Thomson Reuters Launches Next Generation Islamic Finance Gateway

Thomson Reuters announced that it has launched its next generation Islamic Finance Gateway to guide the emerging industry to the next stage of growth and development.

Rushdi Siddiqui, Global Head of Islamic Finance, Thomson Reuters, said, “Despite its image as an emerging industry, Islamic finance has now grown to be worth around US$1trillion and the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway truly opens up this world of possibilities and opportunities for financial market participants and professionals. The conventional, western finance industry is accustomed to clean, crisp, robust information, real-time news, connectivity to communities and the ability to act and transact with trusted counterparties. By providing these ‘must have’ features the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway demonstrates the industry’s true breadth and makes the transition for all to Islamic Finance a seamless one.”

The Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway is a global, neutral platform and directory consisting of details for and links to Islamic finance professionals, rating agencies, industry standards bodies, Islamic finance hubs, index providers, consulting firms, 400 Shariah scholars and Islamic subsidiaries from over 25 countries. Reuters Messaging is embedded within the Gateway to foster communication and create the connections required to build and grow communities.

Available on its flagship Thomson Reuters 3000 Xtra desktop, The Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway improves transparency through lower information search costs and provides greater global connectivity and insight into the industry’s opportunities.

By bringing together neutral, intelligent, Islamic, ‘trading-ready’ finance information and analytics on a common platform, the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway addresses the complete Islamic Finance work-flow.

Market professionals will now be able to access comprehensive, trusted multi-asset class information on a wide range of Islamic finance instruments such as Sukuks, Islamic leveraged loans, funds, Islamic money market, Takafol and currencies; alongside embedded real-time news stories from Reuters, and correlation analytics for Islamic versus western conventional market views. The Gateway will also include news of related industries to Islamic finance, like the $641 billion Halal food sector.

The rich data and breaking news is complimented by a global rolling tickertape of Islamic and conventional indexes, multi-currency real time inter-bank conventional versus Islamic inter-bank rates, an information fund supermarket(1) and click-through links to Gateways for the; Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and G-20 countries.

A unique heat map of Shariah-compliant and Shariah-based companies developed by IdealRatings, creates a diverse universe of publicly listed companies. The Shariah-compliant companies are screened according to global index providers’ methodologies, plus Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and Malaysia’s Securities Commission. The Shariah-compliant companies are screened by various economic sectors and regions. They are complimented by more than 100 publicly listed Shariah-based companies in regions and countries like GCC, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and the UK.

The global Islamic finance community can take the Thomson Reuters ‘trading-ready’ information one step further, by turning ideas into action. Publicly listed Shariah-based and screened companies and Islamic or commodity ETFs can be traded over the Thomson Reuters Trading for Exchanges (TRTex) platform, which has been integrated within the Gateway.

Basil Moftah, Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Thomson Reuters, said, “Islamic finance is an important part of our Middle East growth strategy, and the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway will not only address the Islamic banking industry’s needs, but will also enhance our ties to the greater MENA region.”

Following the launch in the GCC, the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway will be introduced to the market in Asia, via a launch in Kuala Lumpur on February 22.

source : earthtime

The Islamic Bank of Thailand plans to float 55 billion baht worth of Islamic bonds

The Islamic Bank of Thailand plans to float 55 billion baht worth of Islamic bonds in the local and overseas markets in 2010, says bank president Dheerasak Suwannayos.

He said the bank hoped to raise 5 billion baht from a local Islamic bond issue in the second quarter, the first issued in the Thai market.

Another 50 billion baht in funds would be raised as a sovereign bond issue in the international market by the third quarter.

“We hope to raise funds from the petrodollar market, using interest in basic infrastructure investments and funding from Islamic infrastructure funds,” Mr Dheerasak said.

The Islamic bonds would be issued in strict compliance with Islamic law, with investor returns projected at 3% to 4% per year. Bonds would be offered to individual and institutional investors.

The Finance Ministry and the Revenue Department are in the process of drafting regulations to remove tax obstacles related to the issue of Islamic bonds, including tax liability from the transfer of assets to a special purpose vehicle typically used in Islamic finance structures.

The Islamic Bank posted a net profit of 334 million baht in 2009, a sharp increase from profits of 2.08 million the year before.

Outstanding deposits stood at 41 billion baht at the end of last year, more than double the year before. Outstanding credit showed similar growth at 38 billion baht at the end of December, up from 16.7 billion the year before.

Net assets for the bank at the end of 2009 were 45.2 billion baht, compared with 23.8 billion the year before.

Mr Dheerasak said the bank, also known as I Bank, expected to reach net assets of 100 billion baht by the end of the year, with outstanding deposits of 78.7 billion and credit of 88.7 billion. Profits are projected at 668 million baht, double last year’s figures.

He said the bank would require additional capital to reach the growth target. The Finance Ministry has already approved a plan to raise paid-up capital for the bank to 9.87 billion baht from 3.48 billion now.

“But at the end of the day, I Bank is not solely oriented on generating profits, but also helping society as well,” Mr Dheerasak added.

For instance, the bank diverts a portion of its late-payment fees to a special fund to assist the poor. I Bank is also helping credit card borrowers refinance loans as part of a broader government programme to address the problems of low-income debt.

Source : Bangkok post