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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Islamic finance & management events in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Date: 25-26 November 2014
Event: Executive Workshop on Islamic Wealth Management & Financial Planning
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Date: 17-18 March 2015
Event: KL Conference on Islamic Finance
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Date: 21-22 April 2015
Event: KL Conference on Islamic Wealth Management
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Organizer: Alfalah Consulting

Mashreq sees sukuk pipeline starts spilling deals after market volatility

After sales of Islamic bonds began the fourth quarter at the slowest pace in six years, sukuk from companies including FlyDubai and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co are among deals announced or sold this week. They will increase the amount raised this quarter to at least $5bn.

“These deals have been in the pipeline and the market volatility in September and October delayed them,” said Abdul Kadir Hussain, the chief executive officer of Mashreq Capital DIFC Ltd, who correctly predicted last week that sales would rebound. “The market seems supportive now and issuers are trying to get them out of the way.”

Bond volatility dropped 32% since reaching a more than one-year high on October 15, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s MOVE Index, which measures price swings in Treasuries based on options. There is demand for Islamic debt, especially for some of the new issuers, as they offer a higher yield than the more established ones, according to Apostolos Bantis, a credit analyst at Commerzbank AG in Dubai.

FlyDubai, the Dubai-based budget carrier, is selling as much as $500mn in sukuk. Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund tapped the Islamic bond market for the first time on Tuesday, raising $600mn, while Drake & Scull International issued Shariah-compliant debt earlier this week.

FlyDubai, which is wholly owned by the Dubai government, is said to pay as much as 212.5 basis points above midswaps, the people said. That compares with about 165 basis points over the corresponding midswap that Emirates is paying on its sukuk maturing in March 2023. The airline is the world’s biggest by international passenger traffic.

Global sukuk yields have retreated 17 basis points since reaching a five-month high in October to 2.8% on November 18, according to a gauge compiled by Deutsche Bank AG.

The latest transactions won’t be enough to make for a record sukuk issuance year, Hussain at Mashreq Capital, which manages about $1.2bn, said by e-mail from Dubai on Tuesday. “Net new issuance will be flat to lower,” he said.

Sukuk sales have exceeded $40bn in 2014 compared with last year’s total of $43.1bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Turkey sold $1bn in 10-year Islamic bonds on Tuesday, the first sukuk offering since October 2013. Advanced Petrochemicals Co in Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it sold a five-year floating-rate sukuk in a private placement, issuing 1bn riyals ($267mn). Drake & Scull, based in Dubai, also raised $120mn via a five-year sukuk in a private placement.

The issuer base is “widening,” Afaq Khan, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Saadiq, said by phone on Tuesday. “It’s diversifying portfolios not only in terms of industries, but also geographies and in terms of risk reward so you can have Islamic Development Bank and FlyDubai in your portfolio.

(Gulf Times / 21 November 2014)
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Malaysia: CIMB Islamic partners IRTI to produce Islamic finance country reports

KUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd has partnered to develop the Islamic Finance Country Reports (IFCR) on Malaysia and Indonesia. 

The IFCR is expected to provide in-depth information, and independent due diligence to facilitate the growth and development of the Islamic finance industry in IDB Group member countries and encourage investment by enhancing transparency.

Ini a statement on Friday, CIMB Islamic chief executive officer Badlisyah Abdul Ghani said that stakeholders within the industry need to be adequately equipped with necessary knowledge and better understanding to steer the business towards new directions within the Islamic finance industry.

He added that IFCRs will provide the industry with valuable knowledge resources towards enhancing the Islamic finance industry and cater to the growing number of customers in the real economy through well-structured, sustainable and innovative products and services.

Meanwhile, director general of IRTI Mohd Azmi Omar said that IFCR will analyze the success story of the Malaysian Islamic finance industry and provide the lessons learnt to other IDB member countries. 

Through this combined initiative, the two institutions aim to facilitate access to information that is currently not available to stakeholders and thereby ontribute to the growth and development of the Islamic finance industry. 

Apart from helping to increase investor confidence, the reports will facilitate better understanding mong regulators, market players, academicians, students and other stakeholders.

(The Star Online / 21 November 2014)
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Friday, 21 November 2014

Malaysia: Great Eastern inks takaful deal with Bank Muamalat

KUALA LUMPUR: Great Eastern Takaful Bhd has signed an agreement to distribute bancatakaful products with Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd, enabling the former to tap into the latter’s customer base of 700,000.

