New Straits Times Online

Maybank Islamic-IJN raised RM2.5mil for IJN paediatric

While rating agency has mixed views on the performance of the sukuk market this year, Maybank Islamic Bank Bhd says it remains mindful of the challenging economic backdrop. Its chief executive officer Muzaffar Hashim said the Islamic bond issuance activity, which saw its peak in 2012, is closely tracking the volatile external developments such as Greece debt default risk and US interest rates hike. RAM Rating said new global sukuk issuance is expected to be strong this year at around US$100 billion (RM371 billion) to US$120 billion (RM445 billion) while Standard & Poor’s warns of a slowdown in emerging markets as reduced confidence and low oil prices hit investor demand.

New education savings plan with affordable, comprehensive takaful coverage

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has launched a new National Higher Education Savings Scheme (SSPN-i), the SSPN-i Plus, a scheme which incorporates education savings with affordable and comprehensive takaful coverage. Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said SSPN-i Plus was an initiative under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), aimed at promoting the habit of saving for higher education among Malaysians. Depositors in this syariah-compliant scheme not only invest for their education but will also receive takaful coverage, coupled with competitive dividend returns and tax relief of up to RM12,000 a year.

Japan urged to partner Malaysia in tapping Islamic finance market: PM

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today urged Japan to partner Malaysia in engaging in Islamic finance-related activities and tap the huge global market. With Japanese industrial expertise and technology, and Malaysia’s technical expertise in Islamic finance, he said there was an opportunity to establish a formidable alliance. On a much larger scale, he said that in late 2013, China announced the plan to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or AIIB, and currently has 57 charter members and a paid-up capital of US$50 billion.He added that Malaysia understands and respects that Japan has reservations over the AIIB, but regardless of the vehicle, it is apparent that Asian countries need to invest in tangible infrastructure assets.

Fitch Ratings expects growth in Islamic finance

Fitch Ratings expects Islamic finance to grow rapidly with more sukuk issuance. Issuance for new sovereigns may be seen from Jordan, Tunisia and even Egypt this year. Fitch Ratings said in a new report that the total new sukuk from GCC+7 issuers rose 13 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter. Total sukuk and bond issuance in the first quarter were up 47 per cent from the fourth quarter when volumes were exceptionally weak, due to falling oil prices and rising geopolitical tension. In the first quarter, the total sukuk issuance volume rated by Fitch grew 3.5 per cent to US$45.1 billion.

CIMB plans first collateralised sukuk

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. plans to sell a sukuk backed by a pool of loans, becoming the world’s first Islamic bank to sell the type of collateralised debt that contributed to the global financial crisis. The Malaysian lender is seeking to raise RM1 billion (US$275 million) from an offering of five-year notes this quarter, CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd.’s Chief Executive Officer Badlisyah Abdul Ghani said. The securitized debt will diversify funding options in the Islamic finance industry. CIMB Islamic’s new notes will be sold via private placement to investors who are comfortable with this type of security, CEO Badlisyah added.

RHB Islamic, MTDC team up in Bumiputera tech-based SME financing

RHB Islamic Bank Bhd has teamed up with Malaysian Technology Development Corp (MTDC) to provide financing for Bumiputera technology-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the Bumiputera Expansion Fund (BEF) scheme. MTDC currently manages RM150 million fund for the BEF scheme via Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju). Under the pact, RHB Islamic will be the custodian of the fund, which will be placed in the bank’s commodity murabahah deposit-i account. The fund is expected to raise financing of at least RM300 million for eligible Bumiputera companies involved in biotechnology, green technology, nanotecnology and food technology.

S&P assigns Petronas Global Sukuk’s Wakala trust certs an 'A-' rating

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has assigned its preliminary 'A-' issue rating to the proposed US-dollar-denominated Wakala trust certificates to be issued by Petronas Global Sukuk Ltd. Petronas Global Sukuk - a special-purpose company incorporated in Labuan for issuing sukuk trust certificates - will enter into a "Wakala" agreement with national oil corporation Petroliam Nasional Bhd. Under this agreement, the issuer will enter into an Ijara for at least 33 per cent of the issued amount and a Murabaha for at most 67 per cent of the issued amount with Petronas. S&P assesses remote the risks that a total loss event jeopardises the full and timely repayments of the trust certificates.

Indonesia plans fivefold rise in project sukuk sales

Indonesia is ramping up financing for new President Joko Widodo’s US$439 billion (RM1.52 trillion) development programme, planning an almost fivefold increase in sales of project sukuk. The government is seeking to raise 7.14 trillion rupiah (RM196 billion) from notes that will fund construction ventures next year, compared with 1.5 trillion rupiah this year. That will help finance its estimated spending of about 5,519 trillion rupiah from next year to 2019 to build roads, railways and power plants. Indonesia is diversifying its sukuk to help boost syariah-compliant banking assets as a share of the total from 4.7 per cent, less than a fifth of Malaysia’s.

Opportunities abound in the Gulf for firms

Malaysian financial services firms have an excellent opportunity to play a role in the growth of Islamic finance in the Gulf region, said Mohammed Ayman Al Tajer, director of financial institutions supervision directorate in Bahrain. Vast opportunities in the Gulf are helped by strong economic growth and demand for more sophisticated financial services. There are also opportunities in areas such as insurance and fund management as the financial sector in the Gulf continues to diversify. He added that standardisation remains the key challenge in the industry, as well as lack of trained professionals and scholars and awareness of Islamic finance.

Indonesian banks to get lift from syariah risk rules

Indonesia's Islamic banks say new rules acknowledging the lower risk of profit-sharing loans will help revive industry growth from the slowest pace on record. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is introducing reserves ratios that will vary depending on banks’ risk profiles and setting more flexible guidelines for assessing the quality of syariah-compliant assets. While the rules will mean higher ratios for some lenders, the overall impact is positive as loans that use profit-sharing structures will be deemed less risky. Lenders have until 2016 to comply with the new capital-adequacy ratios that will range from eight to 14 per cent.

Mega bank merger plan hailed

Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin expressed his support for the mega merger of CIMB Group Holdings, RHB Capital Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd, saying when he was in office, he suggested that Malaysia only needs four banks. Banks need a large capital base to compete globally and this could be achieved through mergers, said Daim. Moreover, Daim said that he was confident that the Vision 2020 would be achieved, with proper planning and hard work. However, he said, a high income nation need not necessarily mean a developed nation. In order to become the latter, the country needs to prioritise quality education and technological advancements.

Syndicate content