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.

Kuwait Finance Malaysia to trim bad loans

The Malaysian unit of Kuwait Finance House, the Gulf state's top Islamic lender, will cut its bad loans to the industry average within 5 years as it finances stronger names, its chief said on Thursday.

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.

Bahrain's Gulf Finance to set up $326 million Syrian unit

Bahrain's Gulf Finance House (GFH) said it was close to setting up a $326 million unit in Syria as the Islamic investment bank looks to boost revenues in a relatively untapped banking market.

Allianz Takaful in talks on sukuk issue - CEO

Allianz Takaful is in talks with a regional Islamic institution, urging it to issue a sukuk bond earmarked for the industry, as it struggles to find long term issues in the market, its chief executive said. It has been difficult for takaful - or sharia compliant - insurers to sell products like annuities and pension plans because of the lack of long term Islamic bonds to match such liabilities.

Deutsche Bank to bring major sukuk to ME market

Deutsche Bank expects to bring to the market a "major" Islamic bond in Saudi Arabia by the end of the first quarter, as part of a wider push into the world's largest oil exporter, a company executive said on Tuesday.

Gulf banks seen launching sukuk funds

Several banks in the Gulf region are considering launching Islamic bond, or sukuk, funds, some likely in the first half of the year, a top fund manager said on Wednesday.

Fatwa shopping? Not for Barclays

The limited number of Sharia scholars has meant the same group of men are on various advisory boards which has led to criticism that people can go “fatwa shopping” and that scholars are in it for the money. Not so, says Harris Irfan, head of Islamic products at Barclays Capital.

Saudi regulator fines top Islamic lender al-Rajhi

Saudi Arabia's regulator has fined the country's biggest Islamic bank, Al-Rajhi , for not notifying it about the resignation of two senior executives, the regulator said.

Gulf countries, IDB give Turkmenistan $1billion loan

Turkmenistan, Central Asia's largest gas producer, is getting $1 billion loan from a group of state-run funds from the GCC countries and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), to finance infrastructure projects in the country, Reuters reported.

Malaysian scholars declares organised tawarruq permissible

Organised and reverse tawarruq comply with Sharia, in the opinion of Engku Rabiah Adawiah Engku Ali who advises the central bank of Malaysia provided they involve the actual sale and delivery of goods.

Saad, AHAB to seek USD 10 bn debt restructuring

Saudi-based Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros Co (AHAB) said it was about to start talks with creditors, after a newspaper reported it and Saad Group are seeking to restructure USD 10 bn in debt.

PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Syariah aims to double assets by year end

Indonesian Islamic financer PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Syariah (BRI Syariah) expects its assets to double to 3 trillion rupiah by the end of the year.

Bahrain Sukuk oversubscribed

Bahrain's USD 750 mn sovereign sukuk issue attracted an order book of about USD 4 bn and the size was increased to USD 750 mn. The sukuk was priced at the low end of expectations at 340 basis points over US Treasuries. Some 55 % of the issue went to Middle Eastern investors, with Europe accounting for 26 % and Asia for 15 % of the investor base of almost 200 accounts.

Tamweel rejects media report about the financing needs

Tamweel says that it does not agree with media report rejected a media report saying it needed USD 1.55 bn to restart its financing operations.

New Islamic bank in Indonesia

Reuters reported on 18 March that Indonesia's third-largest lender, PT Bank Central Asia Tbk, is planning to launch an Islamic bank in September following its acquisition of a small bank last year, its vice president director said.

Indonesian PT Bakrieland Development Tbk going to raise Sukuk

Indonesian property firm PT Bakrieland Development Tbk wants to raise up to 300 billion rupiah from an Sukuk issue, or twice the amount previously indicated. Bakrieland has appointed PT Bahana Securities and PT Madani Securities as underwriters for the sukuk. The firm plans to issue a 2-year tranche with an indicative yield of 14-15 %, and a 3-year tranche with an indicative yield of 15-16 %.

Sukuk fund series: HSBC Amanah starts sales

HSBC Amanah, the financial group's Islamic division, said it will start marketing its first Islamic Sukuk fund.

The HSBC Amanah Sukuk Fund, domiciled in Saudi Arabia, will comprise Sukuk, issued by 12 to 14 companies, mostly in the real estate, commercial banking and utilities sectors based in the Gulf Cooperation Council area. It would seek to raise USD 100 million for the fund, which has a 4-year maturity and will target mid- to high-single-digit annual returns.

Islamic banking in Iraq

Islamic banks first opened in Iraq in the 1990s and seven of the country's 42 banks are now Islamic. The central bank studies a new law for Islamic banks, but there is no time line.

Bilad has about 7,000 account holders, whose deposits rose to about 358 billion Iraqi dinars ($306 million) by the end of 2008 compared to 58 billion dinars a year earlier. Its capital had quadrupled to 100 billion dinars since its foundation, and it expects to hit 200 billion dinars in 2010.

Regulatory constrains the growth of Islamic banks.

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