Islamic Banking

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AAOIFI promotes centralized sharia boards

The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Finance Institutions (AAOIFI) is developing a standard for centralized sharia boards in order to regulate finances. The new practice may change a tradition of Islamic banks appointing their own sharia boards internally. Participants of the annual AAOIFI conference criticised the lack of a universal structure that would help clarify Islamic law on finance. Experts are now looking at conflicts of interest and how they can affect the industry. Centralized sharia boards would be independent from the banks, and would thus be able to provide good guidance and arbitration. Oman and Bahrain have already established these types of sharia boards. The UAE is looking at such a measure and other countries in the Islamic regions are considering the adoption of centralized sharia boards as well.

#Malaysia: Solar #Sukuk Lights The Way To Alternative Funding Sources: Australia, Indonesia And Malaysia Working Together

SGI-Mitabu, a joint venture of two Australian solar companies, The Solar Guys International and Mitabu Australia, has revived its plans to fund its Indonesian 250 megawatt solar project with Islamic compliant funding. SGI-Mitabu will offer its sukuk in Labuan, Malaysia. SGI-Mitabu's sukuk issue is set to be the first Islamic finance offering by an Australian corporate and could provide a useful example of alternative sources of capital to other companies. Companies seeking alternative sources of funding may wish to consider whether a form of Islamic finance would be suitable for their next project, even if they have to look outside their own jurisdiction to make it happen.

La #Chine investit dans la finance islamique

Pour permettre aux pays africains de régler leurs contrats de constructions de nouvelles infrastructures, il faut sans cesse trouver de nouveaux modes de financement. Les institutions internationales couvrent les deux tiers des projets, mais d’autres formes se développent, notamment à l’initiative de la Chine. Mi-novembre, le Sichuan Development Financial Leasing a annoncé qu’il allait vendre 300 millions de dollars de sukuk via Silk Routes Capital. Un fonds créé sur mesure à Singapour, piloté par des Chinois et une équipe de financiers internationaux. Une première pour la Chine dans ce domaine. Sur le continent, le Nigeria, le Sénégal ou encore le Soudan font de plus en plus appel à la finance islamique pour boucler les financements de projets ferroviaires et de gros équipements urbains.

#Saudi Investment Bank closes 500 million riyals #sukuk

Saudi Investment Bank closed a 500 million riyals ($133.3 million) Tier 1 sukuk sale on Monday. The subordinated Islamic bond was sold privately. The debt transaction will boost the bank's capital base and its capital adequacy ratio, in addition to diversifying the Saudi bank's funding sources and its maturity profile. The joint lead managers of the transaction were Alistithmar for Financial Securities and Brokerage and J.P. Morgan Saudi Arabia.

Sharia banks' assets reach Rp331 trillion

The total assets of the #Indonesian sharia banking industry in the third quarter of 2016 reached Rp331 trillion, accounting for 5.13% of the national banking industrys assets. Lukdir Gultom, Chief of the Indonesian Financial Service Authority (OJK), said the actual figure outstrips the target set by the OJK at 5%. He added that the OJK continued to encourage the sharia compliant financial service industry covering banks, non-bank financial institutions and the capital market. To date, Indonesia has a total of 13 sharia commercial banks, 21 sharia business units, and 165 sharia rural banks. The OJK will try to increase their number. Having a Muslim majority population, North Sumatra has the potential to become a hub for the Indonesian sharia banking industry.

Financial #inclusion push: Govt, RBI mull launching sharia-compliant Islamic banking here

The Reserve Bank of #India (RBI) has proposed opening of "Islamic window" in conventional banks for "gradual" introduction of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country. Both the Centre and RBI are exploring the possibility of introduction of Islamic banking for long to ensure financial inclusion. The central bank's proposal is based on examination of legal, technical and regulatory issues regarding feasibility of introducing Islamic banking in India on the basis of recommendation of the Inter Departmental Group (IDG). RBI has also prepared a technical analysis report which has been sent to the Finance Ministry.

Nasdaq Dubai and IdealRatings launch Islamic bond indices

Nasdaq Dubai and IdealRatings have launched a suite of indices tracking the performance of global Islamic bonds. The indices may serve as the underlying to future investment products including exchange-traded funds. To be eligible for inclusion in the indices, each bond must have a minimum size of at least $100m, a remaining time to maturity of at least three months, and must be approved by a Shariah accredited board. The Nasdaq Dubai IdealRatings Sukuk Index family comprises the Global Sukuk Index as well as several indices covering distinct segments of the market. They include investment grade issuances, issuances by sovereigns, issuances by corporates, issuances by financial institutions and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issuances. As of 1 October 2016 the Global Sukuk Index has returned 3.1% year-to-date and 15.2% since the index’s base date of 1 November 2012.

