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London to bolster Islamic finance credentials

Posted on 12 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The UK government has set up an “Islamic finance task force” to reinforce London’s position as the dominant western hub for this niche but fast-growing part of the financial system.
Islamic finance replicates many of the products and services of conventional banks and asset managers but avoids areas prohibited to Muslims – particularly interest – and encourages the use of “real” assets to underlie most transactions………………………………………..Full Article: Source

City in fresh bid to become Sharia finance hub

Posted on 12 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

London is set to go head-to-head with the world’s leading Islamic finance centres as the government pushes to make the UK a leading centre for Sharia-compliant lending. The government has announced plans to boost Britain’s profile as a hub for Islamic banking, in the hope of benefiting from the rapidly growing market for Sharia-compliant financial products.
A task force led by Greg Clark, Secretary to the Treasury, and Baroness Warsi, Foreign Office minister, has been handed the remit of “showcasing the UK as the preferred choice for the Muslim world to invest in and do business in”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Investment Dar to sell stake in bank

Posted on 12 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Investment Dar, the controlling shareholder in British luxury car maker Aston Martin, on Sunday agreed to sell its stake in a loss-making Bahraini bank for $92m as the Kuwaiti firm restructures debt.
Investment Dar accepted an offer from National Bank of Bahrain and a state-run Social Insurance Organisation Asset Management, a unit of pension fund Social Insurance Organisation, to sell its 51.6% stake, or 484-million shares, in Bahrain Islamic Bank at 72 fils apiece, according to statements posted on the Bahrain Bourse………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank grants loan to Dubai’s DAFZA

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA) was granted a credit line of AED500 million (US$136million) by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). The agreement was inked at the office of DAFZA by the CEO of ADIB Tirad Al Mahmoud and Director General of DAFZA Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni.
“The Dubai Airport Freezone has made significant efforts in promoting Dubai and the UAE to the international business communities, we are pleased to provide them with customized Islamic financial solutions that will help them achieve their expansion objectives,” according to Al Mahmoud. ……………………………………….Full Article: Source

BLME registers $10.9mln operating profit

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

BLME, the largest Islamic bank in Europe whose main shareholders are Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank and the Kuwaiti Public Institution for Social Security, said its net operating profit before impairment charges in 2012 hit GBP7.3 million ($10.9 million), up 67 per cent over GBP4.4 million the previous year.
An independent wholesale Sharia’a compliant bank based in London, BLME said its operating profit before tax touched GBP5.51 million. The group’s balance sheet too showed a 29 per cent growth whch soared to more than GBP1 billion………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance: Myth vs reality

Posted on 08 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Misconception 1: Islamic finance is a front for financing terrorism. Facts: Islamic finance is a genuine, legitimate business, offering Sharia-compliant financial products as an alternative to existing financial products.
Islamic financial institutions are regulated and supervised in several jurisdictions and bound by strict laws, including anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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NBAD named best asset management house in Middle East

Posted on 08 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), has been named the Best Asset Management House in the Middle East by International Takaful Awards for the second year running. “Winning this award for a second year in a row and adding this accolade to the list of other awards that NBAD’s Asset Management Group has won confirms that we continue to deliver innovative products that meet the highest expectations of investors and contribute to the development of the asset management industry in the country,” said Alan Durrant, the Group Chief Investment Officer of NBAD and General Manager of Asset Management Group.
International Takaful, which awarded the accolade based on financial achievement and client survey, recognized NBAD’s Asset Management Group for its superior performance and its commitment to innovate and offer Shari’a-compliant products. NBAD won the same award last year. ……………………………………….Full Article: Source

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HwangIM taps into Islamic finance for new fund

Posted on 07 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Hwang Investment Management has launched he latest addition to their in-house managed, income series of funds, the Hwang AIIMAN Select Income Fund. The firm seeks to tap into the Shariah-compliant equity market, fast growing sukuk and Islamic money market instruments.
“HwangIM has been building up our offerings and performance track record in the income fund space since 2004, following the launch of our first Shariah income fund, Hwang AIIMAN Income Plus Fund. Since the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), the demand for simpler, stable, income-type funds grew in prominence and it was obvious that investors were not keen on taking excessive risks………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The basics of Islamic banking and finance

