Tag Archives: Sukuk

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank issues world-first Basel III compliant Sukuk

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank issues world-first Basel III compliant Sukuk

Source: http://www.ifre.com/adib-pushes-sukuk-boundaries-via-perp/21051902.article

Investor appetite for bank capital issuance from emerging market lenders shows no signs of abating, with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank printing a blowout deal last week that was the first Basel III-compliant sukuk issue.

The innovative Hybrid Tier 1 non-call six perpetual note offering raised US$1bn at 6.375% on the back of an incredible US$15bn book from 330 orders as private bank accounts, predominantly in Asia as well as in other regions, European fund managers, and even the odd sukuk investor scrambled to get their hands on the paper.

“There was a huge response to the roadshow, which underpins the groundbreaking nature of the transaction,” said James Nelson, director, bond syndicate at Standard Chartered, which co-led the deal with HSBC, Morgan Stanley and NBAD.

Rival bankers were critical of the execution process that saw pricing ratchet down by 62.5bp from initial guidance of the 7% area. “Investors are not happy when the pricing is dragged so tight and the books get so big in the process,” said one official.

While acknowledging that the tightening was aggressive, bankers close to the deal argued that it was in line with the performance of other recent bank capital transactions.

Gazprombank’s US$1bn perpetual non-call 5.5-year note issue started in the mid to high 8% range and was priced at 7.875%, for example, while a US$575m perpetual non-call six issue for Friends Life began in the mid-8% range before also pricing at 7.875%.

“It was key to engage every investor in this price discovery process and test yield sensitivities, given the innovative nature of this trade,” said Souhail Mahjour, an official on the EMEA debt syndicate desk at HSBC.

Part of the challenge for the leads was the wide range of investor views during the roadshow, with one account arguing that the notes should come at low to mid-5% at one extreme, while others sought 8% at the wide end. “You could drive a bus through investors’ views,” said one banker.

One way to calculate fair value is to take ADIB’s outstanding senior 2016 notes, which were trading at a bid yield of 2.80% earlier last week, and work backwards.

Assuming that a new 10-year non-call five Tier 2 issue from the lender would come 80bp back of that for the subordination and then a another 30bp or so for the curve extension, fair value for that bond offering would be in the high 3% area. Adding a further 150bp–220bp for the difference between Tier 2 and old-style Tier 1 for some emerging market banks takes fair value from high 5% to low 6%.

Private anchors

As expected, private banks anchored the trade, taking 60% of the allocation, followed by fund managers at 26% and banks at 11%. By geography, Asia was the biggest recipient with 38%, followed by the Middle East at 32%, Europe at 26% and US offshore at 4%.

The sukuk investor base was a marginal participant in the trade.

“The local investor base – dominated by banks – wasn’t expected to play as big a role as they usually do for a sukuk issue as they have limited scope to buy other banks’ capital instruments,” said Mahjour. “Only the most overcapitalised banks had the power to buy pieces of this trade.”

Key features of the structure include an issuer call option in year six and on every periodic payment date thereafter, coupon resets (without step-ups) every six years and non-cumulative coupon suspension (optional and mandatory), subject to a dividend stopper.

One banker added that the Tier 1 structure was perfectly attuned with Sharia principles, given that the flexibility to cancel coupons and the perpetual maturity provided equity-like features to the instrument. The deal is unrated. ADIB’s senior ratings are A2/A+; Moody’s/Fitch.

Surge in sukuk demand outpaces the issuance

Surge in sukuk demand outpaces the issuance

Source: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7c6fef80-2293-11e2-8edf-00144feabdc0.html

The numbers look good for the Islamic bond market.

Issuance hit a record high in 2011 and figures for the first half of 2012 show that volumes are already up another third. It is widely expected that issuance of sharia-compliant bonds, or sukuk, will top the $100bn mark before the year is out.

Despite this rise, however, questions remain as to whether the increase in issuance is enough to match investor demand. According to consultancy Ernst & Young, the answer is no.

It says the global supply of sukuk is less than half that of investor demand and the gap may widen further unless more institutions emerge capable of launching new issues.

The consultancy says current outstanding demand for Islamic bonds totals some $300bn, and is expected to grow to $900bn by 2017. “One of the foremost challenges faced by the sukuk market is the supply side constraint, as demand continues to outpace new issuance,” says Ashar Nazim, Islamic finance services leader at Ernst & Young.

He says the exponential rise is primarily a result of double digit growth of the Islamic banking industry, and the increasing appetite for credible, sharia-compliant, liquid securities.

