Islamic Banking

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The IFSB disseminates Q2 Islamic banking data

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) announced the dissemination of country-level data on financial soundness for Q2 of 2017 from 15 IFSB member jurisdictions. This eighth dissemination completes the availability of quarterly data from Q4 of 2013 to Q2 of 2017. According to Secretary-General of the IFSB, Zahid ur Rehman Khokher, the IFSB has both extended the coverage of PSIFIs banking sector database to several new countries, as well expanded the database coverage to Islamic insurance and Islamic capital market sectors. The PSIFIs project is currently collecting Islamic banking data on a trial basis from newly-joined contributors: Bank of England, Central Bank of Lebanon (Banque du Liban), Palestine Monetary Authority, and Qatar Central Bank.

Ibdar Bank: Islamic #fintech will foster a culture of change

In this interview Ayman Sejiny, CEO of Ibdar Bank, speaks about the future of Islamic finance. Ayman Sejiny believes that fintech is going to be one of the biggest drivers of change in the new Islamic banking era. Fintech initiatives will not only improve existing customer’s banking experience, but also have the potential to bring the two billion financially-excluded individuals into the banking system. Malaysia, Indonesia, the UAE and Bahrain, driven by an influx of start-ups in the crowdfunding and payment space, have already positioned themselves to lead the field. They started to formally regulate crowdfunding and implement sandboxes or special fintech licencing schemes. These markets should therefore see huge growth in crowdfunding, P2P and payments platforms and even an increase in the use of AI in the form of robo-advisers. The UK and even the US will also see more investment in fintech startups to meet the demand for Shari’ah products in these markets. Ibdar Bank has set out a comprehensive plan for the engagement with fintech service providers.

#Qatar plans central Shariah committee for Islamic banks

Qatar is planning to set up a central Shariah committee for Islamic banks to create consistency in Islamic finance. According to Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani, this move ensures that the country’s financial regulations are benchmarked to international standards. A recent report by the World Bank and the Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions suggested further action by regulators to strengthen the sector’s governance. One of the action points of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is assessing remuneration and commission framework of financial advisers and insurance intermediaries and implementing an appropriate conduct of business regime. In 2016, the QCB issued new regulations for insurers on licensing, controls, accounting, risk management and actuaries’ reports and also stipulated minimum capitalisation levels and limits on risky asset classes. QCB's new strategy is looking at supporting the growth of the asset management sector through aligning requirements across regulatory frameworks.

Confidence, but some uncertainty remains: Islamic finance trends

In 2018 the expansion of Islamic finance into non-Muslim jurisdictions is set to continue. Conventional investors have started to appreciate the potential of Islamic finance at times of a persistent low-to-zero-interest rate environment. According to data collected by financial intelligence firm Dealogic, issuance of Islamic debt by non-Muslim countries climbed to a three-year high in 2017. Islamic finance is perceived by them as being more stable compared to the conventional banking system. However, the industry is likely to face a continued backlash in the GCC caused by the current economic woes in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia. According to rating agency Standard & Poor’s, Islamic finance assets should be back in growth mode in 2018 in the GCC, but at a slow pace of just around 5%. One impulse for growth could be the creation of Shariah-compliant pension schemes modelled after Malaysia, as well as other obligatory social insurances in GCC countries. A new trend is likely to transform into a new Islamic finance asset class in 2018: green and sustainable sukuk, as part of impact investing.

#Nigeria: How #Islamic #Finance Can Stimulate #Economic #Recovery'

Regarding its economic situation and the quest for a solution in Nigeria, Islamic Finance is believed to be able to redeem it because of the ethical and moral values within the Islamic banking system.
Alhaji Sulaimon Yusuf, who spoke at the Muslim Association of Nigeria 34th Triennial National Conference in Lagos, said that Islamic finance is playing an important role in promoting socially desirable investments, economic empowerment, employment opportunities and resuscitation of real sector of economy. Further he said: "We have confidence in the economic packages and policies of the present administration and feel that a lot more needs to be done to alleviate the suffering of the masses"

Islamic funding becomes more attractive for the non-Muslim world

Islamic finance has traditionally been dominated by Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It has transformed from a niche corner of global banking to a growing source of funding for the rest of the world. The government of Singapore was one of the earliest non-Muslim entrants into the space, followed by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, which issued their first sukuk in 2014. African nations such as South Africa, Nigeria and Ivory Coast have made legal and tax changes to make it easier for borrowers to issue sukuk. The value of sukuk bonds issued outside the Middle East and Southeast Asia by non-Muslim countries reached 2.25 billion USD for the period from January to November. By comparison, the volume in 2016 was 2 billion USD, and in 2015 was 1 billion USD. Islamic finance is seen as a more stable alternative to the conventional banking system and offers a more ethical approach to managing money.

