Islamic banking needs to develop new & innovative products
"Islamic Banking Needs To Gear Up To Face Changes In Consumer Demand", Bernama, December 22, 2006
The general manager of Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Aminnurrallah Mustapah, criticized the practice of financially re-engineering conventional products to Islamize them. While he was vague in describing the new products that would replace the re-engineered, he did tell Bernama in an interview that "the appetite is definitely there for ground-breaking Islamic structures". A growing realization from Islamic financial industry professionals that simply re-engineering conventional products does not hold the key to expanding the industry should hopefully lead to new products that are based on the ethical system of Islam and work to achieve the ambitious goals for social equality and development laid out by Islamic economics.
Kuwait Finance House expansion to Malaysia
"KFH eyes RHB Islamic assets", The Star (Malaysia), December 22, 2006
Speculation grows on the details of any tie-up between Kuwait Finance House and Rashid Hussain Bhd (RHB) Islamic Bank.
GDP-linked bonds & Shari'ah-compliance
"GDP-linked bonds fully compliant with Sharia demands", Financial Times, December 22, 2006
While I don't know whether a GDP-linked bonds would be considered Shari'ah-complaint, it is an interesting idea to look into.
Islamic credit cards
"BSN Aims At 50,000 Al Aiman Credit Card Holders Next Year", Bernama, December 22, 2006
"Al Aiman offers a low finance charge of 1.25 percent a month and is also free from riba or interest rate and gharar or hidden costs. The card, however, cannot be used at premises that are not listed under the Syariah Council". The annualized compounded 'finance charge' for 1.25 percent per month is 16.1 percent.
Call to (intellectual) arms for the Muslim world
"Original ideas, anyone!", Khaleej Times, December 22, 2006
An opinion piece from the Assistant Editor Aijaz Zaka Syed. Its not directly connected with Islamic finance, but it presents a good model for Islamic finance to build on and distinguish itself from conventional finance.
"AmIslamic to raise RM400 million from bond sale", Business Times (Malaysia), December 22, 2006