Islamic Banking

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#Kenya's Islamic finance drive to tackle taxes, governance

Kenya plans to develop Islamic finance through a wide-ranging taxation review and the establishment of a national sharia board. The country wants to build up the industry as part of a long-term plan to turn Nairobi into an international financial centre. The initiatives are being led by the Islamic Finance Project Management Office (PMO), a body setup recently to coordinate efforts among Kenya's regulatory agencies. According to finance consultant Farrukh Raza, the PMO has submitted an initial set of policy amendments focused on taxation of sharia-compliant products. A second batch of policy amendments will be presented by the end of this year, covering banking, insurance, pensions and capital market products. Kenya's National Treasury has said it is looking at the possibility of a debut sale of sukuk, although it has yet to finalize details for such an issuance.

Sichuan Development hires banks for $300 mln #sukuk -advisor

The investment arm of the Sichuan provincial government has hired four banks to help raise $300 million via Islamic bonds, the first such deal from a Chinese state-owned company. According to advisor Bobby Tay, the five-year sukuk will be raised through the leasing arm of Sichuan Development Holding (SDH) and is expected to be completed in the next two months. CIMB, Standard Chartered, Bank of China and Bank of China International have been hired to arrange the transaction, with proceeds to be used for the acquisition of sharia compliant assets in mainland China. The sukuk will include credit enhancement features and be listed in Singapore, with listing in other regional exchanges also being considered.

Why #Ethiopia wants to develop Islamic finance

Ethiopia's central bank aims to develop Islamic finance to help expand financial access and inclusion. The country has one of the highest economic growth rates in Africa, but relies heavily on an agricultural sector that employs three-quarters of the workforce. According to Getahun Nana, Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, the government wants to industrialize its economy but this requires sustaining investment rates of almost 40% of GDP over the next five years. Islamic finance could help in this endeavor, so the central bank is conducting a study to determine the demand for sharia compliant financial products. Islamic finance is still new in Ethiopia. Currently 8 out of 18 financial institutions offer sharia compliant products via Islamic windows but they have so far mobilized less than 1% of total deposits.

Demand rises for #education in Islamic finance

The increasing economic importance of banks in Muslim-majority countries has made Islamic finance a useful skill. The globalisation of business education means that many schools now have campuses in countries where Islamic finance is a significant part of the local banking sector. British higher-education institutions lead the non-Muslim world in the teaching of Islamic finance, with longstanding courses run by London Business School, Durham, Aston, Bangor, Salford and Cass Business School. More than 60 institutions in the UK now teach Islamic finance, up from fewer than 10 a decade ago. London Metropolitan University is the latest UK institution to add an option to learn about the subject, relaunching its MBA in January with Islamic finance.

Govt to establish committee for Islamic finance development

In #Indonesia high-ranking officials announced they were preparing to establish the National Committee of Sharia Finance (KNKS) that would be directly chaired by President Joko Widodo. Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardjo noted that human resources quality would determine the success of the KNKS, including its system and management’s regulation. He added that the committee would be established this month and also aims to involve 22,000 Islamic boarding schools across the archipelago. Boarding school graduates will be expected not only to become knowledgeable in religious affairs, but also to understand sharia economics and develop their entrepreneurship skills.

Standard Chartered looks to Africa, Brunei for Islamic growth

Standard Chartered's Islamic division is seeking banking licences in three African countries in order to offer its services to the population. According to the bank's head of Islamic banking, Mohammad Ali Allawalla, Standard Chartered Saadiq could enter at least one of three markets, Nigeria, Botswana and Zambia, as early as 2017. The bank is also in discussions about gaining an Islamic banking licence in Brunei in South East Asia. Standard Chartered Saadiq's core markets are Pakistan, Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Bangladesh and in 2014 it entered the Kenyan market, its first move into Africa.

#Djibouti sees Islamic finance sector expanding, aims for #sukuk

Djibouti plans to work on a framework to allow the use of sukuk to fund infrastructure projects. Djibouti is a relative newcomer to Islamic finance, having introduced sector-specific legislation in 2011. Central bank governor Ahmed Osman said the government has established a national sharia board to help oversee the sector, appointing five members to the independent body. The government is in discussions with the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank to help establish a framework to issue sukuk for either the government or state-owned enterprises. The central bank is also in discussions with two lenders seeking to open Islamic windows. Currently three of Djibouti's 10 banks are Islamic: Saba Islamic Bank, Salaam African Bank and East Africa Bank.