#Malaysia’s Islamic financing keeps growth momentum despite moderating economy — Fitch

According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysia’s Islamic financing has maintained its double-digit growth in spite of the country’s moderating economy, with a 12.1% annual growth in the first half of 2016 (1H16). Although the growth was lower compared to last year, it still pushed Islamic loan share to 27.9% in the Malaysian banking system loan sector, versus 27% a year ago, as the sector’s expansion outperformed that of conventional banks over the past five years. Sukuk issuance also exceeded conventional bonds, with total market capitalisation rising to 62.2% by end-June 2016. Investment accounts expanded to RM36.2 billion by June this year from RM4.3 billion in July 2015, while Islamic deposits remained flat. Malaysia still leads the global Islamic finance industry in terms of regularisation, standardisation and sukuk issuance, accounting for over half of the issuances worldwide in 1H16.

SBP cuts SLR by five percent for Islamic banks

The State Bank of #Pakistan (SBP) has announced a reduction in Statutory Liquidity Requirement (SLR) for Islamic banks and Islamic banking branches by 5% to fix at 14%. Presently, some Rs 570 billion of Islamic banking industry has been placed under the SLR with SBP. This amount includes some Rs 308 billion of Sukuk and Rs 225 billion of Bai-Muajjal. With the maturity of Rs 255 billion Bai-Muajjal, the amount will reach Rs 345 billion, therefore SBP has decided to cut the SLR and fix it at 14%. Time Liabilities, including Time Deposits with a tenor of 1 year and above, will not require any SLR. According to Islamic banking representatives, with the maturity of Rs 225 billion Bai-Muajjal, surplus liquidity of Islamic banking industry will surge to some Rs 400 billion, while there are no more investment opportunities for the Islamic banks in Pakistan.

Prof. Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim wins the Royal #Award for Islamic Finance 2016

Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim was conferred the Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2016 by the King of Malaysia, His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The biennial Royal Award initiative recognises individuals who have excelled in advancing Islamic finance globally. Professor Datuk Rifaat’s contributions include the establishment of two international standard setting bodies, the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). He is the first Secretary-General of the IFSB, a post he held since the IFSB started to operate in 2003 until 2011. Under his stewardship, the membership of the IFSB expanded from nine founding members in 2003 to almost 200 members in 2010. He is a prolific writer and has authored several academic papers in key areas including accounting, finance, governance, Shari’ah and regulatory issues to further contribute to the development of Islamic finance.

Trump election win delays planned MidEast #sukuks, bonds

The unexpected victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election caused the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to wait a bit longer to assess the impact on the regional bond market. IDB will announce this week plans for investor roadshows covering its planned sukuk sale. The issue, expected to be in excess of $1 billion, is one of the few remaining debt sales likely to be completed in the Middle East before the end of this year. Some Middle Eastern bond transactions for which banks had already been mandated have been put on hold and potential borrowers have decided to wait until January to see how markets perform. In addition to the IDB, Abu Dhabi airline Etihad is also expected to launch a sukuk issue soon, likely to be in the $1 billion region. The bond is expected to be executed later this week.

Azimut and Maybank to jointly manage #sukuk fund, seek new markets

Italian money manager Azimut Holding will jointly manage its Islamic bonds fund with Maybank Asset Management Group to cater to growing demand for hard currency sukuk products. The partnership will allow the fund to penetrate new markets including Malaysia and Singapore, where Maybank Asset Management already operates. Azimut launched its global sukuk fund in 2013 which has over $130 million in assets. Maybank Asset Management launched a U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk fund of its own in 2014. Sukuk funds remain tiny compared to their conventional fixed-income counterparts, but the sukuk market has widened in recent years thanks to an increasing number of issuers and investors.

Sharia-compliant P2P lenders could enter market, banker reveals

According to Maisam Fazal, head of commercial finance at Al Rayan Bank, Sharia-compliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders could soon be coming to the UK market. Despite welcoming more firms to the Islamic finance market, Maisam suggested that rates as low as Al Rayan’s could make it off-putting for potential new entrants. He explained that having competitive rates was paramount for Islamic finance banks, as the cost of funding could make products more expensive. Maisam claimed that Al Rayan was unique in offering lenders Sharia-compliant debt.

