Thursday, May 31, 2007

Malaysia, Kenya, Saudi sukuk and venture capital

EONCap Islamic Bank, the Islamic banking subsidiary of EON Bank Bhd, wants to expand into partnership-based Islamic investment banking. The acting CEO, Abdul Jamel Pawanteh commented "We hope to expand our products by taking advantage of various contracts under Islamic banking … moving towards entrepreneur-based ties rather than debtor-creditor relationships".

HSBC Holdings Plc plans to start a stand-alone Islamic bank based in Malaysia to serve Muslim customers across Asia. They hope to receive approval to offer weath management, mutual funds and retirement products in countries like Brunei, Indonesia and Bangladesh from Malaysia. HSBC Amanah, the Islamic banking arm of HSBC Holdings is based in Kuala Lumpur.

The first Islamic commercial bank in Kenya received a license to operate. The bank will be called the First Community Bank Limited. Barclays Bank Kenya and Kenya Commercial Bank both operate Islamic windows and the Gulf African Bank was due to open in April.

The first Saudi sukuk was listed on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFC). There are now six sukuk listed on the exchange with a combined value of $8.98 billion. The most recently added sukuk was a $600 million issue by Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company.

The managing partner of Bahrain-based venture capital firm Stratum, Marwan K. Tabbara, urged Islamic financial institutions to move into venture capital and human capital based businesses rather than just fixed assets.

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