Malaysia

Zukri: Islamic banking sector ripe for M&As

According to outgoing Bank Islam director Datuk Seri Zukri Samat, there are too many Islamic banks in Malaysia, which means that this segment of the local financial sector is ripe for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Zukri is also advocating direct listings of such banks. There are 16 Islamic banks in Malaysia of which two are full-fledged banks, eight are subsidiaries of conventional banks and the remaining, foreign banks. Zukri hopes to see the creation of mega Islamic banks that can potentially become regional champions under the Asean banking integration framework. It is not yet known who will replace Zukri, but one name has already been submitted to Bank Negara for approval. Bank Islam’s parent company BIMB is at the same time contemplating a group-wide restructuring to fulfil regulatory compliance requirements.

Sime’s #sukuk plan gets okay, crucial step to carve 3 listed companies

#Malaysian holding company Sime Darby has received approval from its bondholders to restructure US$800mil (RM3.46bil) worth of sukuk. Holders of the sukuk approved the company’s plan to buy back the papers or replace the borrower to Sime Darby Plantation from Sime Darby. The broader reorganisation of the group involves the proposed listing of Sime Darby Plantation and Sime Darby Property through share distributions. Sime Darby will remain listed, owning the automotive, industrial equipment and logistics businesses. The holding company plans to create three standalone businesses: plantation, property and trading, and logistics. Plantation and property would be listed on Bursa Malaysia, while trading and logistics would remain under Sime Darby.

RAM: Q1 global #sukuk issuance at US$22.2bil

According to RAM Ratings, global sukuk issuance reached US$22.2 billion (US$1=RM4.33) at the end of March, a marginal decrease from US$24.1bil recorded in the same period last year. Malaysia maintained its leadership by accounting for 38.5% of the total issuance. The ratings agency said Indonesia was next (24.7%) followed by Qatar (9.9%) and the United Arab Emirates (9%). The outstanding global sukuk summed up to US$346.7bil, as at end-March 2017, with Malaysia maintaining its leadership by commanding 48% of the amount. Ruslena Ramli, Head of Islamic Finance at RAM Ratings, said that other Gulf Cooperation Council nations are expected to include sukuk issuance as a debt management strategy. On the domestic front, outstanding Malaysian sukuk expanded 11.5%,year-on-year, to RM691.4bil, as at end-March 2017, from RM620.1bil recorded in the same period last year.

Wahid urges more listings of Islamic financial institutions on Bursa #Malaysia

The listing of more Islamic financial institutions on Bursa Malaysia is needed to boost the Islamic fund and wealth management industry going forward. The Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar said this would also strengthen Malaysia's position as a global financial hub. He said that of the 672 syariah-compliant securities listed only two were from the finance sector, namely, BIMB Hodings and Syarikat Takaful Malaysia. Wahid said the shortage of listed Islamic finance institutions could pose big challenges to the industry, especially for the government-linked investment companies. He also suggested three possible ways to further grow the industry. The first is the formation of a second listed Islamic universal banking group, apart from BIMB Holdings. The listing of some of Islamic Development Finance Institutions such as Bank Simpanan Nasional and Bank Rakyat is a second option. The third approach is the creation of a separate listing among banking groups that have sizeable Islamic finance activities embedded within them, such as Maybank, CIMB and RHB.

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.

RHB Islamic Bank issues RM250mil #sukuk

#Malaysian RHB Islamic Bank has issued RM250mil subordinated sukuk murabahah, the bank's first bond issuance in about three years. Parent company RHB Bank said the sukuk would mature in 10 years and could only be redeemed from the sixth year onwards. It has a fixed profit rate of 4.88% per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears throughout the entire tenure. RHB said proceeds raised from the sukuk issuance would be used for RHB Islamic’s syariah compliant working capital. In 2016, RHB Islamic turned in a profit after tax of RM324.8mil, a 27.4% increase against RM254.8mil in the preceding year.