Posted on 07 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A financial system based on principles of trust, ethics and partnership can become a partner in the development of your business. The Islamic banking and finance industry has developed from what was once a niche exotic product to take its place as part of the mainstream in a matter of just 40 years. Naturally the curiosity associated with this alternative financial system has also intensified. In this article, we explain its basics.
Islamic banking and finance is intended to serve the same underlying purpose as any other conventional bank or financial institution: to intermediate funds from those who have capital (capital rich) to those who need it (capital deficient). However, as the saying goes, ‘God is in the details’………………………………………..Full Article: Source

ADIB finances DAFZA’s expansion with AED 500mln

Posted on 07 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a top-tier Islamic Finance institution, announced today that it had signed an agreement to provide financing facilities for AED 500 million to Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA). The financing will be used to expand DAFZA’s key offices buildings, business centre and food court which are due to be completed in 2015.
The agreement was signed at DAFZA’s headquarters by Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA and Tirad- Al Mahmoud, CEO of ADIB………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hong Kong Islamic finance push won’t challenge regional rivals

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council is considering a bill that will ease taxes on transfers of underlying assets of Islamic finance products, giving them equal treatment to conventional instruments;But Hong Kong lacks cultural connections and a large shariah-compliant investor base.
Investors might instead be looking to invest in China;The bill only covers assets located in Hong Kong. To include assets in China, China would need to amend its relevant laws for equal tax treatment of shariah-compliant products……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Can global banking giants learn Islamic finance?

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Renewed focus on interest-free finance sees one of the world’s banking giants hire Ethica to deliver Islamic finance e-learning to thousands of its bankers. At a time in history when people are beginning to question the viability of interest-based banking - banks having triggered the entire financial mess - there is renewed focus on interest-free banking. Enter Islamic finance.
In a hotly contested bid to deliver Islamic finance e-learning at one of the world’s largest global banks, Dubai-based Ethica won the final mandate to train thousands of the bank’s employees. The name of the banking giant remained under wraps but sources close to the deal said that bankers from 8 countries were slated to receive Ethica’s training. (Press Release)

AAOIFI wins Islamic finance industry award

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has been given the award for Most Outstanding Standard Setting Body by Islamic Finance News, an industry publication. The award was presented to AAOIFI at a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, recently and accepted by Dr. Khaled R. Al Fakih, Secretary General and CEO of AAOIFI .
Dr. Al Fakih said that “In receiving the award, we are honouring the exceptional work of members of our Shari’a Board as well as Accounting and Auditing Standards Board and their committees in developing and reviewing AAOIFI standards. The award also reflects the tireless effort of the Chairman and members of our Board of Trustees in providing strategic oversight and guidance for AAOIFI operations.” (Press Release)

Italy to host Islamic finance forum

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has announced that it will be organising the 4th Islamic Financial Services Forum: The European Challenge on 9 April 2013 in Rome, Italy.
Banca D’Italia is hosting the Forum, which has received strong support, especially in terms of attendance and the participation of a number of central banks’ governors, key regulators, market players and opinion leaders of the European financial community. (Press Release)

Standard & Poor’s sees active year ahead for Islamic finance

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Banks are expected to continue tapping Islamic debt facilities to keep sukuk markets active in the year ahead, according to a new report from Standard & Poor’s, amid mounting cynicism that the asset class is falling out of favour with investors. But the credit ratings agency warned that the pipeline of new bond sales could become jammed if investors’ demands for higher yields on sukuk and longer-dated debts head too high.
“In view of supportive debt capital market conditions, we forecast banks’ issuance levels to remain elevated in 2013,” the report said. “We expect most of the impetus to come from banks in the United Arab Emirates, the largest issuers in 2012, and Qatar, where issuance has been steadily increasing.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Singapore’s Islamic finance dream is fading fast

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

While Malaysia continues powering ahead in Islamic finance, which is based on ethical principles and bans interest, Singapore seems to have given up the ghost.
At least one leading player has already exited the retail Islamic finance market here to focus on Malaysia. Even headhunters have been relocating from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to help international banks set up Islamic finance teams there. And now a key tax incentive for the business in Singapore has been allowed to lapse………………………………………..Full Article: Source

DIB meeting okays 100pct acquisition of Tamweel

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai Islamic Bank, or DIB, has confirmed the 100 per cent acquisition of Islamic housing finance provider Tamweel and said it will unlock new opportunities for both entities.
The bank is the majority shareholder in Tamweel with 58.2 per cent of issued equity. Monday’s extraordinary general assembly meeting voted in favour of DIB’s formal offer to acquire the remaining 41.8 per cent of the issued shares in Tamweel it does not currently own………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Billionaire seeks Sukuk for Istanbul finance hub

