The First Lady of Islamic Finance

The first female central banker in Asia, Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz has been a key player in the global development of Islamic finance for more than a decade

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Doctor Zeti Akhtar Aziz is Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, the Central Bank of Malaysia. She was reappointed Governor for a further five year term with effect from 1 May 2011 by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Dr Zeti has held the position of Governor of the Central Bank since May 2000.


Married with two children, she was born on 27 August 1947; she is the daughter of Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, a former vice chancellor of the University of Malaya and one of Malaysia’s leading intellectuals. Dr Zeti studied economics at the University of Malaya graduating with honours and has a Masters and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

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HSBC Targets Branches: Mid East Roundup

HSBC’s Islamic Arm Targets 125 Branches by 2012.

HSBC Amanah, the Islamic arm of HSBC(HBC), plans to open 125 branches across the Middle East and Asia by the end of 2012, eyeing the rapid expansion in the Islamic finance industry which is worth $1 trillion, Dailystar reports.

Razi Fakih, HSBC Amanah’s deputy CEO said Islamic banking will grow at a 6% CAGR in the Middle East and Asia over the next five years. He further added that the next attractive markets will be China and India and HSBC is seeking to extend presence in countries like Egypt, Turkey, and Oman.

However, the lack of liquidity management tools and standardization in Asia and the Gulf pose challenges.

China and India to Get Qatar’s Additional LNG

Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter has identified two buyers for its additional capacity, Gulfbase reports, citing Qatar’s oil minister. The minister indicated that Qatar could export 7 million tonnes of LNG annually to China and about 5 million to India, from the originally planned exports of 5 million tonnes to China and 7.5 million to India. Continue reading

Asia-Pacific Universities Adding Islamic Finance Courses

KUALA LUMPUR — With the Islamic finance industry worth an estimated $1 trillion and growing rapidly, it is perhaps no surprise that a number of Asia-Pacific nations are among a growing band of countries worldwide to signal their intention to carve out a larger share of the market.

Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, along with Hong Kong, have set their sights on becoming hubs for Islamic finance, where investments are made according to Islamic principles. (Under Shariah, or Islamic law, charging interest and making investments in industries like gambling and alcohol are forbidden.)

While their sectors may be at varying stages of development, they are facing a common predicament: a shortage of professionals skilled in Islamic finance. Continue reading

Islamic finance continues to thrive in Asia

SINGAPORE : The global Islamic bonds or sukuk issuance market for the first half of 2010 has doubled on-year to US$20 billion.

Sukuk volume in 2007 was about US$24 billion in the first half, a record year.

And industry watchers believe the sukuk volumes for the second half of this year will fare even better compared to the same period last year.

Islamic finance continues to thrive in Asia

Asia, they said, will be the main driver of growth.

More investors in Asia, observers said, are turning to Islamic finance as an additional source of funding. This is reflected in a growing number of new transactions.

One example is Khazanah Nasional’s landmark S$1.5 billion sukuk issue in Singapore last week. This makes them the largest foreign issuer in Singapore dollars to date. Continue reading

Asia to Dominate Sukuk Growth Next 18 Months: Islamic Finance

Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) — Islamic bond offerings may accelerate in the next 18 months, led by first-time issuers in Asia after the region accounted for most sukuk sold this year, Standard & Poor’s said.

While issuance of securities that comply with Shariah law are down 17 percent globally this year, Asian borrowers issued $5.3 billion, about 68 percent of the total $7.8 billion worldwide, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales from companies in the Persian Gulf dropped 24 percent to $2.5 billion so far in 2010, the lowest level since 2005, after Dubai World, one of the United Arab Emirates three main state-owned business groups, announced plans to restructure debt in November.

Asia to Dominate Sukuk Growth Next 18 Months: Islamic Finance

“Sovereigns, particularly from Asia, are pushing for the revival of the sukuk market,” Mohamed Damak, Paris-based credit analyst and co-chair of the Islamic finance working group at S&P, said in an interview. “We expect additional countries, or issuers domiciled in countries new to Islamic finance to tap the sukuk market in the near future, within the next 18 months.”

Khazanah Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state investment company, sold S$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) of Islamic bonds, its first in Singapore, the company said in a statement late yesterday. The Philippines’ state-owned Al-Amanah Islamic Bank is exploring a sale, the lender’s President Armando Samia said on July 26. Continue reading