IFN Asia returned to Kuala Lumpur this year on 7th April, after its successful two-day event in 2017. DDCAP Group were proud to be partners of this event, which contained captivating panels and sessions relating to Islamic Finance.
This was a large-scale event with over 400 attendees. The event was opened by Datuk Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin – Deputy CEO, Securities Commission Malaysia – who delivered a key note address mainly focusing on the significance of Asia to the Global Islamic finance community. Datuk Zainal also used the keynote to speak about the sophisticated infrastructure which Malaysia has developed over many years, whilst also touching on some of Asia’s smaller emerging Islamic financial markets, such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
All panel discussions were very well attended, including discussions on Managing Risk and Implications, Financial Technology in Asia and Responsible, Sustainable and Green Finance initiatives. The latter was moderated by our Deputy CEO, Lawrence Oliver. The discussion focused on looking at the factors behind the increasing demand for sustainable, responsible and green financial products, while also reviewing the ever increasing role of green Sukuk. Case studies of recent successful sustainable projects were also presented.
DDCAP Group was delighted to attend and co-sponsor the RFI Summit for the third consecutive year. This year, the RFI Summit which took place on the 26th and 27th April in Zurich, was particularly focused on the convergence of Islamic Finance and Impact Finance or Responsible Finance. Panel discussions featured fund managers talking about the growing interest globally in the influence of long term sustainable financing and risk sharing principle when making investment decisions.
Key points to come from the panels:
-The convergence of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations with Islamic finance principles is becoming one of the key strategies in investment allocation;
-FinTech is becoming the key driver to connect Islamic Finance and Impact finance principles;
-The EU Action Plan on sustainable development, which has been recently launched raises some valuable questions to companies, such as how do firms identify the impact of SDGs on finance at a corporate policy level and how do they highlight the value creators.
We were delighted to sponsor and attend the IFN Forum, Casablanca, Morocco, on 17th April 2018.
IFN Morocco was a relatively small scale but well attended event with DDCAP Group and Bank Assafa being the two partners with marketing stands. The speakers were invited to share their thoughts on how to grow the industry and showcase their firms. The attendance of the Head of Insurance Studies and Standardization at the Moroccan Supervisory Authority) and the Head of Asset Management at the Moroccan Capital Markets Authority, was well received. Each gave an overview of their respective sectors whilst highlighting the goals and perceived challenges ahead.
Previous laws (notably the Participative Banking act chapter in 2014) had laid the foundations for banking in compliance with Sharia’a principals in Morocco and, on 2nd January 2017, the Moroccan central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, issued its approval for five banks and the subsidiaries of three more banks to provide participation banking products in the country. An ecosystem of banks, funds and financial services firms are now successfully operating in Morocco overseen by a Shari’a Committee for Participative Finance established to govern all activities.
The speakers comprised of certain Moroccan regulators, senior executives of Moroccan participatory banks and other financial services firms, as well as Islamic finance experts from abroad who were asked to share their own experiences. Discussions and panel sessions examined how to develop infrastructure to best nurture the growth of the industry with particular focus on sukuk, fin-tech and ESG. Morocco’s finance ministry had previously muted issuing four dirham-denominated sovereign Sukuk issues in 2018, starting with an Ijarah instrument, followed by Wakalah, Musharakah and Murabahah instruments.
In terms of economic growth Morocco has been amongst the best performing countries in the MENA region in recent years and holds a strategic location as a gateway between Europe and North Africa. Its banks have a strong presence overseas, particularly in Europe and Africa, and its efforts to become a regional financial hub (through initiatives such as the Casablanca Financial City) increase its appeal to foreign investors. Developing its Sharia’a compliant sector could be seen as a positive development in this context.
DDCAP Group Managing Director, Stella Cox CBE tops the WOMANÍ List for the second consecutive year as the most influential woman in Islamic Finance.
Womaní is the ranking report of the most influential women in Islamic finance conducted by Cambridge IF Analytica (IFA), which is published by the well-known Islamic finance magazine ISFIRE (Islamic Finance Review). The list comprises the 100 most influential women in Islamic banking and finance (IBF), assessing their influence and leadership over their company and market sector, as well as career and performance to date.