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Agaoglu Group, a Turkish company with interests in the building industry, energy and tourism, plans to raise $2 billion in Islamic debt to finance the construction of Istanbul’s financial district.
The company hired investment bank Aktif Bank to manage the sale in April, Agaoglu Chairman Ali Agaoglu said in an interview yesterday in Dubai, where he opened an office to lure Persian Gulf wealth to Turkey’s construction industry. The fundraising would also include Murabaha facilities, he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia: IFSA milestone for Islamic finance

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Often times, when a general election draws near, I usually get a bit nostalgic and proud of what my country has achieved within 56 short years as an independent and sovereign nation. It also gets me excited about what else we, as Malaysians, can do to better ourselves as a nation of dreamers and builders.
Naturally, as a Malaysian who has been involved in the Islamic finance industry globally, I am especially proud of what my country has achieved in this field over the years. The industry’s humble beginning in Malaysia started formally in 1963 when Lembaga Tabung Haji was established by the government to facilitate savings among Muslims in a syariah-compliant manner to prepare for their haj………………………………………..Full Article: Source

AmInvest to grow AUM by 20pct this year

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

AmInvest, the new brand for the funds management business of AMMB Holdings Bhd, aims to grow its assets under management (AUM) by 20% this year on the back of sound funds performance, innovative products and recovering global economic outlook.
AmInvestment Services Bhd director of retail funds Ng Chze How said AmInvest has RM32.6 billion AUM as at Jan 31, 2013, a 19% increase from its AUM of RM27.4 billion a year ago. To date, AmInvest markets 81 unit trust funds emcompassing both conventional funds and Shariah-compliant funds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance in 2013: Beyond the growth

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Year upon year, the Islamic finance industry posts stellar growth figures. However, as large Western lenders withdraw from the sector, is Islamic finance in as healthy a shape as the figures suggest? The Banker asks a number of experts in the field what the future holds for sharia-compliant banking.
There has been no shortage of articles written about how Islamic finance is growing at a galloping pace, with its estimated 15% to 20% annual growth rate considerably outstripping that seen in the conventional banking industry. Global Islamic assets held by commercial banks stood at $1.3bn in 2011, but the industry’s forecast growth of some 40% over two years will see this figure rise to $1.8bn in 2013, according to research by Ernst & Young………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai can become Islamic finance hub

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

In the wake of the global economic crisis, investors are looking for well-governed financial products and centres to safely put their money. In many ways this is behind the growing international appeal for Islamic financial products, like sukuk (islamic bonds).
Islamic finance refers to economic practices that comply with Sharia, which generally prohibits interest, short-selling and certain forms of financial trading. It was this type of opaque, even fraudulent, financial transactions — driven by a desire for short-term, unsustainable profits — that were at the root of the global financial crisis. As a result, investors are turning to products that are well-governed and run to the highest ethical standards………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Noor Awqaf formed to tap Islamic finance

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to establish a new asset management firm, specialising in Awqaf (Islamic endownments), in Dubai’s bid to become a global centre for the business of Shariah-compliant in line with the emirate’s vision to position as the world’s capital for the Islamic economy.
Ahmed Kalim, Deputy Group chief executive officer, Noor Investment Group, and Tayeb Abdel Rahman Al Rayes, secretary-general of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (Amaf), have signed the MoU to set up Noor Awqaf LLC in the UAE. Noor Awqaf will complement the work of Amaf in offering enabling financial services to Awqaf entities around the world………………………………………..Full Article: Source

New Dubai firm to manage Islamic endowments

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai will host a new asset management firm specialising in awqaf (Islamic endowments), as the emirate seeks to become a global centre for the business of sharia-compliant charitable foundations, company officials said on Sunday.
Awqaf are believed to control tens of billions of dollars worth of assets around the Muslim world, where people contribute a portion of their wealth, in cash or other forms, to charitable projects such as mosques and schools. Consultancy Ernst & Young estimates awqaf had roughly US$105bn of assets in 2010………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Egypt: As governments push to sell Islamic finance, are consumers really buying it?

