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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore

Singapore launches first Islamic bond programme

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Points of Essence:

  • Singapore issues its first sovereign Al Ijarah Sukuk worth $134m to attract petro dollar investment to the city state. It remains to be seen whether this new issuance will jolt up the Islamic bond issuance in 2009 as the market is still reeling from the aftershock of AAOFI’s non-compliance assertion. The global economy slowdown does not help much either. Guardian has the report.

By Saeed Azhar

SINGAPORE, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Singapore launched its first islamic bond programme, worth a total of S$200 million ($134 million), to promote Islamic finance in Southeast Asia’s financial capital.

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Written by Suapi Shaffaii

January 21, 2009 at 11:04 am

Posted in General Issue

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Singapore Develops Sukuk Issuance Facility To Promote Islamic Finance

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Points of Essence:

  • Singapore is set to provide a sukuk issuance facility to promote Islamic finance in the city-state. Financial institutions have already expressed interest and the first issuance is expected to be out early next year.

SINGAPORE, Nov 24 (Bernama) – Singapore is in the final stages of setting up a sukuk issuance facility to provide Syariah-compliant regulatory assets to financial institutions as part of its efforts to promote the growth of Islamic finance in the city-state.

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Written by Suapi Shaffaii

November 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Posted in Islamic Finance Product

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OCBC eyes Brunei, Jakarta and S’pore for sharia growth

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Points of Essence:

  • Singapore’s OCBC sets to be on an aggressive Islamic banking growth plan.  It first establishes an Islamic banking subsidiary in Malaysia known as OCBC Al Amin, and now its plans a regional expansion which includes Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore.
  • Whilst Malaysia is being made a launch pad to market Islamic banking products in those countries, Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore were chosen to tap the surging demands in the Shariah products there.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 (Reuters) – OCBC, Singapore’s No. 3 bank, will expand its Islamic business in Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore, which it sees as the fastest growing Asian sharia finance markets, its Malaysian unit said on Tuesday.

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Written by Suapi Shaffaii

November 11, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Singapore’s OCBC launches Islamic unit in Malaysia

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Points of Essence:

  • Singapore based OCBC Bank has set up its Shariah compliant banking subsidiary in Malaysia. Known as OCBC Al-Amin, the subsidiary will be operational on December 1. Reuters reported.

SINGAPORE, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Singapore’s third largest lender, said on Tuesday its Malaysian unit had launched an Islamic banking subsidiary that will start operations on Dec 1.

Called OCBC Al-Amin, the Islamic unit is licensed to offer the full range of Shariah-compliant universal banking services including Islamic hire-purchase and Shariah-compliant corporate finance activities. (Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Anshuman Daga)

Source: http://www.reuters.com

Written by Suapi Shaffaii

November 11, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Citi appoints new Islamic banking head

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Points of Essence:

  • Citibank appoints Mudassir Amray to head its Islamic banking office in Asia Pacific. Effective November 1, Amray will take over from Rafe Hanif who left recently and will be responsible to develop consumer and corporate Islamic banking products.

By Edward Russell |  22 October 2008

Mudassir Amray takes over as Citi’s head of Islamic banking for Asia-Pacific.

Strengthening its position in Islamic banking, Citi has appointed Mudassir Amray as head of Islamic banking Asia-Pacific. Previously with Citi Pakistan, Amray will be based in Citi’s Singapore and Kuala Lumpur offices and will develop consumer and corporate Islamic banking products.
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Written by Suapi Shaffaii

October 23, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Islamic Finance Qualification – first regional launch in Singapore

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Points of Essence:

  • The UK-based Securities & Investment Institute (SII), a financial services trainer has chosen Singapore to regionally launch its benchmark Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ). The IFSQ is basically to gain the prerequisite background to assess wholesale instruments, such as Sukuk, Islamic Bonds or retail products such as Islamic mortgages.
  • SII teams up with Praesidium PTE, a subsidiary of Dubai based Praesidium LLP to provide the training. Th e Singapore office is to fulfill the training needs for the region in the area of Islamic finance.
  • The IFQ is sold globally and has become a required qualification in a number of finance houses and government institutions. It is the first and only Islamic finance qualification on the UK list of recommended examinations.

