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Friday, 11 May 2012

KL Conference on Islamic Finance 2012

KL Conference on Islamic Finance 2012

Date    : 6-7 September 2012
Venue : Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

“An international gathering of practitioners, scholars and experts to discuss and share their knowledge, expertise and experience on the principles, instruments and issues related to Islamic finance, to be held at the world’s leading Islamic financial centre…Kuala Lumpur.”

Event site :

- Product development and Implementation of Islamic financial products
- Ensuring Shariah compliance in Islamic financial instruments
- Sukuk: development, issues and challenges
- Islamic gold account: a golden opportunity
- Islamic mutual funds (unit trusts): factors to consider in making an investment
- The rise of Islamic wealth management in Islamic finance industry
- Islamic financial planning: success in both worlds
- Takaful: innovation and solutions
- Enterprise risk management for Islamic banks
- Enterprise risk management for takaful operators
- Human capital development in Islamic finance industry
- Legal issues and challenges in Islamic finance
- Dispute settlement in Islamic finance: issue and solutions
Islamic ethics in financial services industry
- Corporate governance for Islamic finance industry

- Islamic bankers/bankers
- Takaful/insurance operators
- Regulators
- Head of governmental departments
- Financial planners/wealth advisors
- Financial consultants
- Legal practitioners (lawyers)
- Academicians (lecturers)
- Entrepreneurs (businessmen/importers/exporters etc)
- Other professionals 


Speakers are selected from Islamic banks, takaful operators, academicians, legal practitioners, consultants, regulatory bodies.

Early Bird Fee: 
Registration with payment by 6 August 2012
Malaysian   :  RM2,300
International  :  USD800

Normal Fee:
Registration with payment after 6 August 2012
Malaysian  :  RM2,700
International  :  USD950
Special fee for Malaysian university lecturers :  RM1,500 (group discount not applicable)

Fee is inclusive of lunch, refreshments and seminar package only.

Group Discount:
Enjoy 10% discount for 3 or more delegates registered from the same organisation and the same billing source.

Special Gifts
Participants will receive free book and magazine from sponsors including a business / economic report from  OBG valued at USD210 (RM600) each.

(will be uploaded soon...for now you may request for tentative program or you will be given a tentative program when register online)




Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
[a 5-star international hotel in KL city centre]


Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur




Islamic finance & management events in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia in 2012

29-30 May 2012: 
KL Conference on Islamic Finance
12-13 June 2012: 

Workshop on Islamic Trade Financing
19 June 2012: 
Workshop on Effective Time & Life Management
12-13 September 2012: 
KL Conference on Islamic Wealth Management & Financial Planning

To register or reserve a seat online, please go to:

Organizer: Alfalah Consulting

Alfalah Consulting-Kuala Lumpur:
Islamic Consultant & Trainer:
Islamic Investment Malaysia:

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Good governance of Islamic funds urged at AAOIFI convention

Manama, May 7 (BNA) -- The two-day AAOIFI Annual Shari’a Conference which began today focuses on governance of the Islamic finance sector, one of the six pillars that those who set standards in the financial sector out to work on if Islamic finance should continue growth and achieve its full potential, said Rasheed M Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Delivering the welcome address, the CBB governor said that the AAOIFI set up seven standards relating to governance and two relating to ethics.

 The deficiencies found in financial institutions’ governance has been repeatedly highlighted in the past five years -- following the commencement of the Global Financial Crisis in 2007, he added.

Of the three standards on governance, issued by AAOIFI, the first focuses on the Audit & Governance Committee.  The standard urges the audit committee to review the use of restricted investment accounts’ funds.

The standard emphasises the need to ensure that funds are invested in accordance with terms agreed with the customer.

  “Too often over the past five years we have seen how customers’ interests have been relegated to change focus to bonuses and share price. Neglecting customers is at the risk of losing them,” said the central bank chief.

Caring for the interests of customers is carried on in the AAOIFI Governance Principles paper issued in 2005.  In particular Principle 3 of this paper warns against inequitable treatment of fund providers, said Al Maraj.

