ADGM and KPMG launch #FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and KPMG have come together to launch the first FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge on Oct. 22. The Innovation Challenge includes an intensive five-week program for innovative and mature start-ups to conceptualize and present market-ready solutions that address real business challenges in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. During the program, 10 finalist teams will work divided into six focus areas: Financial and Investment Management, Financial Inclusion, RegTech, Trade Finance, InsurTech and Private Capital Markets.The finalists will showcase their solutions at the FinTech Demo Day in Abu Dhabi to a panel of industry experts. Each finalist will benefit from mentoring sessions and fast-tracked consideration for admission to ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) program. They will also win a $15,000 cash stipend to cover any costs associated with travel matters and accommodation.

#Merger of three #Qatari #banks to take six months

The merger of Qatari banks Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar is said to take six months to complete, Masraf Al Rayan’s chairman Hussain Ali al-Abdulla said lately. In December Reuters had reported that merger talks had begun which, if successful, would create the Gulf state’s second-largest bank. The new bank would have assets worth more than 160 billion riyals ($44 billion).
KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed as merger advisers, along with law firm Allen & Overy as legal adviser, and furthermore the Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar. Masraf Al Rayan’s shareholders approved the issuance of sukuk worth up to $2 billion to meet the bank’s liquidity needs. In January banks had been appointed to handle a debut sukuk issue of around $500 million, banking sources told Reuters that month, but Abdullah said on Sunday the timing of the issue had not been finalised. Asked whether the bank’s liquidity had been affected by low oil prices Abudullah said “liquidity now is better than in 2016” and that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates last month would improve the profits of Qatari banks.

Qatar's banks relatively resilient; outlook positive: KPMG

The regional banking sector has entered a new paradigm with margin compression, tightening liquidity, moderate asset and profit growth, limited capital market activity, greater focus on cost reduction and a widespread need for greater capital and funding. KPMG, which analysed the results of 56 leading listed commercial banks in the GCC, noted Qatar's listed banks remain relatively resilient and their long-term outlook remains positive. Omar Mahmood, Head of Financial Services for KPMG said Qatar experienced the second highest growth rate in the region thanks to an increase in corporate lending as a result of the infrastructure boom.

KPMG and Hawkamah launch first Audit Committee Institute (ACI) in the UAE

Global audit services firm KPMG has exclusively partnered with Hawkamah, the Institute for corporate governance, to establish the first Audit Committee Institute (ACI) in the UAE. The Audit Committee Institute (ACI) will provide information, resources and knowledge sharing opportunities, to help audit committee members, directors and senior management enhance the effectiveness, integrity and oversight of the financial reporting process in the UAE and the MENA region. The ACI will be open to audit committee members of private, public, and UAE government institutions.

New KPMG Tax Guide to offer confidence to companies wary of investing in MENA and South Asian countries

Despite the rapid economic and social development in countries across North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, many companies may be wary of exploring new business opportunities in these jurisdictions due to the complexities with local laws governing foreign businesses and taxation. To respond to this, KPMG has launched a new guide – the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) Tax Guide 2014-15. The guide is available online, free of cost and provides a quick and easy summary of the main regulations affecting foreign companies in 19 countries across the region.

Family businesses offer strategic investment opportunities for Middle East HNWIs

Nearly 60 per cent of the world’s family-run businesses are struggling to find external finance to fund investment with 58 per cent of family businesses currently seeking external financing to fund their investment plans, according to KPMG. Despite family businesses creating more than 70 per cent of the global GDP, many say they find their fund-raising options limited and finding the right strategic investment partner can pose a challenge. KPMG has identified one possibly underutilised route for investment with the involvement of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), many of whom have family business experience as well as significant investment capital. According to the Survey, the top priorities of HNWIs and family owned businesses align, meaning that family businesses and HNWIs could prove to be highly compatible partners.

