Brunei Darussalam

Dubai’s Fajr Capital sells its stake in Bank Islam Brunei

Dubai-based Fajr Capital has completed its divestment from Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) to Brunei Investment Agency. Fajr Capital stated that this transaction marks another successful exit for the firm, following several recent high-profile divestments. The bank’s transformation journey resulted in enhanced customer experience through the introduction of internet banking and new digital platforms, international expansion and improved financial performance with the bank’s net income more than doubling.

Better late than never? #Brunei and its role in the #Fintech revolution

Singapore battles with Australia and Hong Kong to be the region’s leading Fintech hub. She has moved ahead of her Southeast Asian neighbours, including newcomers like Brunei. Brunei launched its Fintech office in 2017 and at the same time put in place regulatory guidelines. However, Brunei’s Fintech ecosystem remains underdeveloped. Brunei has good reasons to pursue Fintech, it must start to reduce its economic dependence on gas and oil. The country has already made progress including collaboration with South Korea. Both countries provided US$30 million. They planned to set up a Fintech innovation centre. In return, South Korean companies gained access to the Islamic market. Brunei also signed a Fintech agreement with Singapore, Hong Kong and Great Britain.

#Brunei launches financial literacy body for saving-oriented culture

Brunei set up the National Financial Literacy Council for creating a prudent and saving-oriented culture. A study made in 2015 revealed that in Brunei 34% of the household respondents do not have a household budget, as for individual respondents 49% do not actively save, while 24% need credit to finance their everyday needs. The National Financial Literacy Council was established with the aim of ensuring that all Bruneians have access to well-suited financial products, independent and credible information and advice. Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah said the establishment of this council was timely and helpful in raising the quality of life of the people, specifically in terms of financial well-being.

Islamic finance sharpens its profile in Southeast Asia

#Malaysia’s eastern region Sarawak will host this year’s World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) from November 21 to 23. According to Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, the state will use the forum as a platform to promote Islamic investment opportunities in various industries. He added that Sarawak was currently also undergoing a rural transformation programme and had designated 77,000 hectares of land for the development of a halal hub. The deputy minister said the WIEF will also focus on strengthening the partnership between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The conference is expected to attract about 2,000 potential participants and representatives of various sectors. In another development, Islamic finance will soon make its foray into Cambodia, which is home to an estimated 300,000 Muslims. Two Malaysia-based Islamic financial institutions are expected to open their first branches by the end of the year and in 2018. Another recent highlight for Islamic finance was the Brunei Darussalam Islamic Investment Summit 2017 held on August 2 and 3.

Workshop on #Sukuk Model Law project held

The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) organized a regional consultation workshop on Sukuk Model Law project. The workshop was organized in partnership with the Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam and was held in Brunei capital. Participants included senior officials of financial authorities from the IDB member countries in the ASEAN region, namely Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Maldives, as well as from Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The project aims to create a model Sukuk law and guidelines that allow IDB member countries and other jurisdictions a basis for a legal framework for Sukuk issuance and regulation. This was the second of four regional consultations on the Sukuk law. The first consultation was held in Senegal, Africa, and other two are planned for Europe/Central Asia and the MENA regions.

#Brunei can provide platform for growth in Islamic financing

Brunei is strongly encouraging the growth of the Islamic finance industry. According to the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator, Brunei was recently ranked 10th out of 92 countries. Yusof bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Managing Director of Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD), noted that the Brunei Government Sukuk Al-Ijarah Programme has been consistently issued since 2006 as a benchmark. He said public–private sector dialogue has been increased to raise awareness of the benefits of takaful products. He said he believes that Islamic finance can be a solution to support economic growth and promote long-lasting financial stability.

#Brunei Darussalam expands financial base through #sukuk

Brunei's efforts to expand the scope of the financial sector are aimed at ensuring a greater diversity of public and private sector financing. In April Brunei Darussalam issued two sukuk worth a combined $150m. The first, a $50m bond with a rental rate of 1.03%, has a one-year maturity, while the second offering, a $100m sukuk with a rental rate of 0.78%, will mature in July. In the period from 2001 to 2015 Brunei Darussalam offered 119 short-term sukuk, equivalent to 2.32% of the global market by value. The Sultanate stands alongside Indonesia and Malaysia as major issuers of Islamic financial instruments in the region and is poised to play a growing role in the issuance of sukuk in coming years.

ICD, TAIB sign MOU on Islamic finance

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector ( ICD ) and Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei (Perbadanan TAIB), signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the launch of a Shariah- compliant leasing/Ijarah business in Brunei Darussalam. The Partnership plans a number of other COLLABORATIONS with the support of the Ijarah Management Company (IMC). Established in November 2011, IMC has successfully managed to set up and operate more than eight leasing companies globally including CIS, MENA and West Africa countries.

The IFSB's 6th Seminar Legal Issues Discussed Innovation in Sukuk Securitisation and Islamic Hedging Instruments: Developments and Challenges

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) successfully organised the 6th IFSB Seminar on Legal Issues in the Islamic Financial Services Industry (IFSI), themed "Innovation in Sukuk Securitisation and Islamic Hedging Instruments: Developments and Challenges" on 25 March 2014 in Brunei Darussalam. This Seminar is a part of the IFSB seminar series on legal issues in the Islamic financial services industry. Speakers shared their insights on the legal challenges faced by asset securitisation and Sukuk structuring. Moreover, discussions focused on the need for establishing international standards governing transactions of Islamic hedging instruments in order to reduce the legal uncertainty. In the last session, speakers discussed the Shari`ah governance structure and the role of Shari`ah supervisory boards in assisting the innovation and development of these evolving markets.

Brunei Darussalam: Seeking software growth

Brunei Darussalam strives to become a knowledge-based economy. Information and communications technology shall be a pillar for this ambition, which is why the country has been strongly supporting innovation in the industry and has benn investing in its infrastructure. However, Asian rivals make out huge competition in the field of software, which the Sultanate was hoping to boost its expert economy. In August, Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry informed about grants for the businesses as high as BN$250,000 ($197,930).

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Promoting reading culture can contribute to SME growth

Dr Saad, who presented his working paper during the 2010 International Conference on Islamic Finance at Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong yesterday, explained how Islamic micro-financing could help alleviate poverty by giving a small amount of financing to those who want to start up a business.

Brunei Battles Credit Card Debt With Tighter Rules

Financial regulators in Brunei have placed restrictions on how small the amounts credit card issuers can set for monthly repayment of credit card debts, according to a directive from the country’s Ministry of Finance. Cardholder incomes also will determine credit card spending limits, the directive states.

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