Oman urges consolidation of banks to be competitive

Oman's Capital Market Authority (CMA) is encouraging consolidation in the country’s crowded financial sector, aiming in the long term for local banks to build a regional presence in the Gulf region. There are now 18 banks in the sultanate, whereas Oman’s three largest lenders account for approximately two-thirds of banking assets. According to Abdullah Salem Al Salmi, CMA’s executive president, the crowded field could lead to cutthroat competition, which would be unhealthy for the market and cause new entrants to struggle. However, he did not specify any ways in which the CMA might encourage consolidation.

Bank Nizwa seeks relaxation for investing funds overseas

Bank Nizwa is going to request the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) for allowing the bank to get relaxation in deploying funds in overseas markets for a certain period, until Sharia-compliant products are available within the domestic market. Dr Jamil Jaroudi, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Nizwa said there are restrictions in the new law that do not allow Islamic banks to achieve their full potential. The law for sukuk and takaful need to be issued, and the banking regulations have to be adjusted in order to attract Islamic investment, he added. The CBO needs to frame regulation for short-term instruments, which will allow Islamic banks to deploy their excess liquidity.

Sohar Islami, the independent Shariah Compliant Islamic Bank within Bank Sohar holds its first Shariah Supervisory Board Meeting

The senior management of Sohar Islamic held its first Shariah Supervisory Board (SSB) meeting, chaired by Dr. Hussain Hamed Hassan, and attended by the other SSB members. The SSB of Sohar Islamic comprises of leading Islamic scholars from Islamic finance and academic sectors from across the world. During the course of the meeting, the SSB considered and approved product structures, contracts and policies in order to generate a workable strategy for a range of Islamic Banking products and services that Bank Sohar will soon offer. The SSB members commended Bank Sohar for addressing the need for Islamic banking and for their diligence in assuring Shariah compliance in all products.

Thomson Reuters to host forum on Oman as preferred destination for Sukuk

Thomson Reuters will be discussing Oman's leading position as a preferred investment destination for Sukuk during an upcoming forum set to take place on February 24, 2013. It will be investigated what needs to be done to facilitate the country's entry to global Islamic financial markets by Thomson Reuters with support from the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) and Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI). Thought leaders, bankers, and Shariah scholars will discuss the opportunities of setting up Islamic financial markets operations in Oman, how to capitalize on the global Islamic financial markets interest, and explore prospects to develop a strong Islamic interbank and fixed income market.

NBFCs may face competition from Islamic banks, say analysts

Oman's non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) posted decent growth in income and profits in 2012. And analysts believe that the sector will see strong growth in 2013 on the back of project and infrastructure spending by the government. An analysis of the six listed NBFCs shows that aggregate income rose 11.94 per cent to RO65.30mn in 2012, while their combined net profit rose 17 per cent to RO24.14mn. NBFCs expect some competition for the leasing sector from Islamic banks, especially in auto financing.

"Shariyah Review Bureau hired by Al Khonji Real Estate & Development to deliver Shari'a Advisory Services".

Al Khonji Real Estate & Development (Aqar) signed today that it has hired the services of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), to advice and supervise its future course of actions and transactions in light of Shari'a principles. Mohamed Al Khonji, Chairman/CEO, said that it has decided to spread its wings in the real estate market while ensuring it is truly Shari'a compliant. The assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau is expected to help developing an enterprise-wide Shari'a compliant framework, which will cover compliance with Islamic finance across all function streams in Aqar.

Ahlibank Oman Live on iMAL running on Microsoft Windows OS and Sybase Database

Path Solutions, provider of Islamic banking software, has announced the deployment and successful rollout of iMAL Islamic core banking system at all five Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services branches of Ahlibank. iMAL was implemented using Microsoft Windows OS and Sybase Software. According to Ahlibank CEO Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, iMAL will enable the delivery of Islamic banking products and services whilst ensuring full compliance with the Sharia guidelines and local regulations.

System Implementation and Analytic Manager

Responsible to lead and coordinate the business efforts in the Islamic Core Banking implementation during various project phases such as Requirements & Gap Analysis, Business Process Definition & Parameterization, Customization, Testing and post go-live support
Coordinate the detailed requirements about various products, characteristics, control and monitoring requirements, end to end process details and expected process improvements


Head of Islamic Banking

•Manage the staff assigned to the level determined by senior management.
•Maintain revamp (Retail & Corporate) existing Asset Products to support all businesses of the Bank keeping in view the bank’s strategic focus
•Maintain & revamp (Retail & Corporate) existing Liability Products to support all businesses of the bank keeping in view the bank’s strategic focus
•Launch and implement new and innovative Shari’a compliant products (both Assets & Liabilities, retail and corporate) developed around market needs customer perceptions and the Bank’s requirement.
•Partner with Retail and Corporate Teams for strategic tie-ups with companies/organizations and prepare special Shari’a package/product offers.

