Another positive development in the Islamic finance industry besides Sh. Elgari's suggestion for peer review and market consultation of significant fatawa like the one on tawarruq is on corporate governance issues. Specifically, the suggestion by several scholars that the central bank (or another institution independent of the Islamic financial institutions) should be responsible for paying scholars instead of their being compensated by the companies whose products they are supposed to regulate.
Dubai World has hired AlixPartners, a restructuring firm based in New York that recently helped General Motors with its bankruptcy filing. One of the most important issues to deal with is how to pay the $3.52 billion Nakheel sukuk that matures in December. I wrote a summary of the Nakheel sukuk on my Zawya blog.
Although much of the talk about the shortage of Shari'ah scholars abated as the market for Islamic finance and especially sukuk slowed during the last year, there is still a shortage. There is also talk in the article of imposing licensing standards to ensure that all members of any Shari'ah boards are adequately qualified which should paradoxically increase the number of Shari'ah scholars because it will provide a way for lesser known but equally qualified Shari'ah scholars to take seats on boards that would otherwise be reserved for the best known scholars who sit on dozens of Shari'ah boards each.
- Saudi Arabia continues to study how to create a Shari'ah-compliant version of Fannie Mae to improve liquidity in the country's mortgage and property markets to increase home ownership.
- Arcapita, the Bahrain- and Atlanta-based Islamic private equity firm is selling Church's Chicken to another private equity group.
- Dar al-Istithmar and the Dinar Standard are starting a social responsibility surv ey of Islamic financial companies.
- The new sukuk markets in the Saudi Arabian Tadawul exchange may have attracted another new issuer following shareholder approval for a sukuk issue by Saudi developer firm Jabal Omar.
- Russian firm VTB Capital is opening a Dubai office and working with Kuwait Finnance House to issue sukuk on behalf of three Russian companies worth between $100 and $300 million each.
- Australia's state of Victoria is working on a fact finding mission to learn more about Islamic finance.
- There is an article describing the Islamic financial industry in MENAfn.
- GCC Islamic funds are outperforming their benchmarks according to research by Emirates Business 24/7.