Indonesia's finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati announced the government plans to issue a global sukuk this week. Indrawati did not give further details on the planned issuance. An official has previously said the government will issue global sukuk in the first half of 2017. According to Thomson Reuters, Indonesia has given initial yield guidance of 3.75% for a five-year tranche of the U.S.-dollar sukuk and 4.5% for 10-year tranche.
Bank Indonesia (BI) announced recently its plan to issue waqf based bonds as a social welfare mechanism. The Indonesian Muslim Intellectual Association (ICMI) will also launch the very first waqf venture bank this June. Waqf may become the new trend in Islamic banking for several reasons. Waqf funds can be utilized for equity-based financing, a financial structure considered ideal for Islamic values, but undervalued in the current Islamic banking and finance architecture. The nature of longterm waqf funds for investment will make a good source of funding for venture capital and private equity. The amount of money potentially generated under a waqf system is indeed huge. The value of waqf land is estimated to reach Rp 300 trillion. This highlights the need for a professional and well-governed management to create a waqf bank that functions well and is successfully implemented.
The government of Indonesia plans to sell another series of sharia-compliant government retail bonds (Sukri). The offering period is planned for 4 February-2 March 2017. In last year's Sukri issuance the Indonesian government set an indicative target of IDR 30 trillion (approx. USD $2.2 billion) for its SR-008 series. However, due to robust demand authorities raised a total of IDR 31 trillion. The three year SR-008 bonds carry a fixed coupon of 8.3% per year. It was the government's biggest ever sale of Sukri bonds. In 2017 the Indonesian government plans to sell IDR 597 trillion worth of bonds, mostly rupiah-denominated government bonds. Robert Pakpahan, Head of the Debt Office within Indonesia's Finance Ministry, earlier said Indonesia will offer retail bonds twice this year, consisting of Sukri and Indonesian Retail Government Bonds.
The Federal Land Development Authority is set to raise funds for its 37% stake acquisition in PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk via a mix of loans and sukuk issuance.
Sources familiar with the matter said that 50% of the acquisition figure of RM 2.26 bil would be financed through a loan with a major European banking group. The remaining funds will be raised through a sukuk issuance.
“The sukuk issuance could be announced as early as late January. The debt will be serviced by the cashflow generated by Felda Investment Corp’s (FIC) assets,” said a source. It is probable that the sukuk would come with an explicit government guarantee, given that Felda is a government-backed agency. This is because most institutional funds – which are the likeliest parties to subscribe to the sukuk – can only purchase high-rated bonds as part of their investment mandate. A guarantee would ensure that the bonds are rated at or close to the top investment grade.
In an effort to boost the industry, Bank Indonesia has decided to work with Islamic boarding schools known as pesantren. Anwar Basori, Bank Indonesia's head of Islamic Finance and Economy, said there is a lot of potential in the 27,000 pesantren, which have about 3.6 million students. The central bank said it is finalizing a roadmap for the program under which it will work with the Religious Affairs Ministry to help the business units of pesantren to become financially independent. The schools operate in various business areas, including mini-markets and cattle farms, and provide extracurricular entrepreneurship and Islamic finance education to students. Anwar said that the roadmap would be implemented in early 2017, starting with a pilot project.
Next week’s influential World Islamic Banking Conference in Bahrain will see a lot of interesting and highly relevant keynotes, debates and panels, but also a premiere that highlights a phenomenon not yet clearly studied in the industry: The role of women in Islamic finance and the opportunities that arise for them.
Simply Sharia Human Capital, a London-based recruitment and training center solely dedicated to Islamic finance, at the conference will unveil a report called “Women in Islamic Finance & Islamic Economy: Unlocking Talent,” one of the rare studies that actually look into roles, careers and achievements of women in the Islamic finance industry, and the job opportunities it holds for female career seekers from an educational perspective.
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.
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.
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.
