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DDCAP Group receives “Market Leadership Award 2017 (Facilitation & Support)” award at the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan.

September 11, 2017ddcapNews

The DDCAP Group was delighted to receive the award of “Market Leadership award 2017 (Facilitation & Support)” at the Global Islamic Finance Award (GIFA) Dinner 2017 held on 6th September  in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan.

The GIFA award organised by Edbiz Consulting is aimed at celebrating the successes and contributions of individuals and organisations to the Islamic financial services Industry. The 2017 edition was hosted by Astana Financial Centre (AIFC) at the Hilton Hotel Astana (Expo district), Kazakhstan and attended by senior practitioners in the Industry.

Dignitaries at the awards ceremony included the keynote speaker H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti, who received the prestigious “Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award 2017″. In attendance was the H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who gave the keynote speech; and Mr Kelimbatev ( the former Governor of the Central Bank of Kazakhstan), amongst others.

Other notable honorees were Adnan Yusuf (President of Albaraka Group) as “Islamic Personality of the Year”, and Saad Al Menhali as “Islamic Banker of the Year for 2017”. Mitsubishi UFJ received the “Best Wholesale Banking Award 2017” and Al Hilal Bank, Kazakhstan as a “Pioneer of Islamic Banking (Kazakhstan) 2017”.

DDCAP Group Managing Director, Stella Cox CBE, commented that “DDCAP Group is delighted to be announced as the winner of the GIFA Market Leadership Award 2017 (Facilitation & Support)”. We consider it our privilege and honour to receive the recognition of the GIFA Committee. It is respected validation of the commitment and investment that DDCAP has made, during the past two decades, to developing a robust platform to facilitate the execution of Sharia’a compliant liquidly management and capital market transactions, as well as innovating automation for the post trade environment. We are proud of the intermediary business services model that we pioneered, which has clearly encouraged others to follow us.”

New Board Appointments at DDCAP Group

August 29, 2017ddcapNews

DDCAP Group is pleased to announce the following Board appointments to oversee the further expansion and development of our business offerings across origination and trade execution and also within the systems development and post trade environments.

 

David Testa has, with effect from 1st August 2017, joined the group as an Executive Director.  Working directly with Managing Director, Stella Cox CBE, David will focus on adding to DDCAP’s current portfolio of products and services.  David was previously CEO of Gatehouse Bank, leading the team that obtained its banking license, and he has continued to specialise in Islamic capital markets and investment products generally.

 

Most recently, David worked for the Kuwaiti European Holdings Group, owned by the Al-Humaidi family in Kuwait, where he was CEO of its two UK operating companies, including an FCA-authorised advisory boutique focusing on Sharia’a-compliant investment opportunities in the UK.

 

Stella Cox commented: “David and I previously worked together on the Board of Gatehouse Bank, as well as through several transactional situations both before and after that time.  I am delighted to welcome him to DDCAP.  I look forward to working with David in the further development of DDCAP’s exciting growth and business momentum.”

 

Additionally, Martin Harris has been appointed to lead DDCAP’s corporate and business infrastructure development as Executive Director with responsibility for Automated Business Systems, IT & Post Trade Infrastructure.

 

Most recently, Martin has been the Senior Director responsible for ‎Business Operations and Change at NASDAQ NLX. Prior to that, Martin spent 8 years with NYSE group entities, initially as Vice President and Head of Systems Development at NYSE Euronext and then as Vice President and Head of Development and Programme at Intercontinental Exchange NYSE.

 

Martin has extensive experience in the provision, delivery and operational oversight of systems development and the management of trading and clearing services for commodities, fixed income and equities.  His significant leadership experience has been gained from managing large global, multi-discipline delivery and operations teams both onshore and offshore.

 

Managing Director, Stella Cox CBE, further added that DDCAP “places great emphasis on technology investment, thereby evolving our business and services offering continually to assure it is equal to the changing requirements of the post trade environment. We are delighted that, in Martin, we have been joined by a senior executive with a skill set that both complements and brings another perspective to those of our existing Directors.”

 

DDCAP Group and Astana International Financial Centre sign a ground breaking Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in Islamic Finance at Astana Expo 2017.

July 13, 2017ddcapNews

The UK based DDCAP Group (DDCAP), one of the world’s leading Islamic financial market intermediaries, became the first Financial Services Sector Company to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).

