A Reuters blog describes a meeting held by Thomson Reuters about whether the diversity of opinions among the Shari'ah scholars hampers the industry. I think this is an interesting discussion but the diversity of opinions, in my opinion, is a benefit for the industry because it keeps the industry working to meet the broad set of interpretations across the various geographies in which Islamic finance operates as well as providing a source for innovation to occur which can help the industry grow. That said, there are issues of standardization globally that, like any regulatory regime, hamper inter-regional development, but these are in my opinion outweighed by the benefits from a continuing discussion among Shari'ah scholars of the direction the industry should move.
RHB Islamic developed a tawarruq product based on telecommunication airtime as the underlying asset.
The National has a blog post on the Nakheel sukuk and in particular whether a restructuring is possible without jeapordizing the company's future access to the capital markets. It also covers the problems created by the Dubai government's implicit backing through a guarantee by Dubai World and compares this with the problems the U.S. government faced when Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two government-sponsored enterprises, ran into trouble and were at risk of failing. With the recent plans for the second tranche of the Dubai government's $20 billion bond issue which is reported to be used to support government-related entities like Nakheel and Dubai World, there may be a resolution to the specific problem posed by the maturity of Nakheel's $3.5 billion sukuk in December, but the greater issues raised will not be resolved as quickly. Back in May, I wrote my analysis of the Nakheel sukuk.
An article in Financier Worldwide discusses the particular difficulties of resolving restructuring/bankruptcies in the Middle East, particularly those involving Islamic financing structures.
- A writer in the New Straits Times discusses the potential for Islamic finance to play a role in re-establishing trust in the global financial system.
- Lahem Al-Nasser reviews the articles he has written about sukuk in Asharq Alawsat.
- Bangor University in Wales has seen significant uptake of its Masters courses in Islamic Banking & Finance and may offer an MBA with a focus on Islamic finance.
- An Islamic financial institution in India expands as the country's Islamic finance industry slowly grows.