Great Eastern chief operating officer Zafri Abdul Halim said the partnership is the best step to maximise both companies’ potential in providing holistic financial solutions to customers as it will allow Bank Muamalat to access Great Eastern’s range of products that will enhance the bank’s product offerings to its customers.
“Currently, three credit-related takaful products pertaining to housing loan, hire purchase and personal loan are available at Bank Muamalat. As for advisory, our investment-linked family takaful plan, i-Great Bakti, is offered through Bank Muamalat so far,” he said at the signing ceremony and the joint launch of its first family takaful plan, M-Tiara Hajj.
M-Tiara Hajj takaful plan provides assistance from as low as RM100 to prepare for customers’ Haj as well as a maximum of RM500 aid to certificate holders to help finance the cost of a Qurban during Hari Raya Aidiladha.
In the last financial year, bancatakaful from Bank Muamalat contributed about 10 per cent to Great Eastern’s takaful revenue.
“We expect to achieve substantial growth in terms of contribution with the launch of M-Tiara Hajj. With Bank Muamalat’s resources and commitment, we are confident that we are able to achieve this target,” Zafri said.
Bank Muamalat expects to see a take up rate of 3,000 from its base customers on the joint product.
“We received good feedback on the soft launch for the product three months ago even though the promotion campaign and exposure on the product is not wide enough,” said its head of consumer banking division Attar Salleh.
“The take up rate is expected to be achieved by the end of our year ending March 31 next year.” he added.
(New Straits Time Online / 19 November 2014)
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Islamic finance body AAOIFI to revise four standards, eyes sukuk

The Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will revise four of its standards in the first half of next year while expanding its guidance for Islamic bonds, the industry body said.

Earlier this month, AAOIFI issued two new standards and revised three others as it takes a more proactive approach under its new secretary general, Hamed Hassan Merah.
AAOIFI held its annual conference this week, after which it said it would seek either to revise or supplement its existing standard for sukuk, to provide the industry with more extensive guidance.
"We are...looking at the possibility of developing clearer guidance on sukuk that will incorporate accounting, legal, technical and tax-related aspects," Merah said in a statement.
Sukuk issuance is increasing worldwide but the structures used to create the instruments aren't uniform, which limits their cross-border acceptance by investors and trading in the secondary markets.

Year-to-date, sukuk issuance totals $110.9 billion through 665 deals globally, up from $97.3 billion through 703 deals a year earlier, according to Zawya, a Thomson Reuters company.
AAOIFI is also revising its accounting standards covering investment accounts, takaful (Islamic insurance), and ijara and murabaha financing structures.
A revised investment accounts standard is to be released by the end of 2014, important for Islamic banks which are seeking greater clarity on how to classify their deposits.
Consultations on takaful, ijara and murabaha will be conducted in the first half of 2015, AAOIFI said.
On takaful, AAOIFI is considering how to extend its guidance to retakaful, the issue of fixing agency fees rather than linking the fees to profits or performance, and clarifying the definition of benevolent loans (qard hassan), a conference document showed.
For ijara, a sale and lease-back contract, AAOIFI wants to clarify distinctions between operating and financing leases. Industry practice is currently not aligned with the ijara standard, known as FAS 8; proposed changes would cover income recognition, balance sheet classification, depreciation, amortisation and disclosures, according to a separate conference document.
AAOIFI's murabaha standard will be redesigned to stipulate the use of collateral for the recovery of receivables, while specifying accounting treatment and disclosure requirements, a third document showed.
The body is also engaging its counterpart in conventional finance, the London-based International Accounting Standards Board; AAOIFI invited IASB officials to its annual conference in Manama.

An IASB official said on the sidelines of the conference that his organisation would seek to develop non-binding guidance on the interpretation of their standards by Islamic financial firms, to help reduce uncertainty in the marketplace.
(Reuters / 19 November 2014)
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Monday, 17 November 2014

Islamic finance body IIFM launches collateralised murabaha standard

The Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) has launched a standard contract template for collateralised murabaha transactions, aiming to boost use of a sorely needed liquidity management tool for Islamic finance institutions.