“The demand comes from Islamic financial institutions as well as fund managers and high net worth individuals. Conventional institutions are also showing renewed interest in investing in sukuk as a result of the eurozone debt crisis as these Islamic products are backed by real assets,” says Mr Nazim.

Rafael Dalmau, head of sharia-compliant portfolio management at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, agrees: “The organic growth rate of the market is on a clear upward trend, with no signs of slowing down in the near or medium term.”

He says: “In addition to the natural demand for sukuk, non-Islamic investors have also taken notice of the sound returns that this sector has delivered over the last three to five years. Liquidity used to be a deterrent for non- Islamic investors but, nowadays, liquidity is in line with conventional bonds of similar credit profiles.”

Just last month Qatar Islamic Bank, the Gulf Arab state’s largest sharia-compliant lender, returned to the debt markets with a $750m Islamic bond sale.

Order books for the issue were reportedly in excess of $6bn ahead of launch and much of this is said to have come from cash-rich Islamic investors held back by limited sukuk supply in the market. The hope is more issuers will follow suit.

“Issuance can certainly meet demand if more conventional issuers choose to structure their bonds in a sharia-complaint manner as GE and Nomura have chosen to do in the past,” says Nigel Denison, head of wealth management at Bank of London and The Middle East. “We expect to see more issuers entering the market.”

For those many entities whose remits are suitable for Islamic securitisation, adds Mr Dalmau: “There is a widespread view that costs may be higher and/or structures deemed to be too complex” when launching sharia-compliant paper.

“In order to overcome these perceptions, the investment banking industry, both Islamic and non-Islamic, needs to be more proactive in inviting global multinational companies to diversify their funding sources,” he says, adding that the global sukuk market is already being used by a large global AA-rated multinational company and a couple of large global banks.

“We will see this trend [of new issuers coming to the market] continuing, albeit at a very slow pace. But signs are encouraging and a good example is the Republic of Ireland’s recent efforts in bringing new sukuk issues – both sovereign and quasi-sovereign – to market.”

According to figures for the first six months of 2012, Malaysia issued more than 70 per cent of global sukuk, while Saudi Arabia grabbed second spot with a 13 per cent share of global issuance. The first sukuk were issued by Malaysia in 2000.

Mohammed Dawood managing director, global capital finance, HSBC Amanah, says: “Yes, the sukuk market has really taken off in the past 12 to 18 months, particularly in the [Gulf Co-operation Council] and Malaysia. We’re seeing it becoming a preferred mode of financing.

“But there are still challenges in structuring a sukuk – those being the availability of sharia-compliant assets as well as the legal and taxation frameworks in different jurisdictions. In some cases, the legal and tax frameworks still render sukuk issuance uneconomical.”

Mr Denison adds: “The sector is still considered niche by some issuers, and the apparent additional complexity of meeting sharia standards may be assumed to be costly.

“Until awareness spreads of the standard structures used in sukuk, traditionally conventional investors and issuers may continue to shy away.”

IFSB issues draft capital guidelines for Islamic banks

IFSB issues draft capital guidelines for Islamic banks 

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=340953

DUBAI: The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) released new draft guidelines on capital adequacy for Islamic banks and the risk management of takaful (Islamic insurance) companies, the industry body said yesterday.

The Kuala Lumpur-based IFSB sets global guidelines for Islamic finance, although national financial regulators have the final say on how they apply these.

The IFSB released its original guidelines on capital adequacy in December 2005, based on Basel II standards which regulators were then applying around the world. Since then, global regulators have agreed on stricter Basel III standards which will be phased in over the next several years.

Sukuk issued against assets owned by an Islamic bank, may be used by that bank as additional capital to meet regulatory minimums, the draft guidelines state.

The minimum maturity of the sukuk should be five years, and it should not have step-up features, such as periodic increases in the rate of return, giving an incentive to the issuer to redeem it. These provisions align the IFSB with Basel III. Any capital raised through sukuk issues cannot be counted as part of the capital buffers mandated by Basel III, since sukuk are not common equity.

Because Islamic finance is more closely linked to real assets than conventional finance, it is less prone to credit bubbles, and Islamic banks do not engage in highly speculative trading, the IFSB said.

But it also noted that Islamic finance was in some ways vulnerable to cyclical swings in economies – for example, many Islamic instruments are based on commodity prices. So it makes sense for Islamic banks to build up countercyclical capital buffers in good times, the IFSB concluded; these buffers are one of the major provisions of Basel III.

The draft guidelines state how capital requirements should apply to banks’ Islamic windows, and assign risk weightings to Islamic transactions such as musharaka and mudaraba.