Stella was delighted to again be ranked 1st on the listing for 2018, commenting “I am truly honoured to be included amongst a group of women who are contributing so extensively to the further development of the global Islamic financial services industry, across the expansion of its stakeholders and footprint, the growth of its institutions and the innovation of its product set. Furthermore, it is encouraging that the listing reflects the involvement of women from diverse geographies, from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe further highlighting the expansion of the industry and well as the growing influence of the women who are active within it”
To further recognise the achievements of the 100 women on the 2018 listing, the inaugural Womaní Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner held on April 4, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where it was well-received by all in attendance. The chief guest was HE Dato’ Othman Aziz, Deputy Finance Minister of Malaysia. During his keynote address His Excellency referenced the event to the various initiatives Malaysia is embarking upon to promote gender equality in the workplace and draft legislation intended to address the balance between men and women contributing, through their work and efforts, to the country’s economic development .
“The Womaní Awards must inspire a new breed of young women to become actively involved in Islamic banking and finance to eventually assume leadership roles in the industry,” said Professor Humayon Dar, Co-founder of Womani and Chairman of Edbiz Corporation.
“The past decade has seen a growing band of woman professionals breaking down barriers and performing increasingly important roles in the Islamic finance industry. These leading women have become drivers of change that have inspired a whole new generation of female talent. Our Womaní Awards programme not only recognises and celebrates these inspiring women, but it is our hope that Womaní will serve as a platform to support, encourage and promote women in the global Islamic financial services industry.” Dr Sofiza Azmi, CEO of Cambridge IFA and Co-founder of Womaní.
DDCAP Group Managing Director was invited to speak at the Innovate Finance Global Summit 2018 ( IFGS 2018)
DDCAP Group Managing Director was invited to speak at the Innovate Finance Global Summit 2018 ( IFGS 2018) which took place on 19th and 20th March at Guildhall in London.
During a session entitled, “Engaged Millennials: Why Does Ethics and Sustainability Matter?” panellists debated the importance to Millennials of approaches to Islamic financial services and related fintech that are embedded with sustainable and responsible investment and financing perspectives. Panellists were drawn from businesses with Sharia’a compliant, ethical and impact focused businesses with the majority, including DDCAP, combining SRI disciplines within their strategic development objectives.
DDCAP’s award winning platform ETHOS AFP™ (contact: +44 207 863 1260 or email: email@example.com), which provides a fully automated solution to the wholesale and retails transaction requirements of Islamic banks and institutions, is an example of the proactive contribution that Islamic financial sector firms are making to UK and, indeed, global fintech development initiatives.
The IFGS panel was moderated by Ali Paterson, Editor in Chief, Fintech Finance
Alongside Stella panellists included:
Harris Irfan MD, Cordoba Capital and Chair, UK Islamic FinTech Panel
Ollie Purdue Founder, founder of Loot
and Samina Akram, Managing Director, Samak Ethical Finance Ltd and Founder of the Women in Islamic & Ethical finance forum (WIEFF)
Sukuk Summit 2018 – London Stock Exchange Group “Driving Change – Funding the Future” 5th March 2018
DDCAP Group Managing Director, Stella Cox, was delighted to be asked to speak at the 2018 Sukuk Summit, which took place in London on 5th March, organised by Freuds.
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), one of the world’s largest multilateral development banks, sponsored the Sukuk Summit – in partnership with the UK Government and London Stock Exchange Group – to convene experts and investors from across the world to discuss Islamic finance and Sukuk.
The Sukuk market represents a key component of the Islamic financial system, which has grown at a double-digit rate for the last decade and reached approximately $3.5 trillion (£2.4 trillion) last year.
The 2018 Sukuk Summit brought together over 125 experts from government; senior management of supra-national institutions; representatives of central banks; representatives of international and regional banks; FinTech and academia in order to explore trends and opportunities in Sukuk-led Islamic capital markets.
The Summit’s location reflects the UK’s growing expertise in Islamic finance and the UK Government’s support for the sector over a number of years. This has included the launch of the UK Government’s own £200million Sukuk in 2014: cementing Britain’s position as the leading western financial centre for Islamic finance by becoming the first country outside the Islamic world to issue sovereign Sukuk. Furthermore, last month, Al Rayan Bank – the UK’s retail focused Islamic bank – became the first bank in the world to issue a public Sukuk in a non-Muslim country. The Bank’s ‘Tolkien Funding Sukuk No.1 Plc’ is the largest ever Sterling Sukuk issued and the first UK RMBS issue to be structured in acordance with Sharia’a principles.
