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Islamic Finance Briefing - Archive | August, 2012

Sime Darby plans US$1.5bln Islamic bond

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Sime Darby Bhd, the world’s biggest listed palm oil producer, is planning its first multi-currency Islamic bond programme of as much as US$1.5bil in Malaysia to raise funds for capital expenditure.
“We are having ongoing discussions with bankers,” Tong Poh Keow, the group chief financial officer, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “The first issuance will likely be in dollars.” The group, which also has interests in industries ranging from property to heavy machinery in more than 20 countries, has total debt of RM3.3bil, according to data compiled by Bloomberg……………………………………….Full Article: Source

FGB’s Sukuk ‘Best Islamic deal in UAE’

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

First Gulf Bank (FGB), was awarded the 2012 “Best Islamic Deal in the United Arab Emirates” award for its $650 million Sukuk (Islamic bonds) issuance in August 2011, which was six times oversubscribed.
The award, which was presented during the Asset Triple A Islamic Finance awards at the Shangri-La hotel in Kuala Lumpur, marks yet another successful milestone in FGB’s journey………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar Islamic Bank seeks approval for $1.5bln sukuk program

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A released statement coming from the Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) revealed the bank’s intentions to launch a Sukuk issuance program. The amount to be offered will be up to $1,5 billion the statement declared. At present, the program is being held back by the bank because it has to be approved.
A meeting will be held between the shareholders of the bank on the 16th of next month to decide on the approval of the proposed Sukuk program. A nod from them will let the bank proceed with its plans and take up the necessary procedures needed. The statement enlightened that the “consent from the quorum at the General Assembly will allow QIB to further process necessary approvals from the relevant authorities in Qatar with regards to potential Sukuk issuances under the Program in the future.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Gulf bond market forges global links as it grows

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

When Abu Dhabi’s biggest bank, NBAD, issued a $750 million bond in August, strong investor demand underlined how well most Gulf banks are riding out the global financial crisis.
The issue also sent another signal: that the region’s debt market is growing strongly and, increasingly, integrating with overseas markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UAE and Bahraini investors to establish Islamic bank in Iraq

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Investors from the UAE and Bahrain have applied for a licence to establish an Islamic bank in Iraq with a paid up capital of $240 million. “We have applied to the Central Bank of Iraq and expect the approval to be given within six months,” Abdulsalam M. Juwaied, Vice President of the Iraqi Islamic Bank for Investment and Development, said.
He added that the bank will primarily focus on finance for small and medium enterprises, and fund the establishment of schools, hospitals and care homes………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic banking lifts MBSB profit

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Financial group Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) reported RM93.65mil in net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, a 19.7% jump from RM78.24mil a year earlier, boosted by its Islamic banking business.
“The improved financial results were mainly due to the increase in net income from Islamic banking operations principally contributed by the retail segment,” the company said in a statement. MBSB’s revenue increased by 54.5% to RM444.47mil from RM287.72mil. Earnings per share were lower at 7.70 sen compared with 10.52 sen previously………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Gatehouse Bank posts H1 profit of $3.2mln

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Gatehouse Bank, the London-based Islamic investment institution, has posted a first-half profit of more than $3.2 million, exceeding projections by nearly 10 per cent.
Income for the six months amounted to $9.7 million compared with GBP1.719 million ($2.72 million) for the comparative period, an increase in excess of 250 per cent, , indicating that the bank’s business and operating model is maturing out of its start-up phase………………………………………..Full Article: Source

ASAS Shariah board accreditation set to fail, says Islamic scholars

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Kuala Lumpur’s Association of Islamic Scholars (ASAS) is set to introduce shariah board accreditation processes this year, in a bid to address concerns over the integrity of shariah scholars. Here’s why scholars believe the move is set to fail.
The move will follow a points-based system, with points earned by Islamic scholars participating in training courses offered by regulatory bodies. It will require shariah scholars to sign a voluntary code of ethics and take a voluntary financial literacy test………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Zurich interested in takaful

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Zurich Financial Group Ltd (Zurich), Switzerland’s biggest insurer, has not ruled out venturing into the takaful business in Malaysia. “If an opportunity arises in Malaysia, then we will definitely consider it,” said Chee Cheong, chief executive officer of Zurich Insurance Malaysia Bhd, the local insurance arm of the Swiss insurance giant.
He said from a strategic view point, a takaful arm “gives an added bench strength and access” to the lucrative market. “I think it (takaful) would actually make us strategically a lot stronger and yes, we are interested to get into the takaful market,” he said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

What’s the risk for investors of Turkey going Islamist?