Bank Indonesia (BI) unveiled a waqf-based sukuk, aimed at developing social property assets to be commercially self-sustaining. BI Deputy Governor Hendar said the sukuk could further finance the development of commercial buildings such as office towers or shopping centers over waqf land. The coupon will be paid from the recurring income of the assets. According to Muhammad Anwar Basori, BI head of the sharia economic and finance department, waqf land was traditionally used for social and public purposes such as cemeteries, mosques, or schools. Waqf-based sukuk could be a solution and could provide cash to cover maintenance costs. Basori added there are 400,000 hectares of waqf land in Indonesia, 90% of which are cost centers. In Kuwait and Singapore, they have built many productive assets on waqf land.
S&P Global Ratings may not be ready to upgrade Indonesia’s credit rating from junk, concerned by rising bad debts and risks to the growth outlook. Indonesia failed in June to win an upgrade from S&P, which rates the nation’s debt at BB+ with a positive outlook. S&P said at the time that while the country’s fiscal framework had improved, it still faced challenges on its budget performance. Josua Pardede, an economist at PT Bank Permata in Jakarta, said Indonesia still faces fiscal risks. He estimated the tax shortfall for this year will be more than 200 trillion rupiah ($15 billion), causing the budget deficit to widen to around 2.7% of gross domestic product. The government has a deficit cap of 3% of GDP. The ratings company will meet with Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati within the next few weeks before it makes its next assessment due in December. S&P is the last of the three main credit-rating companies to keep Indonesia on junk status.
According to Moody’s Investors Service, Oman and Indonesia have made the most progress this year in terms of taking initiatives to advance Islamic finance. According to Khalid Howladar, global head of Islamic finance at Moody’s, Oman’s strategy has already yielded substantive results and new sukuk regulations have been published. Over three years Oman’s Islamic banking sector has gone from zero to an agregate of around 10% of the banking system’s financing assets as of June 2016. Indonesia has several inititives to accelerate growth. Also, the country launched a 10-year Islamic finance master plan that consists of action plans and interventions covering key aspects. Meanwhile, markets that seem to have stalled this year are the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.
The Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) notes that there are currently 71 active fintech startups in the country. These startups provide diverse products and services, including payment gateways, lending, banking services, insurance services, pawn shops, or online financial advisory. This has also led the OJK to pay more attention to the sector, with hopes of developing appropriate regulation. The regulations that will be issued by OJK should not be too rigid, so as to provide a balanced climate. Some regulatory concerns include business licensing, business operation, governance, supervision and inspection, reporting obligations, and equities. All in all, the seriousness of OJK and other relevant parties to provide supportive regulations will hopefully bring strategic action.
#Indonesia's state-owned infrastructure financing company Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) will establish a sharia business unit to meet demand for Islamic infrastructure financing. SMI president Emma Sri Martini said the documentation and legal matters had been completed, but the company had to wait for the appointment of a sharia supervisory board by the government. SMI will inject Rp 500 billion (US$38.42 million) into the business unit. All of the money will come from internal funds. Currently, SMI's assets total Rp 35 trillion. Before year-end, the business unit will structure some sharia products from direct placement to sukuk.
In #Indonesia the Financial Service Authority (OJK) is seeking to boost Islamic financial products growth through better access to the financial service industry. According to OJK Commissioner Council member Firdaus Djaelani, better access to financial products will ease service delivery, lead to the affordable price, as well as to other benefits. The market share of Islamic finance in Indonesia is still low at 5.3%. However, Firdaus is optimistic that Islamic finance industry has a huge potential. He believes that people need to participate in enhancing market share of Islamic finance industry, including through engagement in the Islamic Economic Society (MES). The better understanding of Islamic financial products will open up access to financial institutions. Better access for the people and SMEs will also provide a sense of security in financial investment.
