Malaysia

Malaysia's Maybank wants to grow Islamic finance business

Malaysia's largest lender Maybank on Friday announced plans to expand its Islamic finance business in Singapore and Indonesia to tap the markets' demand for such services. In Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, the bank will open at least one new branch a week to increase its network. Maybank chief executive Abdul Wahid Omar is also planning to expand its Islamic services in Singapore, whose population is 13 percent Muslim. Maybank is determined to become the number one Islamic bank in ASEAN. Maybank is aiming to break into the world's top 10 Islamic finance centres, Abdul Wahid said. Bank Melli Iran is the global leader in Islamic finance.

New Islamic finance instructions in France

The possibility of the first sovereign or corporate sukuk origination out of France took a step nearer when the French government announced that it had passed new instructions to facilitate the introduction of sukuk, Ijara, Murabaha and Istisna products in France.

It is claimed that France now has a tax neutrality regime in place for facilitating Islamic financial products including Islamic bonds and certificates; cost-plus-financing; leasing and construction industry forward financing.

French banks such as Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, UBAF, Calyon (Banque Credit Agricole) have long been involved in global Islamic finance. BNP Paribas for instance recently listed its first Islamic exchange-traded fund (ETF) in Asia on Bursa Malaysia. Some two years ago it had advised the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, to launch its first Islamic ETF, MyETF i. The new measures are not limited to a particular transaction but form a basis for a framework for Murabaha, Istisna, Ijara and sukuk transactions which satisfy both French law and Shariah principles.

Consumer banking will continue to be an important revenue generator of banks

Consumer banking will continue to be an important revenue generator for banks with home loans being one of the major areas of focus amid the prevailing relatively low interest rates. Apart from home loans, the other sectors in consumer banking which banks are focusing on to beef up their revenue streams are car loans, credit cards, personal loans and wealth management. RAM Ratings head of financial institution ratings Promod Dass said the relatively low interest rate environment had fuelled consumer lending, which represented more than half of the banking system’s loans. Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd vice-president and head of financial institution ratings Anandakumar Jegarasasingam said the main challenge for banks would be to ensure the asset quality of household loans. Ernst & Young Malaysia partner (Assurance) Chan Hooi Lam foresee consumer banking facilities like car loans, purchase of residential properties and credit cards to continue its growth momentum into next year. RHB Banking group director of retail banking Renzo Viegas said that apart from credit cards, the focus would also be in debit cards as the bank saw tremendous growth potential in this area.

Affin Holdings Bhd and The Bank of East Asia Ltd have formally established a partnership incl China

Affin Holdings Bhd (AHB) and The Bank of East Asia Ltd, Hong Kong (BEA) have formally established a partnership to jointly develop business in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and other key markets where they both operate.

BEA chairman and chief executive Dr David K.P. Li said that the China Banking Regulatory Commission is studying the proposal to set up a joint venture between BEA and AHB to conduct Islamic banking in China, but that there are no related laws yet.

Shariah experts push for scholar certificates

Leading Islamic finance scholars are preparing the first global certification for Shariah experts, seeking to bolster the industry’s reputation and make it easier for banks to find qualified advisers. The International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance in Kuala Lumpur will pick a board of regulators by year- end to issue permits for scholars qualified to sit on Shariah boards. The scholars decide whether financial products meet the religion’s precepts, including a ban on interest payments. Scholars are now required to have recognized university degrees before they can act as advisers to banks and companies. The council of scholars at the academy includes Sheikh Nizam Yaquby of Bahrain, Mohammad Daud Bakar of Malaysia and Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah of Syria. A centralized regulator for scholars will help increase investment because banks would save time in choosing experts to ensure products meet religious principles. The institution doesn’t plan to restrict scholars on the number of advisory panels they can join.

9/11 effect on Islamic banking overstated

Patrick Imam and Kangni Kpodar note that the 9/11 attack on the US ‘had a positive impact on assets of Islamic banks, perhaps because Muslim investors, who traditionally invested in the West, were compelled to keep more money at home for fear of expropriation.

The study said that while oil prices have a positive and statistically significant impact on the diffusion of Islamic banking, the effect is likely to be asymmetric. They found that the probability for Islamic banking to develop in a given country rises with the share of the Muslim population, income per capita, and whether the country is a net exporter of oil. Trading with the Middle East and economic stability also are conducive to diffusion of Islamic banking and proximity to Malaysia and Bahrain, the two Islamic financial centers, also matters.

Solidarity names Bseisu group chief executive

The Solidarity Group Holding board has appointed of Ashraf Bseisu as group chief executive officer. Mr Bseisu is a long-standing Solidarity executive and a prominent member of the region's insurance industry. Solidarity Group Holding, one of the largest takaful companies in the world, includes the Solidarity Family Takaful Company and Solidarity General Takaful Company in Bahrain as well as subsidiaries and associates in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia and Luxembourg. Mr Bseisu is currently Bahrain Insurance Association chairman and the General Arab Insurance Federation vice-president. He has been with Solidarity since his appointment as general manager - finance and corporate management in July 2006 and has held several senior posts within the organisation. He has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance and financial services sector, where he held several executive positions.

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THE CONCEPT AND OPERATIONS OF SWAP AS A HEDGING MECHANISM FOR ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

"THE CONCEPT AND OPERATIONS OF SWAP AS A HEDGING MECHANISM FOR ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS"

The main objective of this paper is to give a clearer picture of the swap mechanism as offered by the international Islamic financial institutions and how its operations are structured in accordance with Shariah principles and contracts. In preparing this paper, ISRA has held a series of internal discussions as well as with outside parties, including Shariah experts and operating officers from international banks directly involved in the structuring of Shariah-compliant swap products. Documents related to the products and related academic materials were also referred to, giving a wider and thorough perspective on the issue.

by

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki
Head of Research Affairs Department
International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA)

Shabnam Mokhtar
Researcher
International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA)

Download: http://www.isra.my/media-centre/downloads/summary/29/216.html

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OSK Investment eyes Islamic stockbroking

OSK Investment Bank plans to set up an Islamic stockbroking business and offer syariah equity-linked investments.

New financial system blueprint being drawn up

Malaysia’s competitive advantage in Islamic finance will strengthen as the country evolves into an international hub for Islamic finance.

Malaysia’s 2010 Growth Can Exceed Current Forecast, Najib Says

Gross domestic product can expand by 1 percent to 2 percent more than the central bank’s March forecast of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent, Najib told the Foreign Correspondents Association in Singapore yesterday. Measures including developing the Islamic finance industry will aid growth, he said, adding that the government will probably sell Shariah-compliant global bonds denominated in dollars.

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