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Al-Cordoby  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 02 February 2010 at 1:30am

Ready to Grow: Potential of the German Market for Islamic Finance
 
Last October, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) hosted a conference on Islamic finance in Frankfurt which was attended by Islamic finance experts from countries all over the world as well as interested German stakeholders. The president of BaFin, Jochen Sanio, welcomed the Islamic finance sector to Germany. He explained that Germany is ready for this market to grow and to become a permanent part of the versatile German financial landscape.

Market Potential

The potential of the German retail market can be estimated at -1.2 billion per year, a figure which is hard to ignore. Muslims in Germany alone account for approximately 4 million potential customers, according to a survey funded by the German Interior Ministry in 2009. The German market provides significant growth potential for the Islamic finance sector.

http://www.islamica-me.com/article.asp?cntnt=430

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 03 February 2010 at 1:35am

First Steps: Islamic Finance in Russia
 
Despite the fact that Russia is one of the non-Muslim countries with the largest share of Muslim population (currently about 26 million people), the Islamic finance market is still new in Russia. Certain isolated attempts to promote Islamic finance in Russia in the past have not been successful or widely supported by the government or business.

The situation may be starting to change. Recent events on the topic, such as the first international conference on Islamic Banking: specifics and prospects, held in Moscow in March 2009 and the first International Islamic Business and Finance Summit held in Kazan in June 2009, attracted the attention of Russian and foreign business circles as well as government officials. Several top government officials have voiced their support for Islamic finance initiatives.

Despite all the interest, however, few practical steps have been taken in this direction so far. In practice, any plans to introduce Islamic finance models in Russia will encounter serious obstacles, one of the most important being legislative limitations. ...

http://www.islamica-me.com/article.asp?cntnt=429

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 04 February 2010 at 2:01am

Islamic finance to grow in 2010 as geographical reach widens 

Islamic finance is likely to advance in 2010 on firm growth and a widening geographic reach, according to a new report by Standard & Poor's.

"In our view, Islamic finance is poised to make further inroads in developed Western markets while Southeast Asian countries will likely fuel the Islamic finance advance in Asia during the coming year," say S&P analysts.

Even in 2009, a year when many of the world's financial systems found themselves deleveraging amid the capital market dislocation and its spread to economies around the world, growth of Islamic finance stayed more or less intact.

According to the S&P report, assets of the top 500 Islamic banks expanded 28.6 per cent to total $822 billion (Dh3,019bn) in 2009, compared with $639bn in 2008.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 05 February 2010 at 2:42am

Jordan to hold First Islamic Finance and Investment Forum next month

03 Fepuary 2010

Amman -- Jordan will host next month the First Islamic Finance and Investment Forum for the Middle East IFIF to discuss the role, functions and responsibilities of central banks in Islamic banking, Islamic funds & alternative investments, the situation of Islamic finance in the Middle East.

The event which will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of March at The King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center on the Dead Sea shores, will shed light on current trends and critical issues in Islamic finance and investment, particularly in the Middle East, according to an organizers' statement released on Wednesday.

The two-day gathering will also tackle identifying the driving forces of global Islamic banking, Sukuk, challenges facing Islamic finance in light of the global financial crunch.

The forum will be coupled with an exhibition that will feature products and services related to Islamic finance.

The event is in co-ordination with Ministry of Finance, Ministry of planning and International Cooperation, Islamic Development Bank, International Islamic Financial Market, Islamic International Foundation for Economics & Finance, Bahrain.

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Edited by Al-Cordoby - 05 February 2010 at 2:43am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 06 February 2010 at 1:37am

Ireland on Islamic Finance Track

Seeking to get a share in the growing Islamic finance industry, the Irish government has presented a new bill allowing Shari`ah-compliant financial transactions, reported the Irish Times on Friday, February 5.

“(The measure is) one of the most significant boosts for the IFSC [International Financial Services Center] in the last decade,” said director Brendan Kelly.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan on Thursday proposed amending tax laws to allow Shari`ah-compliant transactions.

The changes would help to “make Ireland the location of choice as firms rebuild in the aftermath of the global economic crisis,” Kelly said.

The new provisions will treat returns on Shari`ah-compliant products as interest for taxations purposes.

The proposed amendments were included in the Finance Bill presented to the Irish parliament on Thursday.

Though the amendments are confined to wholesale financial markets for the time being, they are expected to be expanded to include retail banking in the near future.

The measure covers a range of credit transactions and allows for the creation of investment securities similar to sukuks (Islamic bonds).

Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.

Islamic banks and finance institutions cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.

Shari`ah-compliant financing deals resemble lease-to-own arrangements, layaway plans, joint purchase and sale agreements, or partnerships.

Investment Magnet

The government hopes the move will boost the Republic’s attractiveness to Islamic financial services.

"Permitting and then encouraging different, non-Anglo Saxon or non-Western, forms of financing and investing is a most welcome announcement," Aidan Walsh, Corporate Tax partner with Ernest & Young, said.

