5 Interactive Distance Learning Programs on Islamic Banking and Finance

Monday, April 28, 2014

MoU signed to promote Islamic Finance in France Al Huda CIBE and SAAFI France will jointly initiate various projects

MoU signed to promote Islamic Finance in France Al Huda CIBE and SAAFI France will jointly initiate various projectsL
Lahore - Islamic finance is not confined to Middle East or Muslim countries rather it has gripped its roots in European countries and America as well. And the determination and efforts to become financial hub of London is the distinct example of the promotion of Islamic banking and finance. There is no denying the fact that the organizations of Islamic finance are rapidly growing in European countries and France is one of the destinations of the list. AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics and Solutions d'Acce's a I'Assurance et la Finance Islamiques (SAAFI) have signed an MoU in Paris France that was signed by Mr. Muh. Zubair Mughal, CEO, AlHuda CIBE and Mr. Ezzedine Ghlamallah, Director, SAAFI.

While addressing to the ceremony, M. Zubair Mughal said that France is the country that identifies the largest Muslim community in Europe with nearly 6 million Muslim residents that is 9% of the total population of France. It is to be noted that Islamic finance is not only the interest of Muslim population rather non Muslim are taking good interest in Islamic finance. There are various non Muslim countries where Islamic banking and finance is providing their customers state-of-the-art services above all religious differences.

He added that according to this MoU, both organizations will work together to strengthen the abilities of Islamic banking and finance in France, and to provide technical and Shariah advisory, trainings and other services. He said that AlHuda CIBE is keeping an eye on Islamic banking and finance of European countries and AlHuda CIBE and SAAFI will mutually conduct training workshops on Islamic banking and finance on 23rd & 24th June in Paris.
In the MoU singing ceremony, Mr. Ezzedine Ghlamallah said that Takaful, along with Islamic Banking, is also growing with rapid pace in Europe and particularly in France where it has enough potential. He added that AlHuda CIBE's entry in Europe is a constructive initiative which will strengthen the diversified Research, Trainings and Shariah advisory in Islamic Banking and Finance in European countries i.e. Germany, France and Switzerland and it will definitely result in the ultimate growth of Sukuk, Takaful and Islamic Microfinance Industry.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Islamic banking to be promoted under strict Sharia Laws

KARACHI: Islamic banking industry could develop at faster pace under true spirit and principles of sharia by professionals of banking and religious scholars of the field of finance.
Speakers at the concluding session of third Islamic Finance Exhibition and Conference (IFEC) held on Friday, said that they lauded the efforts of scholars, Islamic bankers and regulators in the promotion and development of Islamic banking as a replacement of riba or interest-based banking.
They praised the efforts of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for devising a five-year strategic plan and sharia guideline framework for the Islamic Banks, which they term, will expand Islamic banking industry with check and balance.
Saeed Uddin Khan, Head of Islamic Banking Division, Sindh Bank, said the promoting Islamic banking for meeting the need public financial needs could be possible if products and services should be completed based on sharia complaints.
He said customers at large could be attractive through boosting their confidence in Islamic banking, its offers and products must be truly in accordance with principle of Islam.
The high confidence of customers in Islamic banking will guarantee expansion of Islamic banking industry and its business throughout the country. It could be done through building a strong perception of Islamic banking in line with its sharia framework, he added.
Mufti Ahsan Waqar Ahmed, Sharia Adviser of National Bank of Pakistan, said the research and development work on the products and services should be continued for the improvement in the system, and gearing up the penetration of the sharia based banking in the society.
The Islamic banking professionals in the bank should be well trained of the principles of Islamic banking and financing from top level to grass root for real change and betterment in the banking practices.
The board of directors makes development plan and business strategy of the bank hence their decisions should be highly influenced under the guidelines of Islamic banking for its successful penetration across the board of financial institutions.

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/business/26-Apr-2014/islamic-banking-to-be-promoted-under-strict-sharia-laws

Monday, April 21, 2014

'Nation Leads In Islamic Banking'

