Islamic portfolios attract ethical investors in US

source :

ethical investmentEthical investment which has similarities with Islamic based investments has reached US$32 trillion (RM105.6 trillion) in size in the US and the European Union, an expert in wealth management and ethical investment said.

Meanwhile, responsible investing such as Islamic finance is probably one of the most appreciated form of investment even in the US, a prominent global investment manager specialising in the issues of ethical and Islamic investment Nicholas Kaiser said.

“There are over 1,200 signatories with US$32 trillion of assets under management and that shows the tremendous growth of assets categorised under the principles of responsible investment,” Kaiser said.

Read more at :–islamic-portfolios-attract-ethical-investors-in-us

Women empowerment through Islamic banking and finance

Dr Humayon Dar

There is no gain saying that Islamic banking and finance has provided ample opportunities for women to excel in their professional life. There is a growing band of women professionals who have and are actively contributing to the development of Islamic finance in their own right.

The role of women in Islamic finance has never been more prominent than in Malaysia. Malaysian women have not only set the pace to occupy high positions in Islamic banking but have been playing a prominent role in the overall development of Islamic finance

– See more at:

source : Free Malaysia Today

A Detailed Look at the Fast-Growing Islamic Banking and Finance Sector

Press release
September 26, 2012
Hoboken, NJ
A Detailed Look at the Fast-Growing Islamic Banking and Finance Sector

The severity of the global financial crisis that followed the years 2008 and 2009 has been described as second only to the Great Depression. Yet, during those two years, the assets of the 500 top Islamic financial institutions grew — from $639 billion to $820 billion.

What sets apart the Islamic finance industry from the rest of the financial world? And how have its differences helped this sector thrive when the rest of the global financial market struggles to regain its balance?

Faleel Jamaldeen, author of Islamic Finance For Dummies, says: “I’m bullish on Islamic finance: I’m a firm believer in the market potential of this industry. I’m also a firm believer in the benefits of Westerners understanding the concepts that lie behind the Islamic financial products — knowing why a separate industry exists and why many conventional products don’t work for Muslims.”

“In the West, the general public and even many financial professionals know absolutely nothing about Islamic finance. Those who’ve at least heard of it may assume that they can’t understand or participate in it because they aren’t Muslim and don’t speak Arabic.) Western women may assume that they aren’t allowed to participate in the Islamic finance industry because of misconceptions about Islamic law. (Women can and do fully participate in Islamic finance — as professionals and as investors.)”

“Islamophobia is a prejudice against Islam or Muslims that has unfortunately become more commonplace and more intense in the West since the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Some people simply don’t want anything to do with an industry that’s affiliated with Islam. Until now, searching for a book to help you navigate the subject of Islamic finance wasn’t very rewarding. That’s because Islamic finance has been the topic of textbooks but not many nonacademic titles.”

Jamaldeen goes on to say, “I wrote this book to bridge the gap between people who need and want to know about Islamic finance and an industry that needs and wants their participation. You’ll find that you don’t need to learn a new language, change your personal religious views, and that job prospects are strong for both men and women with conventional banking and finance skills who are open to learning about new products and a new way of conducting business.”

“I wrote this book assuming that you have a strong interest in the financial industry already. Maybe you’re a banker, a mutual fund manager, an investment consultant, or an insurance agent. Perhaps you have Muslim clients asking you to consider adding sharia-compliant products to your roster of offerings, or your boss mentioned in passing that Islamic finance has been growing like crazy and your company should find out how to tap into the market. Maybe you’re a college student focusing your studies in finance, and you’ve read that job prospects are good for people with specific knowledge about Islamic finance.”

Whatever the scenario, you’ll find clear and easy-to-understand information on how the Islamic finance industry works.

source :

Demand for Local Sukuk ‘Excessive’ With More Likely Ahead, Official Says

The government has issued Rp 120 trillion ($12.8 billion) in Islamic bonds during the past four years, which the Finance Ministry attributes to an “excessive” demand for them among Muslim investors.