The standard will serve as an alternative to repurchase agreements, which are common money market tools used by conventional banks but are largely absent in Islamic finance.
It is the sixth standard issued by the IIFM, a non-profit industry body which develops specifications for Islamic finance contracts.
"Finding a sharia-compliant alternative to repurchase agreements has become absolutely essential and imperative to help meet the liquidity requirements of the industry, and the collateralised transaction is at present the best alternative," chief executive Ijlal Ahmed Alvi told Reuters.
Collateralised murabaha deals are already taking place, but the agreement will help to standardise them while attracting more Islamic banks that have been awaiting guidance, Alvi said.
Several banks want to have the collateralised murabaha format approved by their own sharia boards, so they can have it in place alongside existing tools in case of any potential liquidity squeeze, he added.
"Clean lending has become more difficult, especially for the smaller Islamic banks, and this helps to keep as a contingency."
The new template is accompanied by detailed guidance notes, the first the IIFM has published, which clarify issues such as margin maintenance and custodial services, Alvi said.
Sharia-compliant alternatives to repos are scarce: Malaysia and Bahrain have their own approaches but these are approved at the domestic level and limited to local-currency collateral.
In the United Arab Emirates, the first collateralised murabaha transaction occurred in 2011 between National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.
Conventional repos allow institutions to lend out assets for short periods to generate liquidity; this is disallowed in Islamic finance as it entails the charging of interest. Collateral is often lent out by custodians, a practice known as rehypothecation, which also contravenes Islamic principles.
Even the phrase "Islamic repo" is problematic among scholars who fear the instruments will simply replicate conventional financial products without addressing a real economic need.
Collateralised murabaha is a cost-plus profit arrangement which tries to avoid such issues by having the financier buy the asset at market value and immediately sell the asset to the customer for a mark-up on a deferred payment basis.
Because the mark-up price is agreed up front by both parties, this addresses the element of ambiguity, or gharar, a key principle in Islamic finance.
Transactions can be secured by any sharia-compliant assets, including equities and sukuk (Islamic bonds). The standard expressly forbids rehypothecation.
The IIFM has previously launched standard contract templates for sharia-compliant profit rate swaps as well as hedging and treasury transactions. It is working on standards for cross-currency swaps, foreign exchange forwards, and several common sukuk structures, including convertible and exchangeable sukuk.
The body started operations in 2002, founded by the Islamic Development Bank and the central banks and monetary authorities of Bahrain, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sudan. Additional members include the State Bank of Pakistan and the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The central bank of Kazakhstan plans to join the IIFM, whose membership is expected to grown alongside the number of standards issued, said Alvi. 
(Reuters / 16 November 2014)
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SUKUK PIPELINE - Issue plans around the world

The Thomson Reuters Global Sukuk Index is at 115.64836 points, up from 115.41158 at the end of last month and 109.78969 at the end of last year. The Thomson Reuters Investment Grade Sukuk Index is at 113.89345 points, against 113.67021 at end-October and 107.28036 at the end of 2013.

