Oil ministry can issue sukuk next year

In the budget bill of the next Iranian year (to start March 21, 2014), the government has proposed that the Oil Ministry issue €9 billion worth of forex bonds or sukuk (Islamic bonds) for funding its projects.

Oil ministry can issue sukuk next year

Oil ministry can issue sukuk next year

The government has authorized the Oil Ministry to achieve the goals stipulated in the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2010-15), IRNA reported.
According to the report, the National Iranian Oil Company is allowed to issue €5 billion worth of bonds.

It added that the share of National Iranian Gas Company , National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company and the National Petrochemical Company from the total figure amounts to €1 billion, €1 billion and €2 billion respectively.

However, the permission is not granted unless the companies hand over an explanatory technical, economic, social, environmental and passive defense report to the Vice Presidency for Strategic Planning and Supervision for confirmation, it added.

The government has also proposed a plan for issuing €12.5 billion worth of forex or Sukuk participation bonds to the parliament.

Sukuk is the Arabic name for financial certificates, but commonly refers to the Islamic equivalent of bonds. Since fixed income, interest-bearing bonds are not permissible in Islam, sukuk securities are structured to comply with the Islamic law and its investment principles, which prohibits the collection and payment of interest.

© Iran Daily 2013

© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.zawya.com/story/Oil_ministry_can_issue_sukuk_next_year-ZAWYA20131210065149/

Meethaq Shari'ah Board reviews new products

The Meethaq Shari’ah Supervisory Board conducted its fourth and final meeting of 2013 to discuss the strategy for the coming period, especially Meethaq products in the pipeline as well as contracts and agreements relating to these products.

Meethaq Shari'ah Board reviews new products

Meethaq Shari’ah Board reviews new products

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Essam Muhammad Ishaq, Sheikh Essam Muhammad Ishaq, Sheikh Majid Al Kindi, Abdulqader Thomas and Dr. Saeed Al Muharrami.

Sulaiman Al Harthy, Group General Manager – Meethaq Islamic Banking, said, “The Meethaq Shari’ah Supervisory Board discussed many important topics such as new product contracts and Meethaq workflow. Meethaq is proud to have on board some of the brightest minds on Islamic finance to chart the way forward.”

Al Harthy thanked all board members for their insight and efforts to ensure the Meethaq workflow is fully Shari’ah compliant. “The Shari’ah Board has made valuable contributions in establishing Meethaq as the leading Islamic banking services provider in Oman,” he added.

Every Meethaq product and service goes through a process of Shari’ah compliance certification by the Shari’ah Supervisory Board in line with the guidelines of the Central Bank of Oman.

http://www.cpifinancial.net/news/post/24661/meethaq-shariah-board-reviews-new-products

Deloitte, FAA collaborate on Islamic finance training

The Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center (IFKC) has signed a cooperation agreement with the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA), an organization supported by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia, which promotes leading practices in Islamic finance training development.

Deloitte, FAA collaborate on Islamic finance training

Deloitte, FAA collaborate on Islamic finance training

The initiative aims to provide quality assurance and accreditation in Islamic finance executive education by having Deloitte IFKC professional training programs benchmarked against best practices and adhere to the highest standards of quality through reviews by international experts around the world.

The collaboration with the FAA complements Deloitte’s existing capacity programs with industry stakeholders. The program strives to enhance opportunities for practitioners in the Middle East and elsewhere to benefit from an international quality assurance framework developed for the financial service industry.

“Our capacity program strategy aims to work diligently and closely with the Islamic finance industry and help diffuse high standards of good practices in all aspects. This program has particular emphasis on quality of professional training and executive education,” said Joe El Fadl, Financial Services Industry leader, Deloitte Middle East.

“In today’s highly dynamic and evolving financial system, establishing business relations to strengthen the financial institutions cannot be overemphasized. FAA enters this significant partnership to reach this goal which supports the agenda in bringing the best practices to the industry at the same time promoting quality learning within the Financial Services Industry,” said Dr. Amat Taap Manshor, Chief Executive Officer of the FAA.