Bank Islam issues bank cards corresponding with Sharia law

Bank Islam recently presented its first Sharia-compliant bank cards to the #Kazakhstan retail market. Customers will not be able to pay for goods and services that are prohibited under the Sharia law. Therefore, the cards cannot be used in night clubs, casinos, bookmakers, tobacco and liqueur shops. Card holders can pay for goods and services in Kazakhstan and abroad, receiving a cashback of 0.5-1% from each purchase. It also allows carrying out purchases through the internet, transfers from card to card, online payment of taxes and fines. Debit cards of the bank are issued in two categories, Master Card Gold and Master Card Platinum. In the beginning of next year, the bank plans to launch its first credit cards. Cards are currently available for residents of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent.

Islamic finance is becoming so attractive that even non-Muslims want in

Islamic finance has traditionally been dominated by Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It has transformed from a niche corner of global banking to a growing source of funding for the rest of the world. The government of Singapore was one of the earliest non-Muslim entrants into the space, followed by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, which issued their first sukuk in 2014. African nations such as South Africa, Nigeria and Ivory Coast have made legal and tax changes to make it easier for borrowers to issue sukuk. Islamic finance is seen as a more stable alternative to the conventional banking system and offers a more ethical approach to managing money. The industry's size is expected to expand further to $3.5 trillion by 2021 as countries and companies look for alternative funding sources.

#Malaysia seeks to catapult Islamic finance to the next level

Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry has grown tremendously since 2004, when Bank Negara Malaysia began issuing Islamic banking licenses to foreign Islamic banks. The strong growth is also reflected in the country's Islamic asset management industry, with Malaysia accounting for 34% of the US$78 billion global Islamic assets under management as at the end of 2016. Malaysia strongly believes that Islamic finance must continue to appeal to the broader community.

Experts for strategy to use #fintech in Islamic finance

Islamic banks have been urged to adopt a strategy to make effective use of financial technology. At a seminar held recently, Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, director of Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at IBA, said there has to be a strategy for Islamic finance in the digital world. According to fintech expert Ashar Nazim, Pakistan is doing well in Islamic finance, but the country's finance industry has to adapt to fintech. Market Link Executive Director Ishan Kanji said that using fintech will support the agricultural sector by providing easy access of loans and facilities to farmers. He stressed on the need to tap into the informal economy, which is twice the size of formal economy in Pakistan. At the seminar Hasan Bilgrami, CEO of BankIslami, shared the success story of BankIslami being the first bank in Pakistan to use biometric technology.

#Malaysia begins Islamic stock lending

Malaysia’s stock exchange (BMSC) has launched a framework for Islamic stock lending. The introduction of Islamic stock lending aims to provide a Shariah-compliant alternative to the securities borrowing and lending negotiated transaction framework (ISSBNT). According to Bursa Malaysia, Islamic stock lending will provide a more facilitative trading environment and improve trading liquidity. Any person approved by BMSC to be an approved supplier may enter sell its own securities. An approved user is required to have a minimum of RM 50 million (USD 12.2 million) in shareholders funds. Initially, close attention will be given to extending Islamic exchange traded funds in particular, as well as enhancing levels of liquidity.

Experts call for strategy to use #fintech in Islamic finance

Islamic banks have been urged to adopt a strategy to make effective use of financial technology. At a seminar held recently, Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, director of Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at IBA, said there has to be a strategy for Islamic finance in the digital world. According to fintech expert Ashar Nazim, Pakistan is doing well in Islamic finance, but the country's finance industry has to adapt to fintech. Market Link Executive Director Ishan Kanji said that using fintech will support the agricultural sector by providing easy access of loans and facilities to farmers. He stressed on the need to tap into the informal economy, which is twice the size of formal economy in Pakistan. At the seminar Hasan Bilgrami, CEO of BankIslami, shared the success story of BankIslami being the first bank in Pakistan to use biometric technology.

