Saturday, April 03, 2010

Catching up after the UFANA 2010 conference

Apologies for the light blogging recently. I was speaking at the Usury-Free Association of North America conference in Toronto, Ontario. As the editor of the UFANA newsletter, I was very impressed with the conference and it was well organized and well attended. It was one of the more stimulating Islamic finance conferences I have attended. There will be more information, including all of the presentations with video available on the UFANA website shortly. It is an honor of mine to work with an organization working to promote Islamic and other usury-free financial services within North America and one of my most interesting conversations was with the Rev. Lindsay King who shared his interpretation of the Biblical verses in Deuteronomy that restrict interest-based lending by Christians and Jews. I look forward to continuing to work with UFANA as the organization builds on this recent conference.

Investment Executive newspaper provided a summary of the conference. One of the announcements at the conference was the launch of the pre-paid iFreedom MasterCard.

There are three news articles about the Dubai World and Nakheel situation:


  • Rushdi Siddiqui has an editorial in Gulf News that is very much worth reading, "Upgrading to Islamic finance 2.0"
  • Islamic banks in the UK launched a lobbying group with a part of their mission being to encourage the UK government to issue a sukuk.
  • A Citi Private Bank report says that Western groups working in real estate should become more familiar with Islamic finance.
  • Arab News has an article about the forthcoming ShariahShares ETF family being launched in the US.
  • Ithmaar Bank is reorganizing as a retail Islamic bank.
  • An advisor to the Bank of London and the Middle East says that regulators should encourage smaller Islamic banks to merge.
  • Indonesia sold 620 billion rupiah ($68 million) in sukuk, which was below the target of 1 trillion rupiah. Despite the disappointing auctions so far, if the sukuk issuance continues to be as frequent as it has been recently, it could spur the development of secondary markets within the country.
  • Bank Sarasin released a report on Islamic Wealth Management, which follows a report recently released by Yasaar Media.
  • Qatar Islamic Bank is working on a joint-venture to offer Islamic financial services in France.
  • Bahrain Saudi Bank is rebranding itself as Bahrain Saudi as it becomes a fully Shari'ah-compliant bank following its acquisition by Al Salam Bank.
  • Dubai Financial Markets, which recently acquired NASDAQ Dubai, is planning to launch an Islamic index.
  • Emirates NBD launched an Islamic money market fund.
  • A Japanese financial services company signed a joint venture with the Ministry of Finance in Brunei to offer Islamic financial services including private equity.
  • The Central Bank of Bahrain's Sukuk Al-Salam were oversubscribed by nearly 400%.
  • The only Islamic bank in the Philippines is working with PetronBulilit Station to offer dealership opportunities for small businesses.
  • Franklin Templeton recieved a license to offer Islamic funds in Malaysia.
  • Kuwait Finance House-Malaysia is going to increase its investments in Malaysia.
  • Friends Provident, a UK insurance company, may offer takaful in the Gulf.
  • Pakistan is planning to offer Rs100 billion in sukuk in May.
  • The Huffington Post blog has another article on Islamic finance.
  • Yemeni banks should apply common standards to issue Islamic instruments according to a recent conference.
  • Malaysia's sukuk markets are expected to be RM60 billion ($18.5 billion) in 2010, up about a quarter from last year according to RAM Ratings.
  • Shari'ah Capital's DSAM fund of funds returned 41% last year using their arboon-based short-selling product, which remains controversial.

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