The IFKC and FAA cooperative initiative recognizes the importance of upholding quality learning in Islamic financial service industry.

Three main objectives are identified in this partnership:

1. To standardize Quality Assurance and Accreditation ‘QAA’ framework in the Islamic financial service industry.

2. To foster more widespread understanding about QAA in training and executive education, incorporating core local practices, leveraging on our joint expertise and insights.

3. To increase awareness about the opportunities to benefit from participation in capacity building and talent development.

© The Saudi Gazette 2013
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.zawya.com/story/Deloitte_FAA_collaborate_on_Islamic_finance_training-ZAWYA20131210050756/

Deloitte in Islamic finance deal

The Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center (IFKC) has signed a co-operation deal with the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA), an organisation supported by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia, which promotes leading practices in Islamic Finance training development.

Deloitte in Islamic finance deal

Deloitte in Islamic finance deal

The initiative aims to provide quality assurance and accreditation in Islamic finance executive education by having Deloitte IFKC professional training programmes benchmarked against best practices and adhere to the highest standards of quality through reviews by international experts around the world.

The programme strives to enhance opportunities for practitioners in the Middle East and elsewhere to benefit from an international quality assurance framework developed for the financial service industry.

“Our capacity programme strategy aims to work diligently and closely with the Islamic finance industry and help diffuse high standards of good practices in all aspects. It has particular emphasis on quality of professional training and executive education,” said Joe El Fadl, financial services industry leader, Deloitte Middle East.

Dr Amat Taap Manshor, chief executive officer of the FAA, said: “In today’s highly dynamic and evolving financial system, establishing business relations to strengthen the financial institutions cannot be overemphasised. FAA enters this significant partnership to reach this goal which supports the agenda in bringing the best practices to the industry at the same time promoting quality learning within the Financial Services Industry.”

The initiative recognises the importance of upholding quality learning in Islamic financial service industry.

Dr Hatim El Tahir, director of the Deloitte IFKC, said: “Teaming up with FAA and other leading industry players is an endorsement of the importance of energising capacity collaboration among stakeholders and step forward in practice synergies between key markets.” – TradeArabia News Service.

http://www.tradearabia.com/news/EDU_247930.html

Islamic banking on course for expansion

Islamic financial business is at the heart of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project, with some experts calculating that Sharia-compliant transactions could account for up to half of the business that will go through the new centre when it is complete.

Islamic banking on course for expansion

Islamic banking on course for expansion

 

Dato’ Azmar Talib , the chief executive of 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which oversees the project, says Islamic banking comprises about a quarter of Malaysia’s financial market in terms of assets and financing, but this is expected to reach 40 per cent by 2020, when TRX will be well developed.

“We intend to use Malaysia’s strengths, particularly in Islamic finance, to provide the infrastructure that will enable innovation, attract skilled talents and promote ease of doing business,” he says. Others are even more positive about Kuala Lumpur’s potential in the global race to build the leading Islamic financial market.

Many analysts believe the competition will come down to a three-way pull between KL, Dubai and London . Malaysia has longevity on its side, and a developed domestic market.

About 60 per cent of primary market sukuk (Islamic bond) issuance was in KL in the first half of this year. Mohammad Daud Bakar , the chairman of the Sharia Advisory Council of Malaysia’s central bank, says the country has advantages in Islamic finance, such as a developed pensions funds industry, takaful (insurance) and long-term project finance. “We have established private Islamic ratings agencies that vet the sukuk, and we are the only country with a Sharia-compliant equivalent of the American mortgage firms such as Fannie Mae ,” Mr Mohammad Daud says.

But despite the strength of the domestic industry, Malaysia faces some challenges in the international market. “Around 90 per cent of our issuance is in local currency, so we don’t trade in London . Malaysia has never issued any global sukuk. London uses hard currency, and has deep pockets of dollar reserves, which we do not,” he adds. “But I believe the UAE will be a leader in this market in the future.

