The Edge Markets

IBs want property lending rule scrapped

Investment banks (IBs) want Bank Negara Malaysia to withdraw the property lending guideline, which was introduced in 1997. It stipulates that a bank’s credit facilities should not exceed 20% of its total outstanding loan base. Compliance with this requirement is calculated on a quarterly basis. For IBs, the guideline mainly affects their underwriting business. They think the guideline is outdated, especially since there are already other macroprudential measures introduced by Bank Negara in recent years. The Malaysian Investment Banking Association (MIBA) had highlighted the issues affecting the industry to Bank Negara. It is understood that the central bank is currently reviewing the guideline.

Responsible Investing: Shariah-compliant #microfinance investment fund eyeing Asean opportunities

Investing in microfinance institutions (MFIs) has become increasingly popular in the last decade. According to a 2016 report, microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) have seen capital inflows of US$1.1 billion per year since 2006. The market size at end-2015 was US$11 billion, a fivefold increase from US$2.1 billion in 2006. While MIVs usually target countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the report points out that Asia has witnessed the largest growth in this respect. Matthew Martin, founder of microfinance investment fund Blossom Finance, points out that microfinance can better serve the needs of communities than the top-down, one-size-fits-all model of retail banking. The fund is currently limited to US accredited investors due to legal issues, but Martin hopes to open it up to other investors too. Blossom Finance only invests in shariah-compliant MFIs specifically focused on Indonesia.

Global #sukuk market to continue upward trajectory, says Islamic finance promotion agency

According to the Malaysian International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC), the global sukuk market is set to continue its upward trajectory in 2017 as the fundamentals supporting their issuance remain intact. MIFC said global sukuk issuances stood at US$59.1 billion as of the first half of 2017 (1H17), an increase of 45.6% compared with 1H16. Malaysia continues to be the main driver in the Islamic capital markets, with the country commanding a 46.4% market share in sukuk issuance. As for outstanding sukuk, Malaysia's share stands at 52.6%. MIFC observed that Malaysia is the pioneer in the world's first green sukuk, as evident by the RM250 million of Islamic bond issued by Tadau Energy. Also, the regulator Securities Commission Malaysia is offering several incentives to attract green issuers including tax deduction on issuance costs, which is valid until the year of assessment 2020.

S&P Global Ratings: Global issuance of #sukuk to moderate in 2018 as Islamic finance moves into slower growth

S&P Global Ratings highlighted global issuance of sukuk in the first half of 2017 was good, but expects it to moderate in 2018. S&P head of Islamic finance Mohamed Damak said 2018 was less certain, as the large issuances of last year are not expected to repeat. Among some of the downside trends relating to Islamic finance includes subdued economic performance in Islamic finance core countries, primarily due to low oil prices. The long-standing debate about standardisation will continue to hinder the industry. S&P's report is entitled "Islamic Finance 2018: Slow Growth Is The New Normal" and the rating agency expects the industry to lose momentum in 2018. The contribution of Islamic finance has so far been limited by the industry's relatively small size and structure.

Going For Listing: Ihsan #Sukuk for a good cause

Ihsan Sukuk is Malaysia's first sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) sukuk for retail investors and is now listed on Bursa Malaysia. The RM100 million issuance is the second Sukuk Ihsan programme, the first having been a RM100 million tranche issued in 2015 only for institutional investors. While the minimum investment is RM1,000, the sovereign wealth fund also provided room for small-scale investors to start from as low as RM10 via two crowdfunding platforms ATAPLUS and pitchIN. The proceeds will be channelled into the Yayasan AMIR Trust Schools Programme aimed at improving access to quality education at government schools. The sukuk’s tenure is seven years and both the retail and non-retail sukuk holders will receive annual payments. The principal adviser and lead arranger is CIMB Investment Bank Bhd, while the joint lead managers are Maybank Investment Bank and RHB Investment Bank.

PNB mulls introduction of Islamic shares for Maybank

Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) is studying a potential issuance of Islamic shares (i-shares) by Malayan Banking (Maybank). PNB group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar said currently about 25% of the Maybank group’s earnings come from the syariah-compliant businesses, and proposed that 20% of the group’s shares can be designated as i-shares. The move to list i-shares would provide an extra boost to the Malaysian Islamic capital market, said Abdul Wahid. He added that there are currently only two listed syariah-compliant financial institutions in Malaysia, BIMB Holdings and Syarikat Takaful Malaysia. If the plan goes through, it will create RM20 billion worth of new syariah-compliant instruments, which is three times bigger than BIMB’s market capitalisation. Abdul Wahid added that the group is looking at three asset classes for further investments overseas, namely public equities, private equities and real estate.