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Turkey is as complex as a Byzantine mosaic or a potent Turkish coffee. Straddling Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it’s a Muslim country with ancient Christian roots — but founded as a modern nation in 1923 by a militant secularist, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. For decades an economic backwater, it’s now the fastest-growing economy in Europe.
That economic success was achieved by an Islamist-leaning government that has managed successfully to meld the conservative religious devotion of the masses with the economic interests of the secular elite………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamist economic strategies and policies

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

It is curious that in spite of the fact that Islamists have reached power in a number of Arab countries they have yet to outline an economic policy that sets them apart from other political and ideological forces.
More surprisingly, until now the economic policies followed by Islamists in power have not departed in any significant way from those that prevailed under the authoritarian regimes toppled by the Arab Spring. Consequently, many must be wondering whether the Islamists have an economic outlook that sets them apart from their predecessors and, if so, whether they have the ability to put it into effect………………………………………..Full Article: Source

PwC to conduct Islamic finance seminar in October

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will host its first ever specialised Islamic finance and banking seminar/short course in the Sultanate of Oman from October 12 to 14. Visiting PwC Islamic finance specialists from the region will be faculty members, which has been specially designed to include the latest developments and issues in this topical subject.
The aim is to provide participants not only with a good all-round knowledge of Islamic finance but also to provide a short course that can be used as a foundation for those wishing to go on to do a more formal AAOIFI qualification………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Noriba investing debuts new Halal platform

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

“Money can be moral. Profit can be pure” halal Investing for the masses–that is the theme at this years ISNA (Islamic Society North America) annual convention for halal-compliant investment house, Noriba Investing. They will be showing Muslim traders and investors how to make investments that are considered “halal” or permissible under Islamic financial law. Noriba Investing expects a big turnout this year and anticipates a flood of new clients making the switch to financial services that meet both their investment needs and uphold their faith.
For many traders, Islamic investment guidelines remain a major consideration in deciding their investments or outlays. In accordance with their religious beliefs, Muslim investors are not only allowed but encouraged to participate in the markets in an ethical manner and invest in companies and funds that adhere to their lifestyle standards. For example, Muslims can only buy shares in companies that manufacture products and use methods that are considered halal or ethically “permissible”. They cannot invest in companies that engage in “haram” or forbidden practices like arms and alcohol.(Press Release)

Qatar Islamic Bank plans $1.5 bln sukuk program

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) is planning a sukuk issuance programme of up to $1.5 billion, a company statement said on Wednesday. The bank will seek shareholder approval of the plan in a meeting on Sept. 16.
“A consent from the quorum at the General Assembly will allow QIB to further process necessary approvals from the relevant authorities in Qatar with regards to potential Sukuk issuances under the Programme in the future,” the emailed statement said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Sukuk costs down, Prasarana gains

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Syarikat Prasarana NegaraSliding sukuk costs mean Malaysia’s state-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd is paying 20% less to finance railway expansion than China, which is building the world’s largest high-speed network.
Prasarana, which runs light-rail services in and around the capital Kuala Lumpur, sold RM1bil (US$321mil) each of 2022 and 2027 syariah-compliant notes to yield 3.77% and 4%, respectively, Mohd Zahir Zahur Hussain, the company’s finance director, said in an interview yesterday. China’s Railways Ministry issued 10-year non-Islamic bonds at a coupon rate of 4.68% on Aug 21 and 15-year securities at 5%, the Government’s debt clearing house website shows………………………………………..Full Article: Source