It has dollar reserves and will be in a position to take business from London .” Mr Mohammad Daud also points to the potential of the Saudi market. “It is booming because of all the infrastructure that needs to be financed there. It’s a booming market and will probably overtake KL in terms of value of issuance, if not volume,” he says.

[email protected]
For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness’ Finance Channel

 

Source: National, The (United Arab Emirates)

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/12/9/islamic_banking_on_course_for_expansion.htm

Deloitte collaborates with FAA for world-class Islamic Finance training standards in the Middle East

The Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center (IFKC) has signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA), an organization supported by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia which promotes leading practices in Islamic Finance training development.

Deloitte collaborates with FAA for world-class Islamic Finance training standards in the Middle East

Deloitte collaborates with FAA for world-class Islamic Finance training standards in the Middle East

The initiative aims to provide Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Islamic Finance Executive Education by having Deloitte IFKC professional training programs benchmarked against best practices and adhere to the highest standards of quality through reviews by international experts around the world.

This collaboration with the FAA complements Deloitte’s existing capacity programs with industry stakeholders. The program strives to enhance opportunities for practitioners in the Middle East and elsewhere to benefit from an international quality assurance framework developed for the financial service industry.

“Our capacity program strategy aims to work diligently and closely with the Islamic finance industry and help diffuse high standards of good practices in all aspects. This program has particular emphasis on quality of professional training and executive education,” said Joe El Fadl, Financial Services Industry leader, Deloitte Middle East.

“In today’s highly dynamic and evolving financial system, establishing business relations to strengthen the financial institutions cannot be overemphasised. FAA enters this significant partnership to reach this goal which supports the agenda in bringing the best practices to the industry at the same time promoting quality learning within the Financial Services Industry”, said Dr. Amat Taap Manshor, Chief Executive Officer of the FAA.

The IFKC and FAA cooperative initiative recognizes the importance of upholding quality learning in Islamic financial service industry.

Three main objectives are identified in this partnership:

1. To standardize Quality Assurance and Accreditation ‘QAA’ framework in the Islamic financial service industry.

2. To foster more widespread understanding about QAA in training and executive education, incorporating core local practices, leveraging on our joint expertise and insights.

3. To increase awareness about the opportunities to benefit from participation in capacity building and talent development.

“Teaming up with FAA and other leading industry players is an endorsement of the importance of energizing capacity collaboration among stakeholders and step forward in practice synergies between key markets”, said Dr. Hatim El Tahir, Director of the Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center. “We are extremely delighted to forge this cooperation agreement with FAA and strive to set a roadmap strategy for quality education in Islamic finance,” Dr El-Tahir added.

– Ends –

About FAA:

Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) is an international and independent quality assurance and accreditation body supported by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia. FAA is responsible for quality assurance and promotion of learning initiatives within the Finance Services Industry (FSI) through learning programme, institutional and individual accreditation, as well as promotion of future learning practices in the FSI through the development of a FAA Qualification Structure (FQS), FAA Learning Standards (FLS) and FAA Recognition of Prior Learning (FRL). Through these initiatives, FAA aims to contribute towards promoting the highest standards in the development of talent for the FSI.

About Deloitte:

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

Deloitte’s professionals are unified by a collaborative culture that fosters integrity, outstanding value to markets and clients, commitment to each other, and strength from cultural diversity. They enjoy an environment of continuous learning, challenging experiences, and enriching career opportunities. Deloitte’s professionals are dedicated to strengthening corporate responsibility, building public trust, and making a positive impact in their communities.

About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.):

Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence since 1926.

Deloitte is among the region’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with around 3,000 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region since 2010 (according to the International Tax Review World Tax Rankings). It has received numerous awards in the last few years which include Best Employer in the Middle East, best consulting firm, and the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

© Press Release 2013

© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.zawya.com/story/Deloitte_collaborates_with_FAA_for_worldclass_Islamic_Finance_training_standards_in_the_Middle_East-ZAWYA20131209111848/

Islamic banking way forward says Falak consulting report

Following last week’s World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Manama, Bahrain, a report published today by Falak Consulting’s Research Department (FCRD) has highlighted that Islamic Banking could be the more economically viable and sustainable model of financing going forward.