Ahlibank CEO clarifies on Islamic banking strategy

Abdul Aziz al Balushi, CEO of Ahlibank, said that the bank may convert some of the existing conventional branches to Islamic banking ones or may open more new Islamic banking branches. He added that services, products and dealing of Ahlibank's Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services are built on the tenets of truth and transparency, and are in accordance with sharia principles. Ahlibank is confident that Islamic banking will be a great success in Oman.

Ahlibank may switch to Islamic banking

Oman's Ahlibank, which launched its Al Hilal Islamic banking services in the sultanate, is considering to convert all its conventional branches to Islamic banking. According to Abdullah al Jabri, DGM and head of Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services, the bank is planning to start with branches in Ibra, Nizwa and Sur in the coming month.

Vision launches Sharia-compliant GCC fund in Oman

The first Sharia-compliant fund will be introduced in Oman by Vision Investment Services. All financial instruments of the fund are in compliance with Sharia principles and policies. It is the perfect tool for conventional investors who are seeking capital appreciation with lower risk.

Oman rules may spur reform of Islamic finance scholars

Oman is the last of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to introduce Islamic banking, thus being able to encourage the development of sharia scholars. The highly detailed rules for the Islamic banking sector include the plan to enlarge the pool of qualified scholars as a scholar can only be appointed for two three-year terms in the Sharia Board. The higher demand for scholars calls for a scholar development program that needs to be developed in parallel with the initiative.

Ahlibank launches five Islamic banking branches in the Oman

The Al Hilal Islamic Banking services launched their first branches that provide Islamic banking products and services. The chairman Hamdan bin Ali bin Nasser al Hinai said the goal of the new services is to meet the needs of all customers in terms of truth, transparency and being fully sharia compliant as the integration of ethical and moral values with the banking operations is a unique and salient characteristic of Islamic banking.
An implemented independent Sharia Supervisory Board has the power to audit all contracts and transactions, give opinion and guidance and the bank´s management shall strictly follow the guidelines outlined by the board.
Shaikh Aflah bin Ahmed bin Hamad al Khalili, member of the Sharia Supervisory Board of the bank said that the products on offer will contribute to the efforts made by the Sultanate´s government to enhance the role played by Islamic banking in achieving sustainable development as well as more progress and prosperity for the Omani people.

System Implementation and Analytic Manager

Responsible to lead and coordinate the business efforts in the Islamic Core Banking implementation during various project phases such as Requirements & Gap Analysis, Business Process Definition & Parameterization, Customization, Testing and post go-live support
Coordinate the detailed requirements about various products, characteristics, control and monitoring requirements, end to end process details and expected process improvements.



Manager, Product Development and Research - Islamic Banking

•To start, structure and drive the asset management business, products and services.
•Analyze potential fixed income and real estate (residential, commercial, or industrial) opportunities in order to assist in business development or growth of the real estate portfolio.
•Prepare and review the offer documents.


Meethaq opens first branch in Ghubra

Last Sunday, Meethaq, the Islamic banking window of bank muscat opened its first branch in Ghubra. More branch openings are planned in all major cities across Oman this year aiming to reach customers and attract them through Sharia-based products and services. The final amount of capital for the bank’s operations will be determined by business opportunities.

Promoting SMEs in a big way need of the hour

Sharakah is Oman’s fund that supports prospective entrepreneurs in the establishment and running of their own businesses in the Sultanate. It provides capital and assistance in order to develop the SME sector and generate job opportunities. So far, Sharakah has supported more than 50 businesses in 13 years. It also regularly takes part in exhibitions, among which the annual Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Exhibition and Conference aiming to help it reach out to budding entrepreneurs.

BankDhofar’s Islamic branch opening soon

According to an announcement by BankDhofar, its Maisarah Islamic banking branch in Azaiba is planned to be opened in the coming weeks. The new branch shall further cement its commitment to putting its customers first, Oman's community and economic stability. A team of highly skilled Islamic banking specialists will operate at the new branch. Most advanced technology aiming to ensure Maisarah operates smoothly will be utilized and a complete suite of services compliant with the Sharia-law will be offered.

Bank Muscat hosts ESRA workshop

Bank Muscat together with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) were hosts of a workshop on January 15th. The topic of the workshop was Environmental and Social Risk Analysis (ESRA). The event was held under the auspices of Sheikh Mohammed bin Said Al Kalbani, minister of Social Development. The goal of the two-day event at the headquarters of the bank is to identify environmental and social risks in lending and investment projects as a consequence of the activities of the financial and banking sector. Among the participants there were risk managers and analysts from banks, CSR and sustainability professionals, government representatives and consultants.

Syndicate content