Rasmala board appoints two co-CEOs

Rasmala Investment Bank from Dubai appointed two new co-CEOs and has accepted the resignation of its CEO Tamer Bazzari.
The Board also appointed Anwar AbuSbaitan and David Woods as Co-CEOs.
A rationalisation plan was approved in order to bring costs down by 25 per cent and prepare Rasmala for a strong 2011.

More Asian Islamic REITS seen drawing Gulf investors

The cross-regional Islamic investors increasingly embrace the product, so more Sharia-compliant real estate investment trusts (REITs) will come to market in Asia in early 2011.
Singapore's first Sharia-compliant REIT, Sabana REIT, listed on Friday, has drawn a mixture of both conventional and Islamic investors, a quarter of them from the Middle East.

Dubai’s Malaysia Sukuk Hampered by No Rating

The government hired CIMB Investment Bank Bhd., a Kuala Lumpur-based unit of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. as a lead manager to sell between $1 billion and $1.5 billion of the securities.
This sell won't however appeal to most local funds unless the emirate obtains a rating.
Dubai is tapping international debt markets to raise funds as the government and state-controlled companies grapple to service borrowings that Barclays Capital estimated in a September report at about $112 billion.

Dubai said to hire CIMB for sukuk sale in Malaysia

Dubai's government has hired CIMB Investment Bank Bhd as a lead arranger to help sell Islamic bonds in Malaysia. The plan is still being discussed and timing of the sale hasn't been decided.

Court dismisses objection to?expert panel in Tamweel case

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday turned down a request by a defence lawyer in a Tamweel graft case not to include any expert from the Financial Control Department of the Ruler's Court on the audit expert committee.
Defence lawyer Dr Habibi Al Mulla urged the judge that the committee, which was assigned with looking into the facts of the case and drawing up a report, be independent of the Financial Control Department.
The case involves two former top executives of Tamweel (Emiratis), who are accused of collecting bribes worth more than Dh41 million while purchasing plots in Sama Al Jaddaf project at their cost price and then reselling them at a higher price.

Senegal, latest to tap in Islamic finance

Senegal is the latest African nation looking to tap the growing Islamic finance market by issuing its first sovereign Islamic bond in 2011.
94% of the population are Muslims, therefor is the potential for Islamic banking strong within the West African nation.
The country has emerged as a relatively stable hub for regional business, which is attracting increasing investment interest from the oil producing Gulf.

Anfaal Capital Selects FrontInvest Alternatives

Anfaal Capital has selected eFront’s FrontInvest Alternatives to support its alternative investments operations.
Anfaal Capital’s decision to choose FrontInvest once again demonstrates eFront’s unique ability to live up to private equity managers’ expectations by providing a front-to-back solution in support of their growth strategy. Anfaal Capital required a scalable solution covering CRM, document management, portfolio management and investor reporting.

DIB CEO is Tamweel chairman

The new chairman of Tamweel is Dubai Islamic Bank Chief Executive Abdulla Ahali Al Hamli. The reason is that last week the board of directors was disolved.
The company said Hamli replaces Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehyan as chairman while Mohamed Abdulla Al Nahdi was elected vice-chairman.

Dubai Group said to have missed interest payment

The five-year loan was used to fund Dubai Group's acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Bank Islam Malaysia.
Dubai Group has stakes in Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital, Greek group Marfin Investment Group and Australia's Citigold Corp.

Property prices drive region’s Sukuk future

A rebound in Gulf Islamic bond market depends on the performance of the property prices.
Real estate prices in Dubai have tumbled more than 50 percent since their 2008 peak and 30 percent in neighboring Abu Dhabi as banks tightened mortgage lending and speculators fled the market.
The average yield on Sukuk sold by GCC issuers rose six basis points yesterday to 5.37 percent, paring its decline this quarter to 72 points.
Since Sept. 30 the difference between the average yield for emerging-market Sukuk and the London interbank offered rate widened 0.8 basis point to 336.6 yesterday and has narrowed 36 points.

Dubai’s Tamweel CEO resigns, firm to appoint new chair

The chief executive of Tamweel, Wasim Saifi, has resigned and the Islamic mortgage lender will appoint a new chairman having convened a new board.
Varun Sood, the current chief executive of Tamweel’s home finance division will act as the chief executive.

Distressed Deals Alluring for Shariah Funds: Islamic Finance

Islamic private equity funds in the Persian Gulf plan to take advantage of lower asset prices after the property market in Dubai tumbled as much as 50 percent from its peak in 2008.
The National and Kipco Asset Management Co., a Kuwaiti investment bank, started a $200 million Shariah-compliant fund this month.

Dubai Women's College receives Dhs 1 million as financial aid from DIB Foundation, Noor Islamic Bank and Al Maktoum Foundation

Dubai Women's College announced the names of companies and corporations, which have recently offered financial aid for transportation and laptops needed by limited-income students.
Some of these are: Al Maktoum Foundation with 61 laptops bought, Noor Islamic Bank with 41 laptops.
This shows how important it is to invest in education in order to ensure sustainable development in the country.

