Category Archives: Innovations and developments

Basel III in support of the Islamic banking principal

Basel III in support of the Islamic banking principal

By Dr. Aly Khorshid

basel iii

The Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, announced a substantial strengthening of existing capital requirements and fully endorsed the agreements it reached on 26 July 2010. These capital reforms, together with the introduction of a global liquidity standard, deliver on the core of the global financial reform agenda and will be presented to the Seoul G20 Leaders summit in November.

The Committee’s package of reforms will increase the minimum common equity requirement from 2% to 4.5%. In addition, banks will be required to hold a capital conservation buffer of 2.5% to withstand future periods of stress bringing the total common equity requirements to 7%. This reinforces the stronger definition of capital agreed by Governors and Heads of Supervision in July and the higher capital requirements for trading, derivative, and securitization activities to be introduced at the end of 2011.

Islamic banks are among the best capitalized banks in the world, and historically comply with inflexible standards of capitalization, Islamic Bank for capital requirements means that local banks already exceed norms set by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) as part of the Basel III accord.

Islamic banks already have stricter capital requirements than what are proposed in Basel III. With the Islamic banks being amongst the best capitalized on a global scale, they are on the safe side compared to their European or US counterparts, Tier 1 and total capital requirements currently stand at 8 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, which are already higher than the target 2019 ratios set by Basel III.

The BIS reported this week that it has reached an agreement to increase key capital ratios for banks. The minimum requirement for common equity, the highest form of loss absorbing capital, will be raised from the current 2 to 4.5 per cent after the application of stricter adjustments. This will be phased in by January 1, 2015. The total Tier 1 capital requirement, which includes common equity and other qualifying financial instruments based on stricter criteria, will increase from 4 to 6 per cent over the same period. There will also be a ‘buffer requirement’ of 2.5 per cent that can be drawn down to the 4.5 per cent minimum requirement during times of stress. This effectively will raise common equity requirements to 7 per cent.

If a bank draws below the 7 per cent common equity requirement, including the buffer, distribution of earnings must be curtailed until the 7 per cent level is recovered. These restrictions would apply to dividends and executive compensation, including bonuses.

These changes are intended to reinforce banks’ capacity to absorb future potential losses. The transition period for the world’s banks to comply with these rules has been extended to January 2019 vs. the end-2012 deadline set by the regulators last year. This news was positively welcomed by the investor community as evident through the climb in banks share prices in Europe and Asia.

President of the European Central Bank and Chairman of the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, said that "the agreements reached today are a fundamental strengthening of global capital standards." He added that "their contribution to long term financial stability and growth will be substantial.
The transition arrangements will enable banks to meet the new standards while supporting the economic recovery. The Chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and President of the Netherlands Bank, added that "the combination of a much stronger definition of capital, higher minimum requirements and the introduction of new capital buffers will ensure that banks are better able to withstand periods of economic and financial stress, therefore supporting economic growth."

Islamic Banks comply with Basel III
Islamic banks are among the best capitalized in the world, and historically stringent standards set , Islamic Bank for capital requirements means that local banks already surpass norms set by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) as part of the Basel III accord, which has a 2019 deadline.

Islamic Bank already has stricter capital requirements than what is proposed in Basel III.

With the Islamic banks being amongst the best capitalized on a global scale, they are on the safe side compared to their European or US counterparts, Tier 1 and total capital requirements currently stand at 8 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, which are already higher than the target 2019 ratios set by Basel III (of 6 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively)."

The BIS reported this week that it has reached an agreement to increase key capital ratios for banks. The minimum requirement for common equity, the highest form of loss absorbing capital, will be raised from the current 2 to 4.5 per cent after the application of stricter adjustments.

This will be phased in by January 1, 2015. The total Tier 1 capital requirement, which includes common equity and other qualifying financial instruments based on stricter criteria, will increase from 4 to 6 per cent over the same period. There will also be a ‘buffer requirement’ of 2.5 per cent that can be drawn down to the 4.5 per cent minimum requirement during times of stress. This effectively will raise common equity requirements to 7 per cent.

If a bank draws below the 7 per cent common equity requirement, including the buffer, distribution of earnings must be curtailed until the 7 per cent level is recovered. These restrictions would apply to dividends and executive compensation, including bonuses.

These changes are intended to reinforce banks’ capacity to absorb future potential losses. The transition period for the world’s banks to comply with these rules has been extended to January 2019 vs. the end-2012 deadline set by the regulators last year. This news was positively welcomed by the investor community as evident through the climb in banks share prices in Europe and Asia.

It appears that while actual implementation won’t start until 2013, the accords will not be fully implemented until 2018.

At this point we believe it is too early to assess the full consequences of these new regulation changes especially that Islamic banks have been complying with Basel II.

