The Kuwaiti government may bail out troubled Islamic investment bank The Investment Dar which recently defaulted on its sukuk, the first such default in the GCC. Critics point to a mismatch between cash flow and liabilities as well as the company's highly leveraged position which included its partial takeover in a leveraged buy-out of Aston Martin. Two interesting paragraphs in the article, which touches on systemic risk in Islamic finance, the topic of my forthcoming opinion piece in Business Islamica magazine:
"Bankers agree that the TID default may be a one-off and would not have a contagion effect even if there were one or two more defaults in the Sukuk or wider Islamic finance market. The financial market generally also prices in default probabilities to a certain extent.
"Another Islamic capital markets expert, however, warned that the main "issue has always been a lack of transparency in the structure and Shariah compliance process. The issuance is also not under a well-regulated jurisdiction familiar with Islamic financial products. Obviously there will be some contagion, as investors will now relook at the structure of the product they are holding. But it is fortunate that there is no secondary market otherwise the mark to market valuations across the board would be in a state of disarray."
- The Saudi Gazette has an article summarizing the speech given by Enad Al-Menaie, the chairman and managing director of the Liquidity Management House at the 6th IFSB Summit in Singapore recently.
- Brunei issued the 30th in its series of short-term ijara sukuk. So far the country has issued over B$1.6 billion ($1.1 billion) in ijara sukuk since April 2006. One of the topics discussed at the AAOIFI conference was the use of arbitration instead of commercial, secular courts in handling disputes about Islamic financial products.
- AAOIFI held its annual Shari'ah Conference in Bahrain on May 18-19, 2009. Indonesia will host a meeting of Shari'ah scholars from Southeast Asia later in May.
- Indonesia may issue another sukuk, this one for IDR 5 trillion ($485 million), later this year.
- UM Financial Group, a Canadian Islamic finance company, and Mint Technology are launching prepaid cards targeting the Muslim community in the country.
- An interview with Eric Meyer, CEO of Shari'ah Capital describes their strong balance sheet and the performance of their long-short equity funds which focus on commodities.
- The managing director of Korea Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. discusses the country's interest in Islamic finance in an interview.
- Bank Islam and MayBank Islamic have both denied reports that they may merge.