Malaysia

#Insurtech #Malaysia: Volume 2, The Start-Up Edition

In this interview, two product aggregator start-ups, Jirnexu and Fatberry, are discussing their experiences in collaborating with carriers and regulators. Jirnexu is currently in the BNM Regulatory Sandbox and this way gets great support from the regulator. The regulatory sandbox has a customer-focused vision and uses its technology to help with communication, education and purchasing of Insurance. Fatberry is focused on the General Insurance space. It aims at focusing on the customer’s needs and pain points when building its solutions.

CIMB expects sovereigns to issue green Islamic bonds in 2018

CIMB Group Holdings expects sovereigns to issue 'green' Islamic bonds for the first time this year. CEO Rafe Haneef said about 3 to 5 sovereign sukuk issues are exptected to come to market this year and some of them will be green issuances. Corporates are also eyeing green sukuk issuances. Green bonds are a growing category of fixed-income securities, raising capital for projects with environmental benefits. Rafe says more and more investors are allocating funds for socially responsible investments (SRI) and Islamic bond issuers could benefit from that. He expects the total number of Islamic bond issuances this year to be slightly higher than last year, driven mainly by infrastructure bonds in Southeast Asia. He expects some new issuers to enter the sukuk market, saying state-owned enterprises from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar were possibilities.

Mudajaya unit issues #sukuk

Mudajaya Group’s unit, Sinar Kamiri, has issued its RM245mil green SRI sukuk wakalah. The coupon rate is between 4.96% and 6.35% per year and the coupon will be payable semi-annually. Proceeds from the issuance of the sukuk will be utilised for the development of a large-scale solar photovoltaic energy-generating facility of 49MW in Perak. The company stated that the issuance of the sukuk is not expected to have any material effect on the net assets and earnings per share of Mudajaya for the financial year 2018. However, the gearing and interest cost for Mudajaya are expected to increase for FY18 and onwards.

Cover Story: Rediscovering the spirit of Islamic banking

At 37 years old, Arsalaan Ahmed is the youngest chief executive in the Malaysian Islamic finance industry. As CEO of HSBC Amanah Malaysia, his vision is to change the industry’s narrative on Islamic finance. So far, the narrative has focused a lot on the technicalities of products and services. Arsalaan says these discussions should be focused on the principles of social justice and create a positive impact on society. He plans to allow retail investors to invest directly in sukuk. Currently, individual sukuk requires an initial investment of RM500,000. By lowering the initial investment amount, investors with sufficient knowledge of the market could invest directly. Arsalaan says 2018 is a good time to democratise sukuk because of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which aims to improve the infrastructure of land and maritime routes. According to HSBC, the initiative involves US$4 trillion worth of investments and 900 planned projects.

#Takaful #Malaysia to leverage on #digitalisation after high returns

Takaful Malaysia aims to expand its market share in the general takaful business after recording higher turnover and earnings for its 2017 fiscal year. The company increased its revenue by 6.5% to RM2.14 billion year-on-year due to the higher sales in the family and general takaful businesses. Group CEO Datuk Seri Mohamed Hassan Md Kamil said the company maintained its lead position in the family takaful segment and the fire and motor classes’ gross contribution shot 20% up from FY16 to close at RM591 million. He added that Takaful Malaysia is also in the middle of enhancing its digital capabilities. Significant investment has been made in tools, applications and new technologies to improve operational efficiencies and enhance the customer experience. The takaful operator surpassed the RM200 million mark for the first time since its inception in 1984, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 27%.

#Takaful #Malaysia plans new products to boost boost growth

Takaful Malaysia plans to introduce new product solutions to improve its growth rate. The company said it made significant investments in tools, applications and new technologies to improve operational efficiencies and customer experience. For the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, Takaful Malaysia’s net profit stood at RM56.3 million, 43.4% higher than the RM39.26 million recorded in the previours period. Revenue increased 5.5% from RM490.82 million to RM517.74 million. Its full-year net profit soared 17.3% from RM176.28 million to RM206.7 million, with revenue rising 6.3% from RM2.01 billion to RM2.14 billion. Takaful Malaysia group CEO Datuk Seri Mohamed Hassan Kamil said the group’s profit surpassed its target and for the first time exceeded RM200 million since its establishment. He added that the group takaful business and general takaful gross contribution grew 20% from the previous financial year to close at RM591 million, mainly derived from the fire and motor classes.

