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International Islamic Banking Outlook 2006 and Award 2005

Informal Discussion at Sunny Spring

Informal Discussion at Sunny Spring

International Islamic Banking Award 2005 Dinner

International Islamic Banking Award 2005 Dinner

The Straits Times (Singapore)
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

S'pore to be base for new global Islamic banking body

Grace Ng

A NEW international body that aims to help oversee the fast-growing field of Islamic banking has decided to base itself here because of Singapore's neutrality and its status as a financial hub.

Earlier this month, the International Syariah Board for Economic Development (Isbed) registered itself here and also unveiled plans for a new Islamic financial index made up of stocks listed on the Singapore Exchange.

The 'Lion 30' index - the first of its kind here - will be launched on Hari Raya Puasa in November. The Isbed has identified 33 mainboard-listed stocks as being syariah-compliant.

Islamic banking is based on the teachings of the Quran, which prohibit the earning of interest and engaging in certain businesses.

Isbed's move is the latest boost to Singapore's ambitions to become a key player in Islamic banking, which has billions of dollars of funds under investment and caters to the roughly a quarter of the world's population.

The body has already identified firms such as SingTel and CapitaMall Trust as potential index stocks because their core business are not involved in activities like gambling, tobacco, alcohol and conventional interest-based banking.

The Isbed council will have 12 to 15 members, who will be scholars and practitioners in Islamic finance. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the founding members, and the organisation has invited participants from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bahrain and India.

China and Australia are also 'potential members', said Mr Mohammad Farhad Omar, country director of Karim Business Consulting and Isbed's acting secretary-general.

He said Singapore is a suitable choice as Isbed's 'centre of international financial activity' because of its neutral religious position and strong infrastructure as a global financial hub.

He was speaking yesterday at the International Islamic Banking Outlook Summit 2006, co-organised by Karim and the Young Entrepreneurs Network.

At the conference, Mr Ng Nam Sin, executive director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, noted that Singapore, with its small domestic market, would do well to pursue 'the larger opportunity' in the wholesale Islamic financial sectors.

Asia Pulse/Antara
Wednesday August 31, 2005

Indonesia Eyes US$2 BLN in Foreign Funds Via Shariah Bonds

JAKARTA, Aug 31 Asia Pulse - Indonesia could attract foreign investors to bring in up to US$2 billion to the country by issuing shariah international bonds, a central bank official said.

Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia Siti Fadjrijah said the government could initiate the issuance of Islamic bonds.

Bank Indonesia will issue guidelines for U.S. dollar denominated shariah
bonds in 2006, Siti said after addressing an international seminar on Islamic Banking Outlook in Singapore on Tuesday.
She said Indonesia has a potential market for shariah bonds in the Middle East.

Indonesia could earn up to US$2 billion from the sales of shariah bonds or twice as large as the value of conventional international bonds issued by the government last year, she added.

She said Bank Indonesia predicted an increase in shariah banks' market share to 7 per cent in 2011 from 1.3 per cent at present in the predominantly Muslim country.

Shariah banks operate in line with the shariah law under which they must not accept or pay interest and are prohibited to invest in industries related to alcohol, gambling or weapon, and share profit with the borrowers.

Informal Discussion at Sunny Spring
Informal Discussion at Sunny Spring
International Islamic Banking Award 2005 Dinner
International Islamic Banking Award 2005 Dinner