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Thursday, 31 March 2016

SECP issues directive on life insurance, family takaful

ISLAMABAD (APP) – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) issued a directive to life

insurance and family takaful sector on product illustrations through a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO).

Life insurance and family takaful products are long-term financial protection and savings vehicle for the individual policyholders, a statement issued by the SECP said here on Wednesday.
These products are long-term in nature, typically ranging over 10 to 20 years. Life insurers use product illustration to describe the life insurance policy benefits for each future policy year.
Hence, the product illustration is an integral part of the overall sales process for life insurance and family takaful policies.
The existing Guidelines of 2009 brought about significant improvement in terms of standardization of formats and calculation methodologies.
However, certain subsequent developments in the life insurance market have made it necessary to upgrade the existing Guidelines into a directive, among most important, such as bringing enforceability to the requirements to be placed on insurers and compulsory use of Urdu in addition to English in order to enhance policyholders’ understanding.
Additionally, the proposed directive will be a landmark step towards using real, i.e inflation adjusted rate of returns in projection of savings products.
The new directive have also brought the investment performance document into the regulatory ambit.

The SECP believes that the new directive will enhance policyholders’ understanding about insurance products and appropriately deciding the amount of regular premiums required in relation to identified financial protection needs.
(Daily Pakistan / 30 March 2016)
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Qatar International Islamic Bank plans Tier 1 Sukuk issue

The meeting delegated the bank’s board of directors' to decide the size of each issuance ,terms and conditions and issuance currency.

Doha-based Gulf Times quoted QIIB CEO Abdulbasit A al-Shaibei as saying the Sukuk would be issued before the end of April to boost the bank’s capital ratio. 
(C P I Financial / 30 March 2016)
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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Malaysia Building Society becoming Islamic after failed mergers

[KUALA LUMPUR] After two failed merger attempts with Islamic banks, Malaysia Building Society Bhd is opting to transform into a Shariah lender by itself.

MBSB has stopped offering conventional loans and sees more room for growth in Islamic services, chief executive officer Ahmad Zaini Othman said in an interview on Monday. The mortgage provider and consumer lender, whose net income plunged 75 per cent last year, ended discussions with Bank Muamalat Bhd in February after a proposal to combine with CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd was called off in Jan 2015.
"MBSB's plan is not surprising as many see Islamic finance as the way forward," said Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, president of the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals in Kuala Lumpur and the former CEO of CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd.

"People are not only wanting banks to provide Islamic products but are demanding them." Malaysia, which pioneered Shariah finance in the 1980s, aims to have 40 per cent of its banking assets complying with the religion's ban on interest by 2020 from 26.8 per cent at the end of last year.
A global Islamic population that's expanding faster than non-Muslims is driving growth in Shariah-compliant finance, with Ernst & Young LLP predicting the industry's worldwide assets will double to US$3.4 trillion by 2018 from 2013.
'Right Move'
Around 85 per cent of MBSB's outstanding loans are already Shariah-compliant and credit growth this year should be around 6 per cent to 8 per cent, in line with the industry, Mr Ahmad Zaini said. The company isn't looking at any other mergers for now and will maintain its focus on government contracts, particularly in the development of affordable housing, he said.
"Sustaining asset growth, while maintaining low operational costs and product innovation shall be our medium-term plan."
MBSB is 65 per cent owned by Employees Provident Fund, Malaysia's largest pension fund. Its share price fell 39 per cent to RM1.34 over the past year and net income dropped to RM256.7 million (S$88 million) in 2015 from RM1.02 billion in 2014. The Kuala Lumpur-based company said in a Feb 24 filling to the stock exchange that the drop was due to higher allowances for impairment losses on loans.
MBSB had RM34.1 billion of loans outstanding at the end of 2015 and RM41.1 billion of assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and is planning to raise as much as RM2 billion from a rights issue. The company is already in compliance with Malaysian financial reporting standards and is stepping up efforts to adhere to banking standards, Mr Ahmad Zaini said.
The yield on the MBSB's sukuk due December 2021 fell 10 basis points this year to 4.83 per cent, according prices compiled by Bloomberg. The company, which last sold Islamic bonds in October, doesn't have any plans to sell more debt at this point, Mr Ahmad Zaini said.
"MBSB is making the right move as it already has the Islamic infrastructure in place," said Mohamed Azahari Kamil, president SEGi University & Colleges in Selangor, who was formerly Asian Finance Bhd's CEO.
"There's still a lot of potential for MBSB to be involved in retail and corporate Shariah financing.