The 2009 AAOIFI Corporate Social Responsibility paper also focuses on dealing responsibly with clients and ‘par excellence’ customer service.  If you couple the governance standards with the ethics paper for employees of financial institutions, you find a formidable set of requirements, principles and standards relating to putting the interests of customers first, he added.

The CBB, he said, is pushing ahead with the review of its corporate governance and business conduct rules, as also improving levels of disclosures, to raise the bar for corporate governance.

The CBB chief said that a review of the CBB corporate governance requirements has completed its first stage of internal review.

“Coupled with governance is Shari'a.  From the perspective of the CBB as a regulator, we have noted that all too often, the approach of banks, particularly conventional banks has been to start with a conventional transaction or product and then try to give it a finishing coat of Shari'a compliant paint. Financial institutions must not regard Shari'a compliance as the finishing touch to product development.  Instead, product development needs to start from Shari'a principles: i.e. Islamic financial institutions must become Shari'a driven,” urged Al Maraj.

The growth of Islamic finance hinges on addressing the interest of customers, governance and Shari'a compliance satisfactorily, he surmised.

(Bahrain News Agency / 07 May 2012)
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Imam Malik: The Founder of the Maliki School of Thought

Malik bin Anas, known as Imam Malik, is a prominent name in Islamic history. He was not only a great scholar of Hadith, but also a jurist after whom was founded one of the four Islamic schools of Islamic jurisprudence: the Maliki school.
He was 13 years younger to Imam Abu Hanifa and 103 years elder to Imam Bukhari. He compiled the first compendium of Hadith named Al-Muwatta. He was the most leading personality of his time in Madinah and was called Imam Darul Hijrah due to his remaining in Madinah the majority of his life.
He was born in Madinah to Anas ibn Malik and Aaliyah bint Shurayk Al-Azdiyya in 93 AH. His family was originally from the Al-Asbahi tribe of Yemen, but his great grandfather Abu 'Amir came to Madinah in 2 AH, embraced Islam and settled down there.
Born into a well-to-do family, Malik did not need to work for a living. He was highly attracted to the study of Islam, and ended up devoting his entire life to the study of Hadith and Fiqh.
Living in Madinah gave him access to some of the most learned minds of early Islam. He memorized the Holy Qur'an in his youth. He studied under various famous scholars like Hisham ibn Urwah, Ibn Shihab Al-Zuhri, Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq — one of the descendants of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Malik lived with the immediate descendants and the followers of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Imaam Zahabi said: "There remains no scholar in Madinah after the Tabi'een comparable to Imam Malik's knowledge, jurisprudence, eminence, and memorization." Thus, Imam Malik became the Imam of Madinah, and one of the most renowned scholars of Islam.
He learned Hadith from Abdur Rahman ibn Harmuz, Nafi ibn Zakwan and Yahya ibn Saeed.
Imam Malik said: "I did not start to give lecture in Fiqh and Hadith until I was declared eligible to do so by 70 teachers of Hadith and Fiqh."
Imam Malik believed that fatwa is a sensitive, precise and important action that can have far-reaching results, and was extremely careful about giving it to the extent that if he was not sure about a matter, he would not speak about it.
While narrating Hadith, he used to wear elegant and expensive clothing, usually wearing white and frequently changing them.
Imam Malik had great love and respect for Madinah. He remained in Hijaz throughout his life and never traveled outside. He went for Haj only once while fearing that he might die outside Madinah and be deprived of its blessings. Even when he attained old age and became very weak, he never rode on any mount in Madinah. He felt that it was against respect to ride on the very land where the Prophet (pbuh) is buried.
Imam Malik compiled Al-Muwatta in forty years. It is the first legal work to incorporate and join Hadith and Fiqh together and was received with wide praise. Imam Bukhari said that the soundest of all chains called the 'Golden Chain of Narrators' of Hadith transmission was "Malik, from Nafi, from Ibn Umar."