Malaysian Shariah Governance Framework can be blueprint for industry: Arabnews interview with Dr. M. Elgari

Malaysian Shariah Governance Framework can be blueprint for industry: Arabnews interview with Dr. M. Elgari
by Mushtak Parker| Arab News

At a time when the global Islamic finance industry is debating whether Shariah advisory should be regulated and scholars restricted to advising only a small number of institutions, Malaysia almost in passing adopted on Jan. 1 a new Shariah Governance Framework (SGF) for Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) that supersedes the Guidelines on the Governance of Shariah Committees of IFIs introduced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the central bank, in 2004.

According to the Malaysian central bank, the primary objective of the SGF is to enhance “the role of the board, the Shariah committee and the management in relation to Shariah matters, including enhancing the relevant key organs having the responsibility to execute the Shariah compliance and research functions aimed at the attainment of a Shariah-based operating environment.”

One prominent international Shariah advisory to the Islamic finance industry, Muhammed Elgari of Saudi Arabia, who sits on several Shariah committees of such organizations as the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes, and a number of banks, agrees that Malaysia’s Shariah Governance Framework for IFIs could become a blueprint for other countries to follow.

In an exclusive interview with the author, Elgari stressed that he can see the need for such a framework, which “most certainly” can be developed into a blueprint, even though he has yet to study the full details of the SGF.

Shariah advisory has been in the news in recent weeks following reports that the AAOIFI is in the process of drafting rules to regulate the shareholdings and the number of supervisory boards individual Shariah advisories can sit on. Market players have long been concerned by the small pool of experienced Shariah advisers serving the Islamic finance industry and that an elite few sit on multiple Shariah advisory boards, a practice which they claim could lead to conflicts of interest and is not consistent with best practice in terms of advisory.

Research by entities such as Funds@Work have added fuel to the fire, although the methodology of the research is not very detailed and transparent. According to Funds@Work, there are 1,141 overall Shariah advisory board positions available in 28 countries. The average board size is 3.33 scholars per board, across the entire universe. Perhaps more importantly, the Top 10 scholars hold 450 out of 1,141 board positions that are available and represent 39.44 percent of the universe. Two Shariah advisories sit on a staggering 85 boards while another on 79 boards.

Some of the top Shariah advisers, not surprisingly, have reportedly spoken out against any efforts to restrict their trade by restricting the number of boards on which they can sit.

“There is no justification in my mind to single out a profession to set rules that are not applied to any other. There is no dispute about the fact that a human being does have a limited capacity or let us say a finite one. But this can’t be measured by the number of boards. The real test is quality of work and ability to meet the expectations of the other party. It should be self evident that if one lacks both, it will not help him to have a limited number of boards,” said Elgari.

Elgari, who also has a doctorate in economics from the prestigious University of California in Berkeley, dismisses any suggestions that Shariah advisories “make too much money” and “they are monopolizing the trade” which he maintains are both lies and naive.

In his experience, none of the banks and organizations he serves as an advisory have expressed any concerns to him about the above issues. In fact, his relationship with his clients remains cordial and commands the utmost professionalism. As such, these supposed concerns are a smokescreen and are really serving the agenda of certain groups who are keen to get a slice of the Shariah advisory business in Islamic finance.

“What is being observed lately is that certain groups want to intermediate between banks and Shariah scholars. In other words they would like to ‘broker’ the Shariah advisory and they believe, correctly, that their negotiating power with the banks is much stronger than individual scholars. Hence they can extract much more from banks. They tell us why should you be concerned, you will not suffer any reduced income (negating the very argument that we make too much). But in principle we do not see it fitting to create an exchange where we sell our services to someone to sell them to a third party at a higher price,” he said.

Elgari, who is one of a very few number of foreign Shariah advisories registered with the Securities Commission Malaysia to give Shariah advisory to the Islamic finance industry in the south east Asian country, maintains that nobody is more concerned about bringing up the second generation of Shariah scholars in the global Islamic finance industry than the current scholars. As such, it is wrong to think that they are threatened by the thought of restrictions and regulation.

“On the contrary our nightmare is for Shariah boards to disappear when we cease to exist. We always request institutions to include in their Shariah board a younger scholar so that the next generation is brought up by the current generation. Recently, we met with the officials from the Waqf Fund (set up by Central Bank of Bahrain) to try to design a program that can be adopted by an academic institution for this purpose,” he said.

