Malaysia

Islamic banking's challenges and goals

Strong views were recently expressed by the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia that the Islamic banking and finance industry follows the letter but not the spirit of Islam. Islamic finance (IF) is developing at a remarkable pace. However, Islamic banking is now being accused of operating in a similar fashion as its conventional counterpart, and being skewed to more profit and business-driven interests than serving the real needs of a just society. The heart of Islamic finance involves a risk-sharing spirit, which does not prevail in the practices of contemporary Islamic banks. The importance of independent Syariah supervision will significantly influence the development of the Islamic capital market.

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia names new Chief Executive Officer

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia (ARBM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, has received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia for the appointment of Steve Chen Thien Yin as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). As CEO, Steve Chen is responsible for the overall operations of ARBM’s business. He brings along with him more than 25 years of professional experience in Retail, Corporate and Investment banking in growth markets of Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Prior to joining ARBM, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Corporate and Structured Finance at Malaysia’s Hong Leong Bank Berhad.

Saudi minister says donation to Malaysia's Najib was genuine: State media

Western media should apologise for misleading the Malaysian public after a US$681 million deposit was found to be a “genuine donation”, Mr Najib’s press secretary said on Friday, April 15. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubier had earlier confirmed that the millions found in PM Najib’s bank account was a donation originating from Saudi Arabia. In a statement, Tengku Sariffuddin accused former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of carrying out a smear campaign against Mr Najib which is being motivated by "personal interest". Najib has been facing allegations of graft after reports claimed that the funds found in his personal bank account originated from troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

ICM Bulleting: Green Financing with Sustainable Growth – How Islamic Capital Market Can Play a Pivotal Role

The Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) Capital Market Masterplan 2 (CMP2) identifies the promotion of socially responsible financing and investment as a key thrust. It enables financial innovation to be harnessed to create market-based solutions and mobilises investments for projects that promote sustainable and inclusive development such as alternative energy sources or clean technology. Among the products identified in CMP2 are green bonds, green funds as well asl longer-term opportunities for trading of environmental products such as carbon credits or weather derivatives. These products have led to many potential areas in green financing.

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Bank Muamalat CEO says listing an alternative for shareholders

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd sees a listing of the bank as an alternative for its shareholders, but is of the view that the market is not conducive for such an exercise currently. Bank Muamalat is 70% owned by DRB-Hicom Bhd and the rest is held by Khazanah Nasional Bhd. A potential listing of Bank Muamalat could be an option if DRB-Hicom fails to find a suitable suitor to acquire a stake in the bank. DRB-Hicom is required to pare down its stake in Bank Mualamat to 40% but this has been delayed for a few years because it was unable to agree on the terms with potential buyers.

Bank Muamalat aims to sell 320kg of gold bars

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd targets to sell about 320kg of Muamalat Gold-i (MGi) valued at about RM56mil for the financial year ending March 31, 2017 (FY17). Chief operating officer (Business), Mashitah Osman, said MGi was the bank’s latest initiative to boost its wealth management segment. Physical gold bars are available in five, 10, 20, 50 and 100gm. Without any publicity, the bank has sold over 80kg worth RM14mil since it was opened to the public two-and-a half months ago, Osman said. Meanwhile, vice-president/head wealth management departmen, Nur Ain Ramli, said the bank expected the gold business to contribute about 60% of the total fee income for the wealth management segment for FY17.

'Below market price' purchases bolstered 1MDB's financials

While 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is seeing a positive balance sheet with total assets exceeding total debts by RM3 billion, it cannot be denied that revaluation of its land assets, which were acquired relatively cheaply, is what saved it from slipping into a deficit. As at last January, 1MDB had RM53 billion in assets compared with RM50 billion in debts. While details of 1MDB's latest assets and debts are not available, past records do show that its cheap buys in the land division with the federal government especially have worked to help bolster its balance sheet by at least RM6.36 billion.