"(This measure) will help further enhance our international attractiveness."

A report by Ernst & Young showed last week that Ireland has the world’s third most globalized economy.

"Ireland has benefited tremendously from globalization with over 80% of our goods and services exported internationally," Walsh said.

The Islamic banking system is being practiced in 50 countries worldwide, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry. ... 

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 07 February 2010 at 1:52am
 

Treasury backs Islamic finance sukuk bonds

The Treasury has introduced measures in Parliament to support Islamic finance and the issuance of corporate sukuk - Islamic investment bonds - in the UK.

The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, Order 2010, introduced last week, provides clarity on the regulatory treatment of corporate sukuk, reduces the legal costs for the investment and removes unnecessary obstacles to their issuance.

Sukuk is a broad class of financial instruments designed to replicate the economic function of bonds, but with a structure which complies with Islamic principles.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: "The government's objective on Islamic finance is to enhance the UK's competitiveness in financial services by maintaining the UK's position as a Western leader for international Islamic finance and to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their religious beliefs, has access to competitively priced products.

"This measure is another important step in the development of the Islamic finance sector in the UK and will help to provide a level playing field for Islamic financial products in this country."

The FSMA 2000, Order 2010, helps level the playing field for issuers of sukuk by explicitly exempting alternative finance investment bonds, a class of debt-like security which includes sukuk from collective investment scheme regulations.

There are currently 22 banks in the UK which deal in Islamic finance including HSBC which has an arm dedicated to it.

David Black, banking analyst for research company Defaqto, said: "Anything which assists liquidity and creates greater availability is good for the market. If it encourages more providers into the market, that has to be good for competition."

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 09 February 2010 at 3:46pm

Islamic finance and social responsibility

LONDON: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Islamic financial institutions should have an obvious fit given the faith-based ethos of Islamic finance, which also gives prominence not only to wealth creation and economic development but also to the promotion of social justice and concepts based on hard work, thrift and low or no indebtedness.

While the contemporary Islamic banking movement is now in its fourth decade, CSR and corporate governance has been slow to take off in the industry and has started to come to the fore only in the last few years. Several Islamic financial institutions and those conventional institutions offering Islamic financial products and services through windows have had sizeable CSR initiatives partly channeled through Zakat funds or through other concepts such as Sadaqah and Waqf (endowments). Kuwait Finance House, Jordan Islamic Bank, Bank Islam Malaysia, CIMB Islamic Bank and other Malaysian Islamic banks have had active CRS programs for years ranging from financing drub rehabilitation programs in Kuwait, to clinics and girls' colleges in Malaysia ...

http://www.islamonline.com/news/articles/28/Islamic-finance-and-social-responsibility.html

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 11 February 2010 at 1:53am

UAB To Start Islamic Banking Services This Year

When majority of the banks are struggling to retain their last year's profit levels and some even finding it difficult to stay in the black, there have been a few banks that have been successful in improving their performance year after year. United Arab Bank (UAB ) did it for the last year (2009) as well when the bank announced a 12 per cent growth in its net profit. UAB 's Chief Executive Officer paul Trowpidge told Emirates Business that the bank has put in enormous effort in reining in the cost and thus to ping down the cost to income ratio ...

When will you launch Islamic banking?

We will launch Islamic banking this year itself. UAB believes that this is a local bank with a 35-year history strongly tied to the founding of the UAE and I think we are turning to our history more as an inspiration for the future. Offering Islamic banking is a natural extension of that. We want people to have the choice. ...

http://islamonline.com/news/articles/28/UAB-To-Start-Islamic-Banking-Services-This-Year.html

 

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 12 February 2010 at 2:13am

UAE Strengthens Exports of Islamic Financial Products to Australia

The UAE strengthens the exports of Islamic financial products and services to Australia through the second Islamic Financial Services Trade Mission hosted by Dubai Export Development Corporation (EDC) - an agency of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) .

The Islamic Financial Services Trade Mission, which was first introduced last June 2009, was supported by the Australian government particularly by state governments of New South Wales and Victoria.

Organised in partnership with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the mission will conclude on Fepuary 12, 2010 in Sydney and Melbourne. "DED supports the UAE government particularly Dubai's efforts in introducing Islamic financial products across the world," DED Director General Sami Al Qamzi said. EDC's first successful Islamic Financial Trade Mission to Australia has pought changes in Australia's financial services sector particularly in the State of Canberra where UAE Islamic Financial firms have had discussion with the Treasury officials in Canberra about the rules governing its financial services.

"The second mission hopes to reach other states in Australia to examine possible ways of incorporating Islamic financial products into their current financial system," Al Qamzi said. The second mission not only aims to ping the Islamic financial products available in the UAE but also to take part in the modification within Australia's financial system ...

http://islamonline.com/news/articles/28/UAE-strengthens-exports-of-Islamic-financial-produ.html

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 14 February 2010 at 5:12pm

HSBC Amanah named Best International Islamic Bank by Euromoney

HSBC Amanah has been named Best International Islamic Bank by Euromoney magazine, in its Islamic Finance Awards 2010.

