Malaysia

EPF: Members welcome syariah scheme

In #Malaysia the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) expects 1.5 mn to 2 mn members to convert their contributions to the syariah-compliant fund in the first year of implementation. CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said 71% of the members agreed on the need for the Islamic pension scheme called Simpanan Shariah. Simpanan Shariah’s initial fund size will be RM120 bn. EPF is in the process of classifying its assets as syariah-compliant and conventional, with about 40% of its assets now fully syariah-compliant.

#Singapore charges ex-BSI banker with forgery in 1MDB-linked probe

Singapore charged a former wealth manager at Swiss private bank with forgery as part of a money laundering investigation related to 1Malaysia Development. The forgery charge is the seventh filed against Yeo Jiawei, a 33-year-old Singaporean banker. While the charges didn't mention 1MDB by name, they stem from investigations into the fund's money flows. The prosecutors charged Yeo with "fraudulently" signing a reference letter to the head of anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance of Citigroup Inc in Europe.

Wide range of #Islamicproducts will appeal to all

OCBC Malaysia head of consumer financial services Lim Wyson said increasing the number of products under the Islamic asset class will appeal to a broader range of investors. The size of Malaysia’s Islamic capital market had more than tripled over the last 10 years, with an average growth of 11.7% per annum and accounted 60% of the entire capital market in the country.

Ringgit Stabilizing Attracts RHB Islamic to Longer-Dated #Sukuk

RHB Islamic International Asset Management is favoring the sovereign and corporate debt in maturities of 7 to 10 years. CEO Sharizad Jumaat said the company sees limited currency weakness in 2016 and expects the key central bank rate to remain unchanged. Sharizad said the ringgit will be quite stable within the weak environment of slower growth in China and Europe.

#Turkey Wants #Islamic #Megabank in Istanbul as Jakarta Talks Loom

Turkey wants to set up a new Islamic megabank. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said the prime shareholders would be Turkey's Treasury and the Islamic Development Bank. Simsek prepares for talks with Indonesia in Jakarta next week on proposals to start a Shariah-compliant megabank that will lend to companies and infrastructure projects. Indonesia and Malaysia have long tried separately to establish a Shariah-compliant lender but faced obstacles until now. Turkey is ready to commit more than $300 mn for the lender as capital.

Bank Negara #Malaysia Governor maps out strategies to elevate Islamic finance to a new level

Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim called on the Islamic finance sector to embrace the financial technological revolution. Technologically-driven applications have spread to every segment of the financial sector, with the number of fintech start-ups having doubled in one year. He noted that the potential impact can be significant, with 10 to 40 % banking revenue possibly at risk by 2025 due to fintech innovations outside banking institutions that are able to offer significant pricing advantage. Bank Negara is reviewing the changes needed to its regulatory framework to ensure that it remains appropriate to manage the risk while encouraging productive innovation.

#Sukuk Issuance Expected To Increase In 2016, Says IFSB

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) sees a potential for an increase of sukuk funding in 2016 in line with regulatory reforms in the industry such as Basel III and Guidance Note 6 (GN-6). Secretary-General Jaseem Ahmed said sovereign sukuk sector might gain momentum this year on the back of increased budget deficits, particularly in the energy-exporting countries. He added that Islamic banking assets showed a positive association with oil revenues while the liquidity and profitability of Islamic banks might be adversely affected by low oil prices.

#Islamic finance can fund long-term development projects

Islamic finance is well suited to bridge financing gaps in long-term infrastructure development projects, especially in less developed markets. Deputy finance minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said Islamic financing had huge potential and could meet long-term funding needs since it suited its asset-based and risk-sharing nature. The global Islamic capital market has expanded in size and depth across areas, with a combined market value of over US$21.5tril spread across 70 jurisdictions.

Bank Negara studying changes needed to adopt #fintech

Bank Negara is reviewing the changes needed for the adoption of financial technology, or fintech.
As Bank Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said at the Global Islamic Finance Forum the bank wants to ensure that the regulatory framework remains appropriate to manage the risks, while encouraging productive innovation. Fintech has immense potential in Islamic finance. An estimated 10 to 40 % of overall banking revenues could be at risk by 2025 due to fintech innovations, according to a McKinsey research and CB Insights.