Imam Malik's teachings were not essentially different from those of Imam Abu Hanifa. His main sources were primarily the Holy Qur'an, and then the Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) of which he preferred those which had been collected and narrated by the scholars of Hadith of Madinah. Next, he would refer to Ijma' (consensus), and then Ta'amul i.e. customs of the people of Madinah such as practices of the Sahabah that represent the true spirit of Islam. Lastly, he relied on 'Qiyas' (analogy) and 'Istislah' (public interest).
It is reported that Imam Malik wrote 100,000 Hadiths by his hand. Imam Malik said: "I showed my book to 70 scholars of Madinah and every single one of them approved it, so I named it 'Muwatta' (The Approved One)."
It is the first Hadith work arranged into juristic sections and organized accordingly.
According to some of the great scholars of the past, Imam Malik was widely regarded as the scholar of Madinah. The Prophet (pbuh) had said: "Soon people will beat the flanks of camels seeking knowledge, and they shall not find a single person more knowledgeable than the erudite scholar of Madinah
. (Jami Al-Tirmidhi).
Imam Malik was held high in the eyes of other great scholars, such as, Imam Abu Hanifah, who said, "My eyes have never fallen on anyone faster in understanding, correct in answering, and examining as Imam Malik."
Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said, "I have compared Imam Malik to Awza'i, Hammaad, Aal-Hakim, Thawri, Laith, in knowledge, but he is the leader in Hadith and Fiqh."
The number of Imam Malik's students was in the thousands. Qazi Iyadh has mentioned that over 1300 narrated Hadith for the great Imam.
Some of the most famous teachers whom he studied with were: Mohammed bin Shihaab Al-Zuhree; Ja'far ibn Mohammed Al-Sadiq; Nafi' ibn Sarjis Al-Daylami; Mohammed ibn Munkadir and Ayyoub Al-Sakhtiyani.
Imam Malik protected the Shariah and courageously upheld it. When the governor of Madinah demanded and forced people to take oath of allegiance to Khalifah Al-Mansour Abbasi, Imam Malik issued a fatwa that such an oath was not binding because it was given under coercion. He based this opinion on the Hadith: "The divorce of the coerced does not take effect." He gave unbiased decisions and never bowed to political authorities. He supported Muhammad Zakia Alawi by issuing a Fatwa against the Abbasid Caliph Mansoor, for which he was arrested and was publicly flogged seventy times by Ja'far, the brother of Caliph Mansoor. When Mansoor heard about this, he asked Imam Malik to visit Iraq and to forgive him for the incident. Later, Imam Malik forgave him because of the Caliph's relationship with the Prophet (pbuh).
Once Caliph Haroon Rasheed invited him to his court to read his Muwatta but he declined to go and politely advised that "my regards to the Caliph, knowledge should be visited and not that it should visit the people". Later the Caliph, with his sons, came to his mosque and attended the discourse like others.
The Imam died at the age of 86. He was buried in the famous cemetery of Madinah, Jannatul-Baqee, near his tutor Nafi' Maula Ibn Umar (R.A.). He had left behind three sons, Yayha, Muhammad and Hammad.
May Almighty Allah reward him for his great services to the Ummah Islamiah.

(Arab News.Com / 07 May 2012)

Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur:
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UAE: Dubai sukuk to fund airport expansion

(Reuters) - Dubai will use $1.25 billion raised through an Islamic bond last week to fund the expansion of its airport and is confident of repaying creditors at its flagship conglomerate Dubai World on time, a top Dubai official told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We will use proceeds from the $1.25 billion sukuk to fund Dubai International Airport expansion," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, a close advisor and uncle to Dubai's ruler and a key figure in the emirate's recovery from its 2009 debt debacle, said in an interview on the sidelines of a Dubai travel show.

The sheikh holds a host of top positions in the glitzy emirate including the chairman post at its largest bank Emirates, Dubai World and at crown jewel Emirates airline .

The emirate is steadily recovering from a 2009 debt crisis when Dubai World stunned global markets with plans to delay repayment on $25 billion of debt.