Islamic banking way forward says Falak consulting report

Islamic banking way forward says Falak consulting report

The report looks at the financial crisis of 2009 where conventional banks witnessed far greater levels of exposure in comparison to their Islamic banking counterparts and recognizes the overall potential Islamic banking and finance is able to offer the existing market.

With discussions at this year’s WIBC event highlighting similar themes including looking at “Business in the Middle East and the Role of Islamic Finance”, or “New Strategic Approaches to Revitalize Global Growth”, the potential for Islamic banking is certainly there.

The FCRD report highlights recent statistics which indicate that Islamic banking is currently the fastest growing segment in the international financial system with an estimated asset size of $1.1 trillion in 2011, representing 80.9 per cent of Islamic Finance assets and 1 per cent of total banking assets worldwide. Building on the same, the report goes on to establish a risk and return framework for “a healthy and transparent growth of the Islamic financial architecture” in the region.

Commenting in light of the WIBC event and the published FCRD report, Suhail Ghazi Algosaibi, Co-Founder and Chairman of Falak Consulting, said, “The 2009 financial crisis has taught us a number of things, the first being that conventional banks and current models are not invincible.

It has also opened our eyes to the need to consider other options of banking that are safer, sustainable and viable, which at this point Islamic banking could potentially offer. As a result, we are now witnessing a growing number of global conventional banks exploring this potential as well as increased discussions around the future and way forward for Islamic Finance and Banking, as seen last week at the 20th WIBC event in Bahrain.”

At present there are a number of global retail banks introducing Islamic banking options including Lloyd’s Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered and the Islamic Bank of Britain. In Bahrain alone, there are over 26 Islamic banks currently in operation making up a total of $26.2 billion in assets, as of August 2013, according to the Central Bank of Bahrain.

http://www.cpifinancial.net/news/post/24663/islamic-banking-way-forward-says-falak-consulting-report

First Sukuk Fund Promising to Beat Bank Returns: Turkey Credit

Turkey’s first global fund dedicated to Islamic investors will beat returns from Shariah-compliant bank deposits and will lure inflows of $1 billion during the next three years, its chief executive officer said.

First Sukuk Fund Promising to Beat Bank Returns: Turkey Credit

First Sukuk Fund Promising to Beat Bank Returns: Turkey Credit

AZ Global Portfoy Yonetimi, the Istanbul-based unit of Azimut Holding SpA (AZM), has attracted almost $160 million for local and international funds since opening in January, Giorgio Medda, a money manager and CEO of the Turkish operation, said in an interview yesterday. Azimut has assets under management of over $30 billion globally and has operations in 11 countries.

The company is counting on an increasing number of Turkish investors putting their money into Shariah-observant funds as global demand for sukuk is set to increase, with Ernst & Young LLP forecasting a surge to $950 billion by 2017, according to a report a year ago. Albaraka Turk Katilim Bankasi AS (ALBRK), an Istanbul-based Islamic, or “participation,” bank, offers a 6.98 percent profit rate on three-month deposits, while conventional Turkish banks offer an average 8.38 percent for similar maturity deposits. Sukuk funds can return the profit rates that Islamic banks can’t offer to clients, Medda said.

STORY: Bad Loans Could Spark an Emerging-Markets Crisis.

Islamic bonds “allow believers to enjoy better profit rates than what is possible with time deposits,” he said in Istanbul. “It is not possible for a participation bank to offer 9-10 percent to deposit holders.”

Restrictions Lifted

Average borrowing costs on global Islamic debt, which pays returns on assets to comply with the religion’s ban on interest, climbed 104 basis points, or 1.04 percentage points, this year to 3.85 percent, the HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index shows. The effective yield on the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index rose 41 basis points to 2.02 percent in the period.

“If market conditions remain challenging for longer, Turkish issues will increase their focus on the sukuk markets, where demand fundamentals are still healthier,” Apostolos Bantis, a credit analyst at Commerzbank AG in London, said by e-mail yesterday. “Islamic banking is growing very fast.”

