Pakistan

SBP voted as best central bank for promoting Islamic finance

State Bank of Pakistan has been voted as the Best Central Bank in Promoting Islamic Finance by a poll conducted by International Finance News (IFN). The central bank has also won this award in 2015. In 2016, Pakistan was awarded Global Islamic Finance Award (Advocacy Award) by Edbiz Consulting Limited, UK. This recognizes the dedication and commitment of State Bank of Pakistan for laying the foundations for the sustainable growth of Islamic finance. In September 2017, the share of Islamic banking stood at 11.9% in terms of assets, while in terms of deposits its share is 13.7% with a network of 2,368 branches across the country.

Share of Shariah-compliant assets steadily rising

Growing at a fast rate, Shariah-compliant assets now represent 34.6% of the total assets of the Non-Banking Financial Institute (NBFI) industry. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the number of Shariah-compliant mutual funds has reached 109 and Shariah-complaint funds have 41% of the assets. In Pakistan the Takaful industry comprises of five dedicated Takaful operators and 21 window Takaful operators. Takaful sector assets represent 2.7% of the total assets of the insurance industry. During the year, the SECP took a number of initiatives for regulation and development of Islamic finance across the sectors it regulates. Tax neutrality for Sukuk was achieved by amending the Income Tax Ordinance. A new concept of a Shariah-compliant company was introduced through the newly promulgated Companies Act, 2017. To facilitate issuance of Sukuk, relevant regulations were amended both for public offering and for private placement.

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.

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.

#Workshop on enhancing poor’s capability, financial #inclusion begins

An international workshop on "Enhancing the poor’s capability and financial inclusion from Islamic perspective" took place in Islamabad, Pakistan. On the first day, experts discussed the role of Islamic micro-finance in socio-economic development and economic empowerment of women. President of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), Dr Ahmed Yousif said Islamic financial institutions would have to play their role as objectives of value orientation. He called upon the Muslim world to stay united and include Islamic teachings in the economic system. Dr Atiq-uz-Zafar, director general of the International Institute of Islamic Economics of the IIUI, said that the session of the workshop would also include detailed research papers of the experts. The workshop will conclude today at Faisal Mosque campus.

US Dollar #Sukuk Market’s New Chinese Entrant

Chinese state-owned bank the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has become the first Chinese bank to help arrange a dollar based sukuk. ICBC helped arrange Pakistan’s recent $1 billion 5 year Sukuk. Pakistan raised over $8 billion for its dual issuance of sukuk and a conventional Eurobond of $1.5 billion. China is building stronger trade ties with Asian countries under its "One Belt, One Road" strategy to rebuild Silk Road trade links with Asia and Europe. Additionally, the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan. The value of CPEC projects is worth $62 billion and provides China with a vital route to the Arabian Sea for trade routes to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

CDNS to set up Islamic window for savings products

#Pakistan's Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) will set up an Islamic window Rafa National Savings to handle the transactions of sharia-compliant saving products. The government has appointed the Dubai-based sharia advisory firm Dar Al Sharia to replicate Islamic financial model for the conventional national savings certificates. Currently, the state-owned CDNS is finalising rules and governance structure for sharia-compliant products. However, the country’s savings-to-GDP ratio of 13.1% is still lowest in the region and attractive financial solutions are needed to foster savings.

#SECP notifies #Shariah #Standards No 17, 18 and 23 of AAOIFI

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has notified for public consultation three Shariah Standards of Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions. These are: Shariah Standard No 17 - Investment Sukuk, Shariah Standard No 18- Possession and Shariah Standard No 23 - Agency and the Act of an un-commissioned agent.
The SECP has been playing an active role in the Islamization of the economy. It endeavored to replicate the best international practices in the Islamic financial services. In order to ensure harmonization and standardization in the business practices of Islamic financial institutions, it has been gradually adopting Accounting and Shariah Standards issued by Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions as a benchmark for Islamic financial services while keeping in view the local business context.