PIONEER: Syariah-compliant system serves as model for other countries, says Najib.
THE government has succeeded in developing the Islamic financial system,   as the country has become the   centre of reference for others around the world, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He said Malaysia was not only known for pioneering the Islamic banking and financial system, but also as the only nation that had developed such a system through a holistic approach.
Najib said the nation's Islamic financial system offered syariah-compliant products and fulfilled the community's needs, as the nation had developed an infrastructure for the system to run well.
"Alhamdulillah (praise to God), the government's initiatives have been fruitful, as the country is now an international referral centre for a syariah-compliant Islamic financial system," he said at the launch of the week-long Malaysian Unit Trust Week 2014, themed "PNB 360 Investment", at the Rural Transformation Centre in Tunjong here yesterday. More than 5,000 people attended the event.
Najib said Malaysia continued to be a global leader in the international sukuk market, accounting for more than US$82.4 billion (RM266 billion), or 68.8 per cent, of the total international sukuk issuances last year.
"Islamic bank assets showed a growth of up to 16.5 per cent, with a market share of 25.7 per cent, of the total banking system assets last year," he said, adding that total transactions involving foreign exchanges managed by international Islamic banks had increased to RM18.1 billion last year, compared with RM14.6 billion in 2012.
He said the figures showed that syariah-compliant Islamic financial transactions had gained a foothold not only in Malaysia, but also at the international level.
Najib, who is also finance minister, said the government, through Bank Negara, had allocated RM500 million to establish a special university to nurture quality talent, with the aim of expanding the Islamic banking and financial industry.
He said another RM200 million had been channeled to set up an international-standard syariah research centre to ensure all components of Islamic finances strictly complied with syariah principles.
"The government's seriousness in empowering and raising the standards of the Islamic financial system can been seen from various governing and legal initiatives."
Under the legislation, he said, syariah was placed high up in the Islamic Financial Service Act 2013, whereby any financial institution found to have breached syariah principles in its business transactions faces a jail term of up to eight years, fine of up to RM25 million, or both, upon conviction.
Najib said the implementation of the initiatives to develop the system was among the key factors that caused the nation to receive the world's attention.
"What we envision is an Islamic financial system that is truly respectable, not only in its label and logo, but also for fulfilling the true essence of Islam."
He said in the latest development, the World Bank had indicated its interest to open a branch office in the country, with one of its main objectives being to gain experience and learn from Malaysia to develop the Islamic financial system.
"This is another endorsement for the country, which is a model, driver and pioneer in the agenda to raise the standards of the financial system, based on syariah, on the international stage."
Najib said Permodalan Nasional Bhd's (PNB) role in empowering the Bumiputera economy could not be denied, as it successfully managed investors' funds from the public, especially the lower-income group.
He said 75 per cent of Bumiputeras were living below the poverty line at the beginning of Malaysia's independence and held only two per cent in equity in the 1970s.
"The formation of PNB as an important New Economic Policy instrument has helped the national affirmative policy to restructure society through Bumiputera-share ownership in the corporate sector.
"This has provided an opportunity to Bumiputera professionals to contribute directly to the country's wealth creation and management.
"After 36 years, more than RM267 billion in the people's funds was managed excellently by PNB, through trust funds such as Amanah Saham Nasional, Amanah Saham Bumiputera, Amanah Saham Malaysia, AS1Malaysia and proprietary funds."
Najib said this had led the way for Bumiputeras to venture into strategic sectors, which they had never dreamed of doing.
"This innovation, allowing the rakyat to be shareholders with as low as RM10, has made PNB the most successful public institution, becoming a model to the world.
"This proves the government's commitment to realising the spirit of 'Maqasid al-Syariah' in the context of wealth management, fulfilling the principles underlined by Allah SWT."
He lauded PNB's initiative to expand the syariah-compliant portfolio.
He said one of PNB's most important portfolios, Maybank, had shown tremendous Islamic banking asset growth through Maybank Islamik, which expanded from RM3.6 billion to RM127 billion in assets.
"Maybank operates as the third-largest Islamic commercial bank in the world in terms of assets and is the largest in Southeast Asia."
Source: http://www.malaysiandigest.com/business/497908-nation-leads-in-islamic-banking.html

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kazakhstan and Bahrain to promote Islamic banking in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan and Bahrain will be working to promote Islamic banking in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews.kz reports, citing President Nazarbayev’s official website.
“The two sides have expressed their intention to promote Islamic banking in Kazakhstan. We are interested in Bahrain’s practices in this realm as the country is a major center of Islamic finances”, President Nazarbayev said following his talks with King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa in Astana April 14.
The two sides condemned terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations, called to strengthen measures to counteract transnational and organized crime, illicit turnover of narcotic drugs and weapons, as well as to counteract other types of crimes posing threats to the global peace and stability.
Kazakhstan and Bahrain have agreed to place a priority emphasis on cooperation in investments, trade, agriculture, banking, and to further ties in education, culture and science. They have agreed to encourage interaction between universities and culture entities and facilitate exchange of students.