STORY: Record Highs Lure Investors Back to Stocks

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lifted restrictions on Islamic finance in secular Turkey, allowing the Ankara-based Treasury to sell the nation’s debut sukuk last year. The government sold $1.25 billion of October 2015 sukuk on Oct. 3, priced to pay an annual profit of 4.557 percent.

Fed Outlook

AZ Global’s sukuk fund will allow Turkish investors to put money into Islamic funds issued outside the country, Baris Hocaoglu, general manager of AZ Global Asset Management, said at a news conference in Istanbul yesterday.

Investor concern that the Federal Reserve will start to taper its bond purchases, while Turkey’s current-account deficit and inflation could accelerate, has lifted yields on Turkish debt to “exaggerated” levels, Medda said.

STORY: 2014: A User’s Guide to the Global Economy

Reports showing a strengthening U.S. economy have bolstered the case for the Fed to start tapering $85 billion-a-month in bond acquisitions, damping demand for higher-yielding debt from some emerging markets. Yields on Turkish two-year bonds have climbed 433 basis points since May 22, when Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank may start reducing purchases.

Note Yields

“Investors like ourselves do well in checking and making sure that in particular the current-account deficit does not expand too much and inflation does not present a problem for Turkey,” Medda said. “Markets have reacted far too much to recent developments, as opposed to the real problems that the situation is actually showing.”

Turkey’s dollar-denominated Islamic bonds maturing in October 2018 offered 4.394 percent yesterday, the highest rate since Nov. 21. Yields on two-year notes jumped 16 basis points to 9.37 percent, the most since Sept. 10. The lira strengthened 0.6 percent to 2.0373 against the dollar at 7:14 p.m. in Istanbul, snapping four days of declines.

STORY: Banks Want Higher Interest Rates

“The market has been too conservative in pricing potential consequences,” Medda said.

Azimut Group sees less value in corporate debt issues coming from Turkey, saying companies with “a lot of debt” issue “very illiquid” corporate bonds.

“Turkish bonds and consumer industrial equities are probably the most interesting opportunities in Turkey for 2014,” he said.

STORY: German Sneaker Giants Hear Nike’s Footsteps
To contact the reporter on this story: Selcuk Gokoluk in Istanbul at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Tilles at [email protected]

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-12-05/first-sukuk-fund-promising-to-beat-bank-returns-turkey-credit

More support for Islamic banking urged

While Islamic banking will keep on growing, it needs more concerted action at the inter-governmental and industry level, Standard Chartered Saadiq Malaysia chief executive and global head of consumer banking Wasim Saifi said.

More support for Islamic banking urged

More support for Islamic banking urged

Increased competition has resulted in a widening of the Islamic product offering, bringing it within the scope of larger numbers of Muslims, Saifi said, talking to the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication, on the sidelines of the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) 2013, which concluded at the Gulf Hotel’s Gulf Convention Centre yesterday,

“As the Islamic banking proposition became more attractive, Muslims converted from conventional banking at a rapid pace, spurring the industry to make products offered even more sophisticated,” he said.

“Whether in terms of access, technology, products or services, they expect nothing less than they have been getting from conventional banks, and Islamic banks are responding,” he added.

He said what helped the growth along was the fact that to bank in a Sharia-compliant way, Muslims no longer needed to sacrifice the convenience, products and services they had been used to.

The increasing regulatory support, with governments in many markets like Bahrain actively encouraging the development of a healthy Islamic banking ecosystem, also helped.

The next big step for the global Islamic banking industry will be to close the gap with conventional banking when it comes to the range of products and services on offer, he said.

“Islamic wealth management is clearly lagging behind, with Sharia-compliant funds comprising less than 0.25 per cent of total assets under management.

“It is a classic chicken-and-egg story,” Saifi added.

“To attract wealthy Muslim clients, you need a competitive range of products and services, but to get this, you need scale.”

However, he feels, with the strong growth in Islamic assets, and Islamic banking providers putting increased pressure on fund managers to respond, there is a good chance Islamic wealth management will catch up within the next few years.

