Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Infrastructure, Indonesia, Indices, Banking & Skill Shortages

Islamic banking in Malaysia

"Malaysia's 3rd Islamic Bank to Open", AP via Yahoo! Business, December 20, 2006

A consortium of three banks (Qatar Islamic Bank, Malaysia-based RUSD Investment Bank and Global Investment House of Kuwait) is opening the Asian Finance Bank, the third foreign-owned Islamic bank in Malaysia. The chief executive Faisal Alshowaikh announced plans to open seven branches across Malaysia before expanding the bank into Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore.

New $2 billion Shari'ah-compliant infrastructure fund

"Abraaj Capital USD2 billion fund targets vast infrastructure investment opportunities", AMEinfo, December 20, 2006

The fund will be run by Abraaj Capital with contributions from Deutsche Bank and Ithmaar Bank. The projects will likely include some project financing. There is no indication that the banks intend to follow the Equator Principles relating to monitoring the social and environmental impacts of project financing.

Acute shortage of qualified employees in Islamic banking industry to worsen

"Booming Islamic banking will need 30,000 jobs in the Gulf in 10 years: A.T. Kearney study", AMEinfo, December 20, 2006

Management consulting firm A.T. Kearney predicts that the Islamic banking industry in the Gulf region will require 30,000 new employees trained in Islamic banking over the next ten years.

Indonesia plans to enter sukuk market

"Indonesia eyes Islamic bonds for retail investors", Reuters via Yahoo! News Asia, December 20, 2006

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country with one of the least developed Islamic finance industries plans to enter the market by issuing Islamic bonds, pending the passage of legislation proposed recently.

Overview of new S&P Shariah indices

"An Overview of Shariah Compliant Indices", Yahoo! Business, December 20, 2006

A brief overview of the S&P indices and comparison with conventional S&P indices and the Dow Jones Islamic Index.

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