The Peninsula Qatar

GCC #Islamic #insurance companies to #face #headwinds: S&P Global

Islamic insurers in the GCC will probably continue to face headwinds, despite a better overall. The forcasted slowdown follows years of annual growth in gross premiums of up to 20 %, which was mainly driven by the introduction of new mandatory covers, as well as strong increases in premium rates in Saudi Arabia, as new covers and actuarial pricing guidelines were adopted, S&P Global Ratings noted yesterday.
“Now that more policies are adequately priced, overall premium growth has slowed,” said S&P Global Ratings’ credit analyst Emir Mujkic. “The slowdown in premium growth has also been influenced by lower economic activity across all GCC states, as governments are trying to reduce or delay their spending due to lower revenues from hydrocarbon sales,” Mujkic added.

QIB-#UK finances Buy-to-Live properties in London

QIB-UK has received official licensing to provide Sharia-compliant Murabaha Facilities for London properties. The new product enables QIB-UK to finance a buy-to-live property as well as refinance customers’ existing properties in London. QIB-UK has undergone a restructuring process to focus on serving the bank’s high-net-worth clients by addressing their specific financial needs in the UK. The bank offers its customers a range of Sharia-compliant banking services including Current Accounts in GBP, inward and outward transfers, direct debits, standing orders and more. QIB-UK also provides Debit Cards which are linked to a client’s current account with a high daily allowance of £15,000. Additionally, the Bank offers Wakala Deposits, Instant Access Savings Account, Notice Accounts and other premium products and services. QIB-UK was fully authorised as an Islamic Bank by the UK Financial Services Authority in 2008 and is fully owned by Qatar Islamic Bank.

Qatar’s new insurance instructions credit positive: Moody’s

The recent instructions issued by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) for insurers operating in Qatar are credit positive. These instructions are related to licensing, regulations and controls, risk management, accounting and actuaries reports. The instructions include prudential requirements and took effect this month. Insurers that will benefit from the new law include the largest Qatari insurance groups: Damaan Islamic Insurance Company, Qatar Insurance Company, Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company, Doha Insurance Company, Al Khaleej Takaful Group and Qatar Islamic Insurance Company.

Dubai Islamic Bank gives guidance for sukuk pricing on Tues: Leads

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is expected to price a dollar-denominated sukuk of benchmark size as soon as Tuesday after releasing initial price thoughts for the offering, a document from lead arrangers showed. Pricing for the five-year sukuk has been earmarked to be in the area of 245 basis points over midswaps, according to the document. DIB chose seven banks to arrange meetings with fixed income investors in London on Monday, ahead of the possible sukuk issue, it was announced last week.

Chief Executive of Qatar Islamic Insurance wins Takaful CEO of the year Award

Ali Ibrahim Al-Abdulghani, Chief Executive Officer, of Qatar Islamic Insurance, was awarded the Takaful CEO of the year award in a ceremony held last week during the 10th International Takaful Summit 2016 at Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London. This award was presented to him in recognition of his leadership that witnessed the Company grow steadily to the benefit of both shareholders and policyholders alike adding credibility to the Takaful model worldwide as viable alternative to the conventional insurance. Speaking at the occasion, he invited Takaful industry leaders to cooperate in establishing a ReTakaful syndicate at Lloyds of London.

US sends mixed message to Europe on Iran sanctions

Since reaching the nuclear agreement that lifted economic sanctions on Iran, President Barack Obama has pledged to continue to punish foreign companies that do business with the regime’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In theory, this will chill European investment in Iran because the IRGC, along with its front businesses, controls major portions of Iran’s economy in vital sectors such as oil, construction and banking. But despite recent reports of billions of dollars worth of new European investment in Iran, the US Treasury Department has seen no evidence that European companies are conducting transactions with the IRGC. Many sanctions experts question whether this is really possible.