The official signing ceremony took place at an Islamic Finance seminar jointly hosted by the AIFC and DDCAP on the 11th of July 2017 in the UK Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017.  The major focus of the MoU is to provide a framework for long term cooperation between the Parties in support of the AIFC development of an Islamic capital market in Kazakhstan. The Parties agreed to complement and add value to the financial and capital market infrastructure that the AIFC is building through the development, issuance and trading of Islamic capital market and treasury instruments in accordance with accepted best practice incorporating automated systems to enhance market functionality.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr. Andrew Parmley and the Governor of the AIFC H.E. Kairat Kelimbetov, who then both gave welcoming remarks to the event participants, in the presence of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan Dr. Carolyn Browne and the Commissioner for the UK Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017, Rt Hon Charles Hendry.  The MoU was signed by Director, Deputy CEO of DDCAP, Lawrence Oliver and Managing Director, Member of Executive Board of the AIFC, Saysat Nurbek.

 

AUTORITI MONETARI BRUNEI DARUSSALAM (AMBD) HOSTS BRITISH TRADE DELEGATION 

June 8, 2017ddcapNews

Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) hosted a British trade delegation recently as a follow-up from the first UK-Brunei Darussalam Financial Services Forum, held in the United Kingdom in January this year.

The trade delegation, who was in Brunei Darussalam on 22nd and 23rd May 2017, discussed with AMBD and exchanged experiences in developing the Capital Market in Brunei Darussalam and the United Kingdom, including in the area of Islamic Finance. This is part of AMBD’s efforts in realizing its strategic plan as laid out in the recently launched Financial Sector Blueprint.

Part of the discussion also focused on the experiences and opportunities in the UK Islamic Financial Sector looking at the UK’s Islamic financial architecture and the regulatory and legislative developments.

The British trade delegation was led by Ms Stella Cox, Managing Director – DDCAP Group, and Chair of the Islamic Finance Market Advisory Group in TheCityUK, a financial services professional body that champions UK-based financial and related professional services.

 

Ms. Stella Cox, Chair of the Islamic Finance Market Advisory Group, TheCityUK in a group photograph with the British trade delegation and their hosts. – AMBD

 

Meeting of DDCAP’s Sharia’a Supervisory Board

April 3, 2017ddcapNews

DDCAP is delighted to announce the successful conclusion of its latest Sharia’ a Supervisory Board (SSB) Meeting held at the Park Hyatt Hotel Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia on the 22nd of March 2017.

The SSB meeting is regularly convened to reassure our clients of DDCAP’s commitment to ensure the substance and integrity of its business processes and service provision adhere to Sharia’ a principles.

In attendance at the SSB meeting were all members of the Board comprising of the following esteemed Scholars; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Suleiman Almaneea (Chairman), Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Almutlag, Sheikh Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari, Prof. Dr. Mohamad Akram Laldin, and Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Tabtabai.

The SSB conducted a thorough review of DDCAP’s business offerings, processes and transactions culminating in the issuance of a Fatwa.

As part of an ongoing, recurrent Sharia’a review procedure, our esteemed Sharia’a Supervisory Board also makes regular review of DDCAP’s Ethos Facilitation Platform, the transactions concluded across it and the trade documentation originated therefrom.

DDCAP Sharia Supervisory Board

DDCAP Sharia Supervisory Board

DDCAP Managing Director, Ms. Stella Cox CBE, attends Expert Panel Seminar on Islamic Finance at White & Case LLP on Tuesday 21st February 2017 in London.

March 22, 2017ddcapNews

DDCAP Managing Director, Ms. Stella Cox CBE, amongst other responsible finance commentators, was in attendance at the most recent seminar on Islamic Finance at White and Case LLP hosted by Partner and Global Head of Islamic Finance Debashis Dey.

Otherwise, the seminar featured two expert panel sessions including Sheikh Bilal Khan, Dome Advisory co-chairman and partner; Mehdi Ababou, Moody’s Vice President, Structured Finance Group, and lastly counsels from White and Case LLP namely Tallat Hussain, Claudio Medeossi and Mindy Hauman.

Please find below an article titled “Green Sukuk are coming” written by Elizabeth Meager and published by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) following the seminar.

 

  Green Sukuk are coming

The two asset classes are a perfect fit, but the appetite of Islamic investors for risk and innovation is limited

It’s only a matter of time before the first green sukuk comes to market, according to market  industry leaders. Speakers at a White & Case event last week explained that there’s nothing stopping issuers from drafting a shariah-compliant sukuk save for a lack of top-down support.

In 2016, the climate-aligned bond market grew by 16% to $694 billion, $118 billion worth of which are labelled green. The global sukuk market, which has slowed in recent years, saw $40.3 billion worth of deals issued in the same timeframe. Climate-aligned finance is a fast-growing market that’s open to innovation.