The conglomerate reached a deal in 2010 to repay lenders over five and eight years. Other state-linked firms are in the midst of restructuring debt.

"We (Dubai World) are committed to the plan set in 2010. Dubai World and its companies are making excellent revenues and we expect the debt to be paid on time. There's no need to extend debt when it falls due," said Sheikh Ahmed, who also heads the Supreme Fiscal Committee.

The emirate's rehabilitation has been helped by a revival in trade and tourism and its safe-haven status amid the Arab Spring popular revolts.

Investors are closely watching two significant maturities in 2012 from state-linked firms, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) and DIFC Investments, which must repay a combined $3.25 billion. Both are in talks with banks on refinancing the debt.

Dubai's five-year credit default swaps, used to insure against a sovereign default, have narrowed more than 85 bps since the start of this year to around 358 bps, according to Thomson Reuters data, far below the 650 basis points level hit in late 2009 at the height of the crisis.


Dubai has long touted its position as a travel hub and rapidly expanded its Emirates airline .

The carrier, among the top 10 in the world by passenger numbers and top customer of Airbus'  A380 superjumbo, expects 2011 profits will not be higher than those in 2010 when it posted a 52-percent rise to $1.5 billion.

Fuel costs were about $2 billion in 2011, accounting for 40-43 percent of the airline's costs, Sheikh Ahmed said. Emirates reports full-year results later in May.

The airline has a $500 million bond maturing in June.

"The Emirates cash reserve is good. It is excellent, I must say. We have 4 billion dirhams in cash so we are capable of paying off the debt in June ... but we are still weighing options," the airline's chairman said.

Sheikh Ahmed said the carrier was open to acquisitions but had no current targets. Emirates group also includes air services firm Dnata which bought an Italian flight catering group in 2010 and is hungry for more purchases.

Emirates, which carries more than 30 million passengers a year, was linked to a possible buy of loss-making airlines in India this year but its president dismissed the talk last week.

"I always say we remain open about any business opportunity to grow whether in airline business or also other services," Sheikh Ahmed said on Tuesday. "Dnata has done a lot in terms of acquiring companies that are interesting. So it is not specifically about buying an aircraft."

Asked whether Emirates would be interested in India's Spicejet or Kingfisher, he said: "No, but I will always remain open.
(Reuters / 01 May 2012)
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UK: The rise of Islamic finance