For more information see:http://en.tengrinews.kz/politics_sub/Kazakhstan-and-Bahrain-to-promote-Islamic-banking-in-Kazakhstan-252934/
Use of the Tengrinews English materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink to en.Tengrinews.kz

Source: http://en.tengrinews.kz/politics_sub/Kazakhstan-and-Bahrain-to-promote-Islamic-banking-in-Kazakhstan-252934/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bank Islam still eyeing Indonesian market

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd has reiterated its interest in the Indonesian Islamic banking market despite previous attempts to penetrate the world's largest Muslim country meeting a dead-end.
Managing Director Datuk Seri Zukri Samat (pix) said Indonesia possessed tremendous prospects as the country, with a population of 240 million, is still underserved in the Islamic banking sector.
"Islamic banking penetration in Indonesia is about 3% to 4%, whereby Malaysia is between 23% and 24%. There is a huge Muslim population in Indonesia but Islamic banking penetration is very low, certainly (there is) a lot of business opportunity there," he told Bernama.
He said due to the low penetration of Islamic banking, the sector experienced a rapid growth annual growth of between 30% and 40%.
Zukri said Indonesia also had a large number of middle income population.
"I was told by an Indonesian party that by 2015, Indonesia is deemed to have a middle-income population of between 30 million and 40 million, that is larger that Malaysia's population," he said.
However, he said the regulatory system and company valuation remained challenging for the bank to enter the Indonesian market.
Zukri said new regulations in Indonesia have limited foreigners stake in local companies to up to 40% compared with 99% previously.
Furthermore, he said as more foreigners have shown interest to expand their presence to Indonesia, the valuation of the banks in the country have become more expensive.
Nevertheless, he said if a bank is available at the right price, interested parties should take a calculated risk of the changing regulation to venture into Indonesia market.
Zukri said, Bank Islam, however, was not in talks with any party from the neighbouring country right now for any potential acquisition.
"We are still trying but right now, we have not found anyone whom we can pursue further," he said.
Bank Islam's previous two attempts fell through.
One of it was the proposed acquisition of PT Bank Muamalat in 2012 but the deal was put on hold by the Indonesian party.
Meanwhile, on Bank Islam's domestic expansion plan, he said the bank would continue to increase its branches to 150 by 2015 as underlined by the bank's three years blueprint from 2013 to 2015.
"We think 150 is ideal for Bank Islam, after that, we will take a breather," he said.
He said infrastructure, staff allocation and cost constraints were the reasons why the bank was limiting the number of branches to just 150.
"We have to manage capital expenditure. One branch cost between RM800,000 to RM1 million (to set up), inclusive of IT equipment," he said, adding that the bank also needed to allocate experienced branch managers and capable staff for a new branch, which also added to the bank's operating expenditure.
Zukri added that the bank would also draw up a new blueprint in the middle of next year to replace the current blueprint after it ends. – Bernama

Source: http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1015659

Monday, April 7, 2014

Financial systems: ‘Islamic banking better alternative'

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Saeed Ahmad has said Islamic finance is going to become a better alternative to conventional banking.
Addressing a ceremony to mark the completion of 10 years of ‘Raast Islamic Banking programme’ of Bank of Khyber (BoK) on Saturday, Ahmad said the demand for Islamic banking will continue to grow in the coming years.
“Given its global outreach, growing recognition as a stable system, and its ability to provide financial solutions to all business needs, Islamic finance is all set to establish itself as a better alternative to the conventional financial system,” he said.
He noted the global financial crisis in 2008-09 made western financial experts look for an alternative under which the international financial system could overcome the weaknesses of the conventional system, which is based on a fixed, predetermined return in the form of interest.
“The search was for a system that leads to equitable treatment of all stakeholders under all circumstances. A lot of attention was focused on solutions, which are not far from Islamic financing where system allows fairness of return, sharing of risk and reducing income inequalities,” he said.
He said Pakistan was among the first few countries that undertook the ambitious aim of Islamising the banking system. Significant efforts towards this end were made during the 1980s, he said, adding that it went through a rough ride until 12 years ago when the SBP allowed three types of Islamic banking institutions i.e. full-fledged Islamic banks, Islamic banking subsidiaries of conventional banks and Islamic banking branches of conventional banks. Moreover, conventional banks having Islamic banking branches were also allowed to have Islamic banking windows in their conventional branches, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak appreciated BoK management for increasing the branch network across the country. Khattak also invited the Karachi business community and participants of the conference to visit K-P to witness the drastic change that the province had undergone in the last 10 months.
BoK Shariah Supervisory Committee Chairman Mufti Muhammad Zahid presented a detailed paper on the prohibition of interest in Islam and other religions. Islamic scholar Muhammad Ayub presented a paper on the philosophy of Islamic banking and its future while financial markets professional Umar Mustafa Ansari made a presentation on governance in Islamic banking and finance.

Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/691897/financial-systems-islamic-banking-better-alternative/

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Commercial Bank Of Kuwait To Convert To Islamic Banking

Around 85 per cent of shareholders had approved the lender's new move, the bank's chairman said.

