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Faysal Bank Plans to Compete for Purchase of RBS Pakistan Unit

Faysal Bank Ltd., a Pakistani lender, plans to participate in the process to acquire a majority stake in the Pakistan unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, according to a notice issued today.

ICD to set up Islamic bank

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), said it was committed to ensure that its plan to set up an Islamic bank in the Maldives in partnership with the government of the island would materialize soon.

UK sovereign sukuk? Yes, no, maybe …

The United Kingdom government is deciding to issue sukuk which would:

* Diversify its investor base- not a bad prospect for an indebted country- standing a chance to attract further liquidity.

* Show it is not complacent and really means business creating a benchmark in Europe, where no significant sukuk issuance occurred, excluding a 100 million euro issuance in 2004 in German region Sachsen-Anhalt. Pre-crisis rumours had it that the UK would issue sukuk worth £2 billion in short term notes making a real statement about its Islamic finance ambitions.

* Provide help to the five stand alone Islamic banks, which are required by the market regulator to put in place liquidity buffers, consisting of government bonds or cash. Because there is no sovereign sukuk, these shining monuments to London’s superiority in Islamic finance depend on debt issued by the Islamic Development Bank.

* Encourage corporate sukuk issuance, which is not too probable without the government leading by example.

First Islamic Finance pilot tentative by Bank of Ningxia

Islamic Finance Expert reported that Ningxia Bank has been identified by the relevant ministries in China to develop a pilot project in Islamic finance.

UPDATE 1-Indonesia retail sukuk priced at 8.70 pct

Indonesia has set the yield on the retail sukuk due to be issued next month at 8.70 percent. Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population and wants to develop the domestic Islamic finance market, plans to sell 3 trillion rupiah ($321.2 million) worth of retail sukuk next month.

Key Islamic finance standards published

Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the international standard-setting organisation for Islamic finance, has published its new standards publications. It is entitled Sharia Standards 2010 and Accounting, Auditing, and Governance Standards 2010. The Sharia Standards 2010 publication contains 41 Sharia standards including 11 new standards.

Fitch: 2010 Outlook for Saudi Banks more positive after mixed 2009

Fitch Ratings says that 2009 proved to be, as anticipated by Fitch, a challenging year for banks in Saudi Arabia as the full impact of the global economic crisis caught up with the region, reflected in rising loan impairments and a rapid slowdown in lending. The preliminary 2009 results released by the 10 main Saudi commercial banks rated by Fitch showed different trends in net income in 2009, with Q409 being the worst quarter of the year.

Fitch notes that five of the 10 largest commercial banks operating in Saudi Arabia showed improvements in their net income y-o-y, but overall growth in total net income for all 10 banks stagnated in 2009 y-o-y (2008: -14.2%). Areas of concern included lower domestic economic growth, mainly reflecting lower oil revenues and exports, and the negative impact on asset quality of recent rapid credit growth as well as problematic exposures to some large Saudi trading groups (primarily Algosaibi and Saad). The agency has yet to see the full audited financial statements of the Saudi banks but will review them fully in the near future. At this stage, Fitch does not expect to see further downgrades of Individual Ratings in 2010.

Grameen-type bank opens in Bahrain

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Charities Organization, Prince Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa inaugurated the Family Bank, a microfinance bank licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, at a ceremony held at the Gulf Hotel Convention Hall in Bahrain recently.

Malaysia likely to give Islamic licence to Abu Dhabi bank

The government is likely to approve an Islamic banking licence for the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The move comes before the administration unveils its new economic model in which the services sector, and in particular Islamic finance, is given more emphasis.

Legal & General Gulf Takaful B.S.C (c) Launches in Bahrain

Legal & General Gulf Takaful B.S.C (c), a wholly owned subsidiary of Legal & General Gulf B.S.C (c), a joint venture between UK-based Legal & General Group Plc and Ahli United Bank Group (AUB), announced the launch of its retail business in Bahrain.

Thomson Reuters unveils risk management solution for Islamic Banking

Thomson Reuters announced the launch of a risk management system specifically tailored for Islamic banking.

Kondor+ Suite for Islamic Banking is a real time trade and risk management solution, which will provide full front-to-back and cross-asset coverage for Islamic banks as well as Islamic windows in conventional banks.

Bank Negara pressing ahead with Shariah guidelines

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the central bank, is pressing ahead with developing a series of Shariah parameters that would provide a standard guidance on applying the respective Shariah contracts in Islamic finance.

