United States

Governing Islamic financial institutions

The financial services industry is a highly-regulated industry due to the mobilisation of investors, depositors and policyholders, that is, public funds. Significant public trust demands proper supervision and monitoring of financial services and, hence, the promulgation of statutes, statutory provisions, guidelines and circulars with direct supervision from financial authorities. Soundness and stability of the financial system are the universal concern of all financial authorities, as specified by World Bank Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs). With regards to regulation of Islamic financial institutions and services, various jurisdictions present different forms of regulatory framework. Variations of such framework are attributed to a country’s specific approach to the adoption of Islamic financial institutions, in particular, and embracing of the Islamic financial system, in general. A social choice to regulate significantly depends on the types of government financial systems and their perspectives on financial liberation, as well as either having a banking (such as Germany) or capital market (such as the United States) orientation.

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

Aberdeen Eyes Offshore Islamic Fund in Q1 of 2016

Aberdeen Asset Management plans to launch a new Islamic compliant fund to invest in overseas assets in the first quarter of next year, president director Sigit Pratama Wiryadi said on Thursday.
Aberdeen, a local unit of the Scottish fund manager of the same name, will be among the first funds in Indonesia to take advantage of recently loosened Financial Services Authority (OJK) rules allowing local fund managers to include foreign assets in portfolios. An OJK regulation issued last week announced managers are now permitted to invest between 51 and 100 % of shariah mutual fund products in overseas securities — from bonds, to stocks and currency.
Bharat Joshi, investment director at Aberdeen, said the fund manager would look for assets in Asia Pacific, the United States and Europe to include in the new fund. Aberdeen currently manages around Rp 2 trillion ($147 million) of the country's equities and bonds. The fund has previously said it is looking to increase assets fivefold over the next five years.

No misappropriation issues at Islamic foundation, says minister

There is no misappropriation of funds by the Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation as the organisation is self-funded.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the foundation "is an independent organisation and does not receive any grants from the Government" and tied to its trust deed. "Even the minister has no power in their matters", he said in his ministry's winding up speech for the 2016 Budget.
Asyraf said the foundation was not only formed to do charity work but to uplift the economic status of Muslims. He said the charity work was funded by its own systems such as ar-rahnu, which has generated an income of up to RM83mil to date. Asyraf said the foundation's total income to date was RM1.034bil.
Stressing that the funds are managed by the board of trustees, Asyraf said it has the liberty to decide as it an independent organisation. "If YaPEIM wants to invite a minister and pay for his cost, then that is its right. "The amount spent by YaPEIM for Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom is merely 0.0063 % of their annual income," he added.

Demand for Islamic finance grew after 2008 economic crisis

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak credited the 2008 global economic crisis, reportedly the worst since the Great Depression, for paving the way towards the growth of Islamic finance. He said the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by the bursting of a housing bubble in the United States and later contributed to the European sovereign-debt crisis, made alternative financial systems more sought after.
“Ever since the global economic crisis in 2007, 2008, I think there’s been a sharp demand for alternative economic and business models, specifically financial models that reduces the level of speculation. “Conventional model has that inherent weakness and more to kind of a genuine partnership, you share the risk and you share the profit. So Islamic finance has gained a lot of traction,” he said during a press conference at the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur here.

Investment firm Arcapita emerges from US bankruptcy

Islamic investment firm Arcapita is the first Gulf company to emerge from U.S. bankruptcy under Chapter 11 rules. Arcapita’s plan is to transfer its assets into a new holding company which will dispose of them over time to pay off creditors and gradually wind-down the firm. Arcapita’s creditors include Barclays, CIMB, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered and the Central Bank of Bahrain – its largest creditor with $255.1 million owed.

Arcapita creditors irked by offer to pay legal fees in failed IPO

Creditors of bankrupt Arcapita say the investment bank should not be allowed to foot the legal bills of lawyers from Linklaters and Freshfields who ran a failed initial public offering last year of Arcapita's real estate assets. Arcapita has so far paid $1.5 million in professional fees associated with the IPO, but last month submitted court papers looking to pay another $6.8 million to Linklaters, $1.1 million for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and $2.76 million to KPMG, which served as auditor on the IPO effort. However, Arcapita's creditors argue that the IPO's failure prevented anyone from benefiting from the professionals' work. A hearing on the matter, initially scheduled for March 18, was postponed until April 30.

'Halal' Financing for Muslim Entrepreneurs Gains Currency

Bank of Whittier, a community bank in Los Angeles, offers Shariah-compliant products and is one of few institutions specialized in Islamic finance in the United States. The bank, whose staffers speak more than a dozen languages, markets itself to observant Muslim entrepreneurs. Deals are structured so that the bank buys into the venture with the entrepreneur, who runs the company and buys the bank out, with payments structured so that the bank is compensated for its investment. Profits and losses are shared; the overall cost tracks with a traditional loan repayment at a standard interest rate.

Texas Credit Union to Run on Traditional Muslim Model

Texas-based Jafari No-Interest Credit Union, designed for Shia Muslims, will cover costs with fees instead of interest. The current blueprint is to charge members a $3 monthly fee while the credit union tries to keep costs down. However, additional fees may also be charged to members in order to cover operating expenses and build capital.

Moody’s Sees Opportunities for Islamic Banks in Derivatives

The Islamic finance industry has gained new momentum over the past decade. Despite the recent gloomy economic environment globally, the industry’s total assets scaled new heights in 2009, rising to US$950 billion. Moody’s estimates that the market’s potential is worth at least US$5 trillion and the industry is continuing to expand globally. In this context, Islamic financial institutions are continuing to deliver Shari’ah-compliant returns whilst, at the same time, focusing on efficiently mitigating the associated risks through a new risk management approach, including the use of derivatives.

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