Today, the Sharia’a finance and banking industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and is estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion in the next 2 years.

Unaffected by the subprime crisis, projections suggest that this market will grow by 15% per year over the next decade and will account for 60% of the savings of the World’s 1.2 billion Muslim community, in that same period.

The Securities & Investment Institute (SII), the leading financial services educational body in the area of Islamic finance, first announced the development of its benchmark Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) in 2005. This has captivated global interest, and last year the IFQ was sat by 285 candidates around the world.

Today, SII confirms Singapore as its first choice for the regional launch of the IFQ. The Institute is also working with financial services regulators throughout the Middle East including all the Gulf Corporation Council countries (GCC).

Ruth Martin, Managing Director of SII said:

‘I am delighted that SII is launching the Islamic Finance Qualification, IFQ, in Singapore. IFQ is sold in 53 countries and has become a required qualification in a number of finance houses and government institutions around the globe. It has just become the first and only Islamic finance qualification on the UK list of recommended examinations. I am also pleased that Praesidium, which has experience of training for the IFQ in the Gulf, is our chosen training partner.’

‘Singapore as a regional economic hub is ideally located to reach to the developing countries of S.E.Asia to provide service and products to the rapid growth in the Islamic Finance industry. The launch of the SII Islamic Finance Qualification from Singapore provides the perfect tool for consumers in the region to gain the prerequisite background to assess wholesale instruments, such as Sukuk, Islamic Bonds or retail products such as Islamic mortgages. At only SGD2,800, the qualification is a two-hour diploma level examination, coupled with a 2 day intensive training by Praesidium,’ said Mona Poomy MSI, Executive Vice President, SII ASEAN.

Praesidium PTE, a subsidiary of Dubai based Praesidium LLP has been appointed as the first SII Accredited Training Provider offering the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) in Singapore. The appointment is well timed as Praesidium prepares for the launch of its Singapore office providing, amongst others, Islamic Finance advisory services into Asia. Praesidium has a proven track record in providing the IFQ in the Middle East and the firm has a highly regarded and formidable advisory arm offering Islamic Finance services to governments, financial institutions and regulators worldwide. In March of 2008 Praesidium in collaboration with the Dubai Government through the Dubai International financial Centre (DIFC) launched a guide book on doing Islamic Finance business in the DIFC.

‘Singapore could become a very important player in Islamic Finance. The Government has put in place interesting initiatives to support the industry. Our decision to be in Singapore is to compliment those very initiatives and help in training and educating the market. Our know how and track record on the advisory side of our business could help in putting Singapore firmly on the map as far as Islamic Finance is concerned. The SII has provided us with that first stepping stone and we commend them for their foresight and vision for Singapore,’ said Mr. Sagheer Mohammed, Founding Partner of Praesidium.

Classes for the first intake by Praesidium are expected to commence in September 2008. The course provides a solid introduction into Islamic Finance and is taught over 2 days followed by an exam. No prior knowledge is required.

The key topics covered include:

Introduction to Sharia and the underlying principles.
Understanding the prohibitions including Riba.
Introduction to Islamic Banking.
Financial techniques applied by Islamic banks.
Islamic asset and fund management.
Islamic bond (Sukuk) market.
Islamic Insurance (Takaful).
Islamic Structures -case studies.

Source:www.ameinfo.com

Written by Suapi Shaffaii

August 7, 2008 at 3:40 am

Posted in Human Talent

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Singapore, HK covet Malaysia’s Islamic finance crown

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Points of Essence:
  • Malaysia leads the global market for Sukuk with the issuance of two-thirds of such sukuk last year and builds up expertise in Islamic fund management and insurance.
  • Hong Kong plans to scrap a stamp duty on Islamic finance structures to avoid double taxation.
  • Singapore prepares to launch new guidelines for sukuk and introduces a 5 percent concessionary tax rate on income derived from sharia-compliant fund management, lending and insurance.

Source: Reuters, Sunday June 22 2008

By Saeed Azhar and Umesh Desai

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, June 22 (Reuters) – Malaysia, Asia’s biggest Islamic finance market, can expect growing competition from Singapore and Hong Kong, which are raising their game to tap Middle East funds keen on investing in the region’s economies.

