Rushdi Siddiqui

Islamic finance looks for a second wind

At a conference on Islamic finance in Singapore many experts warned that the industry depends too heavily on oil and gas for revenue. According to expert Rushdi Siddiqui the industry saw a 43% drop in sukuk issuance and he argued for the need to 'delink' Islamic finance from oil and gas. Other participants noted that the industry's growth is slowed by the 'perception price' that comes with political volatility in the Middle East and Malaysia.

From Islamic finance to Muslim lifestyle

Islamic finance has reached only 38 million out of two billion million Muslims (Ernst & Young) in 40 years, and it’s more about the bankable and those with collateral. In taking a step back and looking at the landscape, there was a light-bulb moment few years ago that something was missing in action (MIA). The original vision of the founders of Islamic banking was about financial inclusion of the non-bankable. So, the question becomes, what has Islamic banking and finance done for the poor versus the bankable, and what has it done for young entrepreneurs? The vision of Zilzar is about being a benefit-driven corporation, and not a for-profit only or non-profit only.

United halal-Islamic finance sector to build USD4trn empire

Rushdi Siddiqui, co-founder and managing director of the private equity advisory firm Azka Capital, is focused on halal industry initiatives with Islamic financing. He believes both industries have much in common, but hardly communicate with each other. Halal is not just about meats/foods, but also about pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, logistics, etc., all linked to the real economy, yet very unstructured and fragmented. The PE firm's goal is creating risk-adjusted portfolio value for investors who have traditionally invested in real estate, oil/gas, and healthcare. Strategic investors include family offices, high-net-worth individuals, sovereign wealth funds, food companies, Western investors looking for the next BRICS story in the emerging markets. Besides, Siddiqui believes that the development of the Islamic equity capital market (iECM) will bring balance to today's Shariah-complaint (debt bias) Islamic finance.

Sukuk issuance 'must be faster'

The time necessary to issue an Islamic bond is a crucial issue for the sukuk Islamic bank market. According to Rushdi Siddiqui, Thomson Reuters global head of Islamic finance, the Malaysian sukuk market is developed in such a way that quick issuance is possible. The region needs to follow this example. Siddiqui compared the sukuk market with the state of the eurobank market in the 1960s and 1970s. Consequently, the sukuk market has to move in a forward direction and raise efficiency.

Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg both launch Sukuk market measures

At the Global Islamic Finance Forum (GIFF) 2012 in Kuala Lumpur the new Thomson Reuters Global Sukuk Index and the MYR-denominated Bloomberg AIBIM Bursa Malaysia Corporate Sukuk Index were brought into public. The Islamic finance industry demonstrates a growth of more than 15% a year, its leading area being the Islamic debt capital market, primarily constituted of Sukuk. According to Thomson Reuters, the Global Sukuk Index is likely to contribute to the increase in secondary market trading as well as to the facilitation of cross-market relative value trading among different asset classes.

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The sukuk wave ‘is going to get bigger’

Sukuk continues to attract interest among investors. Until now, $17.4bn have been raised in the form of 45 issues. This may look little compared with conventional credit markets. However, in Islamic banking, it is the highest issuance in the first half of the year since 2008. The sukuk wave is expected to become even bigger. Causes therefore are that the majority of sukuk investors are Islamic investors as well as that liquidity in the Middle East is driven by oil prices to a high extent. The situation is different in Malaysia, since the country is not an oil producer. The solution there is shaping the supply side to boost the market by regulation.

Islamic finance is unclear to many, perception continues that it’s still linked to terrorism

It seems that Islamic finance is still misunderstood by some people. Some think that Islamic finance is related to terrorist financial activity.
Rushdi Siddiqui, Global Head of Islamic Finance at Thomson Reuters, the $1 trillion sector has done a bad job in educating the people about what Islmic finance really means. He added that the industry has failed to promote what Islamic finance is, from a PR and a marketing point of view.

Reuters Plans Islamic Finance Portal

The international financial services information company Thompson Reuters is planning to launch a news portal covering information about the Islamic financial industry in early 2010.

Tariq Al Rifai new Director Islamic Indexes for Dow Jones Indexes

Tariq Al Rifai joined Dow Jones Indexes as Director for Islamic Indexes. He previously worked for Unicorn, a Bahraini investment bank. The former global director, Rushdi Siddiqui, moved on to ThomsonReuters as previously reported, spearheading the Islamic finance efforts.

Thomson Reuters Appoints Rushdi Siddiqui as Head of Islamic Finance

Mr. Siddiqui joined Thomson Reuters from Dow Jones, where he was Global Director for their Islamic Market Indices at Thomson Reuters he is appointed Rushdi Siddiqui to lead its Islamic Finance business.

Thomson Reuters, which has been active in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia since 1865, has strong Islamic Finance assets covering leading content, news, analytics and trading capabilities. In this newly created role, Mr. Siddiqui will be utilizing these assets and working closely with Islamic finance and banking professionals including fund managers, treasury, financial hubs, regulators, stock exchanges, central banks, Takafol (insurance) entities, Halal industry, intra-OIC (57 Muslim countries), trade, investment, as well as others to strengthen and grow this business.

Basil Moftah is Managing Director for Thomson Reuters in the Middle East and Africa.

Dow Jones Indexes opens Dubai Office

Talal Malik reported on 14 April in Arabian Business that Dow Jones Indexes opens its first Middle East office in Dubai.

Michael A. Petronella is president of Dow Jones.
Sumeet Nihalani is Dow Jones' senior director of sales for the region.
Imran Vohra is Head of Dubai office.
Rushdi Siddiqui is global director of Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes.


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