INDONESIA - The Indonesian government plans to issue global sukuk in the first quarter of next year before the U.S. Federal Reserve starts increasing interest rates, Scenaider Siahaan, a director at Indonesia's Debt Management Office Management, told Reuters; he did not give details.
FLYDUBAI - The United Arab Emirates' flydubai mandated CACIB, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, NBAD, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered to arrange fixed income meetings between Nov. 13 and 18 for a dollar-denominated benchmark sukuk issue, bankers said.
JIMAH EAST POWER - Maybank Investment Bank has teamed up with AmInvestment Bank as joint lead manager for the 8.4 billion ringgit ($2.5 billion) sukuk murabaha project financing bond of Malaysia's Jimah East Power, bankers said in early November. Timing for the launch of the issue may slip from a targeted financial close in early November.
PAKISTAN - Pakistan plans to issue a U.S. dollar-denominated Islamic bond worth at least $500 million in November, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said early in the month after meeting International Monetary Fund officials.
FLEETCORP - Turkey's Fleetcorp, wholly owned by Kuwait's The International Investor, has received regulatory approval to raise up to 150 million lira ($66.2 million) via sukuk, the Capital Markets Board said in early November.
DRB-HICOM - Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom said in early November it had applied to the Securities Commission for a proposed perpetual sukuk musharaka programme of 2 billion ringgit.
BANK RAKYAT - Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia was to kick off bookbuilding on a ringgit-denominated sukuk in the week of Nov. 10. CIMB and Maybank are joint lead managers for the offer, which is expected to comprise tenors of five and/or seven years. The bank aims to raise at least 300 million ringgit.
MUMTALAKAT - Bahraini sovereign fund Mumtalakat set up separate sukuk and conventional bond issuance programmes at the Irish stock exchange to raise as much as $1 billion, to help refinance maturing debt next year, Fitch Ratings said in early November.
AIRASIA - AirAsia Bhd, Asia's largest budget airline, is seeking to raise up to 1 billion ringgit with a sukuk programme to fund aircraft and spare part purchases as well as to refinance its debt, bankers said at the end of October.
BANK MUSCAT - The Islamic unit of Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender, plans to tap the sukuk market in the first quarter of next year, in what would be the first sukuk sale by a bank in the country, a bank official said in late October. The issue would fall under a 500 million rial ($1.3 billion) sukuk programme which shareholders approved in March this year.
TEMASEK EKSLUSIF - Temasek Ekslusif, a wholly owned unit of Malaysian property developer Gamuda Bhd, will raise up to 1 billion ringgit with Islamic bonds, ratings agency RAM Ratings said late in October.
OMAN - Oman's government will make its first issue of rial-denominated sukuk for the domestic market as soon as in the first quarter of 2015; the issue may be worth the equivalent of around $300 million or $400 million, with maturities of five or seven years, financial affairs minister Darwish al-Balushi told Reuters in late October.
KAZAKHSTAN - Kazakhstan may make its second international issue of sukuk next year, central bank governor Kairat Kelimbetov told Reuters in late October. The issue would probably be quasi-sovereign but plans have not been finalised yet; details are likely to be decided near the end of this year.
LUXEMBOURG - Luxembourg is open to the idea of making more sovereign sukuk issues after conducting its first such issue at the end of September, Luxembourg finance minister Pierre Gramegna told Reuters in late October.
ADVANCED PETROCHEMICAL - Saudi Arabia's Advanced Petrochemical Co will begin meeting investors on Oct. 26 ahead of a potential sale of sukuk denominated in riyals, it said.
TUNISIA - The Tunisian government picked banks including Citigroup, Natixis and Standard Chartered for a debut U.S. dollar sukuk issue, sources said in late October. Tunisia's prime minister told Reuters that the $500 million isue was expected to be completed this year.
ETISALAT - Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications firm Etisalat is planning its first sukuk issue, bankers told IFR in early October. The company will have the documents ready in coming weeks, but the deal is more likely to be launched in early 2015, they said.
BANK ISLAM - Malaysia's Bank Islam, wholly owned by BIMB Holdings, has set up a 1 billion ringgit subordinated sukuk programme to boost its regulatory capital, RAM Ratings said in early October.
BINTULU PORT - Malaysia's Bintulu Port Holdings is expected to prepare for its planned Samalaju Port project with a proposed sukuk issue, likely to be 700-800 million ringgit, The Edge daily reported in early October.
TURKEY - Turkey wants to make an international sovereign sukuk issue annually, but has not yet made final plans for a sukuk this year, a Treasury official told IFR in early October.
MALAYSIA MARINE - Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering said in late September it had received approval from the Securities Commission to establish a sukuk murabaha programme of up to 1 billion ringgit.
TURKIYE FINANS - Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi plans to issue $50 million worth of ringgit-denominated sukuk in Malaysia by year-end to diversify its funding base, chief executive Derya Gurerk told Reuters in late September.
MAHCO MALAYSIA - Mahco Malaysia, a vehicle to issue sukuk for Mohammed Othman Al Houkail Trading & Contracting Co, a medium-sized contractor in Saudi Arabia, proposed an Islamic medium-term note programme of up to 300 million ringgit, RAM Ratings said in late September.
CENDANA SEJATI - Malaysia's Cendana Sejati, a unit of local bank Masraf Al Barakah, proposed a 360 million ringgit senior sukuk murabaha medium-term note programme, RAM Ratings said in late September.
AGAOGLU - Turkish construction-to-energy Agaoglu Group plans to raise around $300 million by issuing sukuk, Niyazi Albay, Agaoglu's chief investment officer, told Reuters in mid-September. No specific time frame was given.
KUVEYT TURK - Lender Kuveyt Turk, 62 percent owned by Kuwait Finance House , plans to issue sukuk in Malaysia, aiming to raise as much as 2 billion ringgit, Turkey's Capital Markets Board said in mid-September. It gave no details.