Khazanah announces RM5 million #sukuk IPO

Khazanah Nasional has announced its initial public offering of a seven-year wakalah sukuk by special purpose vehicle Ihsan Sukuk. The size of the sukuk is RM5 million, has a profit rate of 4.6% per year, and is rated AAA by RAM Rating Services. It is the third tranche of issuance under Khazanah’s RM1 billion Sustainable and Responsible Investment Sukuk programme. The two earlier tranches were used by Khazanah’s not-for-profit foundation, Yayasan Amir, to fund the rollout of its Trust Schools Programme in at least 20 schools. As of June 2017, the foundation’s Trust Schools Programme had been rolled out to 83 schools across 10 states.

#Fintech: First robo-adviser in Asia to offer shariah-compliant #investments

Robo-advisers are seen as a more transparent, convenient and low-cost alternative to human financial advisers. However, these platforms have limited options when it comes to shariah-compliant investments. To solve this problem, Malaysian Farringdon Group has recently launched its new robo-adviser called Algebra. According to CEO Stuart Yeomans, the company’s Virtual Mutual Fund Technology (VMFT) allows robo-advisory services for shariah-compliant investments to be offered at a lower price. Algebra can offer a wider range of investments and asset classes than other robo-advisory platforms. It adopts a smart beta strategy, which uses algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio before blending with fixed-income ETFs or sukuk funds. The shariah-compliant strategy used by the platform has been approved by Kuala Lumpur-based shariah advisory firm Amanie Advisors.

Cover Story: #Disrupting Islamic finance

For many years, the global Islamic finance has been seen as a laggard in digital innovation, but now Islamic finance players are catching up with their conventional peers. According to Zeeshan Uppal, co-founder of crowdfunding company Yielders, fintech has opened up opportunities for Islamic finance to catch up because it allows scalability, which is in line with shariah law. Ibrahim Mohammed, the founder of OneGram, says that blockchain technology can create digital banks or P2P lending platforms that adhere to Islamic principles, and many other asset classes can be made shariah-compliant. Umar Munshi, founder of EthisCrowd, finds the slow innovation in Islamic finance perplexing as there is an urgent need for financial inclusivity. He expects to see more players in the takafultech, crowdfunding and P2P financing, payment and remittance, and smart contract space next year. According to EY’s Banking in Emerging Markets GCC FinTech Play 2017 report, Fintech can propel Islamic banks into the mainstream space in 20 promising markets by 2021, up from five markets today, and effectively add 150 million new Islamic banking customers.

Maybank Islamic named Asia-Pacific's Islamic Bank of the Year 2017

Maybank Islamic was named the Islamic Bank of the Year 2017 in Asia-Pacific by The Banker. The bank also received recognition in the country awards category for Malaysia. The Banker noted that Tier 1 capital and total Shariah-compliant assets enjoyed notable growth, climbing by 12% and 16%, respectively. Maybank Islamic’s return on equity for the year was 15.4%, while its cost-to-income ratio was a respectable 36% and non-performing financing were just 0.8%. The bank’s steady growth pace in Singapore and Indonesia also contributed to its recognition as the best in Asia-Pacific. Maybank Islamic's CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican attributed the bank’s achievements to its employees and sound risk management practices. He said the bank intends to further enhance its global brand visibility, while also deepening its existing regional presence.

Maybank Islamic appoints Zainal Abidin as chairman

Maybank Islamic has announced the appointment of lawyer Zainal Abidin as its chairman. Zainal has been a director of Maybank Islamic since 2010 and previously served as chairman of Maybank Trustees. Prior to that, Zainal was a director of Malayan Banking (Maybank) from July 2009 to April 2014. Zainal, 63, is a practising corporate and commercial lawyer. As the founder and senior partner, Zainal established the firm Zainal Abidin in 1987.

TH confirms backing Badlisyah for Bank Islam, denies bad blood with board

Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has confirmed its support of deputy CEO Datuk Badlisyah Abdul Ghani to lead Bank Islam Malaysia following the retirement of the bank’s group managing director, Datuk Seri Zukri Samat. TH has a 52.5% stake in BIMB Holdings which wholly owns Bank Islam. Bank Islam’s board had already put forward its choice, Khairul Kamarudin, to Bank Negara and the decision now lies with the central bank. TH CEO Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah confirmed recommending Badlisyah to be appointed to lead Bank Islam. He added that the choice of leadership and succession is subject to nomination of the board of directors and approval by Bank Negara Malaysia. He said TH was never at odds with the board of directors.

MIDF Amanah to introduce new shariah #fund for high net worth investors

#Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) Amanah will introduce a new Shariah Equity Wholesale Fund for high net worth investors with a target to raise RM100 million. The fund will have two special key features, the first being that the fund will have zero entry fee, which means no sales fee will be charged to investors. Secondly, the fund will pay zakat on behalf of its investors. MIDF Amanah Asset Management and Amanah International Finance have also transitioned into fully Shariah-compliant entities.
The equity portfolios under MIDF Amanah have seen an overall exceptional performance in the first quarter this year with gains ranging from 10% to a high of 15%. MIDF managing director Datuk Mohd Najib Abdullah said the conversion of the asset management arm into a Shariah-compliant entity will cater to the ever growing demand for Islamic finance products and services.