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 Remains Biggest #Sukuk Market as Record Number of Global Corporates Tap Sukuk

Global sukuk market resumed positive strides in 2016 after three years of consecutive decline. The sukuk market also witnessed an important shift where corporate issuers dominated the market in 2016 with USD47.3 billion volume of issuance, representing a share of 63.2%. This is in contrast to historical trends where issuance was driven largely by sovereigns. Overall, sukuk issuer profile remained similar to historical trends. Malaysia continued to be the main driver for sukuk issuance, commanding a market share of 46.4% of total issuances, followed by Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), accounting for 9.9% and 9.0% share. Elsewhere, Turkey recorded a notable rise in sukuk issuance at USD4.1 billion for the year, supported by a number sovereign issuances with maturity ranging from one to five years. The year 2016 also witnessed issuances from Senegal, Jordan, Ivory Coast and Kuwait.

MAVCAP set to hit $50m first close for Meranti Fund, Elixir-partnered Islamic #Fund

Malaysia Venture Capital Management (MAVCAP) plans to announce a $50 million first close for two of its funds that will be launched this year, Asean Growth Fund and Global Islamic Economy Fund. The combined size of the two vehicles will be about $450 million. MAVCAP CEO Jamaludin Bujang said the Asean Growth Fund is $200 million vehicle, which is jointly launched with China-based Gobi Partners. This vehicle will be termed Meranti and will focus on later stage funding for technology related companies in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. In fact, MAVCAP is weighing options for the Islamic fund that is looking to invest in Shariah compliant and Halal sectors. Apart from the Asean Growth Fund and the Islamic fund, MAVCAP is also working on a clean-tech fund that will invest in companies that help reduce environmental stress. Bujang said the clean-tech fund could have a targeted corpus of anywhere between $50-$100 million.

Moody's: Shariah-compliant #investment accounts at #Malaysian banks to continue growing

According to Moody's Investors Service, the growth of shariah-compliant investment accounts at Malaysian banks will remain strong over the next three to five years. Moody's Vice President, Simon Chen, said Malaysian banks have strong incentives to promote the growth of such investment accounts because they provide capital benefits. He added that concerns also exist over the untested state of loss-sharing mechanisms in the accounts. The robust growth of shariah-compliant investment accounts in Malaysia began in July 2015 following the implementation of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013. By February 2017, these accounts had grown to RM74.2 billion, or 13%, of total banking system liabilities. On the question of risk, Moody's said that a significant loss event to test the resilience of this regime has yet to occur.

Mizuho opens $300m Islamic #credit facility to Jeddah group

Mizuho Bank #Malaysia opened a $300 million credit facility to the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). The two-year deal will finance projects in the member countries of ICD. According to ICD Chief Executive Khaled Al Aboodi, the $300 million accounts for 24% of funding programs earmarked by ICD in 2017. He added that funds could be disbursed for hospitals in Gambia, manufacturing facilities in Tajikistan or trade finance in Maldives. For Mizuho Bank Malaysia, the deal marks its first cross-border bilateral Islamic facility based on the concept of Murabahah. The bank's deputy CEO, Shinichi Nishiyama, said lending to ICD will expose Mizuho Bank Malaysia indirectly to the markets in Islamic countries and they are looking forward to a long-term partnership with ICD.

#Malaysia’s Maybank Islamic looks to home markets to drive growth

Maybank Islamic is turning to its home markets for growth, in particularly Indonesia where it manages $2 billion worth of assets and is aiming to compete with domestic Islamic banks. According to CEO Mohamed Rafique Merican, the bank could grow beyond its core markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, but expansion in other markets would be opportunistic. Indonesia remains a key market for the bank, after Malaysia which accounts for 90% of the bank's business. As part of the ASEAN banking integration framework (ABIF), Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed in August to give their banks greater access to each other's markets. The move would give Malaysia's Islamic banks a potential lead to tap into the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, and one that continues to restrict to foreign lenders.

Head of #Islamic #finance body #IFSB to #retire

The secretary general of the IFSB will retire next week, according to a statement. Jaseem Ahmed will step down middle of April after leading the IFSB 6 years.
The process for the selection of a new secretary general has begun. Zahid ur Rehman Khokher acting as interim secretary general.