AKTIF BANK - Aktif Bank, Turkey's largest privately owned investment bank, has received regulatory approval to issue 200 million lira in sukuk, the Capital Markets Board said.
IFFI - The International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co. (IFFI), for which the World Bank acts as treasury manager, has picked four banks for a potential U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, a document from lead managers showed in mid-September.
DOGUS GROUP - Turkish conglomerate Dogus Group has received regulatory approval to raise $370 million by issuing the country's first U.S. dollar-denominated corporate sukuk, the Capital Markets Board said in late August. No time frame was given.
CIMB Islamic - CIMB Islamic, the sharia-compliant unit of Malaysia's second largest bank, is preparing an Islamic bond programme to raise up to 5 billion ringgit, ratings agency MARC said in late August.
SUNWAY - Malaysian property developer Sunway will raise up to 2 billion ringgit by issuing sukuk mudaraba, it said in August; short-term commercial paper under the programme will have maturities of between a month and a year, while medium-term notes will have maturities of one to seven years. Sunway will make its first issuance within two years.
MALAYSIA AIRPORTS - Malaysia Airports Holdings hired four banks for a subordinated perpetual sukuk musharaka to raise 1 billion ringgit; investor meetings would be held on Aug. 25.
RAS AL-KHAIMAH - The emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, part of the UAE, invited banks to pitch for arranger roles on a potential dollar-denominated sukuk, sources said in early June. However, bankers said in August that Ras al-Khaimah had sent out requests for proposals for a syndicated loan, casting doubt on whether the planned sukuk issue would now go ahead.
GULF FINANCE HOUSE - Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House said in mid-August it planned a $200 million sukuk issue to repay outstanding debt and for acquisitions. The deal would take place in coming months.
ADIRA DINAMIKA - Indonesia's PT Adira Dinamika Multi Finance plans to raise at least 500 billion rupiah ($42 million) with ringgit-denominated sukuk in Malaysia by the end of the year, bankers said.
K-ELECTRIC - Karachi-based utility K-Electric plans to raise as much as 22 billion rupees ($223 million) through sukuk to refinance existing debt, the company said in late June.
KENYA - Kenya plans to issue another international bond and may consider a debut sukuk issue, the finance minister said in late June, after a successful debut $2 billion eurobond closed.
BANK MUAMALAT - Malaysia's Bank Muamalat, a unit of sovereign fund Khazanah and auto-to-property conglomerate DRB-Hicom Bhd, will raise up to 2 billion ringgit with Islamic bonds, credit agency Malaysian Rating Corp said in late June.
BAHRI - National Shipping Co of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) plans to arrange long-term sharia-compliant financing in the next year to replace a bridge loan backing its $1.3 billion acquisition of Saudi Aramco's marine unit, Bahri said in June. Banking sources prebiously told Reuters Bahri was looking at a potential debut sukuk issue to replace the bridge loan.
SOCIETE GENERALE - Societe Generale completed the roadshow for the first issue in its 1 billion ringgit multi-currency sukuk programme in Malaysia, and would decide on the size in days, the bank said on June 18. In early July, banking sources said Societe Generale was still seeking a window to launch.
IFC - The International Finance Corp, the World Bank's lender to the private sector, is considering a return to the Islamic bond market, an IFC official said. A sukuk issue is still in the early stages of discussion but would likely be in the fiscal year starting in July 2014.
JORDAN - Jordan's government is studying a proposal to issue its first Islamic bond as early as next year, possibly raising over $1 billion in multiple currencies, but a preference for concessionary loans from aid donor countries could hinder the plan, government sources said.
MALAYSIAN RESOURCES CORP - Malaysian Resources Corp, a local construction firm, said on June 12 it would issue Islamic bonds to raise up to 680 million ringgit for land acquisitions and working capital.
BANGLADESH - The central bank is seeking to amend rules on its existing sukuk programme to broaden its use and allow for sovereign issuance by the government, a central bank spokesman said in June.
AL OTHAIM - Saudi Arabia's Al Othaim Real Estate and Investment Co, owner of five shopping malls in the kingdom, plans to issue its debut local currency sukuk as early as in June, sources aware of the matter said at the start of the month. The transaction is likely to be worth between 500 million and 1 billion riyals ($133-267 million), one of the sources added.
JEDDAH ECONOMIC CO - Saudi Arabia's Jeddah Economic Co said in mid-May it was in talks with local banks to raise funds for the 14 billion riyal first phase of its Kingdom City project. For part of the money, "we are looking at the bonds and sukuk market but this will need a structure in place, which we are working on," chief executive Mounib Hammoud said.
PELABURAN MARA - Malaysia's Pelaburan MARA, the investment arm of Majlis Amanah Rakyat, plans to issue sukuk worth up to 1 billion ringgit this year or next to finance its investments in the oil and gas and technology sectors, group chief executive Nazim Rahman was quoted as saying in April by The Edge Financial Daily.
HUA YANG - Malaysian property development firm Hua Yang Bhd said on April 29 it had won approval from the securities commission to raise up to 250 million ringgit with an Islamic bond programme.
FIRST GULF BANK - Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank, the third-largest bank by assets in the United Arab Emirates, plans to raise up to 3.5 billion ringgit with Islamic bonds in Malaysia, RAM Ratings said in March.
KILER REIT - Turkish real estate investment trust Kiler GYO plans to issue a five-year sukuk worth at least $100 million in the second half of this year, parent company Kiler Holding's chief financial Officer Kaan Aytogu said in February.
ACWA - Last December, Saudi Arabia-based water and power project developer ACWA Power said it had raised a 1.77 billion riyal Islamic loan from four local banks to help finance investments including acquisitions and act as a bridge to a sukuk issue in 2014.
(Yahoo News/ 17 November 2014)
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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Islamic finance assets forecast to grow substantially

