Central Asia

Eligibility of GoP Ijara Sukuk in Musharaka Pool

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has notified that now un-encumbered Government of Pakistan Ijara Sukuk may be included in the Musharaka Pool (MP), created under the Islamic Export Refinance Scheme (IERS). This inclusion will be subject to the several conditions. All Islamic Banking Institutions (IBIs) shall report Sukuk in MP under the sector heading of GoP Ijara Sukuk. IBIs shall maintain record of Sukuk issue included and the amount of that issue will be incorporated in the MP. The banks are advised to refer to SBP’s Islamic Export Refinance Scheme and other instructions issued from time to time. Other instructions on the subject remain unchanged,

ICIEC supports investments and exports in its member countries by more than USD 3 Billion in 2012

The Board of Governors of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), member of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, approved in its 20th Annual Meeting the Annual Report and the Financial Results for 1433H (2012). Last year, the Corporation has continued to enhance the support it provides for exports from and investments into our Member Countries. Despite the existing challenges, the Corporation's Business Insured numbers remained strong at USD 3.07 billion, which is comparable to the business insured numbers achieved last year. ICIEC Chief Operating Officer Khemais El-Gazzeh said, especially the Political Risk Insurance (PRI) program stood out, having increased by 167% to reach a record high of USD 825 million.

SECP passes orders against takaful company

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has passed orders against a takaful company for not complying with the provisions of the Insurance Ordinance, 2000 and the Companies Ordinance, 1984. Further, SECP’s insurance division has also passed an order against a life insurance company under section 130(2) of the Insurance Ordinance, 2000. The SECP has also issued 13 warning letters and four show-cause notices to various insurance and takaful companies for contravening various provisions of corporate laws, insurance laws and related accounting standards and regulations. To maintain transparency and provide equal opportunities to all insurance surveyors, Pakistan Insurance Institute has been mandated to examine and check the competency of surveyors, on the basis of which the SECP will issue a licence.

Veteran financier sets up private bank in Iran

Parviz Aghili earlier this year opened what is in effect the Iran's only privately owned bank, the Middle East Bank. It focuses on domestic corporate clients and wealthy individuals within Iran’s private sector. Since it opened its doors in January, the Middle East bank – the smallest Iranian bank with only three branches so far – has attracted 1.4tn rials ($114m) in deposits and granted 3tn rials in loans. But the greater challenge for the western-educated veteran banker will be avoiding to become state-owned. Aghili said the bank has no interest in attracting state-owned or quasi-state-owned companies as shareholders or as clients. For now the Middle East bank plans to remain small. Moreover, it plans to open representative offices in countries such as India and Oman.

‘Bank Mellat appeal has global implications’

After the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran-based Bank Mellat and removed them in January, the EU Council has now launched an appeal against the decision of the court. However, Bank Mellat is at present considering applying to the EU Court to strike out the EU Council’s appeal on the grounds that the appeal was filed too late. According to Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner at Zaiwalla & Co, the EU Council appealed the decision due to political pressure from the United States government to reinstate sanctions. He stressed the importance of an independent court system in order to deal with businesses who have disputes criss-crossing legal borders.

Iran to host Mideast largest financial expo

Iran plans to hold the 7th International Exchange, Bank and Insurance (FINEX) exhibition early May which is Middle East's largest financial and investment expo. Over 280 foreign and internal companies will join the event. The expo hosts 12 foreign financial companies from Turkey, the UAE, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia and South Korea. Exchange, bank and insurance, that is, capital and money markets and insurance industry are parts of the exhibition. The expo is held on May 7-10. Besides, the 5th international Islamic capital market conference will be held in Tehran on April 28-29.

Al Baraka opens new head office in Pakistan

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) unveiled its new head office, ‘Al Baraka House’ in the city of Karachi, Pakistan on 20 April 2013. The new building was inaugurated by Chairman Al Baraka Bank Pakistan, Adnan Ahmed Yousif, who is also the President and Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group. Adnan Ahmed Yousif emphasized the global strength of Al Baraka as a global Islamic bank, with presence of over 500 branches in more than 15 countries around the world.

Banking practices: Banks meet to improve Islamic financing SOPs

Senior Shariah scholars and advisers of Islamic banks and conventional banks with Islamic windows have agreed to standardise Forex and interbank Musharakah agreements between Islamic banks and Islamic banking windows. This move will facilitate the availability of Shariah-compliant venues for deployment of excess liquidity of Islamic banks. This agreement was reached during a meeting called by Meezan Bank Ltd, in which Shariah scholars discussed the challenges in Islamic Treasury Operations.The forum was attended by several prominent Shariah scholars along with Product Development and Treasury professionals of all major Islamic banks and Islamic banking windows of conventional banks.

Burj Bank CSR initiative

Burj Bank has launched an employee driven CSR initiative called “Giving beyond the Workplace Campaign”. As part of the programme, Burj Bank Employees along with the Senior Management team visited the TCF (The Citizen’s Foundation) Qayyumabad campus. Burj Bank members adopted one class each for the day where they spent their time in storytelling, book reading and educating the students about the importance of Earth Day. Moreover, Mr. Ahmed Khizer Khan, President & CEO of Burj Bank also presented a donation cheque from Burj Bank’s Charity Fund to Asaad Ayub Ahmad, President & CEO of TCF. This marked the beginning of a new relationship between the two organizations.

Burj Bank celebrates Earth Day

Burj Bank has launched an employee driven CSR initiative called "Giving beyond the Workplace Campaign". As part of the program, Burj Bank Employees along with the Senior Management team visited the TCF (The Citizen's Foundation) Qayyumabad campus as an Earth Day CSR Activity. Burj Bank members adopted one class each for the day where they spent their time in storytelling, book reading and educating the students about the importance of Earth Day. Ahmed Khizer Khan, President & CEO of Burj Bank also presented a donation cheque from Burj Bank's Charity Fund to Asaad Ayub Ahmad, President & CEO of TCF.