The ministry’s director for Shariah financing, Dahlan Siamat, said the government issued its first Islamic bond, known as sukuk, in 2008, and as of Thursday it had issued a total of Rp 120 trillion.

“The achievement has been supported by excessive demand for sukuk in the domestic market,” Dahlan said in Surabaya on Thursday.

“The potential for state sukuk in the country is developing rapidly, given that 80 percent of Indonesians are Muslims and there remains large potential for them to become investors.”

Indonesia has been selling conventional and Islamic bonds during the past year to help plug its growing budget deficit. The country’s budget shortfall is forecast to reach 2.23 percent of the gross domestic product this year, according to a revised 2012 state budget.


Bank Negara clarifies Fatwa ruling on forex trading

Source :

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia said today that only licensed financial institutions and money changers are allowed to conduct foreign currency trading.

This statement came about after the National Fatwa Council’s ruling on Wednesday that forex trading is forbidden for Muslims.
The Council’s statement on it being permissible among banks and money changers was not prominently mentioned in the media, which created some confusion among the public.
BNM said licensed commercial banks, Islamic banks, investment banks and international Islamic banks are allowed to buy and sell foreign currency in Malaysia, as provided under the Exchange Control Act 1953.
And under the Money Services Business Act 2011, so too are licensed money services business providers or money changers.

Read more: Bank Negara clarifies Fatwa ruling on forex trading – Top News – New Straits Times

Application for the Khazanah-Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

The Khazanah-Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Merdeka Scholarships, established to mark the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, are intended to enable outstanding Malaysian students to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.

Subject areas may be drawn from a range of fields. Candidates are required to demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, and how their study will make a contribution to the future needs of Malaysia.

Awards will include University and College fees, accommodation and subsistence allowances, and return air fares. Awards are renewable annually through the duration of the programme of study.

for further detail please contact

Indonesian government to offer retail sukuk bonds next March

JAKARTA: The Indonesian government will begin offering retail Islamic debt papers (sukuk) to individual investors in March, after previous issuances drew strong interest, despite the shaky global financial market.
The Finance Ministry’s Debt Management Office (DMO) began accepting applications from banks and brokerages to be sales agents for the government’s fourth issue of syariah-compliant bonds, English daily The Jakarta Post quoted DMO chief Rahmat Waluyanto as saying.
Sales agents would be appointed on January 4 and the offering would be in March. Government debt papers were attractive to individual investors because the return rates were higher than bank deposits. It was also viewed as safe because of government guarantees.
In its last retail sukuk issuance in February, the Indonesian government raised 7.34 trillion rupiahs (US$800.06 million) with an annual coupon rate of 8.15 per cent to be paid monthly, compared with a 6.75 per cent bank deposit rate guaranteed by the Indonesia Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS).
The government’s retail bond offerings had received strong demand from individual domestic investors, with the last sukuk issuance, exceeding its six trillion rupiah target.
Meanwhile the latest regular retail bond offering saw 20.35 trillion rupiah in bids, although the government ended up selling 11 trillion rupiah in debt papers.
The issuance of government debt papers, in the form of regular and sukuk institutional and retail bonds in rupiah and US dollar dominations, was a move to finance development projects and plug an estimated state budget deficit equal to 1.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The global financial market had been hit by high-level volatility in the stocks, bonds and currency markets on international fund sell-offs over fears of a global economic slowdown on the eurozone debt crisis and the stalling US economic recovery.
Rahmat had dismissed concerns on the retail sukuk issuance due to the shaky markets, saying that the retail market was relatively resilient to crisis, as the investors were individuals. — Bernama

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Islamic banking gets more customers from conventional market

The growth from the conversion of conventional banking customers into Islamic banking is higher than that from the unbanked market, said Standard Chartered Saadiq global head of Islamic banking (consumer banking) Wasim Saifi.