#Tawarruq - the 'new kid' in islamic banking

Islamic financial products have evolved from simple and straightforward structures to highly sophisticated instruments. Tawarruq, popularly known as commodity murabahah, has become a new phenomenon in the Malaysian Islamic banking system. This is particularly after the issuance of a 2012 Bank Negara Malaysia circular on bay’ inah (sale and buy-back), which substantially tightens the syariah requirements. Since then, the Malaysian Islamic banking system has started to actively use tawarruq as an alternative to bay’ inah. Nevertheless, its extensive use has raised several questions. The International Islamic Fiqh Academy held in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 resolved that the modern practice of tawarruq is impermissible. As such, the Malaysian regulators and syariah committees have to put certain parameters and limitations in the use of tawarruq.

College to draft Islamic finance #curriculum

A #Kenyan college yesterday signed a three-year memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysian training university to develop curriculum on Islamic Finance. Coast International College (CIC) also signed a letter of collaboration with the Inceif, the global University for Islamic Finance owned by the Central Bank of Malaysia. The MoU was signed by college principal Loise Gichuki, Inceif president and chief executive Daud Vicary Abdullah. The programme will offer Diploma in Islamic finance. The Malaysia University will provide curriculum, course materials and lectures related to Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic Law of contract, financial accounting and fundamentals of Islamic Banking.

#Malaysia's Maybank Islamic looks to home markets to drive growth

Maybank Islamic is turning to its home markets for growth, in particularly Indonesia where it manages $2 billion worth of assets and is aiming to compete with domestic Islamic banks. According to CEO Mohamed Rafique Merican, the bank could grow beyond its core markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, but expansion in other markets would be opportunistic. Indonesia remains a key market for the bank, after Malaysia which accounts for 90% of the bank's business. As part of the ASEAN banking integration framework (ABIF), Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed in August to give their banks greater access to each other's markets. The move would give Malaysia's Islamic banks a potential lead to tap into the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, and one that continues to restrict to foreign lenders.

#Fintech could solve Sharia contracts' puzzles

According to panellists speaking at the Finnovasia 2017 Conference, Shariah contracts' greater regulatory complexity can be eased by fintech solutions. Raja Teh Maimunah, CEO of Aminvestment Bank in Kuala Lumpur, stressed that the complex nature of Sharia instruments requires bankers take a different approach. Raja and her bank had wanted to digitise their banking transaction processes by introducing a new type of contract for current and savings accounts. It was eventually addressed with a fintech solution developed by one of her staff. Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, pointed out that the growth of Malaysia’s digital economy currently stands at 17.8% of the country’s total GDP of $296.3 billion, and is expected to meet or exceed the 18.2% target set by the government for 2020.

Maybank Islamic launches new products to boost deposit base

Maybank Islamic hopes to attract RM2 billion (USD453 million) in deposits – within a year – by launching two new financial products. The products are Foreign Currency Mudharabah-i (FCM-i) and the Profit Now Account-i (PNA-i). FCM-i is a short-term Islamic foreign currency term deposit account based on the principle of Mudharabah. Dividends on FCM-i are based on an agreed profit-sharing ratio which is agreed up-front. The actual dividend will then be calculated on this ratio and the amount payable will be known upon maturity of the investment. The minimum deposit for individual customer is equivalent to USD5,000; tenures range from one to 12 months.

#Takaful Ikhlas to introduce online platform by year-end

Takaful Ikhlas aims to introduce its online platform for basic term life insurance to encourage youths to obtain insurance coverage. Senior Vice-President, Wan Rosli Shaharuddin Wan Yaacob is optimistic the online platform will attract youths as they will be able to compare the products' features, policies, as well as pricing via the platform. He said Malaysians below 35 years old currently constituted the largest group in the country who have yet to be covered by any insurance company. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Financial Stability and Payments Report 2016, Malaysia's overall insurance penetration remained flat, within the range of 54% to 56% over the last five years. The central bank had earlier set the penetration rate target at 75% by 2020. It specifies that standalone protection products must be available through direct channels from Jan 1, 2017, followed by critical illness and medical and health insurance/takaful products by Jan 1, 2018.

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