U.K.-Based Research Predicts Rise of Contactless Payments, Sharia-Compliant Credit Cards in #Morocco

New market research conducted by Timetric expects the rise of contactless payment services (CPS) and Sharia-compliant credit cards in Morocco over the next few years. According to the United Kingdom-based research, Centre Monetique Interbancaire, Morocco’s own internal network switch, launched CPS in the kingdom just over a year ago alongside MasterCard. So far the CPS point of service terminals have only been deployed in Casablanca, but they are expected to reach Rabat and Marrakesh in the coming months. By the end of 2016, Moroccans will be able to take advantage of 6,000 terminals, and by 2017 that number will more than double to 17,000. By the end of the year, the government plans to authorize a total of 10 banks which provide Sharia-compliant credit card services.

IRCIEF: An important step toward Istanbul becoming world's Islamic finance and banking capital

Istanbul's Sabahattin Zaim University established the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) in order to produce relevant research to guide policy design and implementations. It also organizes workshops and training programs to provide society with opportunities toward a better understanding of Islamic economics. According to IRCIEF director Prof. Dr. Arif Ersoy, the center will also intensify its research activities on finding new solutions for the problems encountered by SMEs, who are the main consumers of Islamic banks. IRCIEF offers graduate studies on Islamic Economics and Finance, furthermore post graduate studies on Islamic Economics and Law in Arabic. For next year the center is planning to open the programs in English as well.

#China Islamic Bond Push Renews as Global-Focused #Funds Quadruple

China plans its first dollar sukuk issuance to tap a four-fold increase in Chinese funds that can invest in bonds overseas. Sichuan Development Financial Leasing plans to sell $300 million of Islamic bonds via Singapore-based special purpose vehicle, Silk Routes Capital. According to investment manager Hasif Murad, the predominant interest for this issuance will remain from yield-hungry domestic Chinese investors. Silk Routes Capital hired Standard Chartered, CIMB Group Holdings, Bank of China and Bank of China International to help to arrange investor meetings. In a sign that the traditional Silk Road is coming back to life, Chinese companies are building roads, railways and ports along the route to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

#Kazakhstan envisions emergence as finance hub for Central Asia

Kazakhstan is currently working on the launch of its new Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) in order to become a financial hub for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), West and Central Asia. It is part of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's vision entitled 100 Steps to lift Kazakhstan into the world’s 30 most developed nations by 2050. The creation of the AIFC is step 70 in the programme. Its regulatory framework is modelled after the Dubai International Financial Center and will open avenues for investors within the Eurasian Economic Union between Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Plans are to attract more than $350bn in foreign investment and to issue a total value of $91bn in sovereign bonds, mostly sukuk. The launch of the AIFC is anticipated for 2018 after the country will have had hosted the Astana Expo 2017 in the capital from June 10 to September 10 next year.

#China Islamic Bond Push Renews as Global-Focused #Funds Quadruple

China plans its first dollar sukuk issuance to tap a four-fold increase in Chinese funds that can invest in bonds overseas. Sichuan Development Financial Leasing plans to sell $300 million of Islamic bonds via Singapore-based special purpose vehicle, Silk Routes Capital. According to investment manager Hasif Murad, the predominant interest for this issuance will remain from yield-hungry domestic Chinese investors. Silk Routes Capital hired Standard Chartered, CIMB Group Holdings, Bank of China and Bank of China International to help to arrange investor meetings. In a sign that the traditional Silk Road is coming back to life, Chinese companies are building roads, railways and ports along the route to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

#Saudi boost for #sukuk market

The international sukuk market received a major boost when Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf confirmed that the kingdom’s public debt issuance programme will not be limited to conventional bonds and that sukuk will play an important role. The global sukuk market had a flat year in 2015, impacted by the slump in the price of crude oil and other commodities. The signs are of a rebound this year, with sukuk issuances already reaching US$50 billion in the first four months of the year. The Saudi announcement augurs well for the sukuk market next year. The Saudi Finance Ministry had also stressed that the kingdom plans to raise US$120 billion from the international markets by 2020. Saudi bankers expect a debut Saudi sovereign sukuk early next year and stress the need for a well-structured public borrowing policy in the international market.

#Sukuk issuance to drive growth in Islamic finance

According to Standard Chartered Saadiq, much of the growth in Islamic finance is expected to come from capital markets business relating to sukuk. Ahsan Ali, Global Head of Islamic Origination, said that sukuk was a mainstream component of capital markets in core Islamic finance markets such as Malaysia and the UAE. There is a healthy pipeline of issuance across the world and more issuers are expected to come to the market over the next year. Although a significant share of capital market issuance have been dominated by conventional bond issuance and loan syndications, Ali expects GCC issuers to issue sukuks along with conventional bonds. In the future a pickup in issuance from Bank Negara Malaysia, coupled with the deficit financing needs of the GCC members is expected to boost issuance.

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