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Finally, one of the most obvious markets for Islamic finance is opening for business. Egypt’s Government is currently inundated with applications for banking licences as foreign banks rush to take advantage of its potential. It’s also launched an Islamic index and is hoping to plug a $1 billion hole in its finances with a Sukuk issuance this year.
Surely Egypt, with an economy dependent on agriculture, a 90 per cent Muslim population and a claim to being the birthplace of Islamic finance is the perfect country for Islamic finance to thrive. Its devoutly religious population – 84 per cent of which support the death penalty for those who leave Islam, according to a 2010 Pew Global Attitude Survey – must welcome the chance to bank without violating their strict faith………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai to setup watchdog for Islamic financial products

Posted on 28 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The government of Dubai has announced its plans to establish a central Sharia board to oversee all Islamic financial products used in the emirate. The move is also expected to further develop an interest in the Islamic financial markets by encouraging government-linked entities to issue and list sukuk on the local equity market. The plan has been envisaged to strengthen Dubai’s reputation in the Islamic finance market and make it a global hub for all financial transactions based on Islamic principles.
However, Dubai is expected to face stiff competition from London and Malaysia, which have a sound Islamic finance system and are actively involved in trading of sukuk (Islamic bonds). Currently, besides Malaysia, few countries have a central regulatory board and most Gulf countries have a decentralized model of regulation. ……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Scotland could be go-to place for ethical banking and Islamic finance

Posted on 27 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Recent figures from the Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) show that more than 50% of Scots want to see some of their money invested using green or ethical criteria – meaning the country has an opportunity to become a hub for ethical finance.
The IFC invited governmental representatives, as well as business leaders and academics, to a recent round table discussion, which discussed such topics as marketing challenging and measuring social returns………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kenya Re sets sights on Islamic finance

Posted on 26 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Kenya Reinsurance Corporation is planning to venture in sharia-compliant business as it seeks to expand its presence in the growing Islamic finance segment. The local reinsurer has confirmed that it will start ReTakaful insurance in the country and the areas where it already has a presence in West Africa and the Middle East markets.
“There is a change in the insurance market and we want to take full advantage when it fully blossoms,” said the firm’s managing director, Mr Jadiah Mwarania, during an interview at the head office in Nairobi………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar has potential to become major Islamic finance platform, says QIIB CEO

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Qatar can become a major global platform for Islamic finance in view of its resources, expertise in Shariah-compliant products and services, and world class regulatory framework, said International Islamic (QIIB) chief executive officer, Abdulbasit A al-Shaibei.
Qatar, he said, is significantly active in the major global Islamic centres such as Malaysia. Also, Islamic finance has growing demand in Qatar and the region………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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Is Islamic finance and banking for Muslims only?

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic finance is no longer a dream, rather it is a success story across the world, including some non-Muslim majority countries like, USA, UK, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. There are about 430 Islamic finance institutions and 191 conventional institutions having Islamic banking and finance windows in 70 countries. Their total assets size is around $1.6 trillion while the potential size is around $5 trillion.
This sector is growing fast in Bangladesh also, and has already covered about 20% of the total banking assets. It may be mentioned here that Muslims in non-Muslim majority countries practice Islamic banking and finance and some non-Muslims also follow this system, though the percentage is very small………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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NBD to finance electric grid using Islamic finance

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The National Bank for Development (NBD) announced on that it has signed on to finance US$110 million in improvements for the East Delta Electricity Company, which will be the first public project financed according to principles of Islamic Sharia, according to a bank statement.
The financing will go towards parts replacements in the Shabab and Damietta stations run by the East Delta Electricity Production Company. These improvements, according to the bank, will help increase the capacity of the national electrical grid………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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Hong Kong: One step forward in developing Islamic finance

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

In order to consolidate Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre and tap the fast growing market of Islamic finance, the HKSAR Government indicated in the 2009/10 Hong Kong Budget that it would work on improving Hong Kong’s regime to facilitate the development of Islamic finance in Hong Kong.
In March 2012, the HKSAR Government launched a two-month public consultation on the proposed legislative amendments to facilitate the development of the Islamic bonds (i.e. sukuk) market in Hong Kong………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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KPMG named best Islamic finance adviser by Euromoney

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

KPMG has been named ‘Best Islamic Assurance and Advisory Services Provider’ in the 2012 Euromoney Islamic finance awards. This marks the sixth consecutive year KPMG has taken the top prize, which is unequalled in the assurance and advisory category.
Now in their eleventh year, the awards are widely regarded as the benchmark awards for the global Islamic finance industry. Euromoney again highlighted KPMG’s active role in promoting and supporting the development of the Islamic finance industry around the world………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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Malaysia banks on reforms to spur Islamic finance growth