QP gets ready to float its Sukuk

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Qatar Petroleum Finance Director Abdulrahman al-Shaibi says the sukuk issuance will be facilitated and backed by abundant assets the oil company have. With Qatar setting new benchmarks for the Shariah-principled debt, its oil and gas flagship Qatar Petroleum (QP) is fast readying up to float its sukuk, it is learnt.
“Following the considerable success of the new sovereign sukuk, the country’s national oil and gas flagship QP is also expected to place its first sukuk bond sometime in the second half of 2012,” Commerzbank, Chief Analyst Apostolos Bantis said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

FGB’s Sukuk ‘best Islamic deal in UAE’

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

First Gulf Bank, or FGB, was awarded the 2012 “Best Islamic Deal in the UAE” award for its $650 million sukuk (Islamic bonds) issuance in August 2011, which was six times oversubscribed. The award was presented during the Asset Triple A Islamic Finance awards in Kuala Lumpur.
The FGB five-year sukuk was subscribed by more than 200 different investors worldwide. Of these investors, 46 per cent were Middle East based, 24 per cent were from Europe, 24 per cent from Asia and six per cent from the US and other markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Gulf bond market forges global links as it grows

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

When Abu Dhabi’s biggest bank issued a $750 million bond in August, strong investor demand underlined how well most Gulf banks are riding out the global financial crisis. The issue also sent another signal: that the region’s debt market is growing strongly and, increasingly, integrating with overseas markets.
The seven-year bond from National Bank of Abu Dhabi, which attracted about $4.5 billion of orders from investors, was issued in the third week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic banks: Such a scandal

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic banks market themselves as the panacea to the world’s ailing economy; but are a set of prohibitions enough to make the financial world a better place? Many Islamic banks saw the financial crisis as the ultimate marketing opportunity. While banks in the western world were steeped in scandal, Islamic banks could present themselves as the opposite and tempt weary consumers through their doors with promises of fairness, transparency and morality.
The trouble is, consumers have heard this all before. Lehman Brothers’ lured investors with their respected code of ethics, which it claimed was to “help maintain a culture of honesty and accountability”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Fitch lauds central bank’s Shariah down payment plan

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

International rating agency Fitch Ratings on Tuesday praised Bank Indonesia’s plan to issue rules requiring Shariah banks to toughen up their down payment requirements on housing and automotive loans.
Fitch said in a report that Indonesia’s consumer financing “is likely to see improved underwriting quality and regulatory consistency, if Bank Indonesia harmonizes prudential rules for Shariah-compliant products with those for mainstream consumer loan products.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

FNB to get new sharia board by year-end

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

First National Bank (FNB) aims to appoint a new sharia board for its Islamic finance division by the end of 2012, after the previous board dealt a blow to the bank’s effort in the sector by resigning a month ago.
“It’s top priority for us. We are certainly aiming to have our final committee together towards the end of the year,” Amman Muhammad, chief executive of FNB Islamic Finance, told Reuters late last week………………………………………..Full Article: Source

First Islamic Bank to be opened in Germany October

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Turkey’s Kuveyt Turk investment fund plans to open the first Islamic bank in Germany in October 2012, Financial Times Deutschland reported on Wednesday. Kuveyt Turk plans to open its first branch, following the principles of sharia law, in Frankfurt-am-Main in cooperation with Ernst & Young auditing company and Norton Rose law firm.
Sharia prohibits a fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees on loans. As for mortgages, the Islamic bank purchases houses and then sells it to a client for a higher price………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Promising potential and numerous challenges facing Islamic finance in South Africa

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic Finance in South AfricaIslamic finance has seen exponential growth in North Africa, particularly in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, with many Middle East financial institutions investing in the region. Considerable development has also been taking place in the south of the continent.
Despite the low Muslim population in South Africa, the government has been one of the front-runners to make it a hub for Islamic finance in Africa. South Africa is the most advanced African nation in terms of robust legislative structures, strict governance structures, and regulations, which gives it an advantage in implementing Shariah-compliant financial systems………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Prospects and challenges of Islamic microfinance

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Islamic non-governmental organisations (NGOs), cooperatives and microfinance institutions (MFI) have been encountering the challenges numerous challenges from the very beginning. Funding Islamic microfinance programme (IMP) is the major challenge. In order to cover the poor living below the poverty line, a huge fund is required. Due to the lack of fund, many Islamic NGOs, MFIs and cooperatives have failed to reach the poorest of the poor.
Having a misconception about Islamic views towards modernisation and empowerment of women, donors and developing agencies very often show little or no interest in funding Islamic NGOs-MFIs. Consequently, Islamic microfinance (IM) is yet to expand its country-wide outreach effectively………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil and the Persian Gulf: Islamic tools to the rescue