Tax Law amendment proposal for Islamic banks submitted

KPMG has submitted its recommendations for amending the country's tax law to the Ministry of Finance. The recommendations aim to ensure that Islamic financial institutions are on a level playing field with their conventional counterparts. According to Ashok Hariharan, partner and head of Tax for KPMG in Oman, the recommendations aim to ensure that Islamic financial institutions are put in neither an advantageous nor a disadvantageous position compared to its conventional peers. The recommendations of the international audit firm will circulate among different ministries and agencies to finalise the amendments. Apart from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Legal Affairs Majlis A'Shura will also look into the KPMG report and put forward their recommendations. If everything goes well, the amendments will be announced sometime towards the end of the year.

Call for harmonised Islamic financial reporting

A recent report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and KPMG states makes a call for co-operation between standard setters and Islamic banks. Thus, harmonization of financial reporting shall be enabled. ACCA supports the opinion that due to the rapid global growth in Islamic finance reports must be harmonized and consistent. Guidance and standards should be developed and the investor community should be educated on the most significant matters.

KPMG and ACCA report calls on standard setters and Islamic banks to work together to harmonise financial reporting

KPMG and ACCA report underlines the necessity of the harmonization of the financial reporting and tighter cooperation of Islamic banks with the International Accounting Standards Board in order to develop guidance, standards and educate the investor community on key issues.

Neil Miller: For application of Islamic banking, Azerbaijan must engage in marketing in this sphere

According to Neil Miller - Global Head of Islamic Finance at KPMG - despite the global financial crisis, Islamic banking has demonstrated rapid development and lossless operation reaching an average growth rate of 10%. He further adds that the most significant development is observed in Malaysia. Azerbaijan should learn from Malaysia as well as from Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan should first take care of the lack of legislation in the area of Islamic finance in order to work on development in the spheres of Islamic banking and Islamic insurance.

Oman commissions KPMG to recommend changes in tax law

The government of Oman chose KPMG to work on recommendations for the amendment to the tax legislation. The amendment aims to accommodate Islamic banking products and services. Thus, Shari'ah-compliant services will not be less favourable compared with conventional products any more.

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Islamic finance to be demand-driven: KPMG

KPMG organised a seminar on Islamic Finance-Lessons Learnt from abroad & Challenges faced in Oman. The seminar was the latest in a series of Breakfast Seminars held by KPMG. At the seminar, a comparative analysis of Islamic Finance models which are implemented in different countries was made and pros and cons of the different approaches were discussed at length. A methodical approach for the development of Islamic Finance industry infrastructure was pointed out to be an optimal approach for best results in Oman.

KPMG to hold Islamic Finance Breakfast Seminar on Oct 15

KPMG's next seminar on "Islamic Finance — Lessons Learnt from other countries and challenges in Oman" will take place on October 15th. Its goal is to gather people involved with both the regulatory and operational aspects of Islamic Finance in Oman. The experience and approaches of other countries in implementing Islamic finance shall be discussed. Furthermore, challenges in this field in Oman shall be pointed out. As a whole, key objectives of KPMG Islamic Finance Advisory Services in Oman are to increase awareness about Islamic Finance, its issues, challenges and solutions.

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Islamic Finance in Africa to take off in 2012

Islamic finance banking options are progressively being seen as a viable alternative to traditional banking services in Africa and are growing to found not only the African Islamic community but all those searching for an interest-free banking alternative.
Key speakers from Nigeria, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia will join leading South African experts from ABSA, alBaraka Bank, KPMG and other financial institutions in the Islamic Finance Africa Conference that will take place on 21 - 24 February 2012 in South Africa.

KPMG nets Miller as Global Head of Islamic Finance

Neil Miller is the new global head of Islamic finance. He was hired by KPMG.
It seems that Miller is a specialist in Islamic finance since he moved to Bahrain in 1995. In a statement Miller said that the fact that KPMG’s global reach, vast client relationships and deep industry insights will provide him with an opportunity to identify services and products tailored to the Islamic Finance Industry added with the commitment of the senior partners in the firm to the development of Islamic finance helped him decide to join KPMG.

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