#Pakistan raises $2.5 bln from #sukuk, #Eurobond sales, sees solid demand

Pakistan gained $2.5 billion from selling two U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk and Eurobond issues in New York, according to senior official. These issues had attracted total offers of $8 billion in the process.
Pakistani authorities however decided to only sell $2.5 billion at, according to officials „affordable rates“. In an interview an delegate said: "We have raised $1 billion through five-year sukuk at rate of 5.625% and $1.5 billion from a 10-year Eurobond maturity at a rate of 6.875%," Federal Secretary Finance Shahid Mehmood said.
These two deals have been the largest in the country's history so far. The 10-year bond was the cheapest bond ever launched by Pakistan. Last year the country borrowed $1 billion in the global sukuk market at 5.5%. It also floated a 10-year, $500 million Eurobond at 8.25% in 2015.
The government appointed a consortium of Standard Chartered Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Bank as the lead managers for conducting sukuk transactions. Noor Bank thereby will manage the Middle East sukuk bond.

SECP okays Shariah-compliant trading counter at PSX

The Shariah Advisory Board (SAB) of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has reviewed the proposal of Shariah-compliant trading counter. The main feature of the proposal is to convert the T+2 settlement into T+0 settlement mechanism in the Shariah-compliant securities listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). The Shariah Advisory Board has granted approval of the proposed trading counter. The board also reviewed and granted approval of three AAOIFI standards: Shariah Standard No 17 - Investment Sukuk, Shariah Standard No 18- Possession and Shariah Standard No 23 - Agency and the Act of an un-commissioned agent.

S&P assigns ‘B’ long-term rating to proposed #sukuk, unsecured notes

Standard and Poor’s (S&P) assigned a preliminary ‘B’ long-term rating to the proposed dollar-denominated sukuk issuance by Pakistan. A similar rating was assigned to the proposed benchmark sized US dollar-denominated senior unsecured sukuk, which will be issued by The Third Pakistan International Sukuk Company. The government may raise the amount with pricing in the range of 5.5 to 7% for 5 to 10 years. This is expected to provide the much needed support to Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves. In October last year, Pakistan raised one billion dollars through issuance of 5-year sukuk at a historic low rate of 5.5%. The country floated a 10-year Eurobond of $500 million at 8.25% in 2015. These bonds had S&P rating of B-.

#Pakistan all set to generate $3b through euro, #sukuk bonds

Pakistan is all set to generate up to $3 billion by issuing euro and sukuk bonds in the international debt market. Road shows for introducing bonds will soon start in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Europe and United States. The government’s plans to raise loans from the international market by issuing bonds would support the foreign exchange reserves, which are under pressure due to widening trade deficit. The deficit surged by 100% to $5.013 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year as compared to $2.259 billion of a year ago. Both Sukuk and Eurobond are expected to be offered with tenures ranging from 5 to 30 years. The S&P earlier has assigned preliminary B rating to Pakistan’s proposed dollar bond issue.

National Savings plans launching of first Islamic product next year

#Pakistan's National Savings is expected to launch its first Islamic savings product by the start of 2018. According to Zafar Masud, director general of National Savings, the proposed product would begin with one year maturity and allow investors to earn monthly profit. The plan is to issue this product from the National Savings centres. Investors can invest a minimum of Rs10,000 with no maximum investment limit. National Savings manages a portfolio which is around 30% of Pakistan’s total banking deposits and serves more than seven million accounts. Experts see prospects of higher demand for Islamic finance to tap domestic savings. It is expected to increase competition among conventional and Islamic lenders to offer best returns to the savers.

#Pakistan eyes $3bn debt through #sukuk, Eurobonds

Pakistan has allowed immediate borrowing of up to $3bn from international debt markets by floating three sovereign bonds. The country is going to float the bonds in the largest transaction to take pressure off the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves that are depleting at a rapid pace. Earlier, the government borrowed $2bn in 2014 through similar capital market transactions. A consortium of banks have initially indicated that five-year sukuk, ten-year Eurobond and another 30-year Eurobond with combined proceeds of around $2bn to $3bn can be floated. The cabinet waived a dozen income taxes to make the float attractive for foreign investors. Road shows are expected to be held in the UK, US, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. Standard Chartered Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Citibank and Deutsche Bank were appointed for the Eurobond issue. For the proposed Sukuk, the Fourth Pakistan International Sukuk Company is being incorporated by the Finance Division.

