Islamic finance short on wealth management -report

Islamic banks are failing to cater for clients' wealth management and estate planning needs, pushing them to rely largely on traditional asset managers, said a report published by Bank Sarasin (BSAN.S) this week.

New UK secretariat faces acid test to meet objectives

The launch of the UK Islamic Finance Secretariat (UKIFS) by the lord mayor of the City of London, Alderman Nick Anstee, at a reception at Mansion House on March 31, marks the establishment of the first Islamic finance trade body in Britain.

Saudi-Luxembourg cooperation in Islamic finance

The signing in Alkhobar of a strategic cooperation and alliance agreement between Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Hamad Al-Soaib Law Firm and the Luxembourg-based Lux Global Trust Services and Theisen Advocates recently is set to increase the use of the Duchy as a trust and tax domicile for Saudi investment products; investment vehicles such as special purpose vehicles (SPVs) used in the issuance of sukuk for instance; and the registration of investment funds, especially for UCITs (Undertakings for Collective Investment Trusts) of which Luxembourg is the world leader.

UK banks, govt bodies launch Sharia finance lobby

A group of British Islamic banks and government bodies launched on Wednesday a lobby group to further the industry's development and push for the issuance of the first UK sovereign Islamic bond. The UK Islamic Finance Secretariat will incorporate Islamic finance experts currently operating within committees of government organisations such as the UKTI, the government's international business development organisation, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), to strengthen the UK's position as an Islamic finance hub.

Islamic Wealth Management Report published by Bank Sarasin

Press Release

The report provides investors with an in-depth overview of the various asset classes in Islamic wealth management along with a synopsis of the market scenario during the past 18 months. The report also explores the concept of estate and succession planning, which Sarasin believes is insufficiently addressed in the Islamic finance industry and is a key element of Sarasin’s Islamic wealth management offering. Finally, the report provides an insight into the bank’s economic outlook for 2010.

The key issues and challenges addressed in the report are:

  • how Sharia screening reduced the downside in volatile markets and how it affects the finance industry and investors,
  • the behaviour of direct real estate investments in comparison with real estate funds and Sharia-compliant real estate investment trusts,
  • the income-related role of Sukuk within Islamic balanced portfolios and the probability of defaults,
  • a comparison between various Islamic investment funds ranging from income-oriented to commodity, real estate and equity funds,
  • the size and future of the Islamic private equity and venture capital industry,

International Summer School on Social Banking 2010

Banking on values - what values?

From 18 to 23 July 2010, the third international Summer School on Social Banking and Social Finance will take place.

The following topics will be covered specifically

* Best practices in Social Banking
* Values in banking
* The impact of banking in society
* Microfinance
* Religion and banking
* Banking as a commons
* Social Banking 2.0
* Individual and organisational competencies for Social Banking
* New Economics
* The role of donations in the monetary system

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has published a Guidance Note for Shariah Compliant Funds

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has published a Guidance Note for Shariah Compliant Funds.

The document explains how the legal and regulatory framework established under the Investment
Services Act would apply to Shariah-compliant funds established under Maltese law.
The MFSA stated that Malta’s principles-based regulatory regime lays emphasis on the
disclosure of all information that the investor needs to know before taking the investment
decision and on the transparency of investment management process itself. This allows a
high degree of freedom on the choice of investment strategies and asset allocation
policies adopted by investment funds, subject to conditions that vary according to the
level of experience and investment expertise of the target investor.

On this basis, the Guidance Note establishes that, whether set up as Professional Investor
Funds, UCITS or non-UCITS Retail Funds, Shariah Funds may be regulated in the same
manner as non-Shariah Funds. The level of disclosure and the applicable conditions
would be the same as those that are applicable to the respective category of retail or

Shari’ah-Compliant Master Agreement Introduced for Hedging Islamic Finance Transactions

On March 1, 2010 after many months of work, ISDA (the International Swaps and Derivatives Association) and IIFM (International Islamic Financial Market) jointly issued the first Shari'ah-compliant master agreement for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.[1] Styled the "ISDA / IIFM Ta'Hawwut Master Agreement" (ta'hawwut signifies "hedging" in Arabic), the new template master agreement (the "Ta'Hawwut Agreement") provides a framework for the expansion of derivatives activity in the Middle East, South Asia and many regions throughout the world where hedging is not currently standard practice due to ethical concerns. While based on the 2002 ISDA Master Agreement (the "2002 Master Agreement") and with many terms familiar to participants in swap markets, the Ta'Hawwut Agreement has been developed under the guidance and approval of the IIFM Shari'ah Advisory Panel. The Ta'Hawwut Agreement is therefore expected to be used as a reference for market participants where they or their customers need to hedge risks in line with Shari'ah principles.

CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Grameen-Jameel and IDB partner to launch ‘Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010'

For Immediate Release

March 8, 2010–CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Grameen-Jameel and Islamic Development Bank have joined forces to challenge the Islamic microfinance industry to develop new ideas for business models in the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010: Innovating Sustainable, Scalable, and Market-Driven Models. Islamic microfinance has gained some traction over the past few years, with a swift rise in the number of institutions offering microfinance products in compliance with Islamic principles. But the fundamental challenge for the Islamic microfinance industry remains meeting client demand with affordable, authentic, profitable, and market-driven products.

Asya Bank makes mark in cards

Asya Participation Bank is now directly accessing the international financial markets for financing. Asya Bank is also innovating new products including a new card family, under the "DIT Pratik" brand. The DIT Pratik card is a EMV contactless card.

Cagamas, Lebanon, Waha Capital Plan Sales: Islamic Bond Alert

The following borrowers are expected to sell Islamic bonds, which use asset returns to pay investors to comply with the religion’s ban on paying interest:


Islamic Finance must turn to its roots, by Muhammad Ayub

The global economy is facing a deep downturn as a result of the crisis. It was due to excessive
ability to create money and credit for earning increasing profits without creating anything of
value for use by the mankind. The system needs radical change in the approach, principles and
the operation of economic and financial systems. Creation of money, and lending it on interest –
interest based debts and financial obligations leading to undue receivables for the lenders, is
the biggest and primary problem of the conventional system. Islamic principles of finance
provide checks for the factors that have distorted the system. Enhanced supply of risk-related
capital, restricted risk taking, balanced return rate structure based on the real sector economic
activities, and supply of money commensurate with prospects of growth in an economy, provide
a sound basis for sustainable development. Hence, Islamic financial institutions and markets
have better ability to sustain in the hard times. Islamic banking industry should not only have
escaped unharmed during the crisis, it should also have availed the opportunity of developing

Bill offers little support for business - CPA

The recent Finance Bill in Ireland closed a tax loophole used by some multinationals to maximise profit, introduced new measures to increase Ireland’s appeal as an investment destination, and contained measures to make Ireland more attractive as a hub for hedge funds and for Islamic finance. Still it was criticised on other grounds by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA).

Changes to attract Islamic investment 'a first step'

PROPOSED TAX changes designed to attract business from the Islamic world are likely to be a first step according to Department of Finance officials. The Finance Bill proposes to introduce new measures designed to accommodate transactions that comply with Sharia.

Islamic Microfinance - Business Proposal Competition

CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Grameen-Jameel announced the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010: Innovating Sustainable, Scalable, and Market-Driven Models. The contest is a joint initiative to promote the innovative design of Shariah-compliant products for Islamic microfinance clients.

The organizers are seeking original Islamic microfinance business proposals which are profitable, sustainable, scalable, and Shariah-compliant. Finalists of this competition will be awarded with grant funds as well as need-based technical support to launch a pilot project of their proposed business idea.

It offers a unique opportunity to showcase innovative business ideas, gain industry-wide recognition, and benefit from the funds and technical expertise of leading institutions in the microfinance and Islamic finance sectors.

Islamic real estate again in vogue: S&P

Sharia-compliant investors are taking a renewed interest in commercial and residential real estate across the gulf region, trying to time any investments to catch a rebound in prices, Standard & Poor's told Reuters on Wednesday.

France risks sharia credentials over sukuk delay

France must host a sukuk issuance this year to show it is serious about Islamic finance and overcome the legal uncertainties that caused a delay to a 1 billion euro ($1.37 billion) issuance, a lawyer working on the deal Told Reuters on Wednesday. At least one French Islamic corporate bond, or sukuk, had been expected last year but was delayed by legal hurdles.

London sharia bank targets well-off Gulf clients: BLME CEO

Sharia-compliant Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) is targeting the thousands of rich Gulf residents who spend part of the year in London, to boost its private banking arm, its head told Reuters. The Bank will offer investors access to leased assets such as equipment, trucks, railway carriages and aeroplanes. The Bank's customers will invest in short-term revolving finance facilities, which allow a borrower to draw down and repay amounts for short periods throughout the life of the facility.

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