Some observers, including regulators, invoke the “conflict of interest” argument to support their desire to restrict the number of boards Shariah scholars can sit on. Elgari in fact believes this is a fair concern and in several instances he has emphasized that Shariah board members should be conscious of it and try to avoid it. He confirms that in several instances he was offered shares in companies he was giving Shariah advisory but he has always declined because he was always aware of a potential conflict of interest. He suggests greater transparency by fellow Shariah advisories, especially in showing their awareness of the issue of potential conflict of interest.

For Elgari, who has also been an economics don at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah for many years, the contemporary Islamic finance industry has witnessed over the last three decades the emergence the birth of a new discipline, which combines Shariah, economics and law. “Unless universities recognize this as a new discipline, not much will be done by them. If these professors themselves can’t do it, how can they teach it? The most effective way is apprenticeship, or a program for study designed by the current Shariah scholars,” he said.

The fact remains that the Shariah governance process in Islamic finance has been steadily evolving and gaining maturity. Last year, for instance, Elgari was the first prominent scholar to emphatically call for a scientific approach to Shariah compliance. This follows a similar call by another prominent Shariah scholar, Sheikh Esam Ishaq of Bahrain, that Shariah advisories serving the Islamic finance industry should be regulated.

Elgari then called on fellow Shariah advisories to adopt a scientific methodology in reaching their deliberations on Islamic finance. “To be respected,” said Elgari, “Shariah scholars should follow scientific methods to reach their conclusions. We have seen many mistakes where declarations have been issued. Only the correct resolutions will prevail. Shariah is not a group of infallible people. It is a science. It requires methodology, and resolutions require peer review and market consultation.”

He is also a big supporter of the codification of Fiqh Al-Muamalat, which could contribute immensely to clarifying the rubrics and the contentious issues relating to products and services in the nascent Islamic finance industry. Similarly, he believes that greater transparency in the Shariah governance process; more professional articulation of the resolutions and statements; and prior debate and consultation between scholars and other stakeholders in the industry, could go a long way in mitigating the misconceptions and confusion that has arisen as a result of some recent Shariah rulings.

Source: http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article236465.ece

Japan eyes sukuk tax breaks to draw Islamic investors

Japan eyes sukuk tax breaks to draw Islamic investors

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan will alter regulations to give foreign investors tax breaks on sharia bond dividends, the latest country to pursue Islamic finance to woo investors demanding sharia-compliant assets. Islamic bond dividends received by foreign investors may be declared tax-free as early as end-2011. As neighboring countries had already changed or been changing tax systems to exclude Islamic bonds from taxation, “Japan also has understood the necessity of enhancing the attractiveness as an investment destination,” a Japanese FSA official said. Japanese regulations do not forbid the issuance of Islamic bonds but these funding instruments are often not commercially viable without tax breaks on dividends received.

The transfer of assets tends to attract tax, which can make Islamic finance transactions more costly than conventional deals.

Japanese brokerage Nomura Holdings sold $100 million of Islamic leasing bonds in Malaysia in July and Sumitomo Corp is said to be arranging the first Islamic funding deal in Japan.

Islamic finance practitioners expect the regulatory change to encourage more interest and drive sukuk issuance.

“The range of investors’ portfolio variation can be expanded and the underlying demand may be stimulated,” said Etsuaki Yoshida, a deputy chief of Africa office at Japan Bank of International Cooperation.

The $1 trillion Islamic finance sector saw a burst of interest about two years ago after the global financial crisis prompted a search for alternative sources of funding but interest has since cooled slightly as conventional debt markets reopened. Non-Muslim countries such as Singapore, Australia, France and Hong Kong have either amended or are working on changes to their regulatory framework to accommodate Islamic finance, which avoids interest payments in favour of asset sales or rentals to underpin financial transactions.

But efforts to develop Islamic financial markets have met resistance in South Korea and India.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL3E7CD0OZ20110114

Push for asset-backed Sukuk framework lifting demand

Push for asset-backed Sukuk framework lifting demand

 

 

 

 

 

It’s good to see a move towards asset-backed Sukuk rather than asset-based Sukuk, which are obviously more close to the spirit of the Shariah. In asset-backed Sukuk, investors become owners of the underlying assets in case of default, whereas asset-based Sukuk give no such recourse.

DUBAI, Jan 10 – Investor worries over the impact of defaults in Islamic bonds is driving a push for a better structure for asset-backed instruments that should help alleviate concerns, bankers and lawyers said.

Islamic finance industry body IIFM is looking to develop a template in 12 to 18 months that will help reduce some of the legal and operational complexities surrounding asset-backed Islamic bonds, or sukuk, said its chief executive Ijlal Alvi.