Malaysia has a stranglehold on the global market for Islamic bonds — two-thirds of such bonds, called sukuk, were issued in the Southeast Asian state last year — and it has built up expertise in Islamic fund management and insurance.

But latecomers Singapore and Hong Kong, leading Asian centres for conventional private banking and fund management, are adapting their financial systems with a view to getting a slice of the $1.3 trillion in global Islamic finance assets.

Hong Kong, for example, is considering scrapping a stamp duty on Islamic finance structures to avoid double taxation. Singapore is soon to launch new guidelines for sukuk.

Both need to build up expertise in a complex area.

“Singapore and Hong Kong are established financial centres so their clearest path to a prominent position in Islamic finance is to encourage a critical mass of Islamic finance experts,” said Hooman Sabeti, an Islamic law specialist at law firm Allen & Overy.

Singapore and Hong Kong are unlikely to supplant Malaysia as the leading centre in Asia, Sabeti said, because they lack a large, natural domestic market for Islamic products.

But they could become increasingly active in selling Islamic products to private banking clients and fund investors.

Indonesian, Bruneian and Malaysian investors who already own conventional financial assets in Singapore would be obvious targets.

A Merrill Lynch/Capgemini study last year showed that 19,000 individuals of Indonesian origin resident in Singapore held around $93 billion in financial assets.

Hong Kong, for its part, could provide a gateway for new investors interested in mainland China, constructing sharia-compliant products with underlying Chinese assets.

TAX AMENDMENTS, INCENTIVES

Hong Kong and Singapore are not Islamic states and Muslims in each city are in the minority. But that does not preclude the emergence of an Islamic finance sector, as London is showing.

With their strong, corruption-free economies and robust banking and legal systems, Hong Kong and Singapore provide ripe environments in Asia for the development of products that comply with Islamic law, or sharia.

Singapore is offering incentives, while Hong Kong is amending laws to draw business and has propsed an Islamic bond issue by the city’s airport authority.

“Hong Kong is now conducting a review of tax laws in Hong Kong to ensure that Islamic financial transactions will not be disadvantaged simply because of their special structure,” said a spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

To get a level playing field, it needs among other things to eliminate double taxation on Islamic finance products structured to comply with Islam’s ban on interest payments.

For example, in a mortgage under Islamic finance, a typical structure requires the financer to first buy the property and then sell it to the borrower on a cost-plus basis, so that the lender gets a profit rather than interest. Since that entails two sales, stamp duty is due twice over.

In February Singapore introduced a 5 percent concessionary tax rate on income derived from sharia-compliant fund management, lending and insurance.

It has succeeded in attracting Islamic banks such as Kuwait Finance House, which plans to manage regional funds sponsored by the group investing in Asia.

“There is huge potential for Singapore in the area of asset and fund management,” it said in an emailed statement.

DBS Group Holdings , Singapore’s biggest bank, last year set up Islamic Bank of Asia, the city’s first Islamic bank.

Last month Japan’s Daiwa Asset Management listed its first sharia-compliant exchange-traded fund on the Singapore Exchange.

In Hong Kong, Hang Seng Investment Management launched a sharia-compliant fund last year, and in March a $550 million exchangeable sukuk was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Rosita Lee, investment product head at Hang Seng Investment Management, said Hong Kong had the edge over Malaysia in pitching Islamic finance products to China-focused investors because there was a better understanding there of mainland policies.

But both Hong Kong and Singapore may need to adapt to satisfy investors who want separate regulation for Islamic banking.

Kuwait Finance House said it wanted Singapore to regulate sharia matters through a central body for Islamic banks and financial institutions. Such a set-up helped Malaysia create an environment where Islamic funds flowed into Islamic assets.

“Ultimately, if you want to sustain the industry as a key component of the financial markets, I would think that they require introducing some laws that are specific for the Islamic financial market,” said Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, chief executive of Malaysia’s CIMB Islamic Bank, a major sukuk deal maker.

Written by Suapi Shaffaii

June 23, 2008 at 4:07 am

Posted in Financial Centres

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