Malaysia said planning as much as US$1.5b islamic bond sale

Malaysia plans to sell as much as US$1.5 billion of global Islamic bonds, less than a month after Indonesia's sukuk attracted bids of more than three times the offered amount. The marketing of the notes started on Monday and they will likely have maturities of 10 and 30 years. The proceeds will be used to refinance US$1.2 billion of Shariah-compliant debt coming due in July. Malaysia's sale coincides with a rebound in the ringgit, which has rallied more than 10 per cent this year. A pick up in Brent crude is also brightening the outlook for the oil exporter's finances, just as sentiment is improving after an indebted state investment company sold off assets.

1MDB Board of Directors: Who are they?

Today, the country's business fraternity received news about the resignation of 1Malaysia Development Berhad's board of directors following the release of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the national strategic investment company. The key people behind 1MDB are Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Chairman, and Arul Kanda President and Group Executive Director, among others. Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin is the Chief Executive of Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera since August 1982 and the Group Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of Boustead Holdings Berhad. Arul Kanda joins 1MDB from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank where he was Executive Vice-President and Head of Investment Banking.

Maybank and RB Capital ink landmark RM751mil Islamic financing deal

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and Singapore-based RB Capital inked a S$260mil (RM751mil) Islamic financing deal, one of the biggest Islamic deals in Singapore. The landmark deal involved a 442-room mid-tier Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay as the underlying security. The bank is continuously looking at growing its Islamic banking business in the region, especially in Singapore and Indonesia, which each currently accounts for about 5.0% of Maybank Islamic’s revenue. Maybank Group’s Islamic banking business in 2015 surged 20.4% in total income compared to the year before.

Japan sees Malaysia as launching pad for halal and sukuk

The relations between Malaysia and Japan is characterized by a special nature, not seen in any other countries in this region. The relations are underpinned by a strong bond, forged for a long time by a policy called the Look East policy. This Look East policy has worked as a lynch-pin between the two nations. Under this Look East policy, young people in Malaysia have been studying in Japan and this policy has brought back benefits through the brains and hands of those young people to help the Malaysian economy to invigorate. As Malaysia in an Islamic nation, Malaysia can open a gateway for Japanese investors to the markets of the Islamic nations. Some of the Japanese financial institutions have already started to issue Sukuk bonds.

Maybank Islamic optimistic of more revenue from Singapore

Maybank Islamic Bhd is confident its Islamic banking business in Singapore will contribute further to revenue in the future. Group head, Islamic banking, and chief executive officer Datuk Muzaffar Hisham said this was in view of the ongoing support from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in promoting Islamic banking. Muzaffar said in less than three years, Islamic banking in Singapore had contributed about 5% to its revenue. It is reported that Singapore's central bank will continue to strengthen Islamic finance owing to its cross-border growth. The report said that since MAS established its sukuk facility in 2009, there had been eight sukuk issuances totalling S$600 million (RM1.7 billion).

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia names new CEO

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia (ARBM) has received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for the appointment of Steve Chen Thien Yin as its new chief executive officer (CEO). As CEO, Chen is responsible for the overall operations of ARBM’s business to maximize company growth as well as to take on the responsibility in developing strategies to drive the Islamic banking and finance business of ARBM. Prior to joining ARBM, he was the chief operating officer (COO) for Corporate and Structured Finance at one of Malaysia’s largest local banks, Hong Leong Bank Berhad. Chen has held senior positions in various international foreign banks including J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Singapore central bank asks banks to provide details of 1MDB-linked dealings

Singapore's central bank has asked financial institutions to provide details of any transactions linked to Malaysian state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as part of its probe into possible money-laundering in the city state. The statement came late Thursday after it was reported earlier this week that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has reportedly asked close to 40 banks with a presence in Singapore to provide information linked to 1MDB. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and National Australia Bank (NAB) are believed to be among those queried. ANZ and NAB both declined to comment.