QInvest reports record year, recommends doubling dividends

Qatar’s QInvest has announced another year of robust growth recording its highest revenue since inception of QR393m ($108m) and net profit of QR154m ($42m). QInvest generated consistent performance throughout 2015 despite challenging global economic conditions and regional volatility, culminating in an increase in both revenues and net profit of 32 percent and 76 percent respectively. The bank recommends doubling the dividend to shareholders for financial year 2015. The team is involved in a number of buy-side and sell-side mandates across multiple industries and geographies for both family offices and institutional investors. In the real estate sector, the business is at various stages of execution and completion on income generating transactions in London, elsewhere in Western Europe and in the USA.

Beema posts QR63m net profit in 2015

The net profit of the shareholders of Damaan Islamic Insurance’s (Beema) touched QR63m for the full-year 2015. Abdullatif Abdulla Zaid Al Mahmoud, the Deputy Chairman of the company, said Beema has achieved a gross contribution of QR314m in the year 2015; a 23 percent increase on year-on-year; and a surplus of QR16.5m from insurance operations, up 114 percent compared to the year 2014. The shareholders profit increased 17 percent to QR46.5m. The investment portfolio achieved an income of QR19.2m during the year 2015. The financial results were announced after the company’s board of directors’ meeting yesterday.

QInvest net profit up 69 percent in third quarter

QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment group and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions globally, yesterday announced that its net profit for the third quarter grew 69 % to $33.8m while revenues jumped 37 % to $78.7m.

“We are very encouraged by our performance during the third quarter of 2015. With our commitment to drive growth and innovation across the business, we have continued to source new opportunities, strengthen our brand and deliver positive returns. Whilst we expect on-going market volatility and economic challenges to remain present, we are confident on the outlook for the business. We have an exciting active pipeline of deal flow and a unique market position to leverage investment opportunities across the GCC region and selected markets in Europe, Asia and the US” said Tamim Hamad Al Kawari, CEO of QInvest.

Indonesian regulators plan to boost Islamic banking boom

Indonesian regulators have launched a plan aimed at growing the sector, which currently accounts for less than five percent of banking assets, compared to a quarter in Malaysia and around half in Saudi Arabia. Authorities believe it is a good moment, with many Indonesians getting wealthier after years of strong economic growth and an increasing trend towards piety across broad sections of society. The Financial Services Authority (OJK) is spearheading the drive, and unveiled a five-year roadmap earlier this year that included plans to educate the public about Sharia’h lenders and the establishment of an Islamic finance committee to better manage the sector.

QCB extends deadline for insurance regulations

The Qatar Central bank (QCB) has extended the deadline set for the insurance, reinsurance and Takaful companies to implement its new regulations. As per original schedule, the institutions were supposed to comply to the new regulations from the end of May. After realising that the insurance companies needed more time to reposition themselves to implement the new regulations, the central bank has extended the deadline to November 30. The proposed regulations restrict the companies and insurance practitioners from getting involved in cross-border activities. Besides, the QCB regulation requires the insurance companies to simplify their procedures and finance agreements and to be transparent in relation to their pricing and features of products and services.

Barwa Bank official promoted to CCO

Barwa Bank has promoted Talal Ahmad Al Khaja (pictured) to Chief Communications officer. Al Khaja will oversee marketing and communications and public and shareholder relations. Prior to joining the bank in 2009, he worked across private sector institutions and organisations. Holding a Master’s in business management, a bachelor’s degree from Qatar University, and professional certifications, he has amassed over nine years’ experience in administration, marketing, public relations and corporate governance. During his tenure at the bank, he has contributed to acquisitions of the group’s affiliate companies and subscription management in capital financing in 2011. His efforts led to the establishment of the group’s Investor and Shareholder Relations Department.

Beema customers can now renew, buy insurance over phone

Damaan Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) has announced the launch of the first of its kind service in Qatar, which enables its customers to renew or buy their motor insurance over the phone. As one of Qatar’s fastest growing Islamic insurance companies, Beema is taking its customer service to a whole new dimension at no extra cost, said Nasser Al Misnad, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Beema.

QIB-UK offers investment solution for London properties

QIB-UK is providing opportunities for customers interested to invest in the London real estate market starting with providing access to properties, both residential and commercial ones. A team of real estate specialists will ensure that customers, being continuously supported by QIB Private Banking Relationship Managers stationed in Doha, are able to achieve optimal return on their investments. Recently, QIB added Knight Frank, a global property adviser company established in London back in 1896 to its partners. Customers can now visit QIB’s website to find specific property listings, along with information on locations and prices. They can then submit an online request form indicating properties of their interest to be contacted by the QIB-UK real estate team.