EthisCrowd has been recognized as the Best Islamic Crowdfunding Platform for its social impact real estate campaigns in Indonesia. The Singapore-based platform received the award at the 6th Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2016 in Jakarta. EthisCrowd said the inclusion of the crowdfunding category symbolized the growth and adoption of Islamic Crowdfunding. The platform’s community now claims 17,000 registered members who have invested in projects to build 5,000 houses for the needy in Indonesia. Ronald Yusuf Wijaya, EthisCrowd’s head of Indonesian operations, stated that affordable housing projects are commercially viable and can provide excellent returns for the crowd. EthisCrowd uses Mudarabah contracts to formalize rights to profit or revenue sharing for investors, directly with real estate developers and contractors. There is no capital guarantee or fixed interest rates for investors.
Underprivileged citizens today live in an economy that exposes them to certain risks, like unpredictable incomes and high daily expenses. With around 70% of the population still excluded, Indonesia has taken major leaps to improve the situation. Since the preceding high-level talks in 2010, Bank Indonesia (BI) and the Financial Services Authority (OJK) have focused on how to provide better access to financial services. The disproportional knowledge between the banking industry and the population in general is quite severe, and a product to address the specific needs of the economically active poor and micro entrepreneurs is essential. Moreover, the challenges of financial inclusion do not stop when formal financial services are provided. It goes beyond service provision to educating and empowering the community to understand finance. Financial inclusion cannot be achieved through isolated efforts. Collaboration between private companies, the government and civil society is necessary.
A tax waiver is needed, especially on asset transfers, to make Islamic financing in Indonesia more competitive with conventional financing. According to Qudeer Latif, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance, in the UK and Malaysia, the asset transfer tax is annulled, they categorize the asset transfer in the Islamic financing structure as a financial transaction, rather than a sales and purchase transaction. Another problem, he continued, stemmed from the high building transfer fee, which varied from 5% to 7%. The central government had tried to reduce it to 2.5%, but some regional governments still objected to it. According to the expert, changing the taxation rule will create a level playing field between Islamic and conventional financing.
Malaysia’s stock exchange operator is discussing a tie-up with Indonesia’s bourse and plans further alliances to mobilize funds targeting the world’s almost $12 trillion in Shariah-compliant equities.
Bursa Malaysia Bhd. is in talks with the Indonesia Stock Exchange to explore various forms of cooperation such as allowing cross listings and hopes to start collaborating by mid-2017, Jamaluddin Nor Mohamad, Bursa’s Islamic capital market director said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur. Bursa plans to forge partnerships with exchanges in Asia and the Middle East to develop the Islamic capital market, he said.
Malaysia already tightened compliance rules for Shariah stocks in 2013 as it sought to draw overseas funds who have a stricter view on permitted investments. Shariah law forbids investments in shares of companies involved in activities considered unethical such as gambling, prostitution, alcohol and pork-related businesses.
Some 669 stocks, or 74 % of the total shares listed on Bursa Malaysia, comply with Shariah principles, according to the Securities Commission. The market regulator reviews the list twice a year based on the companies’ audited financial statements.
Lender Maybank Indonesia has called on the Indonesian government to promote Islamic financing as an alternative funding to boost infrastructure projects in the country. Its president director Taswin Zakaria said infrastructure projects covered tangible assets such as land and equipment that could be securitized for Islamic financing such as sukuk.
"We view Islamic financing as an alternative, not a substitute, that can be used simultaneously with conventional financing […] We’re looking to finance more government projects using Islamic loans," he said during Maybank's Invest ASEAN 2016 event on Wednesday in Jakarta. Islamic financing, he further said, would attract money from the Islamic world, such as from Middle Eastern investors in Indonesia as the infrastructure projects were mostly supported by the government.
Maybank's sharia unit, Maybank Syariah, disbursed 80 % of its Rp 10.8 trillion (US$ 817.25 million) loans in the first half of 2016 to the infrastructure sector. However, it is currently struggling with unsafe gross non-performing financing (NPF) of 5.58 %.