Islamic Banking

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South Korea interested in Islamic finance

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Governor Kim Jong-chang sees Islamic finance as a potential new alternative in overcoming the global financial crisis pointing out that reckless distribution of complicated derivative products throughout the global market, detached from the real economy, put the global financial market into crisis.

The annual seminar, held in Japan and Hong Kong in the last two years, is now under way in Seoul, jointly hosted by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the FSS.

Kim said the regulator would focus on setting up infrastructure for Islamic finance in the country.

Malaysia Bina Puri unit gets Islamic financing

A unit of Malaysian builder Bina Puri Holdings Bhd has secured RM 1.04 bn of Islamic financing to build a highway, Reuters citing Bernana, the official news agency.

Middle East Carbon Trade Market

Karen Remo-Listama reported in Emirates Business 24/7 on 13 January that Carbon trading can fetch Gulf USD 5bn annually citing Armen Vartanian, Director at EcoVentures, the Middle East and North African (Mena) as there is no single project on carbon trading. Announcement of DMCC were out and also Doha Bank plans an exchange for carbon trading and works with the San Francisco, California-based RainTrust Foundation on the Qatar exchange project and has then secured expressions of interest from Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group. Chief Executive Officer Raghavan Seetharaman said the bank would invest USD 27 mn in its electronic Qatari exchange, and has so far spent USD 7 mn on a plot of land in the USD 2.6 bn Energy City business park that Qatar is building. The start depends on the overall market conditions. Masdar launched already in February 2008 a project to develop a national CO2 capture network capable of creating a significant reduction in Abu Dhabi's carbon footprint.

Qatar Islamic to keep financing policies

The Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) has said that its financing policies for real estate, vehicles and other purposes remain unchanged even as other banks tighten their lending policies.

Bank Al Jazira plans SAR 150 mn dividend

Bank Al Jazira`s Board plans a SAR 150 million or SAR 0.5 a share, cash dividend payout for 2008.

Janahi named Vision 3 chairman

Vision 3 is strategic alliance formed by the trio of leading Middle Eastern banks, Gulf Finance House (GFH), Ithmaar Bank and Abu Dhabi Investment House (ADIH). The primary goal of Vision 3 is to create tailored Islamic financial institutions. Vision 3 has already announced the creation of InfraCapital, the GCC's first investment bank specialising in the provision of tailored infrastructure development and finance; AgriCap, a new investment vehicle focused entirely on serving agricultural ventures and communities and Hospitality Development Fund (HDF), established to nurture and support opportunities across the global hospitality sector.

The board members include GFH chairman Esam Janahi who will be chairman of the company, Bonyan International chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Imad Nesnas, ADIH chief executive officer Rashad Janahi and Ithmaar Development Company CEO Mohamed Khalil Al Sayed

Al Hilal Bank stalls overseas plans

TradeArabia published a Reuters News on 8 January that Abu Dhabi's government-owned Al Hilal Bank is unlikely to break even this year and may slow overseas expansion due to the global crisis but will grow organically in the UAE. Al Hilal became operational in June last year and expected originally to turn a profit in 2009.

Bank Al Jazira plans USD 40 mn dividend

Ameinfo reported on 8 January that Saudi-based Bank Al Jazira plans a SAR 150 mn or SAR 0.5 a share, cash dividend payout for 2008.

Qatar Investment Authority invests into local banks USD 3.57 bn

The daily Alqabas reported on 8 January that the Qatar Investment Authority invests Qatary Riyyal 13 billion in the local banking sector, including the three Islamic banks. Qatar International Islamic Bank agreed to the new investor, which is going to hold 20 % of the shares after the capital raise.

Deyaar's contracts will be Shariah-compliant

Business 24/7 reported on 6 January that the real estate developer said that Deyaar's contracts will be Shariah-compliant and they are going to deal exclusively with Islamic banks. Deyaar is an affiliate of Dubai Islamic Bank. Markus Giebel, the CEO of Deyaar has written a column for Business 24/7.