In fact, BNM in December 2009 published its latest draft concept paper -- a Shariah Parameter Reference 3 (SPRC 3) -- on the Mudarabah contract. The paper has been sent to various market players in the Islamic finance industry for feedback. This follows the publishing in October 2009 of "Concept Paper -- Guidelines on Takaful Operational Framework" which outlines the parameters governing the operational processes of the Takaful business.

Strategic tie up between "Sharjah Islamic Bank" and "Noor Takaful"

Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) has signed an agreement with Noor Takaful according to which the Bank will offer Noor Takaful Motor Takaful Insurance to all SIB customers through its network of 23 branches. This strategic partnership will enable SIB customers to access Noor Takaful's motor insurance plans for their currently owned or newly purchased sedans and 4x4s at preferential rates and with minimum documentation.

Takafulhous Announces "Ayman Yousif Al Ajmi" New Chief Executive Officer

"Takafulhous" subsidiary of Mawarid Finance, the leading Islamic insurance company in Dubai, announced appointment of the new CEO Mr. Ayman Yousif Al Ajmi.

Dewa plans to issue bonds worth $1.5 billion in April to fund expansion

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) will issue $1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) worth of bonds in April to fund its ongoing expansion plans. When sold, Dewa would have raised nearly Dh10bn from international markets over the period of 12 months. Dewa is also looking at nearly doubling the size of its Export Credit Agency facility in the next few months

Source: 

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20100119050758/Dewa%20plans%20to%20issue%20bonds%20worth%20$1.5%20billion%20in%20April%20to%20fund%20expansion

QIIB lends a helping hand here

Qatar International Islamic (QIIB) Bank has made a donation to support the programmes of the Centre for Educational Perspectives, Qatar.

Building a Viable Microfinance Sector in Afghanistan

The microfinance sector in Afghanistan is going through a period of reform which is largely due to the consequence of an early emphasis on rapidly achieving operational sustainability.

AREU researched on the impact of microcredit on informal credit systems and rural livelihoods illustrated by the viability of challenges faced by MFIs. These challenges were linked to having invested little effort in determining the viability of clients by understanding the social and economic contexts in which they were to invest their loans or in offering loan products meeting client needs.

MISFA's reforms have initially targeted MFIs' internal structures, capacity, and control systems. However, they also recognise the need to consider greater diversity of loan products and methodologies to meet client needs. To support diversification in the future, after internal reforms are in place, MISFA has committed to an action research agenda to investigate demand for savings products, agriculture and livestock loans, and Islamic finance products.

Full report at: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/retrieveattachments?openagent&shorti...)

Report on Social Responsibility Trends at Islamic Financial Institutions

The report on Social Responsibility Trends at Islamic Financial Institutions presents the results of an extensive survey on Social Responsibility at Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs) carried out during summer and fall of 2009 by DinarStandard and Dar Al Istithmar with the support of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Some key findings of the survey were:

Clients: 100% of respondents answered yes to having a policy to screen prospective clients which is actively implemented. Similarly 97% have an organizational policy that deals with client responsibly.

Employees: 83% of respondents’ state having policies that provide equal opportunity to all their employees, 93% have policies that ensures merit-based salary and promotion, and 86% having policies that specifically prohibits any kind of discrimination. However, when it comes to having policy to monitor employees from different backgrounds and gender, the response was mix with only 52% admitting to having such a monitoring policy and 48% not having any such policy.

Philippines to miss Islamic finance boom in Asia this year

DEBT WATCHER Standard & Poor’s said Islamic finance growth will stay strong this year, as demand for financial products that comply with Islamic or Sharia law continues to increase with Southeast Asia driving expansion.

The Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank wants to educate the public of the difference between Islamic Banking and Conventional Banking while creating the regulatory framework for Islamic Finance and ironing out the taxation issues relating to islamic finance.

Jamsostek's subsidiary to acquire local sharia banks

State insurance company PT Jamsostek plans to acquire stakes in two local sharia banks this year through a joint agreement with the Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

The new investment arm of the company, the Jamsostek Investment Company (JIC), expected to be established in the first semester of this year, will purchase the stake of the country's biggest sharia lender BNI Syariah and Bank Syariah Bukopin by the end of this year, Jamsostek president director Hotbonar Siaga said on Friday.

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