Why Islamic banking is growing rapidly in Pakistan

Islamic banking is the fastest growing segment of Pakistan’s financial services sector, with an average anual growth rate of 59.6%. However, 67% of Islamic banking customers also use conventional banks, largely due to a wider range of services offered by conventional banks. Ultimately, however, the Islamic banks seem to have caught on the need to compete on their service breadth and quality. Islamic bank CEOs have all emphasised the fact that their banks now offer the full complement of services offered at conventional banks. A study revealed that deposits in Islamic banks appear to be growing mostly due to customers switching from conventional to Islamic banks. Very few customers start out from scratch at an Islamic bank.

UBL Islamic Principal Preservation Fund launched

UBL Funds introduced the UBL Islamic Principal Preservation Fund on April 01, 2013. For the first time in Pakistan, investments can be made in a Shariah Compliant investment scheme with 100 percent exposure into the stock market while benefiting from the principal preservation advantage. According to UBL Funds' CEO Mir Muhammad Ali, the investors benefit with the fund's pioneer methodology of Constant Proportion Portfolio Insurance (CPPI) in Shariah compliant investments. The CPPI method is intended to control risk and protect capital via daily valuation of risk budget available and daily portfolio rebalancing thus aiming to preserve the principal investment.

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance Interviews Akhuwat, the World's First Completely Interest-Free Microfinance Program

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance in Dubai interviewed Pakistan-based Akhuwat, a microfinance program that has given loans to over 1 million people, without charging interest. Akhuwat-founder Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib explained that they rely on 4 core principles: giving up interest, volunteerism, localization, and empowerment. Akhuwat started a decade ago with a $100 loan, and until now has dispersed $30 million. 99.8% of the loans were paid back in full. Dr. Saqib said that financial institutions began their activities on the basis of doubt, but they started their activities on the basis of trust.

Burj Bank deposits grows 70pc

In 2012, Burj Bank’s deposit base grew from Rs.20 billion to Rs.36 billion reflecting a deposit growth of 77pc whereas the total assets grew from Rs.27.6b to Rs.47b reflecting 70pc growth during the year. During the year, the Bank launched and established several products and services such as Carsaaz Auto financing, Home Musharaka, Investment Banking, Islamic Debit MasterCard and an efficient internet banking platform. Morover, the Bank has grown its nationwide branches from 50 to 75.

Dubai Islamic Bank reports Rs 501m profit

Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited has reported a year end profit before tax of Rs501 million. Furthermore, a 38 per cent deposit growth was achieved in comparison to 2011, taking total deposits to Rs53.11 billion in 2012. DIBPL’s asset base rose by 32% in contrast to 2011 increasing the asset base to Rs63.5 billion in 2012. The Bank’s investments grew substantially by 65% over the year, taking total investments to Rs21.33 billion.DIBPL opened 25 new branches in 2012, increasing the total branch network to 100 in 35 cities. The Bank added over 20,000 more customers in 2012, taking full customer base to over 100,000.

Arab world urged to close food supply gap

UAE's Minister of Finance called upon the Arab world to invest more than US$80 billion (Dh293.84bn) in agriculture to help to bridge a widening food gap. Without investment to increase output, the shortfall in food in the region would rise from a value of $41bn in 2010 to $89bn in 2020. Poor infrastructure, instability in parts of the region and lack of investment in scientific research were among the factors why agriculture projects in the Arab world were not achieving the targeted rises in production. In an effort to help tackle food security, officials agreed to double the capital of the Arab Authority for Agriculture Investment and Development, a multilateral lender aimed at promoting investment in agriculture.

Kuveyt Turk to raise capital, open Iraq, Qatar branches

The Turkish unit of the Kuwait Finance House, Kuveyt Turk, will raise its capital by TL 960 million in the next three months and another TL 360 million will be added over the following 15 months, according to its General Manager Ufuk Uyan. Moreover, the bank is planning to issue a sukuk worth TL 100 million ($55.40 million) in September or October. Besides, Kuveyt Turk expects to open a new overseas branch in Qatar and Iraq.

SECP slaps Rs20m penalty on chief executive

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has cancelled asset management and advisory service licences of Dawood Capital Management Limited (DCML) and slapped a penalty of Rs20 million on its chief executive officer for providing undue benefits to its connected persons and close relatives. Besides, it also imposed another million rupees penalty on the chief financial officer/company secretary. Redemptions were made from collective investment schemes by the connected persons before provisioning and the connected persons, the CEO and her close relatives had averted an imminent loss of Rs18.224 million.

Asset management licence of DCML cancelled

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has cancelled the Asset Management Licence of Dawood Capital Management Limited (DCML) and imposed a penalty of Rs20 million on its chief executive officer for providing “undue benefits” to his relatives and connected persons. The commission has also taken action against DCML’s chief financial controller/company secretary. The SECP found that the connected persons had made redemptions from different investment schemes before provisioning, and had averted imminent losses of Rs18.224 million.

Dell Ends Software Maintenance With Iran Bank

Dell discovered that Quest Software had supplied software maintenance to Melli Bank, subsidiary of Bank Melli in Iran. The maintenance occurred before Dell’s buyout of Quest. In a letter to the SEC, Dell disclosed Quest’s small but potentially worrisome banking engagement. It said that the company’s Form 10-K contained information about the business transaction worth US$169.90. Although not much, any dollar amount flowing to a technology company from a bank with ties to Iran could have raised some serious red flags. It's unclear what type of e-discovery software Dell used to uncover the business transaction.

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