Bank of Britain charging variable rates of 3.99% and 3.59% for 20% and 35% deposits until 30 June 2016. However, the market may simply need more competition to drive rates down.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of IslamicFinance.de please find at the hyperlink below the relaunch of the newsletter.
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All the best,
Michael Saleh Gassner
Revised Shariah Screening Methodology: 1
Expands ICM’s Global Reach
New Shariah Advisory Council Resolutions 3
Region’s First Structured Covered Sukuk 7
Royal Award for Islamic Finance Calls for Global 9
SC and Autoriti Monetari Brunei to Strengthen 9
Efforts in Greater Cross-border Activities
SC Leads Islamic Finance Taskforce to Publish a 10
Report on Enhancing Infrastructure for ICM
IFSB-IOSCO-SC Collaborate on Disclosure 11
Requirements for ICM Products
SC Revises Equity Guidelines for SPACS 12
Technical Note on the Application of SC’s 13
Guidelines In Relation to Non-Tradable and
Non-Transferable PDS and Sukuk
2013: Another Resilient Year for the Global 14
Islamic Finance Industry
Global Islamic Funds Industry: Achieving 18
Growth Under Challenging Times
Harmonisation of Shariah Rulings 22
in Islamic Finance
News Round-up 29
Malaysian ICM – Facts and Figures 32
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Muslim borrowers will be allowed to use Shariah-compliant Home Purchase Plans (HPP) under a change to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme aimed at extending the range of home buyers able to access taxpayer-backed funding. HPPs split ownership of a property between the borrower and their bank, a financing arrangement that accords with Islamic law that prevents muslims from using conventional mortgages that see borrowers paying interest to a lender. Sajid Javid, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, launched the updated scheme on February 11 at an Islamic finance conference in London.
For many years we see in the media experts believing in inflation and even hyper inflation. However, in the same time we face proponents warning against deflation. So far we all noticed.
Only a about a week ago I read an article by Myret Zaki clarifying that unfortunately inflation and deflation co-exists.
Myret Zaki's thesis is that we face inflation on financial markets, and deflation in the real economy (in French):
In my view there is a general major shift in the price matrix and I still try to figure the magnitude and implications thereof. It is a bit irritating as at University we learned about neutrality of money:
This means any extra supply will increase prices equally, 5 % more money, all prices going up 5 %. Pretty plausible at first hand. However, it seems it does not work in reality any more (or never did).
IslamicFinance.de is still edited by myself, Michael Saleh Gassner. In the same time the website became part of the family's publishing house, Al Kitab.
Myself I moved to Geneva for professional reasons, working as Islamic private banker. IslamicFinance.de remains to be a private passion.
Dubai Islamic Bank announced that it has settled all bilateral liabilities of mortgage provider Tamweel, two years ahead of scheduled maturity. The outstanding liabilities were part of a five-year moratorium. The bank cited “robust capitalisation and ample liquidity” as the reasons for early repayment.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is to offer UAE nationals mortgages worth 100 per cent of their property in conjunction with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment. DIB will offer housing loans worth up to Dhs2 million over a 25-year period, with interest rates starting at 3.99 per cent. The announcement by DIB is in partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (MRHE), which ‘aims to enhance the quality of life for UAE nationals living in Dubai by helping them access superior housing’. The move flies in the face of impending regulations from the UAE’s Central Bank that is expected to cap lending for local first-time homeowners to 80 per cent of the home’s value and 75 per cent for expatriates, with lending for additional homes expected to be capped at 65 per cent and 60 per cent.
A new whitepaper released by Deloitte in July examines the potential mortgage industry in Saudi Arabia and highlights key issues that need to be addressed in order to create both lender and consumer confidence in this market. The whitepaper lists and describes the five laws that will make up the Finance Law, which are The Enforcement Law, The Real Estate Finance Law, The Registered Real Estate Mortgage Law, The Finance Lease Law and The Finance Companies Control Law. The description is followed by a discussion of lenders and consumers’ potential concerns with regards to the new mortgage infrastructure. In principle, the multi-dimension reforms appear sufficient to develop a functioning mortgage market. However, fundamental to this is whether they are executed in their entirety, or whether there is any uncertainty as to their exact definition.
Property lending company Amlak Finance is in discussion with creditors about restructuring about AED7bn (US$1.9bn) of debt. This is the latest try to resurrect a victim of Dubai's property crash. THe creditor committee consists of six members including two government-owned funds, Dubai's largest lender and its biggest Islamic bank. Since November 2008, Amlak has not been able to trade due to suspension of its shares along with Tamweel. At that time, the credit markets had dried up the prices of real estates in Dubai began a slump leading them to a decrease of over 50%.
On Thursday , Dubai Islamic Bank announced its board's approval of the plans to fully acquire its mortgage unit Tamweel. The bank already holds 58.2% of the stakes. It further intends to make a tender offer to buy all shares off Tamweel's other shareholders. Every shareholder of Tamweel will be offered 10 DIB shares for every 18 Tamweel shares. As soon as the offer is closed, DIB will make an application to the regulator to delist Tamweel from the Dubai Financial Market.
Islamic finance had another great year. Many of its market segments progressed, like for example the Sukuk market gaining more maturity. Despite the ongoing debt crisis a good sign of hope and happiness.
Nevertheless we are - as an industry - still not satisfied with the achievements. Islamic finance shall grow stronger in terms of social impact and in terms of substance:
Hence, please allow me to re-iterate my call for participating in international initiatives beyond just our own industry to learn and spread knowledge and experience:
Calling Islamic financial institutions to become member of the United Nations Finance Initiative
Inshallah we see more Islamic financial institutions taking a lead in SRI, Social Impact Investing and other approaches while contributing with Islamic finance knowdledge to the conventional industry. The time is now; and there are signs that Malaysia aims for a lead:
Earlier this week, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) was host to a meeting on a high level discussing the launch of a new national home finance company with committed shareholders. The brand name of the company will be Bidaya. In particular, the status of the new company's development and plans concerning the next steps towards the launch were discussed. According to Khaled Al-Aboodi - CEO of ICD - the Mortgage Law together with the recent release of draft regulations give the industry clarity and direction which was very necessary.