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

As we have said again and again in this series of articles, oil could have been, and should have been, a blessing in the Middle East but it has turned out to be more a curse.
Why has the economic and political development of in these oil-exporting countries been so dismal? The “oil curse” has had many tentacles. With vast oil revenues, the temptation to rob the citizenry has been irresistible for rulers, and the elite - the family and friends of the rulers, cronies, senior military and anyone who had even a remote opportunity to enrich themselves………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic cleric warns of civil war in Russia’s Dagestan

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Russia’s most senior Islamic cleric warned on Wednesday that civil war could break out in the southern region of Dagestan after a moderate Muslim cleric was killed in a suicide bombing that has heightened religious tensions.
An ethnic Russian, who was both wife and widow of Islamist militants, was named as the bomber who on Tuesday killed Said Atsayev, 74, a prominent Sufi sheikh in the mainly Muslim region who had spoken out against violent Islam………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Indonesia: Islamic finance could support infrastructure sector - S&P

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Allan RedimerioIndonesia could utilize the potential of Islamic finance to fulfil its ambitious infrastructure plans, Standard & Poor’s said in a report on Tuesday. The poor state of infrastructure is hindering the growth of Southeast Asia’s largest economy, the report said, while noting that the government is planning to spend more than $200 billion through 2014 to upgrade and expand infrastructure.
It also noted that most infrastructure projects are backed by the private sector while the government is considering various financing alternatives to fund the rest………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Demand grows for Islamic op risk managers

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The growth of Islamic finance throughout the Middle East - and further beyond - has shifted attention to the levels of knowledge and experience required by banking professionals to operate in this area of finance.
The Middle East has been through a turbulent time in the past couple of years. While Syria is still experiencing conflict, areas such as Egypt and Libya have emerged from conflict with new leaders and the potential and desire for new systems of government………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Wherefore art thou Shariah compliant hedge fund?

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Anyone who has been involved in the Islamic finance space for any length of time will know that there has been a long running debate about whether or not hedge funds have any place in Islamic finance.
Naysayers, in my own view, belong in the same club as people who said ‘no’ to the invention of the wheel. Hedge funds can be a useful financial instrument for – guess what – hedging, and that can be a very useful thing in any modern portfolio………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic fund promoter making its Ireland debut

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Irish fund industry has welcomed its first Malaysian fund promoter guest CIMB-Principal Islamic, which has listed its Ucits fund range in Dublin.
The chief executive of CIMB-Principal Islamic Noripah Kamso said: “Branching out to Ireland internationalises our presence, and we see our funds here as a passport for us to access investors beyond Europe.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Aberdeen to debut Asia funds as stocks rebound

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc plans to start its first syariah-compliant stock funds targeted at Asian individuals as regional economies expand at more than 30 times the pace of the United Kingdom.
The company, headquartered in Scotland and overseeing US$286.5bil, will run the investments out of Malaysia once it gets regulatory approval, Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed, chief executive officer of Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Islamic funds going cross border with UCITs

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management (CIMB-Principal Islamic), a joint venture between the CIMB Group and Principal Global Investors (PGI), has set the stage for other Islamic fund managers in their bids to penetrate the overseas markets.
Its three UCITS-compliant Islamic equity funds – which it launched early this year and which invest in global emerging markets, the Asia-Pacific ex Japan and the Asean region, respectively – are designed for cross-border distribution within Asia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Fajr Capital acquires stake in MENA Infrastructure Fund

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Fajr Capital Limited has announced its acquisition of Dubai International Capital’s stake in the MENA Infrastructure Fund. Fajr Capital will take its place alongside the two other general partners and co-sponsors of the fund, HSBC Bank Middle East and Abu Dhabi-based Waha Capital, and will also be a limited partner with other regional and international investors.
Fajr Capital is an international Islamic investment firm with a focus on financial services and other strategic sectors in key Muslim markets. It is backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the Alsubeaei Group, the Government of Brunei Darussalam, the HSBC Group and Khazanah Nasional. The MENA Infrastructure Fund is its second investment this year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