Small precedents

The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) issued the first socially responsible sukuk in 2014, raising $500 million, which it followed up with another not long after. While the IFFIm deal was loosely referred to as green at the time, this was, strictly speaking, socially responsible: the proceeds were used to fund children’s immunisation projects in the world’s poorest countries. That deal put social sukuk on the map and brought conventional investors in,” said Stella Cox CBE, managing director at DDCAP. “Current market conditions would support green sukuk as there is both a need and appetite for innovation.”

Malaysian   sovereign wealth fund Khazanah also issued a RM100 million ($22.5 million) sustainable and responsible (SRI) investment sukuk in 2015, providing schools with funding. Climate Bonds Initiative established a green sukuk working group in 2012 to develop best practices in the space. But progress has been slow in part because markets where Islamic finance is strongest – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Southeast Asia – have either small or non-existent green bond markets.

That’s slowly changing with the launch of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change in 2015 and the Paris COP21 agreement of the same year – which GCC countries are also a part of.

The issuance of sukuk by atypical Islamic finance jurisdictions including the governments of the UK, Luxembourg and Hong Kong meanwhile have helped to bring conventional investors in to the Islamic space.

For green sukuk specifically, there are pockets of interest. Sovereigns often enquire about how it would work, according to speakers, and the National Bank of Abu Dhabi said it was working on a deal in 2015 before announcing a merger. Top-down support is needed to implement the infrastructure needed for green sukuk. Speakers would like to see a sovereign wealth fund making a significant allocation, for example.

A natural Fit

There’s plenty of similarities between the green bond and sukuk markets. Both are relatively niche, with a focus on responsible investments – sukuk proceeds are forbidden from being used to fund certain industries including tobacco, alcohol and gambling – and both lack a designated legal framework governing deals.

Efforts to standardise and drive innovation in both asset classes have been industry-led, with the exception of a small number of jurisdictions.

“I’d say the same thing that’s holding back green bonds is holding back green sukuk,” said Dey. “The combination of a suitable project or investment, along with the right investor base, just hasn’t happened yet.”

As sukuk tend to have shorter maturities than conventional bonds, a climate-aligned deal would be more risk-intensive which may be less appealing to typical shariah investors.

But speakers explained that there are other ways in which the two types of finance can be brought together. Sukuk might be the most commonly used tradable instrument there is, but to support sustained growth, a more comprehensive suite of tools is needed.

“In our industry we’ve got caught up with the S-word, but sukuk is not the only Islamic finance solution. We want to expand the instrument base but there could be opportunities elsewhere, like shariah funds,” said Cox.

“Regardless, we like our Islamic finance precedents. Green sukuk is going to happen.”

 

DDCAP Managing Director Stella Cox, CBE heads the list of Top 10 Women in Islamic Banking and Finance.

February 22, 2017ddcapNews

DDCAP Managing Director Stella Cox, CBE heads the list of Top 10 Women in Islamic Banking and Finance.

Islamic Finance Review (ISFIRE), a bi-monthly unique magazine produced by the Edbiz Corporation Limited, with the objective of articulating innovative idea around challenging areas in the Islamic finance industry recently disseminated a list of top 10 women in Islamic banking and finance.

The list looks at various individuals within the Islamic finance Industry and the influential roles they play in bringing innovative ideas to the finance sector globally.  The list brings to bear the accomplishments and achievements of female senior practitioners in the Islamic Finance Industry

Our very own managing Director Stella Cox, CBE, sits atop the list with other influential leaders in the Islamic Banking and Finance Industry. This list is detailed below:

1. Stella Cox CEO & Managing Director of DDCAP Group UK

Stella Cox has played a pivotal role in the field of Islamic liquidity management since the time when there were not very many tools available to do so. The execution of the much talked about commodity murabaha structure was not possible had this been not Stella’s practical efforts and visionary approach in making DDCAP a key player in the Islamic financial services industry.

She has championed the cause of IBF on the industry level and beyond. Her advocacy role in academia and her engagement with regulators, especially the UK Government, have tremendously helped IBF. She deserves to capture Number One position as the most influential woman in IBF (*).

2. Dr. Sofiza Azmi CEO of Edbiz Consulting UK/ Malaysia

Dr. Sofiza Azmi has emerged as one of the most influential female opinion makers in IBF. As Editor-in-Chief of Global Islamic Finance Report (GIFR) the oldest yearbook in IBF, which is deemed as the most authoritative account of developments in the global Islamic financial services industry she

finds herself in a position to guide the future path of developments in IBF. She is also Editor-in-Chief

of Islamic Wealth Management Report (IWMR), and Editor of ISFIRE, a bimonthly magazine (journal magazine) published from London.