(Banking And Finance / 29 March 2016)
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Jordan to issue Islamic sukuk worth JD250m

AMMAN — An issue of Islamic sukuk (bonds) worth around JD250 million is expected in the second quarter of 2016, Central Bank of Jordan Deputy Governor Maher Sheikh Hassan said on Monday.

“We have completed all the legal and the legislative measures for the issuance of the Islamic bonds. We are in the final stages of some more minor steps and we are then ready to conduct the sukuk issue any time,” Hassan told The Jordan Times on Monday.

An Islamic Sharia-compliant issuance totalling around JD150 million will be issued to cover the purchases of the National Electric Power Company, while another worth JD100 million will be conducted for the benefit of the Water Authority of Jordan.

“A company was registered for the purposes of the issuance of the Islamic bonds as required by law and we expect the issuance to take place in the second quarter of this year,” said the official.

In 2012, Parliament passed the Islamic Finance Sukuk Law to allow both public and private entities to issue Islamic bonds in dinars and in foreign currencies. In April this year, the government chose the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, an arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, to support the country’s debut for the planned domestic sukuk offering.  

(The Jordan Times / 28 March 2016)
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Sunday, 27 March 2016

First Islamic banking center opened in Russia's Kazan

AhlulBayt News Agency - Russia's first center of partnership (Islamic) banking was opened today in Kazan. It will operate in full compliance with the principles of partnership funding, which are widely used in many countries of Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The opening of the center was attended by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, the first Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Alexei Simanovsky and the Mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Tatarstan, Kamil Samigullin.

"We live in difficult times, difficult economic circumstances force us to look for new ways," the head of the republic said.

The center was opened in the framework of a cooperation agreement between the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Tatarstan and Tatagroprombank, TASS reports.

The working group, which is headed by the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Alexei Simanovsky, drafted a "road map" for the development of partnership banking and related financial services in the Russian Federation in 2016-2017.

The center will conduct investment, leasing and trading activities. It will share financial risks with its clients.

The head of the department of stock markets and financial engineering of the Faculty of Finance and the Banking Business of RANEPA, Konstantin Korischenko, said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that Islamic banking is very actively developing form of financing.

"The only difficulty in the Russian context is that the banking does not quite fit in with the Russian Civil Code. Since the principle of payment for repayment of resources does not correspond to the basic principle of Islamic finance, which proposes a joint profit from economic activities. So active discussions are under way if changes in Russian legislation are possible. There are even proposals for a regulatory change, but unfortunately the problem has not been solved yet," the expert said.

The head of the department of stock markets and financial engineering of the Faculty of Finance and the Banking Business of RANEPA recalled that there is only one kind of legislation in Russia, which is the legislation of the Russian Federation, which, unfortunately, does not support such a type of financing now. "So the problem is how legal contracts between the parties will be signed." So currently research and consulting functions of the center will be more in demand," Konstantin Korischenko concluded.

The president of the Association of Russian Banks, Garegin Tosunyan, expressed opinion that "every banking service is in demand here," so "we should welcome this practice." "This type of banking, in terms of the specifics of provided services, may be attractive for a particular group of customers," he said.

The expert also noted that such banks will not be radically different from the usual, but they will be characterized by "forms of specialization, in which preference is given to only investment programs and approaches, while putting a particular emphasis on the cultural and ethical aspects of business.

