Monetary Authority of Singapore

Singapore Defends Expiry Of Islamic Finance Tax Breaks

Ng Nam Sin, Assistant Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), pointed out that, despite the expiry of certain tax incentives, Singapore is still looking to develop the city's Islamic finance capabilities. To ensure that level playing field between Islamic finance and conventional financial products, Islamic finance activities will continue to be incentivized alongside conventional finance activities under Singapore's other existing schemes. However, others have remarked that Singapore is now lagging behind Malaysia, which is establishing itself as the major Islamic financial hub in the region.

Islamic banks 'can fill funding gap': S’pore Monetary Authority

Islamic banks are preparing themselves to catch a larger share of the global trade and project financing market, while European banks pull back funds to improve balance sheets back home.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon underlined the fact that trade and infrastructure development is naturally compatible with Islamic finance, which has the centre of attraction in supporting real productive activities.

Bureaucracy holds up Singapore

Singapore’s path to Shari’ah compliant home financing is being chocked by bureaucracy. The Islamic Globe recently noted on the absence of Islamic home financing products despite the Monetary Authority of Singapore having legislated for a range of Shari’ah compliant Islamic banking structures.
Furthermore, The Islamic Globe has learnt from a well-placed source that Maybank Islamic in Singapore has for the past two years been in discussion with local government agencies to pave the way for Shari’ah compliant home financing.
However, the source added that the greatest hurdle lies with the Central Provident Fund, which offers three elements of financial security – retirement, home ownership and healthcare.

New tax rules for Islamic finance

Mr Lim Hng Kiang, deputy chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, announced that new income tax rules for Islamic finance products will be launched.
The new regulations will include financing agreements based on financing through partnership agreement, project financing and the interbank placement of funds.

Sabana REIT Prices IPO At S$1.05/Unit; To Raise S$664.4M

Sabana Shari'ah Compliant Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust raised S$664.4 million in gross proceeds, after pricing its initial public offering at S$1.05 per unit.
The company, which filed its prospectus to the Monetary Authority of Singapore last week, said it was planning to sell a total of 632.8 million units in the IPO.
The company intends to use the proceeds of the IPO to purchase properties and to pay off debt-related costs.


Monetary Authority of Singapore issues guidelines for Islamic banking

At the 6th Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) Summit on 7 May, MAS announced that it has issued a set of Guidelines on the Application of Banking Regulations to Islamic Banking. The Guidelines consolidate the various regulations and clarifications which MAS has issued, and offers specific information on the regulatory treatment of various Islamic structures. This set of Guidelines will provide greater clarity and certainty for financial institutions offering Islamic banking products in Singapore.

MAS has also issued two regulations clarifying that, with immediate effect, Singapore-based banks may enter into Diminishing Musharaka financing and Spot Murabaha transactions. In addition, MAS has ensured equal tax, regulatory and liquidity treatment of the Singapore dollar sukuk with Singapore Government Securities, effective immediately. Taken together, these various changes will allow banks to conduct a wide range of Islamic financing activities, and to have greater flexibility in structuring instruments to meet their risk management needs.

Please view the Guidelines here:

Islamic Bank of Asia in Singapore Sukuk job

CPIFinancial reported on 20 January that the Islamic Bank of Asia is one of the two Lead arranger for SGD 200 mn Sukuk Al-Ijarah Trust Certificate Issuance Programme from Monetary Authority of Singapore. The bank itself will be the first investor in the programme.

Vince Cook is the CEO of The Islamic Bank of Asia.

Singapore plans S$ 200 mn Sukuk programme

Saeed Azhar, Reuters reported on 19 January that Singapore's central bank aims a S$200 million Sukuk Al Ijara programme, to promote the growth of Islamic finance in the state. The underlying asset for this Sukuk programme is the office units of Monetary Authority of Singapore's head office. According to Heng Swee Keat, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore the Sukuk will be the Sharia compliant equivalent of Singapore government securities with the same credit standing.

Singapore's Islamic finance efforts

Pratap John reported in Gulf Times on 8 April that Singapore now provides tax neutrality between conventional and Islamic financing, such as by sales tax exemption for financing based on the Murabaha structure. MAS now allows the city state’s banks to offer Murabaha financing, investment products and deposits.

Angelina Fernandez is director of communications of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Ong Chong Tee is deputy managing director of MAS.


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