QP gets ready to float its sukuk

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

With Qatar setting new benchmarks for the Shariah-principled debt, its oil and gas flagship Qatar Petroleum (QP) is fast readying up to float its sukuk, it is learnt.
“Following the considerable success of the new sovereign sukuk, the country’s national oil and gas flagship QP is also expected to place its first sukuk bond sometime in the second half of 2012,” Commerzbank chief analyst Apostolos Bantis said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Albaraka Turk plans to raise as much as $750 mln in 2012

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Albaraka Turk Katilim Bankasi AS (ALBRK), the Turkish unit of Bahrain’s AlBaraka Banking Group (BARKA), plans to raise as much as $750 million through syndicated financing and an Islamic bond sale this year, the group chief executive said.
The bank may raise between $400 million and $500 million from a so-called syndicated murabaha facility next week, CEO Adnan Yousif said in a telephone interview late yesterday from Alexandria, Egypt. The financing will mostly be in dollars, with some in euros, he said. The bank also plans to raise as much as $250 million from the sale of 7-year Islamic bonds this year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Turkish Bank to open first Sharia-bank in Germany

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Turkish Bank Kuveyt Tuerk will open the first sharia compliant banking branch in Germany and is preparing documentation for the financial watchdog Bafin, Financial Times Deutschland reports, without saying where it got the information.
The bank will be headquartered in Frankfurt with branches to be opened in cities with a high density of Muslim inhabitants, FTD said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

S.Africa’s FNB to appoint new sharia board by year-end

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) aims to appoint a new sharia board for its Islamic finance division by the end of 2012, after the previous board dealt a blow to the bank’s effort in the sector by resigning a month ago.
“It’s top priority for us. We are certainly aiming to have our final committee together towards the end of the year,” Amman Muhammad, chief executive of FNB Islamic Finance, told Reuters late last week………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bank Negara Malaysia pushing Islamic banks to compete regionally

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Malaysia’s Second Capital Market Master Plan (CMP2) has projected that the size of its Islamic capital market would grow by an average of 10.6% per annum to reach 2.9 trillion ringgit by 2020. Of the amount, the sukuk segment is expected to account for 46% or 1.3 trillion ringgit (US$406.25 billion).
For many market participants, the key to achieving this growth is the further internationalization of the Islamic capital market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The rise of Shariah compliant retirement planning

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Ask most fund managers what people invest in and they will say equities. Whether through pension or other investments designed to leave a nest-egg for retirement, FTSE 100 companies dominate portfolios and provide the assets under-pinning financial products.
But look closer at these companies. Many will have links to activities and products such as alcohol, gambling and entertainment and can be out of bounds to the Muslim client. Aside from strict investment choices, Sharia law also prohibits the paying and receiving of interest for profits- or receiving an increase on a loan. This rules out many mainstream financial products and investments………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Promising potential and numerous challenges facing Islamic finance in South Africa

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic finance has seen exponential growth in North Africa, particularly in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, with many Middle East financial institutions investing in the region. Considerable development has also been taking place in the south of the continent.
Despite the low Muslim population in South Africa, the government has been one of the front-runners to make it a hub for Islamic finance in Africa. South Africa is the most advanced African nation in terms of robust legislative structures, strict governance structures, and regulations, which gives it an advantage in implementing Shariah-compliant financial systems………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance: Key to unlocking investments in Indonesia? (Video)

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Allan Redimerio, Director, Corporate & Infrastructure Ratings at S&P explains why Islamic finance is an attractive tool to attract investments into Indonesia. He cites its focus on the real economy as a key reason.……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Yemen to host international workshop on Islamic microfinance

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Due to the escalating popularity of Islamic microfinance in Arab countries, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Finance and Yemen Microfinance Network is going to arrange a two-day training workshop on Islamic microfinance.
Islamic microfinance is getting appreciation by the whole world for alleviation of poverty and Muslim and non-Muslim countries are utilising it. Microfinance Institutions in Arab countries are also providing microfinance to Muslims which is in accordance with Islamic standards in order to get poor out of obscurity of poverty. Amongst these Arab countries, Yemen is at the top of the list with other countries like Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Egypt………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic fund sets up in Dublin