International Islamic honoured for its CSR contribution

International Islamic (QIIB) was honoured for its distinctive role in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at a ceremony held at the Qatar University. QU’s College of Business and Economics partnered with the Qatar CSR Network in organising the event, which also saw the launch of the ‘CSR Report Qatar 2014’. Ali Hamad Al Mesaifri, Chief of Human Resources and General Services at QIIB, received the honorary award from the President of Qatar University, Dr Sheikha Al Misnad. The Bank has cooperated and still is cooperating with major and active institutions engaged in community services at various spheres such as health, education, charitable and social activities, and culture and sports.

Islamic banks outperform conventional peers

The Islamic banks in Qatar outpaced conventional banks in the country in terms of growth in net profit during the second quarter of 2014 (Q2,14). Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) reported a 15.0 percent YoY bottom-line growth in Q2 14, mainly due to improvement in top-line as well as fee income. Masraf Al Rayan reported 12.1 percent YoY growth in its bottom-line due to strong growth in net financing income, Global Investment House (GIH) noted in its Q2, 14 “GCC Banking Sector” analysis. The GIH analysts who covered five major Qatar-based banks said the loan books of banks in Qatar grew the most in the region, by registering 15.4 percent growth on year-on-year basis, followed by the banks in Saudi Arabia (9 percent), UAE (4.8 percent) and Kuwait (4.6 percent).

Watania says regulator approves 60.53pc stake sale

Abu Dhabi-listed Islamic insurer National Takaful Co (Watania) said on Tuesday that United Arab Emirates regulators had approved the sale of 60.53 percent of the firm to MB UAE Investments and an affiliate of MB. Watania said MB UAE Investments would acquire 51 percent and Al Madina Insurance Co would take 9.53 percent. The group would buy a total of 90.8 million shares. The deadline for the purchase is next Feb. 24, Watania said in the statement. It did not give details such as the purchase price or who would sell the shares. In a separate filing on the Oman bourse, however, Al Madina said it would buy 14.3 million Watania shares for 17.88 million dirhams ($4.87 million), implying it would pay 1.25 dirhams per share.

Yousef Ali Al Obaidan is new acting CEO of TFI

The Board of Directors of The First Investor (TFI), Barwa Bank Group’s 100 percent owned investment banking subsidiary, has appointed Yousef Ali Al Obaidan as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of TFI. Since joining TFI in 2007, Yousef has spearheaded the company’s Investment Banking activities. He has gathered experience leading investment banking initiatives targeting investment opportunities through originating and successfully overseeing the establishment of several projects and companies in Qatar. Yousef graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing & Communications from the California State University.

Bahrain's GFH eyes share capital reduction, convertible sukuk

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House will seek shareholder approval later this month for a potential reduction in share capital and to issue a convertible sukuk of up to $500 million to restructure debt and fund new projects. Under the proposal, GFH will reduce the nominal value of its shares by 13.8 percent to $0.265 per share from $0.3075, according to a notice on GFH's website. As a result, paid-up capital will be cut to $837 million from $972 million. GFH also aims to issue convertible sukuk worth up to $500 million to restructure current liabilities, develop projects and fund possible future acquisitions, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. No timeframe was indicated for the potential offering. The proposals will be discussed during its annual general meeting on March 31.

QIIB explores overseas investments

Qatar International Islamic Bank (International Islamic) is exploring investment opportunities overseas, especially in some African countries. However, Abdulbasit Ahmed Al Shaibei, CEO and member of the board of directors of QIIB, did not to disclose the details. Moreover, the bank is working to open seven new branches in different parts of the country, including one each at The Pear Qatar and Al Khor very soon. The bank’s total revenue for 2013 stood at QR1.458bn, and the net profit reached QR750.3m, with a growth of 10.5 percent compared to 2012, and earnings per share reached QR4.96.

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