Business Day live

The ins and outs of #IslamicFinance

In #South Africa First National Bank (FNB), Al Baraka and HBZ Bank are the only financial institutions offering Islamic banking services. These banks offer a range of Islamic cheque accounts, Islamic savings accounts and Islamic investment accounts as well as vehicle, property and asset finance. CEO of FNB Islamic Banking Amman Muhammad says the bank has seen a consistent rise in the number of South Africans taking up the bank’s transactional banking and investment, vehicle and property finance products irrespective of faith. Customers are looking for an alternative banking form and FNB can offer a principles-based approach. Muhammad says the normal regulatory and risk rules apply to all Islamic banking products.

FNB targets Islamic banking on continent

First National Bank (FNB) is looking to expand its Islamic banking offering to Zambia and Tanzania before the end of its financial year in June next year. FNB, which has been on an expansion phase in select countries in the rest of Africa, is looking to use the Islamic banking offering to capture clients, especially in those countries that have big Muslim communities. Amman Muhammad, the CEO of FNB Islamic Banking, said that in sub-Saharan Africa there were about 280-million Muslim people and the FirstRand group had a presence in countries that had about 200-million Muslims. The bank already offers Islamic banking in Botswana.

Boost for women in Islamic banking

Samina Akram left her job at Merrill Lynch International Bank eight years ago to start her own consultancy in London, specialising in sharia-compliant finance. hat started as an informal ladies lunch club with other women in the industry will this week become the first global Women in Islamic & Ethical Finance Forum, a conference for more than 200 people at KPMG’s Canary Wharf offices in London. Akram, 36, who set up Samak Consultants, seeks to support women in an industry in which they face more obstacles than in conventional banking due to religious conservatism, restrictions on mixed-gender working environments and stereotypes about women in Islamic finance.

Islamic banking sector in SA shows healthy growth

On the African continent, the Islamic finance market’s assets are estimated to be more than $1.6-trillion (about R17-trillion) and are expected to surge to more than $5-trillion by 2020. The growth of Islamic banking has not gone unnoticed by the National Treasury. Earlier this year, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan revealed that South Africa will launch sukuk. Several banks like Absa, FNB, Al Baraka Bank and HBZ Bank offer Islamic commercial and corporate banking products in South Africa. The total Islamic banking sector in South Africa is estimated to be worth as much as R12-billion. However, the banks have their sights also set on expansion beyond South Africa’s borders.

NEWS ANALYSIS: HSBC expects Islamic bond market sales will surpass record

According to HSBC, global Islamic bond sales are set to surpass sales from 2012 by 64%. Mohammed Dawood, Dubai-based MD of debt capital markets at HSBC Amanah, says that sales in the six-nation GCC will surge to between $30bn and $35bn this year. The Dubai government kicked off sovereign sukuk sales last month with $750m of 10-year Islamic notes after its borrowing costs fell 40%. Standard and Poor’s estimates show that Islamic financial assets will double by 2015 to $3-trillion.

Islamic bank Al Baraka launches full foreign exchange service in SA

DURBAN-based Al Baraka Bank launched a full international foreign exchange service and now offers a full range of international banking services. As part of the Al Baraka Banking Group it can leverage off the group and its 14 subsidiaries around the world. According to the bank's CE Shabir Chohan, the full foreign exchange service coupled with the recently launched chequebook facility will position the bank as a competitive commercial bank in South Africa.

Syndicate content