(ABNA / 27 March 2016)

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Malaysia: Sime Darby raises RM2.2b from sukuk issue

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Sime Darby Bhd has raised RM2.2 billion from the issue of a perpetual non-call 10-year subordinated sukuk to largely refinance its debt obligations.

President and Group Chief Executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh said the perpetual sukuk was part of the company's deleveraging efforts and it is the first globally based on shariah principle of Wakalah.
“We are encouraged by the strong support shown by investors and this also indicates the market’s continued confidence in Sime Darby,” he said in a statement today.
The sukuk offering was over 1.8 times oversubscribed from its initial target, allowing Sime Darby to upsize and price the offering at the final yield of 5.65 per cent per annum.
As at mid-day break, Sime Darby's share price was four sen lower at RM7.95 with 471,500 units transacted.

( Malay Mail Online / 24 March 2016)
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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Malaysia: Sime issues RM2.2bil sukuk

PETALING JAYA: In a move to manage its debts, Sime Darby Bhd has issued RM2.2bil in Islamic debt papers at a final yield of 5.65%, which is about 179 basis points above similar-tenure Malaysian Government Securities.

The plantation heavyweight has issued a sukuk wakalah offering with a 10-year perpetual non-call tenure, which it said has been oversubscribed by 1.8 times.
This is the first call of an RM3bil programme that has been assigned a rating of AAIS by Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC).
Sime Darby said that MARC has accorded 50% equity credit on the issuance, which fits well with the group’s deleveraging initiatives.
It told the exchange that the fund-raising exercise was to manage its gearing level.
Sime Darby said the issuance has received strong order book via a limited book-build, allowing the company to upsize and price the offering at the final yield of 5.65% per annum.
Proceeds raised from issuance under the sukuk programme will go towards refinancing the group’s debt obligations and working capital requirements, it said.
The sukuk is the largest perpetual sukuk issuance globally by a non-bank, the largest ringgit perpetual sukuk issuance so far, and the first perpetual sukuk globally based on the syariah principle of wakalah.
Sime Darby president and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh said the perpetual sukuk “is part of our deleveraging efforts”.
“We are encouraged by the strong support shown by investors and this also indicates the market’s continued confidence in Sime Darby,” he said in a statement.
Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB), which is the principal adviser, lead arranger and lead manager for the sukuk programme, said its participation in the transaction was holistic, whereby it delivered complete and end-to-end solutions.
“It is our privilege to work with Sime Darby again and jointly introduce the innovative sukuk wakalah to the market.
“The innovative sukuk structure, the first of its kind for an issuance of this nature, will further enhance Malaysia’s position as a global Islamic financial hub, and is a testament to our leadership in the global sukuk space,” said Maybank Kim Eng Group and Maybank IB CEO John Chong in a separate statement. Sime Darby had been under pressure to reduce its gearing following the acquisition of New Britain Palm Oil Ltd for RM6bil in March 2015.
In August last year, StarBiz reported that Sime Darby was looking at a RM6bil rights issue.
However, the proposal reportedly did not have the blessings of Sime Darby’s controlling shareholder, Permodalan Nasional Bhd.
Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Sime Darby’s issuer rating and debt rating on sukuk issued by the company’s unit Sime Darby Global Bhd to Baa1from A3 with a “negative” outlook on the ratings.
It had also downgraded the senior unsecured medium-term note programme rating of Sime Darby Global Bhd to (P)Baa1 from (P)A3.
It said the downgrade reflected the extended period of weakness in the company’s financial profile after delayed plans to reduce its debt, and deteriorating cash generation across its key business segments.

Last month, Standard & Poor’s Ratings lowered its long-term corporate credit rating on the conglomerate, downgrading it to BBB+ from A- with a negative outlook.
(The Star Online / 25 March 2016)
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Malaysia: Takaful industry records growth in general and family sectors

KUALA LUMPUR: The Takaful industry recorded positive growth in both general and family takaful businesses in 2015, said the Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA).

Its chairman Ahmad Rizlan Azman said the general takaful business registered gross written contributions of RM2.3billion, an increase of 6.3 per cent over the same period in 2014.