For all the industry’s recent growth, Islamic banking still represents a fraction of total banking assets globally, and the great majority of Muslims (roughly only one in every eight Muslims with a bank account, banks Islamic) still bank conventionally.

Penetration remains low in some of the world’s largest Muslim countries.

According to Saifi, the most obvious reason for this is a simple lack of awareness of what Sharia banking has to offer.

“Regulatory barriers also persist in some countries,” he said. “While different markets will develop at different speeds, support from governments and regulators will help keep up the pace of change. Opening markets to international Islamic banks will help, too.”

International providers tend to accelerate development in individual markets with their ability to migrate best practice, product sophistication and banking expertise between geographies.

“At Standard Chartered, for example, we work with regulators in a number of countries to help develop their framework for Islamic banking, using our experience from other markets.

“StanChart Saadiq has ambitious long-term plans in the Islamic finance sector in Southeast Asia, Middle East, South Asia and Africa,” he said.

“We will continue to further drive business momentum across our footprint, working with existing and new markets to build and strengthen the bank’s Islamic banking services and products under the Saadiq franchise,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service.

http://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_247763.html

More action urged to boost Islamic banking

MANAMA: While Islamic banking will keep on growing, it needs more concerted action at the inter-governmental and industry level, Standard Chartered Saadiq Malaysia chief executive and global head of consumer banking Wasim Saifi said.

More action urged to boost Islamic banking

More action urged to boost Islamic banking

Talking to the GDN on the sidelines of the WIBC 2013, which concluded at the Gulf Hotel’s Gulf Convention Centre yesterday, Mr Saifi said increased competition has resulted in a widening of the Islamic product offering, bringing it within the scope of larger numbers of Muslims.

“As the Islamic banking proposition became more attractive, Muslims converted from conventional banking at a rapid pace, spurring the industry to make products offered even more sophisticated,” he said.

“Whether in terms of access, technology, products or services, they expect nothing less than they have been getting from conventional banks, and Islamic banks are responding,” he added.

He said what helped the growth along was the fact that to bank in a Sharia-compliant way, Muslims no longer needed to sacrifice the convenience, products and services they had been used to.

The increasing regulatory support, with governments in many markets like Bahrain actively encouraging the development of a healthy Islamic banking ecosystem, also helped.

The next big step for the global Islamic banking industry will be to close the gap with conventional banking when it comes to the range of products and services on offer, he said.

“Islamic wealth management is clearly lagging behind, with Sharia-compliant funds comprising less than 0.25 per cent of total assets under management.

“It is a classic chicken-and-egg story,” Mr Saifi added.

“To attract wealthy Muslim clients, you need a competitive range of products and services, but to get this, you need scale.”

However, he feels, with the strong growth in Islamic assets, and Islamic banking providers putting increased pressure on fund managers to respond, there is a good chance Islamic wealth management will catch up within the next few years.

For all the industry’s recent growth, Islamic banking still represents a fraction of total banking assets globally, and the great majority of Muslims (roughly only one in every eight Muslims with a bank account, banks Islamic) still bank conventionally.

Penetration remains low in some of the world’s largest Muslim countries.

According to Mr Saifi, the most obvious reason for this is a simple lack of awareness of what Sharia banking has to offer.

“Regulatory barriers also persist in some countries,” he said.

“While different markets will develop at different speeds, support from governments and regulators will help keep up the pace of change.

“Opening markets to international Islamic banks will help, too,” he added.

International providers tend to accelerate development in individual markets with their ability to migrate best practice, product sophistication and banking expertise between geographies.

“At Standard Chartered, for example, we work with regulators in a number of countries to help develop their framework for Islamic banking, using our experience from other markets.

“StanChart Saadiq has ambitious long-term plans in the Islamic finance sector in Southeast Asia, Middle East, South Asia and Africa,” he said.

“We will continue to further drive business momentum across our footprint, working with existing and new markets to build and strengthen the bank’s Islamic banking services and products under the Saadiq franchise,” he added.

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=366270