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Datuk Noripah KamsoThe first Malaysian funds promoter has set up in the Irish financial services sector with the arrival of the CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management in Ireland, according to the Irish Funds Industry Association.
The Malaysian company is setting up a range of investment schemes that can operate throughout the European Union, authorised from Ireland. Pat Lardner, chief executive of the association, welcomed the establishment of Irish funds or Ucits (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) by CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management………………………………………..Full Article: Source

India offers vast scope for Islamic banking

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic banking may be in for some windfall gains if a reported move by Indian authorities to introduce some form of interest-free banking, aimed at bringing the country’s unbanked Muslim populations into mainstream banking, bears fruit.
If the initiative is taken to its logical conclusion, the Indian banking sector too stands to gain significantly as it will add huge numbers of new customers, while opening up a channel for substantial fund flow from regions such as the Gulf………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Indonesia: Shariah loans likely to get own LTV limit

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Although sharia banks operating in the country will soon be subject to Bank Indonesia’s (BI) new policy regulating minimum down payments for housing and automotive loans, they may see different limits than those imposed on commercial banks, a deputy governor for the central bank says.
BI announced this month that it would soon include sharia banks in its policy to restrict loans to value (LTV) in automotive and housing lending, which had entered into effect for Indonesian commercial banks in June, in a move to avert economic overheating in the country’s booming consumer credit segment………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi banks most profitable in Middle East

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Out of the top 50 banks in the Middle East ranked by assets for the period H1 2011, Saudi banks lead the pack “having a good track record of maintaining strong asset quality and adapting adequate lending practices and underwriting standards,” Sheetal Kothari, research analyst, business and financial services practice, Frost & Sullivan, said.
The Gulf Business Top 50 Banks in the Middle East report said “Saudi Arabia’s traditionally conservative fiscal polices coupled with the billion-dollar government budget, has buoyed the banking sector with four out of the five top ten banks being based in the Kingdom.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

RHB Capital records 19pct increase in earnings

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

RHB Capital Bhd posted a 18.99% higher net profit of RM453.85mil for the second quarter ended June 30 from RM381.39mil a year ago. The banking group said in its filing to Bursa Malaysia that the increase was driven by higher net interest income, strong growth in other operating income and income from the Islamic banking business, and lower allowance for impairment on loans and financing, partially offset by higher other operating expenses.
RHB’s revenue rose 7.73% to RM1.93bil in the same period from RM1.79bil in the corresponding period in the previous year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic microfinance: An instrument for poverty alleviation

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic microfinance (IM) is becoming an increasingly popular mechanism for alleviating poverty, especially in developing countries around the world. The Islamic microfinance industry as a whole is expected to reach over $2.0 billion in 2012 and is a continually growing sector due to its ethical principles and prohibition of riba (interest). This amount of assets is, however, only 1.0 per cent of the total microfinance of the world.
The concept of IM adheres to the principles of Islam and is a form of socially responsible investment. Investors who use their wealth for IM projects only involve themselves in halal projects which benefit the community at large. Such projects include zakat, which is charity based, or trade and industry projects to develop a country’s economy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Emirates NBD unit offers 5pc dividends

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Leading UAE lender Emirates NBD Bank said its asset management arm plans to distribute dividends of 4 to 5 per cent for income range funds to its investors during the first half. The funds cover Islamic and regional debt instruments, as well as a high yielding equity-based product.
Emirates NBD Asset Management offers a range of conventional and Islamic products that offer exposure to regional and global markets. With over 50 financial specialists from 14 different countries, it forms one of the largest asset management firms in the region………………………………………..Full Article: Source

CBB Sukuk Al-Salam securities oversubscribed

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announces that the monthly issue of the Sukuk Al-Salam Islamic securities for the BD18m issue, which carries a maturity of 91 days, has been oversubscribed by 351%.
The expected return on the issue, which begins on 29 August 2012 and matures on 28 November 2012, is 1.26%. The securities are issued by the CBB on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain. (Press Release)

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