Posted on 22 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Regulatory reforms are underway to help Malaysia’s Islamic banking industry expand further, but for government plans to succeed, they will need to be matched by action from some reluctant banks. The government originally aimed for 20 per cent market share for Islamic banks by 2010, but despite double-digit growth in both lending and assets, the sector has fallen shy of this mark.
Islamic banks have added RM111.6 billion in assets over the past two years, bringing their share of total banking assets in Malaysia to 19.6 per cent in December 2012, central bank data shows. Their share of loan business crossed the 20 per cent mark in January 2012, reaching 21.3 per cent last December………………………………….Full Article: Source

Dubai could learn from London to build Islamic finance hub

Posted on 21 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai is aiming to become a global capital of the Islamic economy. But, while a great deal of Islamic finance business is done in Dubai and the wider UAE, the industry is very much in its infancy and needs to look to partners in other financial centres to help it to develop.
Malaysia and Indonesia are the obvious world leaders in the field and are already working closely with the growing number of Islamic institutions that have set up in the UAE………………………………….Full Article: Source

Cross-border tax on Islamic finance prohibitively high

Posted on 21 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A new study into the cross border tax burden on Islamic finance transactions in the Middle East and North Africa region, relative to the tax burden placed on conventional finance, underscores the importance of regional tax legislative changes to equalize the tax treatment of shariah-compliant financial options.
The study reviewed the tax treatment of four common Islamic finance structures, commodity murabaha, sukuk, salaam and istisna in eight MENA region countries: Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and also in the Qatar Financial Centre………………………………….Full Article: Source

Tapping the Islamic finance industry’s growth potential in Bangladesh

Posted on 21 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The growth potential for Bangladesh’s Islamic finance industry is enormous, and coupled with a steadily growing economy and financial reforms. With support from the Bangladesh government, financial regulators and the central bank, Bangladesh can be poised to become the next hub for Islamic finance in Asia and on a global scale, the world Islamic scholars opined in the International Islamic Finance Roadshow held recently in Bangladesh.
In the roadshow, the panelists discussed on various issues on Islamic Finance such as Challenges & Opportunities in Bangladesh’s Islamic Finance Sector, Possibilities and Opportunities for Diversification of Islamic Products, Facilitating Shariah Compliant Investment Flows in Bangladesh and South Asia through innovative products, structures and channels, crucial steps to take Bangladesh’s Islamic Finance to the Next Level etc………………………………….Full Article: Source

Hong Kong: Islamic finance getting there little by little

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

With the platform for an Islamic finance offering in Hong Kong almost complete, what are the prospects for the growth of the Islamic finance sector in Hong Kong? Bryant Edwards, Craig Nethercott and Nomaan Raja ask whether the region has the capacity to foster an Islamic finance sector.
The Arabic exclamation ‘shwaya – shwaya’ (or ‘little by little’) comes to mind when one reviews the progress of Hong Kong towards establishing itself as an Islamic finance hub in Asia. Since 2007 Hong Kong has been focused on the need to develop a fiscal environment to encourage and sustain an Islamic finance offering. Meanwhile, the global sukuk market has continued its rapid growth with the value of sukuk issues in 2012 said to have reached over US$121 billion…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Islamic finance is a supply-driven market

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Despite the claims by proponents of Islamic finance that there is a “pent-up demand” for Islamic financial products, in reality there seems to be a growing disinterest in such products. Regardless, the proponents continue to argue for adjusting the conventional secular financial system to sharia, regardless the market’s dwindling interest.
The decision by HSBC late in 2012 to significantly downsize its worldwide Islamic banking operations serves to illustrate the point. According to Reuters , HSBC made the decision despite being one of the pioneers in developing Islamic finance within the international banking sector. In 2012, HSBC was the first Western bank to issue an Islamic bond, when Its Middle East unit sold a US $500 million sukuk…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Malaysia to introduce legal framework for Islamic finance

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Despite a compound annual growth rate of 20% to 35% and global syariah-compliant assets estimated at US$1.3 trillion (RM4.02 trillion) last year, there is still no comprehensive legal framework for global Islamic finance.
But this will soon change when Malaysia introduces the world’s first comprehensive legal framework for the Islamic finance industry. Called the Islamic Financial Services Act 2012 (IFSA 2012), it is expected to be gazetted next month…………………………………….Full Article: Source

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Lessons from hiking for Islamic finance

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Is the Islamic bank public ready? Who is on the shariah board? Is it appropriately capitalised, qualified human assets in place, vetted marketing materials, public inter-facing staff properly trained, strategy, tactics and execution in place with timelines and refinement feedback, customer service sharp and responsive, etc., as unexpected challenges will rise internally/externally.
Finally, what is the background of the CEO and is there confidence by the senior leadership team (SLT) and rank and file, as his vision must ultimately be executed with driven motivation…………………………………….Full Article: Source