Solid growth in Islamic IAs expected to normalise

In #Malaysia Islamic investment accounts (IA) have grown at a strong pace since they were introduced in 2015. Bank Negara’s latest monthly banking statistics show that IAs have since grown to RM74.2 billion as at February this year, accounting for 13% of total liabilities within the Islamic banking system. According to Simon Chen, senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, by 2020 IAs will probably account for some 16% of the Islamic banking system’s total liabilities. An important feature of IAs is the sharing of risk between the bank and the account holder. For an investor, IAs are attractive because they offer much higher returns than a deposit account. But, unlike a deposit account, the principal amount in an IA is not guaranteed by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia. According to Chen, a key issue that remains is whether the loss-sharing mechanism in IAs will be honoured by banks in case of actual losses. A significant loss to test the resilience of this regime has yet to occur.

Allianz ends HSBC Amanah takeover talks

Allianz Malaysia, a subsidiary of the German Allianz SE, has ended discussions to acquire HSBC Amanah Takaful. The company announced it has discontinued its negotiations with the shareholders of HSBC Amanah, namely HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific), JAB Capital and Employees Provident Fund (EPF). The life and general insurer did not give a reason why the talks failed. Allianz Malaysia CEO, Zakri Mohd Khir, previously said that he had been approached by takaful operators in the past, but the asking price was too high. Allianz Malaysia had been pursuing a bid for HSBC Amanah since October last year. Allianz Malaysia saw its net profit rise by a marginal 1.1% to RM312.13 million in the financial year 2016 (FY16) from RM308.87 million in FY15 due to higher gross earned premiums and investment income. Revenue also grew by 3.5% to RM4.68 billion from RM4.52 billion.

#Malaysia's Public Sector Home Financing Board issues RM3.25b #sukuk

Malaysia's Public Sector Home Financing Board issued up to RM3.25 billion sukuk to finance housing loans to the public sector employees. The board is also known as Lembaga Pembiayaan Perumahan Sektor Awam (LPPSA). The LPPSA said the RM3.25 billion sukuk notes formed a part of its RM25 billion Islamic commercial papers programme, which is guaranteed by the Malaysian Government. The sukuk was issued in tranches of five-year to 30-year and was priced at 4.17% to 5.225% per annum across tenures. Lead managers include Affin Hwang Investment Bank, AmInvestment Bank, Bank Islam Malaysia, CIMB Investment Bank, Maybank Investment Bank, OCBC Bank and RHB Investment Bank. CIMB is also the facility agent while RHB Islamic is the Shariah adviser.

#Malaysia leads in #Islamic #banking assets in region, says World Bank report

Islamic finance has largely been a priority area in Malaysia for three decades and it is not about to slow down. The World Bank's recent Global Report on Islamic Finance highlighted Malaysia as having the largest Islamic banking assets in the region with US$156.7 billion (RM697.15 billion) as at 2013. Malaysia is also the second-largest economy in terms of total syariah-compliant financial assets. However, the report also suggested the need to address several challenges like the need for alternative investments. On a positive note, the report said the syariah governance framework was advanced in Malaysia. Within Asia, Malaysia has been dominating the sukuk issuance market. The US dollar-denominated sukuk have been growing, but sukuk denominated in Malaysian ringgit are growing even faster and dominate the market.

Fitch: #Malaysia's #takaful continues to enjoy higher growth than conventional peers

According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysia's takaful sector continues to enjoy higher growth than the conventional sector. This growth is driven by a low base, stable domestic consumption and increasing consumer awareness. The rating agency said that regulatory pressure would drive sector consolidation in the short term. As takaful operators realign their strategic focus and gradually retain more risks, Fitch expects some bottom-line volatility in the short term. For the first half of 2016 (1H2016), family takaful grew by 9.8%, while general takaful grew by 5.8%. This compared to 8.2% growth in conventional life and 2.6% in general insurance.

#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.

Arsalaan is new HSBC Amanah CEO

HSBC Amanah Malaysia has appointed Arsalaan Ahmed as its chief executive officer (CEO). HSBC Amanah announced that Arsalaan will be leading the Islamic banking businesses for retail, commercial and wholesale banking, and reporting to HSBC Bank CEO Mukhtar Hussain. Prior to joining HSBC Amanah, Arsalaan was appointed as the head of capital financing and financial institutions of Barwa Bank in Doha, Qatar, where he led the development of the Islamic debt capital market and wholesale banking platform. Arsalaan has 15 years of experience and has distinguished himself as an expert in syariah-compliant retail, corporate and investment banking.

Syndicate content