#Kuwait's Warba Bank gets central bank approval for $250 million #sukuk

Warba Bank has received approval from the central bank of Kuwait to issue up to $250 million of sukuk. The bank will take a final decision on the issuance and its timing after obtaining remaining regulatory approvals. The funding would be used to boost Warba's Tier 1 capital. Warba Bank is an Islamic lender established in 2010.

Africa ripe for Islamic finance

Africa’s development needs are greatly aligned with Islamic finance given the continent’s infrastructure deficit, paving the way for more sharia-compliant products on the continent. According to Imran Mufti, partner at Riyadh-based law firm Hogan Lovells, being attached to tangible infrastructure and development projects is in line with the ethos of Islamic finance. Mufti’s statement comes following three sukuk issuances in West Africa on the 18th October from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo. Each sharia-compliant bond was listed on the regional bourse, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM). Mufti said the latest sukuk issues’ success and tight yields show that investors are comfortable with sukuk from Africa.

IFSB issues Exposure Draft on Disclosure Requirements for Islamic Capital Market Products

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has issued its Exposure Draft of Guiding Principles On Disclosure Requirements for Islamic Capital Market Products (ED-19) for Public Consultation running from 31 October 2016 to 31 December 2016. ED-19 categorises a set of general principles that are common to the disclosure of both Sukuk and Islamic Collective Investment Schemes (ICIS), as well as specific principles applicable to each sector. The ED outlines disclosure requirements for Sukuk and ICIS, covering the main stages of disclosure and point-of-sale disclosure. The IFSB will organise a Roundtable on Disclosure Requirements on 30 November 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a Public Hearing on ED-19 on 13 December 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. ED-19 will be revised based on the written and oral feedback received during the public consultation process and is planned to be submitted for final approval of the IFSB Council in April 2017.

#Turkey aims to triple market share of Islamic finance

Turkey is committed to tripling the market share of Islamic finance, bringing it up to 15 percent by 2023. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said the Islamic finance market had been growing swiftly in Turkey and that the government aimed to further boost the sector. Simsek also pointed out the slowdown in global trade, saying there was a discontent against globalism after the recent global crisis. He urged countries to make immediate reforms, recalling the three main themes of the 2015 G-20 summit in Turkey, which were comprehensiveness, implementation and investment. The minister noted the income inequality in the world, saying 62 people’s wealth was equal to 3.62 billion people. He said Islamic finance could play a positive role in addressing this problem.

Islamic finance to increase female economic participation: Minister

According to #Indonesian Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution, the development of the country’s sharia finance industry will increase female participation in the economy. He said Indonesian fashion and halal cosmetics were among the well-performing industries and most businesspeople in the two industries were women. Indonesia is one of the top five Islamic fashion industries in the world, with a total spending of US$12.7 billion annually. It is also in the world's top five regarding the sharia cosmetics/pharmaceutical industry with an average spending of $4.8 billion per year, according to data from Bank Indonesia (BI). BI deputy governor Hendar said inspite of the global slowdown, Indonesia's sharia industry was still giving positive signals.

#Saudi minister says future borrowing may include Islamic bonds

According to Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia may follow its first international debt issuance with an Islamic bond sale. The size of future borrowing hasn’t been determined, but it will not be limited to bonds. Assaf said that part of it will be by the way of sukuk, but he didn’t specify whether the sukuk sale would be local or global. Saudi Arabia raised $17.5 billion this month in the biggest-ever foreign bond from an emerging-market nation. The kingdom is seeking to finance a budget deficit that ballooned to about 15 per cent of economic output last year.

Istanbul-based university opens Center for Islamic Economics building

Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) is opening its International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) on Oct. 28. The IZU hopes to become a center for academic studies in the field. Launched by Kuwait, Turk and Albaraka Turk participation banks, the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance will offer market-based education to its students. By offering courses in Turkish and Arabic, the IZU will enable Turkish and foreign students to be specialized in the field. University rector and professor Mehmet Bulut said the center will train equipped students in undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programs. He promised that students will be educated in this center with the understanding of making Turkey stronger and noting that the accomplished projects will be carried out in collaboration with the participation banks.