Muscat: As the Islamic finance industry enters a new phase of growth in the Sultanate, Dr Jamil El Jaroudi, chief executive officer of Bank Nizwa, joined government policymakers and regulators, industry leaders and experts as well as representatives of financial services at the Oman Forum to reflect on Oman's Islamic banking journey to date and identify measures to further enhance the industry. 

Attended by over 300 participants, the 2014 edition of the forum explored current opportunities and challenges related to job generation and highlighted Islamic finance's strategic role in contributing to Oman's socio-economic development within the next four years.

During the discussions, Dr El Jaroudi stressed the need to build a regulatory framework that will work in tandem with that of conventional banking to overcome the challenges facing the industry's performance and customer expectations. 

He also said that the expanding geographical reach of Islamic finance across the Sultanate coupled with increased awareness of the banking solutions available to citizens is expected to result in Islamic finance assets reaching 10 per cent of the total banking assets by 2018 in comparison to the current 4.5 per cent.  

The customer response to Islamic finance in Oman has been phenomenal in such a short period of time. In order to ensure the industry's continued growth, it is essential to assess the takeaways and opportunities unveiled in recent years, while looking to support critical sectors such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which represent 90 per cent of registered businesses in Oman, with financial solutions that can help them prosper," he explained.

"The Islamic finance industry is registering a solid 15 per cent to 20 per cent year-on-year growth as of the incremental growth in the overall banking sector and it is essential for both users and providers of Sharia-based products and services to capitalise on this opportunity," he added.

Today, Oman's Islamic finance assets are estimated at OMR1.1 billion as of June 2014 and could reach up to OMR7.1 billion in four years. Bank Nizwa has been and will continue to be a key contributor to this organic growth as proven by its latest financial results which registered an increase in assets of 49 per cent to reach OMR257 million, a 349 per cent surge in its customer financing portfolio and a 204 per cent growth in deposits to reach OMR101 million and OMR69 million respectively.

In addition to Dr El Jaroudi, the panel on Islamic finance also included Ali Hamdan Al Raisi, vice-president of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO); Sheikh Rashid bin Saif Al Saadi, chairman of Takaful Oman; Mohammed Al Kharusi, group director (Business Development) at Mohsen Haider Darwish (MHD) Group; and Abdul Samad Al Maskari, chief executive officer of Al Madina Financial and Investment Services Company.  

(Times Of Oman / 15 November 2014)
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Dreams of Record Year Being Dashed as Sukuk Sales Slump

Global Islamic bond sales, which had the busiest first three quarters on record, are mired in what’s set to be the worst end to a year since 2008.