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.

#Tax neutrality for Islamic Finance needs refinement

For countries wanting to enable Islamic finance within their borders, a key requirement is tax legislation to provide for tax neutrality. Without a waiver, Islamic finance would incur costs that would render it prohibitive. While the debt like contracts of Islamic finance, contracts such as Ijarah, Murabaha, Bai Bithamin Ajil (BBA), Salam and the like dominate Islamic finance, the risk sharing contracts like Mudarabah and Musyarakah remain unused. Yet, it is the risk sharing contracts that truly provide the value added of Islamic finance. Removing the tax impediment to risk sharing contracts can help rejuvenate both Islamic banking and capital markets. The biggest advantage to the movement away from debt to risk sharing at the micro level is the macro level benefit of reduced vulnerability.

Thomson Reuters and the ICD just released its study on Islamic Finance, find out what it says

Thomson Reuters and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) released the Islamic Finance Development Report and Indicator (IFDI) at the World Islamic Banking Conference 2017 held in Bahrain. The report studied key trends across five indicators: Quantitative Development, Knowledge, Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility and Awareness. The IFDI global average value recovered to 9.9 in 2017 from 8.8 in 2016. This reflected improved performances in each area. Malaysia, Bahrain and the UAE lead the IFDI country rankings for the fifth consecutive year, while the GCC remains the leading regional hub for the industry. The report also highlights how Islamic finance can help countries adapt to difficult economic conditions.

Islamic finance seen adapting to new economic conditions

The Islamic Finance Development Report and Indicator (IFDI) 2017 was presented at the 24th World Islamic Banking conference 2017 held from December 4 to 6 in Bahrain. The report was commissioned by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and put together by business intelligence provider Thomson Reuters. The report uses five indicators to measure the development of the $2.2tn Islamic finance industry, which are quantitative development, knowledge, governance, corporate social responsibility and awareness. This year, Malaysia, Bahrain and the UAE kept leading the IFDI country rankings for the fifth consecutive year, while the GCC remains the leading regional hub for the industry. Oman remained unchanged on rank four, while Saudi Arabia dropped two notches to rank seven, and Jordan, Qatar and Indonesia fell one notch each to ranks nine, ten and eleven. The big newcomer is the small Southeast Asian sultanate of Brunei, which made a jump from rank 14 to rank 9.

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.

Trustbank Amanah, the first Islamic Bank in #Suriname and region, to play an important role in the development of entrepreneurship and economic growth

Islamic banking has made its entry in Suriname with the approval of the Central Bank of Suriname for Islamic products and services in the banking sector. The official opening of Trustbank Amanah, the first Islamic Bank in Suriname, took place on Thursday 7th of December 2017. Trustbank Amanah aims to develop, support and encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in accordance with Islamic Finance principles. After the official launch of Trustbank Amanah, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and the Association for Surinamese Business (VSB) to stimulate, support and develop local SMEs.

Islamic finance assets will grow 72% to $3.78trn

The total size of the global Islamic finance assets is projected to grow by nearly 72% to $3.78 trillion (Dh13.87 trillion) by 2022 from $2.2 trillion (Dh8 trillion) last year. According to the Islamic Finance Development Report, Malaysia topped followed by Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Brunei in terms of industry growth. The report studied key trends across five indicators: quantitative development, knowledge, governance, corporate social responsibility and awareness. Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, said Islamic finance was still tiny in comparison with the global financial industry, but the industry's rapid development suggested it would continue to grow.

VBI to take Islamic finance to next level of growth

#Malaysia is introducing value-based intermediation (VBI) to take its Islamic finance industry to the next level of growth. As a first step, Maybank Islamic initiated the pilot launch of its rent-to-own (RTO) home scheme, called HouzKEY, targeted at properties priced under RM1 million. For now, the product is limited to the bank’s employees but should become available to the public early next year. The bank is aiming for a portfolio size of RM1 billion within the first year. According to experts, this is just the beginning of more RTO schemes to come as several other Islamic banks are expected to launch their own versions. BIMB Holdings group CEO Malkit Singh Maan says the bank is hoping to launch its RTO product for affordable homes in the first quarter of next year. Other VBI products that banks may offer in the future are green technology financing and green sukuk.

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