Dr Sofiza Azmi is also Programme Director of Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme (CambridgeIFLP). As a member of Awards Committee of Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) and Islamic Retail Banking Awards (IRBA), she is in a position to exercise her influence on the industry in a very unique way.

Dr Sofiza Azmi’s co-authored book on Islamic finance has been translated into Russian and Mandarin, and is considered as the main reference book in China, Russia and the Russian speaking block of countries in the Central Asia.

3. Fozia Amanullah CEO of Alliance Islamic Bank Malaysia

Fouzia Amanullah has the distinction of being the first female CEO of an Islamic bank anywhere in the world. Her experience as CEO of an Islamic bank (first CEO of EON Capital and now as CEO of Alliance Islamic Bank) is perhaps the longest tenure held by a woman CEO of an Islamic bank, not only in Malaysia but perhaps worldover.

Despite all these distinctions, she is a very downtoearth person whose only focus remains on the job at hand. No wonder, she remains an invisible woman leader in the global Islamic financial services industry.

4. Farmida Bi European Head of Islamic Finance at Norton Rose Fulbright UK

Farmida Bi is Head of Islamic Finance Europe at Norton Rose Fulbright, and is the only female named as a “leading individual’ for Islamic finance in Chamber UK 2016. She has worked on a number of milestone Islamic financial transactions, including, but not limited to, Goldman Sachs US$500 million debut sukuk, the Tamweel securitisation (recognised as the first Islamic true securitisation, and the first UK sukuk, namely, the Innovative Technologies Sukuk.

She is a regular speaker on topics related with IBF, and supports causes related with female inclusion in the labour force for IBF.

5. Sharizad Jumaat CEO of RHB Islamic International Asset Management Malaysia

A woman with impressive asset management credentials, Sharizad Jumaat is an exceptional female Islamic fund manager. She has served in previous CEO roles, most notably with Amanah Raya Investment Management.

6. Sabeen Saleem CEO of Islamic International Rating Agency Bahrain/ Pakistan

Sabeen Saleem is the only women form Pakistan, who enjoys global influence in Islamic finance. As CEO of IIRA, she has been playing an important role in bringing the required degree of risk management and governance practices in the institutions offering Islamic financial services. She is currently based in Bahrain, where IIRA is located.

As one of the two ladies on this list, who are based in the GCC, one can very well imagine the critical position she holds in the IFB industry and the mentorship opportunities she provides to other young women aspiring to become leaders in IBF.

7. Dr. Engku Rabiah Adawiah Ali Professor at IIUM Institute of Islamic Finance Malaysia

Professor Engku Rabiah’s most significant contribution to IBF is her mentoring for dozens of women, in Malaysia and elsewhere, who themselves have become influential leaders in IBF. If Professor Engku Rabiah had not played the role of an anchor and mentor, we wouldn’t have had as many Malaysian woman leaders on this list. Period.

8. Dr. Aishath Muneeza Former Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs, the Maldives/ Malaysia

Dr. Aishath Muneeza has emerged as an influential leader in IBF. She is involved in a number of initiatives related with IBF in the Maldives as well as in Malaysia. Currently, she is serving as an Associate Professor at INCEIF, but her real contribution to IBF is beyond academia.

As the first female Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs in the Maldives and even before that, she attempted to introduce a number of things, most notably establishment of the Maldives Hajj Corporation.

9 Fatima Qasimi CEO of Aseel Islamic Finance UAE

In an environment characterised by male chauvinism, a few women leaders in IBF have emerged in the MENA region, Fatime Qasimi is one of them. As CEO of Aseel Islamic Finance, she has been active in IBF for some time. Under her leadership, Aseel Islamic Finance has developed itself into an award-winning Islamic nonbank retail finance institution (e.g., Best NonBank Islamic Retail Finance Institution 2015 from IRBA).

Since 2015, she has managed the business extremely well, and one should hope that the company will further excel after the merger between its parents company, First Gulf Bank (FGB), and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD). As an Islamic subsidiary of the largest bank in the MENA region, Aseel Islamic Finance is expected to play a bigger role under the leadership of Fatima Qasimi.

10. Dr. Azura Othman CEO of CIIF Malaysia

Dr. Azura Othman serves as CEO of Chartered Institute of Islamic Financial Professionals (CIIF) and is one of the youngest women who are playing lead roles in IBF. She leads a team of young professionals to provide professional services to the employees of Islamic financial institutions worldwide.