Tabung Haji said to offer US$290 mil London office for sale

#Malaysian fund Lembaga Tabung Haji has hired broker Savills to find a buyer for its London office building at 10 Queen Street Place. The building was purchased by Tabung Haji in 2012 for £165 mn and is now expected to sell for about £200 million. Malaysia’s state investment funds have been selling UK real estate as the government called on them to help the country’s stock and currency markets.

Islamic Development Bank to return to ringgit #sukuk market

After a three-year pause The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to sell ringgit-denominated sukuk in the Malaysian market. The IDB board has approved the issuance of up to 400 mn ringgit ($99.9 mn) in sukuk in 2016. IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali said it could be both private and public placement, but the specific size and timing of the deal depend on market conditions.

Hong Kong bank funds said frozen in 1MDB probe by #Singapore and other authorities

Hong Kong bank accounts belonging to several unnamed individuals have been frozen amid global investigations into the finances of the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Owners are being probed by authorities in countries outside of Malaysia. Authorities in Singapore charged two men following investigations into their dealings with the fund. A Malaysian parliamentary committee had identified at least US$4.2 billion of irregular transactions by the fund.

#Takaful sector set to double growth rate

#Malaysia’s #takaful industry is set to double its growth rate this year as companies focus on selling cheaper policies in rural areas. Malaysian Takaful Association's chairman Ahmad Rizlan Azman said the number of policies would rise 10% to 5.05 million in 2016, compared with 4.3% growth in 2015. Insurers entering the micro-takaful market and the liberalisation of commission structures are the biggest drivers.

Bank Muamalat signs #corporate integrity pledge with MACC

Bank Muamalat CEO Datuk Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid and MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali signed the Corporate Integrity Pledge of Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Bank Muamalat chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Munir Abd Majid. The signing of the pledge signifies Bank Muamalat's declaration against corrupt practices and its resolve to work towards a highly principled business environment.

Malaysia's microtakaful expands to rural areas

#islamicfinance - #Malaysia’s #takaful industry is set to double its growth rate this year as companies focus on selling cheaper policies in rural areas, according to the Malaysian Takaful Association. The number of policies will rise 10 % to 5.05 mn in 2016, compared with 4.3 % growth in 2015 and a 1 % estimated expansion of non-Islamic business, Ahmad Rizlan Azman, chairman of the Association, said.

Zurich Insurance moves into takaful with Malaysia buy

Zurich Insurance is set to take full ownership of Malaysia's MAA Takaful after the deal received regulatory approval, giving Europe's fifth-biggest insurer a foothold in the world's second largest Islamic insurance market. MAA Group said it had received central bank approval for the sale, a deal which was first proposed in November of last year. No size for the transaction was given. MAA Takaful held 1.2 billion ringgit ($306.7 million) worth of assets as of June 2015, a 5 percent increase from a year earlier.

Malaysia’s 1MDB Defaults on Series of Bonds

Malaysian government investment fund 1Malaysia Development defaulted on a series of bonds on Tuesday, weighing on the country’s stock and currency markets and raising concerns that the government may eventually have to spend billions to bail out the fund. The cross default triggered by non-payment, the continuing stand-off with IPIC and a widening investigation across at least six countries into possible corruption and money-laundering connected to the fund are starting to affect the markets.

Islamic finance innovators called to Kuala Lumpur for fintech challenge

The upcoming Global Islamic Finance Forum 2016 to be held in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur from May 10 to 12 will see a special competition for financial technology, the Asean Fintech Challenge. Organised by credit card company Visa and the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia, the challenge aims at bringing the most innovative fintech startups to compete. Here the teams have the opportunity to present their ideas to over 500 Islamic finance delegates from all over the world.

Bank Muamalat ventures into new IAP platform

Malaysian transportation provider Perak Transit aims to raise RM10mil in the form of a RM10mil term financing facility for three years via the investment account platform (IAP). Bank Muamalat is acting as the investment manager for the exercise, where the RM10mil is expected to generate a return of 6.5% per annum to investors. Investors can register at iaplatform.com to place their investments in Perak Transit, which starts at a minimum of RM10,000.

1MDB Admits In Default, Welcomes Dialogue With All Bond And Sukuk Holders

1MDB has confirmed the default in IPIC guaranteed bonds but assured that there are no cross defaults on the bonds guaranteed by the Malaysian government. 1MDB explained the limited default from the non-payment of USD50.3 million interest on the Langat Notes is due to non-payment by International Petroleum Investment Company and reassured investors of the company's intention to meet its financial obligations.

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