#Pakistan plans to raise $1b from #Sukuk offering

Pakistan has picked arrangers for a potential $2bn debt sale planned for later this year. The sale would come as Pakistan’s finances are starting to show strain. The nation’s foreign-exchange reserves have fallen 15% to $19.8b this year as its traditional exports dwindle and imports rise. The World Bank estimates that $17b of external financing is needed in the next financial year for Pakistan to bridge its rising debt payments and current account deficit. The deficit is expected to widen to 5.7% of gross domestic product, from a deficit of 4.4% in 2016. The country is planning to raise $1b from a Sukuk offering, and has mandated Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Bank to manage the sale. Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China were chosen for a potential conventional bond offering of an equal amount.

Dubai Islamic Bank #Pakistan, Shahnawaz Ltd sign strategic alliance

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) and Shahnawaz have entered into a strategic alliance agreement. Shahnawaz is the authorized general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Pakistan. This initiative will help in establishing Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan as the preferred financial services partner for Mercedes-Benz in the country. The signing ceremony was held in Karachi in the presence of M Naeem, CEO of Shahnawaz, Naseem Shaikh, General Manager of Shahnawaz and Junaid Ahmed, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan. Junaid Ahmed said this alliance enables the bank's high net worth clientele to achieve their dream of driving their own state-of-the-art Mercedes.

#Pakistan's Islamic banks show its conventional peers how it's done

While still quite new in Pakistan, Islamic banking is moving ahead in all segments of their operations. The network of Islamic banking institutions (IBIs) has expanded. Now it consists of 21 IBIs, five full-fledged Islamic banks and 16 conventional banks having stand-alone Islamic banking branches. IBIs have expanded their branch network to 2,320 branches. The number of Islamic banking windows, operated by conventional banks, is now at 1,255. Islamic banks' assets in overall banking assets were 11.6% at the end of June. Their asset base increased by Rs150 billion, or 8%, during the quarter to stand at Rs2,035 billion. The market share of IBIs in the overall banking industry was recorded at 11.6% and deposits 13.7% at end-June 2017.

NAB to investigate #merger of KASB bank into BankIslami

#Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated an inquiry into the alleged misuse of authority by SBP officials at the amalgamation of KASB Bank into BankIslami. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), a smear campaign was run in the media against them. SBP added that the onesided views presented in the media led to misjudgment about the authority of SBP as a guardian of the financial sector. All stakeholders of the defunct KASB Bank were well aware of the poor financial conditions of the bank. The State Bank gave ample time to the sponsors of KASB Bank to inject further capital into the bank. Besides capital shortfall, the bank and its sponsors engaged in fraudulent practices and were siphoning off more than Rs 3 billion from the bank. SBP stated that none of its officials misused authority nor were involved in any kind of corrupt practices.

SECP introduces draft of Sharia Advisors #Regulations 2017

To enhance the credibility of Islamic financial services sector, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) introduced a draft of Sharia Advisors Regulations 2017. The new regulations are expected to professionalise Shariah advisory services. Companies would only be able to engage the advisors who would be on the SECP’s panel of Shariah advisors. To join this panel, advisors need to meet proper criteria and abide by a code of conduct that emphasises independence and objectivity. The draft of Shariah Advisors Regulations 2017 is available on the SECP’s website and is now open to the public for consultation.

Silk Bank to grow in Islamic banking

#Pakistan's Silk Bank plans to expand its Islamic banking business amid growing demand for Shariah-compliant financial products in the country. The State Bank of Pakistan has given approval to the bank for opening of 20 Islamic and 15 conventional branches this year. Silk Bank CEO Shaukat Tarin said the bank was going to reduce the size of corporate banking, but increase consumer and SME segments. The bank’s consumer banking portfolio continued to grow, while its non-performing loans fell by Rs10 billion in January-June 2017. The bank also made its commitment to revive the mortgage business in the current low interest rate environment. Shuja Alvi, head of investment at Silk Bank, said the bank continued to make heavy investments. Since acquisition, the sponsors have invested Rs430 billion in the bank through multiple funding.

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