WWF calls on Asean banks’ 'proactivity' in addressing environmental risks

According to the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), banks belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) need to shore up regulatory safeguards to address the environmental and climate crisis. WWF’s Head of Asia Sustainable Finance Jeanne Stampe called on Asean banks to be more "proactive" in addressing environmental issues. In Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, WWF found out financial regulators and banking associations expect banks to develop environmental policies on environmentally or socially sensitive sectors. But WWF said 43% of the banks assessed in these four countries mention having such policies in place, while only 15% disclose these policies. In light of this, WWF recommended regulators to provide more prescriptive guidance to enhance resilience and attractiveness of the finance industry.

Lack of rules delays ‘sukuk’ bonds issuance

The Philippines first sukuk issuance may have to wait a while despite recent pronouncements from both the private and the public sectors of plans to tap Muslim investors. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said rules did not exist yet to allow firms or government agencies to issue debt instruments that comply with Islamic shariah laws. Last month, state-run National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC) said it planned to issue P2 billion in Islamic bonds in behalf of a Mindanao-based firm. NHMFC would tap government banks Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines as underwriters for the debt issuance.

ALI eyes Islamic bond sale to fund venture in Malaysia

Property giant Ayala Land Inc. is looking at debuting at the Islamic financing market by issuing sukuk securities, to boost its fledgling venture into Malaysia’s property industry. ALI in April acquired 9.16 percent of Malaysian company GW Plastics Holdings Bhd. through a private placement amounting to $43 million or P1.9 billion. The Malaysian firm was later renamed MCT Bhd. ALI subsequently entered into a call option agreement with the two founders of the Malaysian firm, allowing it to increase its shares in MCT up to a maximum of 32.95 percent. To fund the entire investment, which needs to be accomplished in a month’s time, Ysmael said ALI is looking at the cheapest options available.

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