Monday, October 30, 2006

FSA regulations, Optimum Capital Protected Fund, Faith-based credit counseling, Sukuk growth, Islamic investment banking, Mashreqbank...

"Green light for new home finance regulation", Financial Services Authority (UK), October 30, 2006

The British Financial Services Authority (FSA), the body charged with regulation of the British financial industry has announced the approval of additional Shari'ah-compliant mortgage products. The regulatory body is currently accepting applications for licenses to sell newly-regulated products, which will be issued in April 2007. The FSA Director of Retail Policy, Dan Waters, said of the new policy will "ensure fairer treatment for consumers wanting to buy their homes in [a] way that is compliant with Islamic law, building on the work that we have already done in the field of Islamic financial services to improve consumer access to these products."

"Khaleej Finance and Investment presents KFI-Optimum a Sharia'h-compliant Fund", AMEInfo, October 28, 2006

Khaleej Finance and Investment, has announced the launch of a US$50 million Shari'ah-compliant Capital Protected Fund. The fund is based on the Dow Jones Islamic Equity Index, Crude Oil and Copper. If held 3 or 4 years the investor will receive 100 percent of their initial capital with a minimum return on investment of 10 percent (3 years) and 12 percent (4 years).

"In God we trust: Consumers let faith guide finances", Dallas Morning News, October 30, 2006

Insight into religious-based financial counseling courses. The courses are proliferating in Christian churches across the U.S., but largely absent in mosques and temples. Explanation in the article on the paucity of financial-counseling courses in mosques:
"In Islam, prohibitions against receiving or paying interest mean Muslims are less likely to be deep in debt than others.

'Credit is OK as long as it's paid on time, no interest,' said Imam Yusuf Ziya Kavakci, an Islamic law scholar at the Islamic Association of North Texas in Richardson.

Muslims are taught to be 'economical, don't squander, plan for the future and invest in continuous, perpetual charity like a scholarship for a student so you are rewarded after death,' Mr. Kavakci said. 'Be content.'"

"Sukuk listings in GCC region to exceed $20b", Khaleej Times, October 28, 2006

S&P approximate the sukuk market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region to increase from $5 to $10 billion in rated sukuk today to more than $20 billion by the end of the decade.

"Aseambankers grows Islamic ops", The Star (Malaysia) , October 28, 2006

Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd, the investment banking arm of Maybank, announced plans to expand its Islamic operations outside of Malaysia into the Middle East and Indonesia.

"CIMB Interested in International Syariah Bonds", TEMPO Interactive (Indonesia), October 30, 2006

A large Malaysian Islamic investment bank, CIMB Islamic has expressed interest at assisting in upcoming issues of government and infrastructure bonds in Indonesia, in addition to their domestic business and the Middle East.

"'Khazanah Sukuk' Sets New Benchmark for Investors", MENAfn, October 30, 2006

This article describes where the sukuk market is heading since the issues of the first Exchangeable Trust Certificates (the Khazanah sukuk, which are exchangeable for equity in Telekom Malaysia) and the first sukuk with both put- and call-options (the Musharaka Trust Sukuk issued by The Investment Dar).

"Masreqbank upbeat on Islamic finance", Gulf News, October 30, 2006

The UAE-based Masreqbank has launched an Islamic banking arm, Badr al-Islami, with which they hope to capture 5 percent of the rapidly growing market for Islamic banking in the UAE within five years. The bank has invested significant funds in the new arm, beginning with the creation of a Shari'ah board

"International Banks Flocking To New Dubai Special Financial District", Easy Bourse, October 30, 2006

Large International banks are flocking to Dubai and many of these banks are using the opportunity to open Islamic windows.

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