The Euromoney awards are widely considered to be the most high profile accolades in the Islamic Finance calendar and annually recognise outstanding performance, quality, service, and innovation in the sector.

In addition to being awarded the title of Best International Islamic Bank, Euromoney also named HSBC Amanah Best Sukuk House for the leading role it continues to play in Islamic debt capital markets.

During 2009 HSBC Amanah grew its operations in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Malaysia, while expanding in the key growth territories of Indonesia, Qatar and Bahrain. The business launched HSBC Amanah premier, the world's first international Islamic premium banking service and led activity in the Islamic debt capital markets, structuring and lead managing many of 2009's landmark transactions ....

http://islamonline.com/news/articles/28/HSBC-Amanah-named-Best-International-Islamic-Bank-.html

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 16 February 2010 at 3:18pm

Islamic Finance Reaches Australia

SYDNEY – Australia’s largest bank has launched the country’s first Islamic financing tool for commodity trade, joining a booming global industry.

"We believe it is the first in Australia," Emmanuel Alfieris, head of Westpac Banking Corp’s financial institution and trade, told Reuters on Tuesday, February 16.

Under the new tool, the bank buys commodities on behalf of investors, holds them on its books for a short time and then, once they are sold, splits the profit with them.

The time period and profit share are pre-agreed.

Shari`ah-compliant financing deals resemble lease-to-own arrangements, layaway plans, joint purchase and sale agreements, or partnerships.

Investors have a right to know how their funds are being used, and the sector is overseen by dedicated supervisory boards as well as the usual national regulatory authorities.

"Depending on the success of this one, we are looking at other asset classes," said Alfieris whose bank is the largest in Australia.

Westpac was recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as the most sustainable bank in the world for five consecutive years.

Government surveys show that Australia is home to 365,000 Muslims, who would use Islamic financial services if they were more accessible.

Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.

Booming Sector

The launch is part of Australian efforts to join the increasingly-growing Islamic finance industry.

"Islamic financing is a booming sector and Australia should be part of the action," Trade Minister Simon Crean told the Financial Standard.

He said the expanding Islamic banking would help turn Australia into a dominant player in regional financing.

"The continued growth in major Asian economies will create a need for resources-related services and infrastructure, which are ideal assets for forms of Islamic financing." ...

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 20 February 2010 at 1:55am
Islamic finance more than a blip on West's radar 

As the world's financial systems found themselves struggling through another challenging year in 2009, Islamic finance reached a new landmark. By year end, the steadily growing sector saw a cumulative total sukuk issuance reaching $100 billion (Dh367.3bn). In 2009, assets of the top 500 Islamic banks grew by 28.6 per cent to $822bn, up from $639bn in 2008.

Many Islamic financial institutions appear to have been insulated from the global financial crisis, largely due to the Islamic finance principles that prohibit interest. Consequently, Islamic finance institutions refrained from investing in structured products that played a significant role in the downfall of major global financial institutions.

Our analysis at Standard & poor's, where we currently rate 26 sukuk, indicates that Islamic finance will continue on its positive growth trajectory as it begins to evolve from its niche position in the financial sector to a more mainstream and globally-recognised compartment of the financial system. Geographic expansion and the influence of major international financial institutions in particular will play a significant role in the development of Islamic finance over the medium and long term.

Considerable interest in developing the sector has been noted in non-traditional centres of Islamic finance, specifically in Europe. The UK leads this effort, with major conventional financial institutions playing an instrumental role in developing local Sharia-compliant offerings ...

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 22 February 2010 at 1:18am

A discussion last week between Dr. Tariq Ramadan and Ahmad Thomson in the UK which gives some solutions to the current global financial crisis (for those looking for solutions):

Reforming the Global Financial System: An Islamic Perspective

http://www.tariqramadan.com/spip.php?article11023

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 23 February 2010 at 1:30am

Swiss urged to grab Islamic banking chance

GENEVA (Reuters) - For a Swiss private banking industry that is under fire and could see traditional sources of asset inflows dry up, Islamic banking is a unique opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands, one expert said on Thursday ...

"One totally untapped market is Islamic wealth management, where literally no bank offers anything but the most basic services, it's a huge opportunity for the industry," Sandwick said.

Sandwick is highly critical of the widespread reliance on real estate and private equity as cornerstones of Islamic wealth and asset management, because it creates a wide deviation from what would be considered prudent asset allocation.

"Money that should have gone to sharia-compliant mutual funds and sukuk funds went to private equity. The market for sukuk funds is $75 billion, but today the actual amount is about $120 million," he said, referring to recent IFSL data.

Swiss private bankers would do well, then, to broaden out their sharia-compliant product portfolios, he said.

"The low-hanging fruit in Swiss private banking is Islamic Finance. We must start now to ensure global predominance in this fast-growing sector, the stakes are high and the potential market is measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61H2LY20100218

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