Great Eastern #Takaful appoints Shahrul Azlan as new CEO

Great Eastern Takaful has appointed Shahrul Azlan Shahriman as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Shahrul Azlan was the Chief Distribution Officer in Prudential BSN Takaful, with local and international experience in multichannel distribution. Great Eastern Takaful Chairman, Datuk Kamaruddin Taib said Shahrul Azlan was the best person to steer the company given his vast experience and established track record. He added that in Malaysia there was tremendous potential for Great Eastern Takaful to serve the underinsured and fast-growing Islamic insurance market in the country.

Bank Islam launches social finance platform, Sadaqa House

Bank Islam Malaysia has recently launched its social finance initiative, Sadaqa House. It aims to provide products and services to collect sadaqah, waqf and hibah. The public can contribute to realising social finance projects for sectors such as healthcare, education and entrepreneurship through the bank’s digital crowdfunding partnership with Ethis Ventures and GlobalSadaqa.com. Bank Islam CEO Khairul Kamarudin said the bank was utilising technology in its Shariah solutions to deliver a service that is aligned with the current digital trend. Also, contributors can ensure the funds contributed are being channelled accordingly and track the progress of the chosen project. Ethis Ventures founder Umar Munshi said the platform was not limited to Muslims and Malaysians. Any amount of money can be donated by the public into the Sadaqa House fund account, while Bank Islam will match the raised fund at the rate of 1:1 to a maximum of RM500,000.

Khazanah Launches #Sukuk Exchangeable into Citic Shares

#Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional pushed out an exchangeable sukuk to raise US$ 309.4 million to US$ 320.8 million. The zero-coupon sukuk are exchangeable into CITIC Securities Co Ltd’s Hong-Kong listed H-shares. They have a tenor of five years and an investor put option after three years. The sukuk will be listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited, Labuan International Financial Exchange and Bursa Malaysia. CIMB and J.P. Morgan are the joint bookrunners and joint lead managers for the transaction.

Khazanah's RM1.27b #Sukuk oversubscribed 5.5 times

Khazanah Nasional's exchangeable Sukuk of USD320.8mil (RM1.27bil), which has a tenure of five years, was oversubscribed by 5.5 times. The exchangeable Sukuk would reference the value of H-shares in CITIC Securities, China’s largest securities brokerage firm. Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said it was opportune for the fund to price the deal on the back of positive market sentiments in China. The exchangeable Sukuk is structured based on the principle of Wakalah and provides the Sukuk holder with the option to receive cash or shares upon exchange. The Sukuk will be listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited, Labuan International Financial Exchange and Bursa Malaysia. CIMB and J.P. Morgan are the joint bookrunners and joint lead managers for this exchangeable Sukuk transaction.

US$50m of i-VCAP Islamic ETF expected to be subscribed

i-VCAP Management is expecting US$50 million (RM198 million) to be subscribed upon its initial subscription period via an initial public offering on Feb 9. The MyETF-US50 will be the first US dollar-denominated Syariah-compliant security to be listed on Bursa Malaysia. i-VCAP CEO Khairi Shahrin Arief Baki said ETFs are one of the fastest growing investment products in the world. The MyETF-US50 is aimed at providing investment results that closely correspond to the performance of the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Islamic market US Titans 50. According to i-VCAP chairman Tuan Haji Rosli Abdullah, the MyETF-US50 enables investors to access the US equity market in US dollars, marking a new chapter in the Malaysian capital market.

Responsible finance: #Malaysia leads the way with new guidelines

The Securities Commission Malaysia recently issued its 'Guidelines on Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) Funds' to promote the growth of such funds in Malaysia. Often termed as ethical investments, SRI investments not only provide benefits to society, but also encourage corporate practices that embrace environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights and diversity. The new guidelines, which enable market funds to be designated as SRI funds, will widen the range of SRI products. According to the new guidelines, the policies and strategies of SRI funds must adopt one or more sustainability considerations such as the UN Global Compact Principles, the Sustainable Development Goals and other environmental, social or governance factors. The Guidelines also introduce additional disclosure and reporting requirements to encourage more transparency.

TradePlus Shariah #Gold Tracker marks #Malaysia’s first commodity ETF

Affin Hwang Asset Management has launched the TradePlus Shariah Gold Tracker (GOLDETF MK) on Bursa Malaysia, the first commodity-tracking ETF listed in Malaysia. The fund provides investors with exposure to gold through a shariah-compliant investment structure. The fund tracks the LBMA Gold Price AM Index by investing in physical gold bars purchased from London Bullion Market Association-accredited refineries. Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, CEO of Bursa Malaysia, said this ETF would allow investors to buy and sell gold in the same manner as trading shares on Bursa Malaysia. The government of Malaysia has also announced that ETFs traded on Bursa Malaysia will be exempted from stamp duty starting from 1 January 2018. GOLDETF’s annual fees (including management, trustee and custody fees) is 0.76%.