Borrowers have raised $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter so far, 73 percent less than in the same period a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Issuers have also sold the fewest number of securities in six years, Bloomberg data show.
During the first nine months, the U.K., Luxembourg, South Africa and Hong Kong were among debut issuers of Islamic bonds entering a market that Ernst & Young LLP estimated will exceed $3.4 trillion by 2018. Some borrowers probably accelerated sales on concern borrowing costs may rise as the Federal Reserve ended its bond buying program, according to Jefferies International Ltd.
“It will end up being a very slow quarter, with dismal sentiment,” Richard Segal, the London-based head of international credit strategy at Jefferies, said by e-mail on Nov. 10. Explanations include “expectations of possible Fed tightening,” which encouraged borrowers to bring their sales forward, he said.


The slowdown threatens to derail issuance in a year that some banks -- including CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. and Standard Chartered Saadiq -- had expected to exceed 2012’s record of $46.8 billion.
Borrowers in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all oil producers, are the biggest issuers of sukuk, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales this quarter may have slowed after crude prices declined 14 percent in the period to $80.96 a barrel at 11:10 a.m. in Dubai, the lowest in four years. Economies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in the Middle East rely on oil revenue to fund growth.
“There was a lot of volatility at the end of September and the beginning of October,” Abdul Kadir Hussain, chief executive officer of Mashreq Capital DIFC Ltd., which manages about $1.2 billion, said by phone from Dubai on Nov. 10. “There were major sell-offs and major volatility, which has caused a lot of issuers to wait longer than they would have wanted to.”
The average yield on global sukuk rose to 2.82 percent on Nov. 10 from 2.77 percent on Sept. 9, the lowest since May 2013, according to a gauge compiled by Deutsche Bank AG.


While the quarter has started slowly, Hussain said “the pipeline for the remainder of the year is quite strong.”
Issuers including Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. and FlyDubai may sell debt this quarter, according to people familiar with the deals. CIMB and Standard Chartered, which rank first and fourth in arranging sukuk sales this year, said in June that issuance may rise to about $50 billion from $43.1 billion in 2013. Borrowers have raised $38.8 billion this year.
“There’s been a surge in issuance in the past few years, so a lull would be natural at some point,” Segal said. “Unusual first time issuers such as the U.K. and South Africa have entered the market, as will other non-traditional borrowers, but they are more likely to take their time.
(Bloomberg / 12 November 2014)
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Malaysia: Growing role for Japan in Islamic finance

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a growing role for Japan in the development of the Islamic finance market, says RAM Ratings at an Islamic Finance conference on Wednesday.

RAM said tax reforms were introduced in 2011 to level the playing field for the issuance of J-Sukuk and conventional bonds for tax purposes, and amendments had also been made to Japanese Securitisation Law to facilitate the issuance of J-Sukuk.

It said while there had yet to be any issuance of J-Sukuk in the Japanese market, BTMU Malaysia Bhd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's largest lender – had taken the first important step.

In September this year, it became the first Japanese bank to enter the Sukuk market in when it debuted a US$500mil Sukuk programme in Malaysia.

The conference was jointly organised by RAM and the Rating and Investment Information Inc (R&I), Japan's largest credit rating agency with nearly 40 years of bond market and credit rating experience.

More than 150 members from financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds and corporates from Tokyo.

(The Star Online / 12 November 2014)
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Exim Bank Plans Sukuk as Shariah Assets Expand

The head of Malaysia’s state-owned trade financier said he plans to tap the global sukuk market for a second time, as Shariah-compliant assets look set to reach 40 percent of the bank’s total in 2015.

Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd.’s assets that comply with religious tenets will rise to 2.4 billion ringgit ($718 million) this year, representing a 30 percent portion, from 2013’s 1.5 billion ringgit, Chief Executive Officer Adissadikin Ali said in an interview yesterday. The company is aiming to sell dollar-denominated Islamic bonds in the second half of next year, he said.
The state-owned entity became the world’s first trade financier to issue U.S. currency sukuk with its debut offering in February that helped plug a shortage of corporate Islamic dollar debt in Asia. The lender started providing Shariah-compliant loans in 2009 to support demand in an industry whose assets Bank Negara Malaysia projects will triple to $6.5 trillion worldwide by 2020.
“We are not short of business,” Adissadikin said in Kuala Lumpur. “Our plan is to grow by 30 percent every year and we have been beating the target consistently.”
The lender is expanding its Islamic finance business as part of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s drive to make the nation a global Shariah-compliant hub by 2020, Adissadikin said. Exim Bank met its full-year target of 5 billion ringgit for Islamic and conventional loans at the end of October and the figure may now climb to 6 billion ringgit this year, he predicts.