Dubai: The Islamic finance waystation on the New Silk Road

The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, or the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is central to China’s evolving role in the global economy. OBOR, unveiled in 2013, is China’s ambitious policy of revitalising the infrastructure of the ancient Silk Road trading routes and forging new trade routes. It offers great opportunities for the GCC in terms of inbound investments from China as well as the chance to deepen economic, cultural and diplomatic ties with Beijing. For the UAE is particularly important to showcase Dubai’s ability to provide China with a gateway to accessing regional liquidity and its expertise in Islamic finance. However, there are constraints arising out of stakeholders’ lack of familiarity with Islamic finance and the current Chinese policies and laws, which only cater for conventional financing methods.

Islamic Development Bank appoints nine banks for five-year #sukuk -bankers

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has appointed nine banks to arrange a new Islamic bond issue likely to be in excess of $1 billion. The mandated banks include Boubyan Bank, Credit Agricole, Gulf International Bank, JP Morgan, Mizuho, Natixis, NBAD, RHB and Standard Chartered for a five-year debt issue. The mandate was given at the end of last week and the notes will be sold only after the U.S. elections on Nov. 8. IDB sold its last U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk in March. That issue, of $1.5 billlion, offered 50 basis points over midswaps and was priced at par at 1.775 percent.

Finance islamique au #Maroc: la Société Générale va créer 10 agences de banque participative

A l’occasion de la rencontre préparatoire du Salon International de la Finance Ethique et Participative SIFEP Mohammed Tahri, directeur général adjoint à la Société Générale Maroc a annoncé que son institution envisage de créer une dizaines d’agences dédiées à la banque participative. Dans l’attente de l’agrément de Bank Al-Maghrib, la Société Générale Maroc se prépare à exercer l’activité de banque participative à travers des succursales pour tester le marché. Le responsable de la Société Générale Maroc a annoncé que les résultats d’une étude de marché confiée par la banque à un cabinet marocain en coopération avec un cabinet français spécialisé en finance participative indiquent une attente manifeste du public marocain vis-à-vis de la finance participative.

#Turkey seeks huge piece of Islamic finance pie

Deputy Prime minister in Charge of the Economy Mehmet Simsek said the size of the Islamic banking sector globally was projected to grow to $3.5 trillion in the next five years and Turkey aimed to manage a sizeable portion of this huge sector. He said the government was committed to help the sector thrive in Turkey. Furthermore, he indicated that the total size of assets of participation banks reached $183.93 billion by the end of 2015. Pointing out that the participation banks' share in the overall banking sector was 5.1%, he stressed the goal set by the representative of the sector was to attain 15% by 2025. The Turkish Treasury elaborated on the action plan called "Strengthening Interest-free Finance and Participation Banking" as a component of the Istanbul International Financial Center (IFC Istanbul) program. It was decided that the board would work on the issues raised at the meeting to develop the interest-free finance sector.

President of #Kazakhstan commends cooperation with IsDB Group

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev met with the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Dr. Bandar Hajjar, on an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. President Nazarbayev praised the cooperation between IsDB and his country and congratulated Dr. Hajjar on his recent assumption of duties as the new IsDB Group President. President Nazarbayev plans to launch the program 100 Steps, which is designed to introduce structural and economic reforms to Kazakhstan. The program also envisages the launching of Astana International Financial Center as a center of excellence for financial services at regional and global level. President Nazarbayev called on IsDB to provide technical support in the fields of development and Islamic finance. Dr. Hajjar assured that the IsDB Group would provide the required technical assistance to support President Nazarbayev’s initiatives.

IFSB launches annual survey on implementation of IFSB Standards

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) launched its annual Survey on the Implementation of IFSB Standards. The Survey is directed to the member regulatory and supervisory authorities (RSAs) to assess their progress in implementing the IFSB Standards. According to Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary-General of the IFSB, the Survey is useful in providing feedback on the progress and major constrains faced by the authorities. In 2015 a total of 39 RSAs from 27 countries responded and overall 18 RSAs have implemented at least one IFSB standard. In the banking sector, nine RSAs have already implemented more than 50% of the standards. The results of the Implementation Survey 2016 are planned to be presented to the IFSB Technical Committee and Council in early 2017.

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