BTMU provides $353m Islamic #loan to Malaysian Saudi Telecom unit

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has provided an Islamic syndicated loan to the Malaysian affiliate of Saudi Telecom. The ringgit-based loan amount is about 41.7 billion yen ($353 million). BTMU is the first Japanese bank to act as an agent bank for a syndicated loan in Malaysia. The loan will be provided with HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank of the U.K. Japanese banks in Malaysia mostly provide loans to Japanese companies operating in the country. Now, BTMU aims to expand operations in the country through Islamic finance. BTMU has extended foreign-currency Islamic loans in Malaysia since 2008 and ringgit-based Islamic loans since 2014. The ratio of Islamic finance to total loans in Malaysia rose to about 30% at the end of 2017, from 17% at the end of 2009.

Saudi Telecom gets 1.5 bil ringgit Islamic #loan

Saudi Telecom Co (STC) has obtained a 1.51 billion ringgit (US$378.5 million) Islamic loan through its Malaysian subsidiary. The company will use the Islamic loan to refinance existing debt originally used to acquire a stake in Malaysian mobile-phone firm Maxis. STC Malaysia Holdings hired Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Malaysia), HSBC Amanah Malaysia and Standard Chartered Bank Saadiq to arrange the deal. The syndicated financing uses a sharia-compliant structure known as commodity murabaha. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Malaysia) will act as the investment agent to manage the cash flows of the facility and to execute the commodity murabaha transactions.

Nominations open for Royal #Award for Islamic Finance

The Royal Award for Islamic Finance is on a global search for an exceptional individual in the field of Islamic finance. The biennial award is spearheaded by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia. It recognises Islamic finance visionaries who contribute significantly to the growth of Islamic finance. The award recipient is selected by an independent seven-member international jury chaired by Tun Musa Hitam. The most recent recipient of the Royal Award for Islamic Finance in 2016 was Prof Datuk Dr Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim. He was instrumental in founding the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). The closing date for nominations is March 31, 2018, and interested persons can submit their nominations online.

#Malaysia seeks to catapult Islamic finance to the next level

Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry has grown tremendously since 2004, when Bank Negara Malaysia began issuing Islamic banking licenses to foreign Islamic banks. The strong growth is also reflected in the country's Islamic asset management industry, with Malaysia accounting for 34% of the US$78 billion global Islamic assets under management as at the end of 2016. Malaysia strongly believes that Islamic finance must continue to appeal to the broader community.

CIMB Islamic plans RM10b #sukuk, gets AAAIS rating from MARC

Malaysian Rating Corporation (MARC) has assigned a preliminary rating of AAA with a stable outlook to CIMB Islamic Bank's proposed RM10 billion senior Sukuk Wakalah Programme. MARC said the sukuk wakalah would provide an additional platform to raise liquidity for the bank should it need to strengthen its funding base. The rating agency added that the bank would be able to utilise its existing Basel III Tier-2 Junior Sukuk Programme to support its capital position when required. CIMB Islamic’s existing sukuk issuances, rated and affirmed by MARC with a stable outlook are as follows: an RM5 billion Tier 2 Junior Sukuk programme at AA+IS and its RM2 billion Tier 2 Junior Sukuk programme at AA+IS.

#Malaysia begins Islamic stock lending

Malaysia’s stock exchange (BMSC) has launched a framework for Islamic stock lending. The introduction of Islamic stock lending aims to provide a Shariah-compliant alternative to the securities borrowing and lending negotiated transaction framework (ISSBNT). According to Bursa Malaysia, Islamic stock lending will provide a more facilitative trading environment and improve trading liquidity. Any person approved by BMSC to be an approved supplier may enter sell its own securities. An approved user is required to have a minimum of RM 50 million (USD 12.2 million) in shareholders funds. Initially, close attention will be given to extending Islamic exchange traded funds in particular, as well as enhancing levels of liquidity.

Realising SDGs through Islamic finance

According to Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Islamic finance has a variety of social finance tools which can be used to increase funds and mobilise donations from a diverse range of sources. Through zakat, sadaqah and waqf, Islamic finance enshrines sustainability, responsibility and generosity. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is now looking to the tools of Islamic finance for humanitarian funding. The United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also concerned with protecting the planet and conserving the environment. Malaysia has paved the way for green sukuk and this may become the catalyst for further responsible investments all over the world.

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