RAM Ratings: Investment accounts potential game-changer for Islamic banks

RAM Ratings expects investment accounts (IAs) to become an important source of new funding for Islamic banks this year as they emerge as potential game-changers in the way Islamic banks source their funds from the public. It noted that unrestricted IAs (UIAs), which are marketed to customers, are estimated to have increased more than RM14 billion in Q4’ 2015, surpassing the RM8.3 billion growth in the overall banking system’s deposits. The recent rapid growth of UIAs follows the requirement of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 that Islamic banks distinguish IAs from principal guaranteed deposits by end-June 2015. RAM’s assessment revealed that UIAs accounted for two-fifths of the RM47 billion of IAs in the Malaysian Islamic banking system as at end-2015.

1MDB Probe Shows Malaysian Leader Najib Spent Millions on Luxury Goods

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spent about $15 million on luxury goods from his personal bank accounts. On Christmas Eve 2014, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stepped onto Hawaii’s 18-hole Kaneohe Klipper course for a round of golf diplomacy with U.S. President Barack Obama. Off the fairways, another side of Mr. Najib’s time in office was on display. Two days earlier, the prime minister’s credit card was charged $130,625 to Chanel in Honolulu. The credit card was paid from one of several private bank accounts owned by Mr. Najib that global investigators believe received hundreds of millions of dollars diverted from the indebted state-run fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

UDA gets RM500mil Islamic loans for 8 projects

UDA Holdings Bhd has signed financing agreements with financial institutions for a syndicated Islamic financing facility of up to RM500mil to finance its eight projects with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.62bil. The financiers are Affin Islamic Bank Bhd, AmBank Islamic Bhd, RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd and Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd. UDA managing director Datuk Ahmad Abu Bakar said the finance facility would be use to partly fund the construction of the projects nationwide and the rest would be funded by sales. The eight projects comprise commercial and residential developments.

Maybank appoints new chairmen for Maybank IB, Etiqa

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has appointed Datuk Mohaiyani Shamsudin as chairman of Maybank Investment Bank and Datuk R Karunakaran as Chairman of Etiqa Insurance Bhd (EIB) and Etiqa Takaful Bhd (ETB). Maybank said the changes in chairmanship of its key subsidiaries followed the retirement of some directors. Mohaiyani is currently a director of Maybank. She is also the chairman of Maybank Asset Management Group Bhd and Maybank Asset Management Sdn Bhd. Karunakaran is a director of Maybank and currently sits on the boards of Maybank (Cambodia) Plc, and others. In addition, he is a director of Bursa Malaysia Bhd, IOI Corporation Bhd and Integrated Logistics Bhd.

Najib Razak 1MDB scandal: Malaysian Prime Minister's accounts triggered internal money-laundering alarm

So much money was pouring so rapidly into the Malaysian Prime Minister's personal bank accounts that it rang internal money-laundering alarms inside AmBank. Hundreds of millions of dollars were being wired into Najib Razak's accounts from the Saudi Arabian Government, a mysterious Saudi prince and two shadowy British Virgin Island companies, while the head of a Malaysian state-owned company topped up the Prime Minister's credit card accounts with millions of Malaysian ringgit in cash. Inside the bank, the Malaysian Prime Minister's account was held under the codename "Mr X". The startling new banking records have been obtained as part of a Four Corners program that aired last night, and which resulted in the arrest of two members of its team.

Malaysia plans Islamic bond sales

Islamic bond sales are off to a racing start this year as Malaysia plans to tap the market following Indonesia’s $2.5 billion issue, which was more than three times oversubscribed. Global sukuk offerings of $11.3 billion are already 30 per cent more than the first quarter of last year and are approaching the $12 billion for the same period of 2014. Malaysia reportedly selected JPMorgan Chase, CIMB Group, Malayan Banking and HSBC to arrange investor meetings for as early as the end of next week. In a sign of the demand that Malaysia’s government debt is attracting, a 4 billion ringgit ($998 million) sale of 10-year local-currency Islamic notes on Wednesday garnered a bid-to- cover ratio of 3.2 times.

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