"However, until further analysis is made, we believe local banks could elect to conserve capital through constrained dividend payout," they said.

Source: http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201012228432/Finance/basel-iii-in-support-of-the-islamic-banking-principal.html

Dubai’s first Shariah compliant REIT launched

Dubai’s first Shariah compliant REIT launched

cottage

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) launched the emirate’s first Shariah-compliant real estate investment trust to aid in the recovery of the country’s battered real estate sector, top executives said on Tuesday.

Emirates REIT, a joint venture between DIB and French property firm Eiffel Management, looks to attract Shariah-compliant property such as office buildings, warehouses, schools and car parks and convert the rental income into dividends for investors, said Adnan Chilwan, chief of retail banking at DIB.

Around 80 per cent of the REIT’s annual profit will be distributed to shareholders as a dividend.

The initiative was a move by DIB to help fuel growth in the UAE’s struggling real estate market by allowing investors to take income-producing real estate assets from their balance sheets and receive tradeable shares in the REIT, Chilwan said.

"We are cautiously optimistic but, of course, much depends on the acceptance in the market," he said.

Mark Inch, chairman of Eiffel Management, said the firms expect the REIT to generate 5 to 10 per cent in returns over time and the companies expect the REIT to come to market "in the near future."

DIB provided the seed financing by moving seven of its own properties throughout the UAE into the REIT, executives said. Properties will be based in the Dubai International Financial Center.

DIB’s chief executive Abdulla Ali Al-Hamli said the REIT will initially look to draw capital from the local market but plans to expand to attracts funds throughout the region and then globally.

Executives said that 51 per cent of investors must be from the Gulf Cooperation Council but all investors would have access to non-freehold real estate invested in the REIT.

In September, Dubai Islamic Bank raised its stake in troubled Islamic lender Tamweel to 57.33 per cent, effectively rendering the mortgage lender a subsidiary of the bank, in a move that was expected to help revive lending in Dubai’s property market.

Source: http://www.emirates247.com/property/real-estate/dubai-s-first-islamic-reit-launched-2010-11-24-1.320578

Islamic finance body to revise its capital rules to fit Basel III

Islamic finance body to revise its capital rules to fit Basel III

basel iii

he Islamic Financial Services Board, an association of regulators in Muslim countries, will revise its rules next year to enhance Shariah banks’ capital in line with Basel III reforms, its secretary-general said.

Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim said IFSB would seek its council’s approval in December to begin work next year on amending the regulations, with the process expected to be completed around 2013.

“We are revising the standard of capital adequacy to look into the need for more capital and in what form will that additional capital be,” Abdel Karim said in an interview, adding that this could take the form of contingent capital.

He said the aim of the changes was “not to put the Islamic financial services industry at a disadvantage and to provide them with a level playing field” relative to conventional banks but did not elaborate on possible revisions.

Global regulators of convention banks, seeking to prevent a repeat of the global credit crisis, agreed recently to force banks to more than triple the amount of top-quality capital they hold in reserve, though they were given time to raise funds.

Islamic banks are governed by the respective regulatory authorities in the countries where they operate and compliance with IFSB’s guidelines is voluntary.

The Kuala Lumpur-based IFSB, whose members include central banks, the International Monetary Fund and lenders such as Kuwait Finance House and Sharjah Islamic Bank, is one of two standards-setting bodies and issues guidelines on the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors.

The other is the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions in Bahrain, which traditionally issued guidelines on accounting standards but has more recently ruled on Islamic bond structures.

Abdel Karim said the IFSB’s liquidity management Corp, which will issue short-term instruments to help Islamic lenders manage their cash, would give banks an alternative to the widely used commodity murabaha money market instrument.

“This will hopefully give depth to the capital market,” he said. “Liquidity management hasn’t been addressed in a more concerted way. This is the first time we see a number of regulatory authorities cooperating to address the issue.”

A lack of liquidity management tools is seen as one of the key challenges to the emerging Islamic finance industry, with Shariah banks handicapped partly due to the limited range of products they can invest in.

The liquidity body may issue highly rated sukuk that would be backed by central bank and corporate assets as early as next year to help Islamic banks manage their liquidity and create a liquid cross-border market for Islamic instruments.

It would have $1bn in authorised capital and has $75mn in paid-up capital so far.

Islamic banks are now often forced to place the reserve liquidity they need to maintain under central bank requirements with international conventional banks through commodity murabaha, as there are not enough highly rated sukuk issues.

But some Islamic scholars say commodity murabaha is a mere paper trail replicating conventional money market instruments and only grudgingly accept its use as there is no alternative.

Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=401843&version=1&template_id=48&parent_id=28

SWIFT goes Shariah compliant for interbank Murabaha transactions

SWIFT goes Shariah compliant for interbank Murabaha transactions

SWIFT

SWIFT has announced that ISO 15022 message standards for the processing of treasury murabaha transactions have been certified compliant with the international Islamic finance standards issued by AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions). This certification paves the way towards the automated processing of murabaha treasury transactions, said to represent 60 percent of all Islamic financing.

Murabaha includes money transfer and commodity trade. While SWIFT has carried the money transfer for many years, commodity trade has been completed manually, usually by fax without any globally agreed standard. SWIFT’s solution uses the ISO 15022 message standards within the guidelines of a murabaha standards rulebook (the guidelines can be downloaded from http://www.swift.com/IslamicFinance).

“AAOIFI is responsible for global Islamic finance industry standards and we establish best practices for the industry”, says Mohamad Nedal Alchaar, AAOIFI secretary general. “Our collaboration with SWIFT aims to build a well-structured and well-regulated international Islamic finance infrastructure.”

Alain Raes, SWIFT’s chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who accepted the compliance certificate on SWIFT’s behalf at the recent Sibos conference in Amsterdam, adds: “Murabaha automation is the first step on a long journey of collaboration with the Islamic financial community.”

The use of ISO 15022 messages over SWIFT does not change the current process between banks, their customers and brokers. However, the data defined in the schedules under the terms of the master murabaha agreement is now exchanged using standardized messages via SWIFT as opposed to bilaterally agreed confirmations exchanged manually. Participants involved in murabahawill benefit from a globally agreed electronic standard, automation which will lead to a reduction in costs and risk, and an audit trail for Sharia compliance.

More than 240 Islamic banks representing 84 percent of global Sharia compliant assets are members of SWIFT.  Islamic finance is growing at more than 20 percent per annum, and the demand for Shariacompliant messaging standards is increasing as a result. SWIFT is working with the Islamic financial community to address this demand, both at the level of individual banks, and with organizations such as AAOIFI and AIBIM (the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia).

Source: http://www.theasset.com/article/18683.html

Controlling Fatwa would harm Islamic Finance (Reuters)

Controlling Fatwa would harm Islamic Finance (Reuters) — Straightway Ethical Advisory Blog

 

 

Recent developments in the Islamic finance market prompted the industry to rethink the role of Shariah scholars.

Most Islamic financial institutions appoint a supervisory board or committee of religious scholars who are tasked with reviewing their transactions in order to ensure that they comply with the principles of Islamic Shariah in their business and financial dealings.

A Shariah supervisory board or committee approves or rejects a transaction through the issuance of a fatwa (an opinion or proclamation about the Shariah compliance of such a transaction).

The question of the day in the Islamic finance industry is whether Shariah scholars should be subject to some sort of supervision themselves.
In our opinion, the answer to this question depends on what is meant by ‘supervision’.

Industry practitioners should oppose supervision if it means that Shariah scholars would have to adhere to strict criteria or methodology before issuing a fatwa. Such supervision would in our opinion curtail innovation and transform the industry, prematurely, to a commoditised industry, since Shariah scholars would in their attempt to check all the boxes and stay within the accepted norms, refrain from covering new ground and developing new structures that would allow new transactions and thus the development of the industry.

The industry should not lose sight of the fact that Shariah scholars are our current day mujtahid (jurist). Throughout the history of Islamic jurisprudence, the use of human reasoning (ra’y) has played an important part in the development of Islamic Shariah.

When issuing fatwa, Shariah scholars are practising ijtihad and they should enjoy complete freedom in their practice of ijtihad; their guidance and limitations should only come from the five sources of Islamic Shariah being: the Qur’an; Sunna (the practice and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); Qiyas (a comparison, used to make a judgement on issues which have no clear-cut ruling in the Qur’an or the Sunna, by consideration of similar issues which do have clear ruling); Ijtehad (the diligent judgement of the scholars through reasoning and logic); and Ijmaa (a consensus or agreement used for issues which require Ijtehad).

Therefore, in our opinion, Shariah scholars should not be restricted or limited in their practice of ijtihad by any regulator. Such regulation would neither benefit the Shariah -compliance of the industry nor its further development.

However, we would support supervision of Shariah scholars such as the new proposed rules of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) to reduce the risks of conflicts of interest or improper disclosure.

This type of supervision may lead to more transparency and benefit the authenticity and credibility of both the industry and the Shariah scholars. Organisations such as the AAOIFI should run training and continuing education programs for would-be Shariah scholars. Such programmes should aim to provide Shariah scholars with an understanding of various financial and business transactions and the legal framework in which such transactions are being consummated.

Most importantly, these training and continuing education courses should train Shariah scholars to be inquisitorial of the intention (niyya’) behind the transaction.