The company’s planned sukuk will be its third in the international debt market and Exim Bank faces the prospect of higher yields as the Federal Reserve gears up to raise interest rates next year.
The bank will probably offer $200 million to $300 million of dollar sukuk with a maturity of five years or more sometime in the second half of 2015, Adissadikin said.
“Timing is not a priority as we can pass the cost to our clients,” he said.
Exim Bank sold $300 million of dollar Islamic notes due in 2019 at a coupon of 2.874 percent in February. The yield on the securities rose eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 2.55 percent today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The lender is rated A3, the fourth-lowest investment grade, by Moody’s Investors Service and A- by Fitch Ratings.
Average yields on global sukuk, which pay returns on assets to comply with the religion’s ban on interest, dropped 57 basis points this year to 2.85 percent, according to a Deutsche Bank AG Index. That’s down from 2014’s high of 3.44 percent on Jan. 2 and compares with the low of 2.77 percent in September.
Worldwide sales of the debt rose 10 percent to $38.8 billion in 2014 from a year earlier after reaching $43.1 billion in 2013 and an unprecedented $46.8 billion in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.


Exim Bank’s total banking assets may end the year around 8 billion ringgit, up from 5.3 billion ringgit in 2013, Adissadikin said. The company posted a net profit of 144.7 million ringgit last year, compared with 123.8 million ringgit in 2012, according to its annual report. Adissadikin declined to give an earnings forecast for 2014.
Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, chief executive officer of CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd., said it makes sense for Exim Bank to be offering Shariah-compliant financing given that it’s a significant part of the Malaysian economy.
“Exim Bank Malaysia acts as a strong ambassador for Islamic finance,” Badlisyah at the unit of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., said in a phone interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “The very fact that they issued a dollar sukuk this year and are able to offer wider solutions to their clients also allows them to stand out.”
(Bloomberg / 11 November 2014)
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Islamic finance body AAOIFI picks up pace with new standards

The Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has issued two new sharia standards, revised three others and said it will review at least five more in coming months.

The move appears to signal a more proactive approach by AAOIFI, which is one of the world's top standard-setting bodies for Islamic finance but has acted only gradually to address some of the industry's big issues and controversies in recent years.
Before its latest announcement, AAOIFI had issued only two of its 88 standards in the last three years, while other Islamic finance organisations have stepped up their activities as the industry expands around the globe.
AAOIFI may now be picking up the pace after it appointed a new secretary-general in September, Saudi Arabian national Hamed Hassan Merah.
After a meeting of its 20-member sharia board last week in Riyadh, AAOIFI said it had issued a standard for arboun (down payments) and another on conditional termination of contracts, following a public hearing held in October.
AAOIFI has also revised standards covering the conversion of conventional banks into Islamic ones, debt transfers (hawala) and murabaha - a common sharia-compliant sale contract.
In murabaha, an institution agrees to purchase merchandise from a counterparty, who promises to buy it back with an agreed mark-up at a later date. Murabaha contracts can take several forms, some of which may resemble interest-bearing loans, which has attracted criticism from some scholars and regulators.
AAOIFI did not publicly reveal details of its new and revised standards, so it was not immediately clear whether the murabaha change was minor or substantial.
The organisation is also developing a new standard on repurchase agreements, a key liquidity management tool to which most Islamic banks currently have limited access. It will review existing standards for several widely used contracts, including those on ijara, salam, istisna, musharaka and mudaraba.
As part of the review, it will seek industry feedback before its next sharia board meeting, to be held next March. AAOIFI will hold its annual conference, organised in partnership with the World Bank, on Nov. 17 and 18 this year.
Under its previous secretary-general, AAOIFI had said it would look to develop a new framework for disclosing financial data, while possibly revising standards for takaful (Islamic insurance), investment accounts and other products.

Established in 1990, AAOIFI issues guidelines that are followed wholly or in part by Islamic financial institutions around the world. AAOIFI standards have been used by or influenced regulation in jurisdictions including Bahrain, the Dubai International Financial Centre, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
(Reuters / 11 November 2014)
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