“So far the growth in Islamic banking has come from customers switching to Islamic banking from the conventional banking space.

Banks have not been able to find it profitable or feasible to penetrate deeply into the unbanked population,” he said on the sidelines of the Islamic Financial Intelligence Summit.

On concerns whether a bank that operated in both conventional and Islamic banking could properly separate those two businesses, Wasin said regulation was quite strict and banks as well as syariah boards would ensure that there was no common link of assets.

“We ring-fence the Islamic assets and liabilities so that they are separate from our conventional assets.”

source : the star malaysia

Halal industry should work with Islamic finance

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the halal industry’s rapid growth, it is missing out on opportunities to tap into Islamic finance, panel members said.

“There is a disconnect between the halal industry and Islamic financing, which is ironic since we’re working within the same religion, but are not talking to each other,” said Thomson Reuters head of Islamic finance (Asia) Rafiza Ghazali at a discussion on “Halal Economy” during the Islamic Financial Intelligence Summit.

She said in a study conducted by Reuters on 250 companies involved in halal production and with a combined market capitalisation of US$132bil, it found that only 50% of them passed the Aofi test, which meant that they are not syariah-complaint.

The Aofi test was a screening criteria used by Reuters to determine the syariah compliancy of stocks, she said.

“Why is it that they (companies in halal production) make sure their products can be consumed by Muslims, yet Muslims cannot invest in them?” Rafiza asked.

Fellow panelist, AmIslamic Funds Management Malaysia director Datin Maznah Mahbob, said: “There are so many opportunities for those companies to issue sukuk, short-term papers, and longer-term Islamic debt instruments of various tenures for fund managers to invest in.

“As a fund management firm, we invest in both sukuk and equities. If they structure their funding requirements in a syariah-compliant way, we can invest in them as they will be in my syariah-complaint universe.”

In a separate panel discussing the potential of Islamic funds, Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management CEO Abdul Jalil Rasheed cautioned against the popular belief that Islamic funds can outperform conventional funds at every turn.

“We don’t go out there saying it will outperform. I’ll be honest, we will guarantee a period of underperformance; that’s just how the market is. If you are outperforming consistently, you’re lying. Something’s wrong,” he said.

“No Islamic fund can claim they have a five to ten year track record. It will take some time to build critical mass and before we can tell clients that this fund can stand on its own merit against conventional funds.”

source : the star online

Malaysia eyes 25 pct share in Islamic banking

Malaysia aims to capture 25 percent of the market share in the Islamic banking and finance sectors by 2012, according to an expert speaking in Istanbul.

“Islamic banking and finance has experienced substantial and unprecedented growth in recent years, growing at a rate of 10-15 percent annually,” Mehmet Asutay, the director of the Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance at British-based Durham University, said Monday in his opening speech at the Durham Islamic Finance Autumn School 2011 in Istanbul.

Malaysia aims to capture a quarter of the market share in the Islamic banking and finance sector in terms of assets owned by 2012, while it is expected that Islamic finance will become the mainstream financing method in the Gulf region within the next decade, Asutay said.

More than 500 Islamic banking and finance, or IBF, institutions operate worldwide and are estimated to manage assets worth at least $1.2 trillion, compared to less than $10 billion in 1985, Asutay said. Amid the current financial crisis, which has engulfed the entire global economy, the IBF industry has shown relative resilience without undergoing major difficulties despite the fact that it is very much integrated with the global finance worldwide, according to him.

The Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance has contributed to the field of Islamic economics, banking, finance and management through teaching and research over 25 years, Asutay said.

The Durham center is holding the Islamic Finance Autumn School 2011 between Monday and Thursday in Istanbul in cooperation with the Istanbul Foundation for Research and Education and the International Technological, Economic and Social Research Foundation. The gathering is supported by Istanbul Commerce University, the Participation Banks Associations for Turkey and the Alliance of Civilizations Institute of Fatih Sultan Mehmet University.

source : hurriyat daily news