Meanwhile, he said the family takaful business registered RM3.64 billion new business contributions in 2015, an increase of 3.9 per cent compared to 2014.

"The takaful industry is currently focused on the removal of Motor and Fire tariffs that is set to change the landscape of the general takaful industry seeing that these two classes combined make up the biggest component of the business," he said in his speech at the Takaful StarNite 2016 held at the Royale Chulan Hotel here today.

Currently in its sixth year running, the annual dinner and awards night was jointly-organised by MTA and Takaful practitioners in Malaysia to celebrate the achievements of the industry as well as the achievers who had performed outstandingly well last year.

The event was graced by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, the royal patron for Malaysia's Islamic Finance Initiative.

Ahmad Rizlan called on members to get acquainted with the new life Insurance and family takaful framework guideline, citing that it would become the new mantra for the industry as it requires improvement on efficiency and effectiveness of distribution channels and promote product innovation.

"Technology and innovation have fundamentally changed the way the businesses operate for many industries nowadays. I believe that the Takaful sector is no exception."

Ahmad Rizlan said the emergence of so-called online intermediaries or cyber agents in Malaysia, such as iMoney, Loanstreet, Ringgitplus and Insurance finder have set the scene in comparing and promoting financial products online.

"They are capable of explaining the complexity of Takaful in layman terms with greater ease using infographics and catchy articles.

"They provide facts and figures on how insurance and Takaful should be looked from customers' perspectives," he added

A total of 20 award categories were presented, including the Best Takaful Operator - Bancatakaful Business (HSBC Amanah Takaful (M) Bhd bagged the award), Best Takaful Operator - Agency Family Takaful Business (won by Prudential BSN Takaful Bhd), Best Bancatakaful Partners - Financial Institution (HSBC Amanah Takaful (M) Bhd), Best Takaful Operator General Takaful Business (Etiqa Takaful Bhd), Best Takaful Agency - Inter MTA member companies, Young Takaful Manager (Prudential BSN Takaful Bhd), and Corporate Social Responsibility (Etiqa Takaful Bhd).

(News Straits Times Online / 24 March 2016)
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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Malaysia: Axiata US$500m Sukuk gets strong response

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd’s 10-year US$500mil Sukuk received strong response with a final book of over US$900mil orders, it said.

The telco company said on Wednesday this was a bid-to-cover ratio of over 1.8 times, and a final yield of 4.357%.

“The bookbuilding exercise commenced with an initial price guidance of US Treasuries (“UST”) + 2.60% area. Demand for the Sukuk issuance led to a final price guidance of UST + 2.45% area ± 0.05% at Asian close/London mid with books in excess of US$1.4bil,” it said.
Axiata said the issuance attracted interest from a diverse group of Islamic as well as conventional investors, comprising asset management companies, financial institutions, insurance companies, and sovereign wealth funds, with participation from 64 accounts.

It said the Sukuk would be issued by its Malaysian-incorporated special purpose vehicle, Axiata SPV2 Bhd. 

The Sukuk Issuance is the third issuance under Axiata’s multi-currency Sukuk issuance programme with an aggregate nominal value of US$1.5bil (or its equivalent in other currencies), established on July 17, 2012. 

Proceeds of the Sukuk Issuance will be utilised to fund the proposed acquisition of Ncell Pvt. Ltd. 

The Sukuk issuance has been assigned ratings of Baa2 and BBB by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, respectively.
The Sukuk issuance, which will be listed on Bursa Malaysia (under the Exempt Regime) and the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd, is structured based on the Shari'a principle of Wakala.