The Nakheel property arm of Dubai’s state-owned conglomerate Dubai World [DBWLD.UL] staved off default on a $4.1 billion Islamic bond after a last-minute bailout from Abu Dhabi in 2009, after Dubai World announced plans for repayment on $26 billion in debt, spooking global markets.

Also still ongoing is Kuwait Investment Dar’s <TIDK.KW> discussions with creditors over a $100 million sukuk it defaulted on in 2009.

Asset-backed sukuk are seen closer to the spirit of Islamic law as they involve a transfer of tangible assets — investors become the legal owners of these in the case of default.

Investors were taken aback as they realised the majority of sukuk were asset-based and that these could not be accessed directly by sukuk holders following a default.

“People didn’t really talk about asset-backed sukuk until the stress tests were applied,” said Tim Ross, partner at Latham & Watkins in Dubai. “Some investors were caught off guard — they had an unsecured payment claim.”

As investors cried foul, market watchers hoped the industry would shift toward a securitised model, but that has yet to happen, as more than 90 percent of transactions are still structured as asset-based sukuk.

“While asset-backed transactions, both conventional and Islamic, have been done in the Gulf, they are more difficult and costly for companies to undertake,” said Gregory Man, senior associate at Clifford Chance in Dubai.

He added that such transactions also face tougher legal and analytical requirements imposed by rating agencies and many companies in the region lack sufficiently robust internal systems to service and report on the assets to investors and agencies.

A master agreement would aim to provide a standardised base from which issuers could structure the sukuk in line with their own jurisdictions and increase awareness about the product.

“In this credit environment, creditors would prefer direct recourse to the assets,” Alvi said. “Although asset-based is a valid structure as well, I think it is preferable to encourage increase in asset-backed sukuk over the medium to long-term.”

Despite the challenges, companies would look to issue more asset-backed sukuk if investors demanded it, bankers said.

“Among investors, there is still no real drive to do it,” said one Gulf-based Islamic banker. “Much of the corporate world comes from a conventional background so asset-based sukuk is closer to the debt model they are used to working with.

“Most investors simply don’t care enough, despite all the frenzy following defaults.”

Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20110110/tbs-assetbacked-sukuk-7318940.html

Sukuk issuance to reach pre-crisis level by end 2011: Daud Vicary Abdullah

Sukuk issuance to reach pre-crisis level by end 2011: Daud Vicary Abdullah

Global issuance of Islamic bonds will take another year to reach pre-crisis levels as new markets in Europe and Asia have yet to make up for the slump in the Gulf, said Deloitte’s head of Islamic Finance on Tuesday.

Underwritten issuance of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, reached $14.3 billion last year, according to Thomson Reuters estimates, well below the $20-30 billion in annual issuance before the global financial crisis.

Malaysia, the industry’s biggest market, held up well in 2010 but issuance in the Gulf Arab region has been hurt by some sukuk defaults and investor confidence has yet to return.

“I think it’s going to be another year or so before (sukuk issuance) gets back to pre-crisis levels,” said Daud Vicary Abdullah, head of Islamic finance at advisory firm Deloitte.

He said that new markets will help a come back in sukuk issuance, as governments in Brazil, Australia, Western Europe and Central Asia are considering issuing sukuk to tap the Muslim wealth pool and nurture their own Islamic financial industries.

He said that American re-insurers are considering entering Islamic re-insurance business, or re-takaful, which would also increase demand for Islamic bonds.

The global financial crisis popped a Gulf real estate bubble in 2008, severely hitting regional investors and pushing the region’s business hub Dubai to the brink of default.

Investors are still holding back their funds as the full extent of the damage took long to surface due to a lack of strong and transparent regulations in the region.

“This market is always much more sensitive to economic ups and downs…there is still some ground to make up and people are sort of nervous about what they have seen in Dubai,” said Abdullah.

The Gulf saw a modest revival in sukuk issuances in the last quarter of 2010 but market experts fear it could be a fragile recovery with investors fearful of any more bad news. [ID:nLDE69618P]

Sukuk issuance has also been hurt by a debate about the compliance of some of its structures with Islamic law. Sukuk are structured around underlying assets, from which returns to bondholders are derived.

Estimates of sukuk issuance can vary significantly depending on the methodology applied.

Experts polled by Reuters in October estimated that sukuk issuance will likely be less than $25 billion as Gulf debt restructurings and state deficit constraints dampen borrowing.

Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20110111/tbs-sp-islamicfinance-sukuk-7318940.html