Commercial Bank of Kuwait, the Gulf state’s fifth largest lender by assets, said a majority of shareholders had approved a plan to convert the bank into a full-fledged Islamic lender, state news agency KUNA reported.
The bank’s chairman Ali Mousa Al Mousa was quoted as saying on Wednesday that 85 per cent of shareholders had approved the move, adding that the measure would still require further approvals.
“The decision does not take immediate effect – it is just a first step in a legal process involving several studies and approvals.”
The bank also said it had received approval to raise 120 million dinars ($426 million) through the sale of subordinated bonds to help in its expansion plans.
The bank’s assets rose 7.1 per cent last year, reaching 3.9 billion dinars for the 2013 financial year.

Source:  http://gulfbusiness.com/2014/04/commercial-bank-kuwait-convert-islamic-banking/#.Uz-Yp6iSxOI

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Indonesia's Islamic Finance Sector Broadens

(Reuters) - Indonesia's Islamic banks maintained double-digit asset growth last year while rural and non-bank segments made further gains, broadening the industry's consumer base in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, but that potential has yet to fully translate into the country's Islamic banking sector which remains underdeveloped, lagging behind neighbour Malaysia.
Islamic banking assets grew by 24.2 percent to 242.3 trillion rupiah ($21.4 billion) last year, giving the sector a 4.9 percent share of total banking assets, data from Indonesia's financial service authority or Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) showed.
Indonesia's 11 full-fledged Islamic banks added 32.7 trillion rupiah worth of assets in 2013, a 22.2 percent increase, while the country's 23 Islamic windows added 14.5 trillion rupiah in assets, a 30.5 percent increase.
But beyond commercial banks, Islamic finance is making inroads in other areas which could help it tap the country's large consumer base - with a predominantly Muslim population of 240 million.
There are now 163 Islamic rural banks in Indonesia which posted a 24.1 percent growth in assets in 2013 to reach 5.8 trillion rupiah, lifting their share of total rural banking assets to 7.5 percent.
Such growth came despite the size of their branch network being almost unchanged with 402 branches across the country.
In a separate OJK report, Islamic financing companies posted a five-fold increase in assets in 2012 to reach 22.7 trillion rupiah. There were 35 such firms in Indonesia at the end of 2012, after 21 opened their doors that year.
Even Islamic pawn-brokers have made gains, they held a 9.8 percent share of total financing for that segment as of December 2012, the latest available data from OJK showed.
Indonesia's Muslim charitable organisations have also built large asset pools which could support efforts to reduce poverty, a study released on Tuesday found.
Regulators are also planning to roll out initiatives to develop other areas of Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as a ban on interest and monetary speculation.
The OJK is now a full-member of the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board, a major standard-setting body for the industry. It said last week it would implement risk management guidelines for Islamic insurance companies.
Indonesia's central bank is also developing a market for the short-term sukuk issued by the International Islamic Liquidity Management Crop, to help address a lack of highly-liquid sharia compliant money market instruments.

Other proposed policies include regulating foreign exchange markets, introducing Islamic repurchase agreements as well as education and promotion initiatives.
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/02/islamic-finance-indonesia-idUSL5N0MU0QE20140402

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Faisal Islamic Bank to participate in CBE Housing Initiative

Faisal Islamic Bank will participate in the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) mortgage finance initiative, the bank’s chairman, Mohammed bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, said Saturday.
CBE announced in February that it had allocated EGP 10bn ($1.44bn) to finance low-income housing projects, with the aim of boosting the construction and real estate sectors.
The money will be sent to banks, in the form of deposits, over a period of 20 years at low interest rates. Low-income citizens who qualify to benefit from the programme will be lent the money at yearly interest rate of 7% to 8%.
Al Saud’s remarks came during a Saturday meeting between him and interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, attended by governor of Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt Abdulhamid Aboumoussa, in order to review the bank’s financial, commercial and investment activities in Egypt, according to a cabinet statement.
During the meeting, they also discussed the possibility of participating in industrial, urban and economic development projects.
Al Saud said that the deposit growth in Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt averages from 7% to 10% year on year.
The bank, which has operated in Egypt since 1979 through more than 30 branches nationwide, will inaugurate new branches in Cairo’s Shubra neighbourhood and the Qena and Ismailia governorates.
Faisal Islamic Bank was ranked the fourth in a Forbes evaluation of Egyptian banks in October, the only Islamic bank of the 39 on the list, with $206.1m in revenues and $91.7m in profits during the 2012/2013 fiscal year.
However, Islamic banking remains unpopular in Egypt, with only 3% of adults using Islamic banking services and only 49% of adults even having heard of the service, a Gallup survey issued in January showed.

Source: http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/03/30/faisal-islamic-bank-participate-cbe-housing-initiative/