Tharawat Family Business Forum,Borsa Italiana,Rothschild to share knowledge of external funding and IPO with Arab family busines

Tharawat Family Business Forum is a non-profit organization representing the first Arabian network for family businesses. Tharawat bases its activities around the four main pillars networking, research, education, and advocacy, thereby catering to the heart of family business needs. The forum, founded in 2006, has the clear vision of becoming the prime knowledge resource, research hub and networking forum for family-owned and -controlled firms in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Tharawat members are some of the largest and oldest family businesses in the region and the network accepts members upon application. While hosting activities across the entire Arab world, Tharawat has its headquarters situated in Dubai, UAE.

Gulf Issuers Skip Sukuk to Tap Demand for Emerging Debt: Islamic Finance

Persian Gulf issuers are choosing to sell non-Islamic bonds instead of sukuk in the borrowing rush that has followed Dubai World’s debt restructuring.
The abundance of liquidity in the non-Islamic debt market, the enforceability of investors’ rights in defaults and the extra cost associated with Islamic bond documentation are steering issuers away from sukuk, Unicorn Investment Bank BSC’s senior vice president of capital markets said.

The Role of the Shari'ah Supervisory Boards

Recent developments in the Islamic finance market prompted the industry to rethink the role of Shari'ah scholars. Most Islamic financial institutions appoint a supervisory board or committee of religious scholars who are tasked with reviewing their transactions in order to ensure that they comply with the principles of Islamic Shari'ah in their business and financial dealings. A Shari'ah supervisory board or committee approves or rejects a transaction through the issuance of a fatwa (an opinion or proclamation about the Shari'ah compliance of such a transaction).
When issuing fatawa, Shari'ah scholars are practising ijtihad and they should enjoy complete freedom in their practice of ijtihad; their guidance and limitations should only come from the five sources of Islamic Shari'ah being:
* Qur'an (the holy book revered by Muslims);
* Sunna (the practice and traditions of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him);
* Qiyas (a comparison, used to make a judgement on issues which have no clear-cut ruling in the Qur'an or the Sunna, by consideration of similar issues which do have clear ruling);
* Ijtehad (the diligent judgement of the scholars through reasoning and logic); and

Rizwan Kanji, Debt Capital Markets and Sukuk Specialist, Joining King & Spalding

King & Spalding announced today that Rizwan Kanji, a leading debt capital markets practitioner, is joining the firm as a partner in its Dubai office. Kanji will have a leading role in King & Spalding's debt capital markets and sukuk practice.
Kanji joins King & Spalding from Norton Rose, where he led its Middle East debt capital markets practice. He has advised on several recent landmark sukuk and conventional transactions, including the first Turkish sukuk.
King & Spalding has a team of nearly 30 lawyers in its Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh offices specializing in complex commercial, corporate and financial transactions as well as project development, construction and engineering, with particular emphasis on matters related to the energy industry.

Mideast banks, funds seek to tap women’s wealth

Emirati housewife Sarah Alzarouni brushed past a group of women clad in traditional dress to enter through the frosted doors of one of Dubai Islamic Bank’s women-only branches.
Alzarouni greeted the female tellers and sat down to do business.
Many affluent Muslim women share Alzarouni’s sentiments and they are increasingly turning to Islamic banks to manage their money. These women are looking beyond basic banking services to sophisticated products to grow their wealth while complying with Islamic principals that include a ban on interest.
Financial institutions in the Gulf Arab region, where many women are reluctant to mix with men outside their families, are tapping into the niche, with women-only bank branches and investment funds mushrooming. Saudi Arabia is leading the charge.
Abu Dhabi-based Al Bashayer Investments, a conventional wealth management firm geared towards women investors, is also looking to launch Islamic products to address the needs of women in the region who prefer investments that are in keeping with their religious beliefs.

Minhaj, AAOFI launch new Sharia’h standards

Dubai-based Minhaj Sharia’h Financial Advisory and Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOFI) have launched a set of 11 new Sharia’h standards for Islamic financial institutions.
Commenting on the launch, Minhaj and AAOFI said these Sharia’h standards will help FIs tackle contemporary issues of banking, finance and investment.
The new Islamic norms have been conceived in the wake of the challenges faced by the Islamic FIs in the current times and paves the way for them to sort out a variety of issues in the light of Islamic jurisprudence.

Global sukuk sales to hit $46bln in 2011

The global Islamic bond market could see issues of close to $46bn in 2011 as investor confidence returns and new issuers emerge in the growing Islamic finance industry.
With economies recovering from the financial crisis and the restructuring of state-owned entities like Dubai World gaining momentum, sukuk is once again going to emerge as the preferred way to raise money, Humayon Dar told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

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