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IDB approves US$ 450 mln development loans

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved financing worth US$ 450.8 million for new development projects in member countries as well as Muslim communities in non-member countries.
Construction projects approved for financing include US$ 125 million for the development of the Qukës-Qafë Plloçë Section of the Tirana-Korca Road Corridor in Albania, and US$ 20 million for construction of the Sukuta-Jambangelly Road Project in the Gambia…………………………………….Full Article: Source

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Maybank delivers another strong financial performance

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Maybank Group delivered another strong financial performance for the year ended Dec 31, 2011, compared to the previous corresponding period, with profit before tax (PBT) and profit attributable to equity holders of the bank rising by 20.1% and 20% respectively.
Earnings per share was up by 13.8% to 34.4 sen. Growth in profit was spurred by higher net income which climbed 21.6% and a decline of 13.9% in allowance for losses on loans despite an increase of 25.7% in overhead expenses…………………………………….Full Article: Source

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Bank Mandiri to inject $83-mln in Shariah unit

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Bank Mandiri will channel anotherf Rp 800 billion ($83 million) to its Shariah unit to expand its services. The total capital infusion to Bank Syariah Mandiri will reach ahead of its listing in the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX). Bank Syariah Mandiri is trying to meet the Rp 5 trillion requirement needed to provide a domestic trust service for Indonesian customers.
The bank plans to offer corporate customers Shariah-compliant investment and lending options, according to Sunarso, the bank’s director for commercial and business banking…………………………………….Full Article: Source

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QFC’s Islamic finance tax regime ‘friendliest in Mena’

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has the most Islamic finance friendly tax systems, out of the eight jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, according to a study.
“While simpler Islamic finance transactions can be carried out in some countries without prohibitive tax costs, of the countries reviewed only Turkey and the QFC have a tax system that enables sukuk transactions to be carried out without excessive tax costs,” said the study, conducted by three leading experts Mohamed Amin, Salah Gueydi and Hafiz Choudhury, said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

IIUM plays important role in advancing Islamic finance

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has recently been entrusted by the higher education ministry to lead the Islamic Finance and Education Cluster with the express purpose of designing curriculum and talent development in Islamic finance.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said this initiative was another opportunity for IIUM to fulfil the crucial needs for human capital in Islamic finance………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why did the Vatican suggest Islamic finance?

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Just after the 2008 global financial crisis hit, the Vatican suggested using the Islamic finance and banking system as a solution. So then what does Islamic finance offer? To answer this question we had better first lend an ear to the saying of the Prophet Muhammad: “You should sell gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates, and salt for salt, like for like, equal for equal, and hand-to-hand; if the classes differ, then you may sell as you wish, provided that the exchange is hand-to-hand.”
With this concise saying, the Prophet Muhammad expresses exactly 80 kinds of exchanges, which are the exchange of a commodity for another commodity or a currency for another currency on credit or on the spot and for matching or different quantities of goods. According to that Prophetic saying, out of these 80 kinds of exchanges, 46 sales bear a religiously forbidden “interest.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Dubai’s Nakheel in talks to extend $2.2bln loan

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Developer Nakheel is in talks to extend 8 billion dirhams ($2.18 billion) in loans due in 2015, the indebted company’s chairman was quoted as saying in a local newspaper on Sunday.
Ali Rashid Lootah dismissed concerns over Nakheel’s ability to repay its debts, which also include a 3.8-billion dirham sukuk, or Islamic bond, due in August 2016, Abu Dhabi-based newspaper, The National, reported………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic fund launched to aid smaller Tunisia firms

Posted on 15 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Tunisia plans to provide Islamic financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) via a tie-up between the public and private sectors, which could serve as a model for other Arab states trying to repair their economies after political turmoil.
The Tunis-based Bank of Financing Small and Medium Enterprises (BFPME) has agreed with the Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a private investment arm of the Islamic Development Bank, to aid smaller companies in Tunisia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Australia eyes Islamic funding

Posted on 15 February 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Australian businesses and fund managers will find accessing capital from countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) easier with the establishment of global Islamic finance experts Amanie Advisors in Australia.
With enormous multi-billion dollar pools of capital forming from within the GCC’s combined economies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, there is expected activity of approximately $1.5 trillion in 2013, this representing a huge opportunity for Australian businesses and fund managers to grow………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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