Key note speakers at the Summit, representing the sponsors and also governmental perspectives included:
Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank
John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister
Nikhil Rathi, CEO of London Stock Exchange PLC
Fahad Al Saif, Head of Debt Management, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Finance
During the Summit, the IsDB announced its funding plan for the first half of 2018, which is estimated at $2.5 billion – the largest since the Bank’s inception – as well as the imminent issuance, subject to market conditions, of a benchmark sized Sukuk. The proceeds of that will be deployed to support infrastructure, education and health projects across the IsDB’s 57-member nations, which span across four continents and include 1 in 5 of the world’s population.
Following the main Summit, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt. Hon Philip Hammond MP, invited delegates to an afternoon reception at Number 11 Downing Street.
Amongst the proceedings on the day Stella Cox and DDCAP Group Deputy CEO, Lawrence Oliver, were asked to join H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank, as he formally opened trading at the London Stock Exchange in London with Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. During the Summit, Stella spoke during the panel session entitled “Britain: A Launchpad for Islamic Investment Opportunities Across the World” and was later interviewed about Islamic finance by Ian King for Sky News. Please find the interview below.
After the success of IFN Oman Forum in 2017, the forum once again returned to Oman on 13th March 2018. As one of the last GCC nations to join its peers in tapping the Islamic finance industry, Oman has been the hotbed of interest in the GCC region for investors and corporates alike for almost half a decade now. The development of the Islamic finance and banking industry has been an important contributor to the country’s economic growth, with efforts to grow the sector being exercised frequently to compete with its neighbours.
DDCAP Group Executive Director David Testa and DDCAP (DIFC) Limited Director Cassim Docrat were delighted to attend this event, where David was a panellist on the final session of the forum ‘Preparing for the Future: Financial Technology in Oman and GCC Region’, which included a key discussion on what the advancement of technology means for financial institutions in Oman and the Gulf region. Oman is particularly well placed to take advantage of new developments as the Islamic banking sector, both the fully fledged Sharia’a-compliant institutions as well as the Islamic ‘windows’, is relatively new and seems well placed to embrace further developments in FinTech, both ‘disruptors’ and ‘enablers’. David emphasised DDCAP’s own successful track record as a FinTech company, focusing on the transformation in the operating business of the company and in particular its increased use of automation in the form of our asset facilitation platform, ETHOS AFPTM. This in turn has had tangible benefits for its extensive network of banking clients, reducing transactional and documentation lead-in times, with an attendant reduction of the operational risk of the Islamic finance trades in which the company specialises.
DDCAP Group Executive Director David Testa and DDCAP (DIFC) Limited Director Cassim Docrat were pleased to host a table of invited guests at this highly successful event, well attended by the leading lights of Islamic finance in the UAE and GCC more generally. In a particular highlight for the DDCAP Group, Cassim accepted one of the prestigious awards given out during the evening, awarded to DDCAP for ‘Best Interbroker for Islamic Transactions’ for 2017.
The IFN World Leaders Summit is a unique, by invitation-only annual meeting gathering CEOs of Islamic financial institutions, top business leaders, policymakers, legal experts, economists and thought leaders from key Shariah finance markets to critically discuss and debate the most pressing issues facing the Islamic finance industry.
DDCAP Group was a sponsor of the event and our Executive Director, David Testa was delighted to be a panellist on the Capital-Raising Roundtable whereby they revealed their thoughts and insights on raising capital through Islamic finance. David focused his comments on the positive sentiment for Islamic finance in the UK at the moment, in particular the ground-breaking Al Rayan £250m fully asset-back Sukuk issue and encouraging signs of renewed Government engagement with the Islamic Finance sector. This has been demonstrated by ministerial support for reviewing the possibility of renewing the UK Government’s £200m Sukuk issue, originally issued in 2014, and the presence of both Sajid Javid, Cabinet member and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, at the successful Sukuk Summit organised by the Islamic Development Bank and the London Stock Exchange and held at the latter’s offices on 5th March 2018, which we cover fully in our review of the Summit and the ancillary events to it that involved DDCAP Group senior executives.
DDCAP Group’s Managing Director, Stella Cox CBE, spoke at the UK Islamic Finance Council’s thematic workshop “How Ethical is Islamic Finance?”
DDCAP Group’s Managing Director, Stella Cox CBE, spoke at the UK Islamic Finance Council’s thematic workshop “How Ethical is Islamic Finance?”
Sponsored by DDCAP, This event was organised by the UKIFC, together with the International Sharia’a Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), and was hosted by K&L Gates. Stella was a panellist on the session which examined how Islamic finance principles might align with ethical finance trends.
Other discussions included a review of how regulatory requirements may impact the adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations by financial institutions. The workshop was well attended with representatives of both UK and international IF practitioners and academia.