The underlying assets are 100% airtime vouchers, representing an entitlement to a specified number of airtime minutes on the mobile telecommunications network of subsidiaries of Axiata for on-net calls.
Axiata’s president  and group CEO Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said, “The strong participation from international investors for this Sukuk issuance is validation of our solid fundamentals and we are pleased that investors are supportive of our aspirations as a regional telecommunications champion”. 
He added this Sukuk Issuance, the third drawdown off Axiata’s US$1.5bil multi-currency Sukuk issuance programme, continued to demonstrate Axiata’s ability to access the debt capital markets as it saw strong cross-border participation from a wide and diverse base of investors, with 71% from Asia, 11% from Europe and 18% from Middle East. 
“Charting a new benchmark, we have taken this opportunity to build Axiata’s curve with a 10-year issuance maturing in 2026, in line with our long-term strategy and growth plans. Axiata will continue to look towards opportunities in the capital markets to strengthen our capital base. 

“Through Ncell, Axiata will be entering the fast-growing brownfield market of Nepal with a controlling stake of its number one telecom operator. As a rare and opportunistic asset, 

“Ncell would be immediately accretive to Axiata’s financials when consolidated. At the same time, Axiata’s regional footprint will expand to a total of 10 countries in Asia, strengthening its position to further unlock shareholder returns and sustain long-term growth.” 

CIMB Bank (L) Limited, Deutsche Bank AG, Singapore Branch and HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd were the joint arrangers of the Sukuk programme.

CIMB, Deutsche Bank, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd and HSBC Amanah were the joint lead managers and bookrunners for the Sukuk issuance.

(The Star Online / 16 March 2016)
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Saudi’s IDB Group pitches for Islamic finance in India

MUMBAI: Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group will approach the RBI to highlight the benefits of tweaking rules to allow Islamic finance in India. The meeting comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia next month.

Khaled M Al-Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector (ICD) — an arm of the IDB, said that he would discuss with the RBI how Islamic finance could complement the existing banking activity. 

Highlighting the advantage of Islamic finance — an interest-free method of providing capital — Al-Aboodi said that there was no excess leveraging in such assets and banks would always have some security. According to Al-Aboodi, in terms of distress Islamic finance worked well as the financier operated as a partner with the businessman.

"During the 2008 global financial crisis, Islamic finance banks had been affected at a much lesser level," he said. IDB has advised other countries that have managed to tweak rules to enable interest-free financing. One of the regulations is facilitation of leasing and buyback of assets by financiers.

Al-Aboodi, who was in India ahead of Modi's visit to Saudi Arabia, said that although IDB lends only to 56 member countries, it worked together with India in getting Indian vendors for projects in developing markets in Africa. "We play a role similar to the Exim Bank's, by financing Indian imports among member countries," said Al-Aboodi. He added that Indian companies were in a position to provide affordable technology.

In India, the IDB is engaged in social development initiatives. One such initiative likely to be signed during the PM's visit is a $50-million financing of mobile medical units in the country. The financing will be through a non-government organization which has been identified for the purpose.

The IDB Group has been present in India since 1983, when it started a scholarship programme under which 4,190 students have benefited, he said, adding it has also helped 250 other projects in the country.

(The Times Of India Business / 17 March 2016)
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Tanzania: Needy People to Reap From Zakat

THE Wakf and Trust Commission Zanzibar authorities have started giving out tithes (Zakat) to the needy, as promised during the establishment of the Zakat.

No details were given on how much the commission collected and given to the needy, including assistance to the widows and children in schools. Zakat is a form of obligatory- compulsory, or, more recently, voluntary- alms-giving and religious tax in Islam.
As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, Zakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. "Use the Zakat for the intended goal of getting you out of the difficulties," Sheikh Hassan Ali Kombo from the Commission told the beneficiaries and Ms Amina Hassan one the receivers expressed gratitude.
The Commission for Wakf and Trust Properties is a self-managed state institution established by Act No. 2 of 2007. The functions of the Commission includes managing: Wakf property; Trust property; and Estate of deceased Muslim.
The Commission also takes care of Islamic matters with regard to inheritance, Hijja (Pilgrimage), Sadaka (Charity) and Zakat (Tithes).
Furthermore, in the process of managing properties, the Commission administer tenancy agreements, collection of rent/debt; and estate management, development and maintenance of Wakf and Trust Properties
(All Africa / 16 March 2016)
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