There has been much debate about the Arab Spring in the past 12 months, with the world’s eyes watching what this will mean for the rest of the globe.
At its very heart lies individual and societal freedoms, but what is particularly interesting is that it is likely to result in more democratically-elected Islamic governments with the promise of moral leadership and shares values. This in turn will result in much greater demand for Islamic finance and wealth management solutions.
The global Islamic finance industry is currently purported to be worth more than $1 trillion (£619bn). It is expected to continue to grow in line with the development and expansion of the financial markets generally with a growing number of new shariah-compliant stocks and sukuk – a financial certificate similar to a bond – and a general desire to assert a specific Islamic identity to social activities.
But while the term Islamic financial planning might conjure up images of the Gulf or north African regions, we believe the UK is, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in advancing the growth.
The UK is home to more than 2m Muslims and an leading financial centre. It offers great potential and currently boasts Islamic assets worth more than $19bn (£12bn).
The UK has 22 banks that offer Islamic finance products, far exceeding that of any other Western country. Many mainstream financial groups recognise the need to service Muslims’ financial requirements, as well as those of many non-Muslims whose investment principles are aligned with the ethics promoted by Islamic law.
I believe that as Islamic finance expands and the range of products continues to broaden, there will be a growing demand for education and skills, where once again the UK institutions are leading the way.
Already the UK’s banks, sukuk issuance and exchange-traded products are supported by a sturdy infrastructure. This includes more than 25 major law firms and the largest four professional services’ firms in the country, while up to 10 universities and business schools offer qualifications in Islamic finance education.
Furthermore the UK’s Islamic finance sector recently received a major structural boost following the integration of the UK Islamic Finance Secretariat into TheCityUK, an independent body that promotes UK-wide financial and related professional services. UKIFS is the leading cross-sector body that assists with the promotion and development of Islamic finance.
The events of 2008, the financial crisis and the ensuing panic ‘destroyed’ trillions of dollars of wealth. Among the worst hit were retail investors and so-called tried and trusted investment wisdom failed to counter the crisis.
Against this background, and faced with the challenges ahead, many have concluded that a rethink is necessary to the way we invest and, in particular, how we assess risk.
One can argue that if conventional institutions had followed the basic principles of Islamic finance that provides an additional risk screen, exposure to toxic sub-prime debt, sparing some investors from the worst excesses of the crisis could have been avoided. It is also interesting to note the Middle East by and large escaped the brunt of the crisis.
As I explored and looked in more detail at Islamic financial planning I became acutely aware that sharia law dictates a specific approach to investing – it provides specific requirements for wealth preservation and transfer. Regardless of the impact on their net wealth, Islamic investors are faced with the issue of family and generational wealth management. The complexity of Islamic requirements is so great that wealthy investors may need to establish professional family offices to assist with asset management, business management and legal issues
Naturally the dramatic rise in Islamic finance has prompted many to ask what it entails. Broadly speaking, shariah-compliant investing can be categorised by three overriding principles: procedural, substantive and charitable.
The first prohibits the use of interest payments – riba – based on the principle that it is unacceptable to benefit from lending money. It also forbids the use of gambling – maysir – and uncertainty – gharar – resulting in financial products that are structured in such a way that risk and profit are shared between the investor and the organisation arranging the investment.
The second stipulates that investment should only support practices that are in line with shariah law and investment in companies involved with alcohol, gambling, pork, pornography and tobacco are prohibited.
Last, charitable principles call for the setting aside of a certain amount for the purpose of charity, as a means of purifying one’s wealth and to help others.
But far from deter investment, there has been a boom is Islamic financial investments. To date the London Stock Exchange has seen more than $19.5bn (£12bn) raised through 31 issues of sukuk, with 10 new sukuk listings in 2011 and two in early 2012.
Globally sukuk issuance is expected to rise a further 50 per cent this year, with companies increasingly turning to capital markets as a result of banks reaching their lending limits.
However while there are significant opportunities to invest in high-quality global companies with strong balance sheets and sustainable income streams, we believe that this is a rather conventional way of looking at things and could be the wrong starting point when considering financial planning.
Many people are familiar with Islamic finance products and terms such as riba, sukuk and takaful – Islamic-compliant insurance – but there is less known about the merits of financial planning.
At its essence financial planning is more than just the use of shariah-compliant products. Clearly while any investment product, irrespective of industry or sector, has to be shariah-compliant, it is more important for the entire client or customer experience to be in accord with the principles of Islamic investment.
Institutions often believe that by merely using shariah-compliant products they have offered the client an experience in a manner consistent with Islamic law, but financial planning promotes the idea of helping individuals identify and achieve their long-term financial and life goals.
In my experience product solutions are irrelevant if one does not understand an individual’s lifestyle objectives and has a clear picture of their goals, dreams, hopes and fears. An investment, be it Islamic or not, is meaningless unless set against these objectives and revisited on a regular basis through a trusted relationship. After all what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.
Although the main principles of shariah-compliant investing are enshrined in Islamic law, they still have to be applied.
Therefore I see their net result as adopting and following highly-ethical business standards and practices that result in socially responsible investing applied against a moral value-based framework. The lifestyle approach that I follow is, in my view, entirely consistent with the principles of shariah law. Lifestyle financial planning is relevant and appropriate to both Muslims and non-Muslims. For Muslims in particular it provides a complete solution rather than a solution based simply on the use of sharia-compliant products.
Only through this method do I believe that clients can truly enjoy a shariah-compliant investing experience.
Niraj Vyas is financial planning director for Guardian Wealth Management.
(F.D Adviser / 03 May 2012)
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Islamic Financial Planning & Wealth Management by Ahmad Sanusi Husain