Millennials have voted with their money and want Islamic finance to support renewable energy

February 22, 2017ddcapNews

DDCAP Group Managing Director, Ms. Stella Cox, CBE recently made some submissions on the linkages between the Islamic Finance Industry and socially responsible investment sector in the Responsible Investment: New thinking for financing renewable energy Report.

An excerpt from the Report, prepared by Dr. Hatim El Tahir, Director of the Islamic Finance Group at Deloitte is detailed below:
There is almost universal global support for renewable energy and a broadly articulated desire to draw power from naturally occurring, inexhaustible sources of supply, rather than from the fossil and nuclear fuel supplies of the past. Given the ethos that underlies Islamic financial practice, the considerations of social impact and responsible governance to which Islamic investors subscribe should encourage others in the socially responsible investment sector to increase their engagement with Shariah-compliant investors and financiers.

Whereas the stewardship embraced by Islamic financial practitioners reflects social impact and governance, it is a financial industry subset that has developed from the emerging markets, many of which have economies driven by traditional energy and fuel revenue.  Accordingly, related environmental issues and impact have historically been less of a consideration. This perspective is changing and, interestingly, being driven by client demands, particularly from those clients who are Millennials.
Acting on these changes, there are now examples of Islamic financial market leaders and practitioners seeking to explore and collaborate with other parts of the ethical financial marketplace including:

RFI Foundation, which engages with asset owners and institutional investors to explore the benefits of the inclusion of the ethical and socially responsible principles of Islamic finance

Islamic Development Bank and the Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, which incorporate input from Islamic financial experts to facilitate an effective, sustainable development financing strategy and the mobilization of alternative resources

UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which included Islamic finance during a Global Roundtable session co-presented by the RFI Foundation

It is important that such collaborations develop between industry bodies and key influencers and that effective think tanks are established to add process and propose the standards and practices that may be accommodated by the wider marketplace. These collaborations will also encourage the participation of the institutional market, of investors and asset owners, as has been demonstrated by the responsible investment momentum driven by the growth and success of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) during the last ten years.

A full copy of the Report can be accessed at Responsible Investment: New thinking for financing renewable energy

New Appointment to DDCAP’s Sharia’a Supervisory Board

January 5, 2017ddcapNews

DDCAP is delighted to announce the recent appointment of esteemed Kuwaiti Scholar Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Tabtabai, to its Sharia’a Supervisory Board (SSB).

Dr. Tabtabai joins the following Sharia’a Scholars on the DDCAP SSB namely Sheikh Abdullah Bin Suleiman Almaneea (Chairman), Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Almutlag, Sheikh Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari and Prof. Dr. Mohamad Akram Laldin.

The inaugural SSB visit to London for the purpose of conducting a thorough review took place in 2013. The SSB subsequently convened in June 2013 to reconfirm the audit processes and the issuance of the Fatwa during an open forum hosted by DDCAP in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At this time, the SSB also issued a Fatwa in support of DDCAP’s Asset Facilitation Platform.

In September 2016, the “Ethos Asset Facilitation Platform ™ (“ETHOS AFP™”) was launched by DDCAP  to accommodate the specific trade and post trade requirements of our clients. DDCAP’s own Sharia’a Supervisory Board has been engaged with the development of ETHOS AFP™ and has issued a Fatwa in support of its automated processes. As part of an ongoing, recurrent Sharia’a review procedure, our esteemed Sharia’a Supervisory Board makes regular review of the platform, the transactions concluded across it and the trade documentation originated therefrom.

The recent appointment of Dr. Tabtabai to the SSB further reiterates DDCAP’s commitment to reassuring our clients that the substance and integrity of its business and service provision adhere to the Sharia’a principles and further development of the Islamic Finance industry.

Women leaders: Mentoring in the workplace

December 23, 2016ddcapNews

 

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Simply Sharia Human Capital’s 2016 Women in Islamic Finance & Islamic Economy Report is the first report from within the Islamic finance industry to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of women; examine the challenges and opportunities for women; featuring first-hand experiences, case studies of successful female-led and female-inspired initiatives alongside advice and guidance from women and men who are making inroads in mending the gender gap.

As part of this report, Stella Cox CBE, MD, DDCAP Group, Chair, IF Market Advisory Group, TheCityUK, shares her experience in growing her career within the Islamic finance industry, and challenges faced being a woman in a male-dominated sector. Cox highlights the importance of mentoring in the workplace especially for women in order to be able to achieve a much sought-after work-life balance.

 

For full article, please click here.

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