Minhaj Shari'ah Financial Advisory opened in Dubai International Financial Centre

Zawya reported that Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah the Chairman of Minhaj announced the launch of its operations in DIFC, which will provide advisory and training services. Sheikh Amin Fateh is the resident Sharia Advisor. The other Sharia scholars involved are: Dr. Mohammad Sultan Al Olama, Dr. Muhammad Amin Qattan, Dr. Yousef Abdullah Al-Shubaily, SH. Abdul Sattar Kattan and Dr. Ibrahim Ali Alshal.

About Minhaj
MINHAJ is a DIFC based company specializing in providing Shari'ah financial advisory services, supervision, Shari'ah auditing, revision and training for Islamic and traditional financial institutions. It is the outcome of a partnership between Tharaa Holding and a number of most prominent scholars and specialists in the Islamic financial services industry world wide.

Source: 

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090106092423/Minhaj%20Shari'ah%20Financial%20Advisory%20launched%20in%20DIFC

Alternative to GCC Currency Union?

Chris Cook opined in an Asia Times Online feature as guest writer that the Gulf takes the wrong currency path, commenting on the announced creation of a GCC currency union along the lines of the Euro. He sees the alternative to the central banking model as a peer-to-peer "Gulf Clearing Union" similar to the Swiss Wirtschaftsring-Genossenschaft. WIR members are obliged to give security over their property by way of collateral, it is a monetary system that is "property-backed". The key innovation that will enable a Gulf Clearing Union is the simple expedient of creating - within a suitable legal framework - a "petro" unit redeemable in a constant amount of energy value. Settlement of credit would take place in petros, in goods or services by reference to the petro, or in dollars or other currency acceptable to the seller.

Chris Cook is a former director of the International Petroleum Exchange and is now a strategic market consultant, entrepreneur and commentator.

Swiss WIR bank concept: http://www.wir.ch/

Islamic Commodity Investments

Devon Maylie reported on 5 January in Barron`s magazine, that commodity-focused companies and hedge funds are introducing special products that comply with Islamic law, either equity based or as direct exposure to commodities. Ian MacDonald, executive director for gold and precious metals at Dubai Multi Commodities Center is cited to claim that there are not enough effort spent on Sharia compliant commodity products so far. The DMCC is seed financing with USD 50 mn each a range of commodity oriented equity funds managed by BlackRock Capital Management, Tocqueville Asset Management, Zweig-DiMenna International Managers and Lucas Capital Management on its platform in partnership with US based Shariah Capital. London-based ETF Securities last year launched an exchange-traded fund for precious metals that is being marketed to Sharia investors. The World Gold Council is also partnering with DMCC to launch a similar product in March.

New Islamic Bank in Djibouti

AllAfrica reported on 27 December 2008 about the openining of Salam African Bank collaborated by Somali and Djibouti businessmen and openend by Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Mohamed Yusuf Ahmed Allore is said to be one of the managers.

Reuters: Japan investors interested in Islamic products

Reuters reported on 30 December that Japanese investors have expressed interest in developing Islamic capital market products, according to a local newspaper quoting Aseambankers Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Rashdan Mohammed Yusof. No company names were disclosed in the interview, however Aseambankers, the investment bankers of Maybank Group plans to develop the Sukuk market in Japan.

Uganda: Global Trust Bank to introduce Sharia banking

UGPulse.com reported on 18 December that Global Trust Bank considers to introduce Sharia banking. Global Trust Bank was recently created and has its headquarters in Nigeria.

Richard Byarugaba is the Managing Director and told journalists that the bank is going to carry out a survey in the Ugandan market to see whether Ugandans need and are ready for such a product of sharia banking.

Japan moves carefully toward Islamic finance

Manabu Hara reported on 12 December in Asahi Newspaper that the Japanese Government has taking a step more to introduce Islamic finance. Earlier this month, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) amended financial regulations to let bank subsidiaries handle Islamic finance operations. But still Murabaha transactions are subject to tax issues.

Islamic Microfinance

Dear All,

Please post here any information, concepts and ideas to foster Islamic Microfinance.

Best regards,

IslamicFinance.de

Dar eyes UK Islamic banking unit

Arabian Business reported on 28 April that Investment Dar its proposed British bank unit 'Dar Capital' might start with capital of up to GBP 100 mn. A project study should be finished by year-end.

Chairman of Investment Dar is Adnan Al-Musallam.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517695-dar-eyes-uk-bank-with-up-to-100-ml...

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