Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Takaful growth, Europe hosts the IIFF, Airline financing & DIG partners with Bank Islam Malaysia

"Premiums to soar for Islam-based insurance", International Herald Tribune, October 10, 2006

Worldwide, Islamic insurance (takaful) has been growing rapidly recently. The IHT article cites a figure from Moody's Investors Service of $7.4 billion in premiums in 2015 worldwide, compared to just $2 billion last year. HSBC Amanah, the Islamic finance unit of the multi-national bank, gives an even higher estimate of growth, predicting that takaful premiums could be $14 billion by 2015. The takaful industry has just recently been attracting Western multinational banks. American International Group opened a Bahrain office at the beginning of October and reinsurers Hannover Re and Swiss Re have begun Islamic reinsurance (retakaful) units. Takaful resembles mutual insurance where all members are the insured and the insurers, in order to avoid riba (usury) and gharar (speculation), which make traditional insurance products haram (prohibited).

"European banks to debate Shari'a compliance", AMEInfo, October 10, 2006

When bankers meet at the International Islamic Finance Forum (IIFF) in Zurich between November 13th and November 16th, the focus will be on wealth management. As the demand for Islamic finance has risen significantly over the past five years, so has the demand for Shari'ah-compliant wealth management strategies, particularly for investors in the Middle East which has seen large increases in wealth due to high oil prices.

"Financial times", ITP Business, October 10, 2006

This is another article from ITP business discussing the uses of Islamic financing in aircraft purchases by airlines, led by Emirates Airlines. While many companies are still using conventional financing, "with Middle East airliners expected to invest billions over the next decade to increase their fleets, experts believe the popularity of Islamic finance could potentially skyrocket". There are not yet reliable estimates about the size of the Shari'ah-compliant airline-finance sector yet, nor are there predictions on future growth in quantitative terms.

"Bank Islam to be one of world's top Islamic banks, says new partner", Bernama, October 10, 2006

Dubai Investment Group (DIG), a large conglomerate from the United Arab Emirates is partnering with Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd in an attempt to build an international Islamic Bank. The CEO of the DIG, Soud Ba'alawy, estimated that the Islamic finance industry has $350 billion in assets worldwide and is growing at 16 percent per year. Other estimates have placed the size of the industry between $200 billion and $750 billion in assets.

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