‘DDCAP GROUP BECOMES A PATRON OF THE PRINCE’S TRUST- MOSAIC PROGRAMME SUPPORTING DIVERSE YOUNG PEOPLE IN EDUCATION
DDCAP Group announced it has pledged £100,000 to The Prince’s Trust over the next 4 years to help disadvantaged young people gain new skills and confidence through Mosaic, The Trust’s in-school mentoring programme. The partnership will support young people to re-engage with education whilst exploring aspirational careers and receiving direct support from positive role models sourced from local communities.
Building on its support of Mosaic, DDCAP has also become a Patron of The Prince’s Trust in recognition of its commitment to fund The Prince’s Trust programmes. Importantly this partnership will see staff from across DDCAP’s team being trained as mentors and leading and participating in school workshop sessions. The opportunity for accomplished and experienced professionals to share their skills and guidance with diverse young people was one aspect of the participation in The Prince’s Trust which complements DDCAP Group’s culture and values.
“We have always believed we have a duty of care to the communities in which we operate,” said Stella Cox CBE, Managing Director of DDCAP Group. “We are delighted to become a Patron of The Prince’s Trust and support the important work they do with young people. Our growing London team looks forward to numerous volunteering opportunities to help young people set ambitious goals and achieve their full potential.”
The Prince’s Trust was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976 to promote social mobility and has returned £1.4 billion in value to society through its help for disadvantaged young people over the last ten years alone.
Tom Lamb, Senior Head of Business Development – Corporate Partnerships said ”We are immensely grateful to DDCAP for their generosity. We’re excited to work with the business in the UK, engaging staff in volunteering and mentoring and inspiring young people. Together, we are giving young people new skills and diverse points of reference in terms of role models and career options.”
Lauren McAughtry, Managing Editor of IFN, recently interviewed Stella Cox CBE to discuss the current trends and future potential for the Islamic finance industry, both in the UK and worldwide. The article below was published in the Islamic Finance news on 25th April.
“Stella Cox founded DDCAP in 1998 as an intermediary for the Islamic finance space – a connector for various institutional and bank participants across a broad spectrum of financial disciplines and asset classes, with a focus on the treasury and capital markets space. But she is much more than that – as the chair of TheCity UK Islamic finance market advisory group and a member of the board of trustees of the RFI Foundation, Cox has her finger in numerous pies and is an eminent champion of both fintech innovation in the Islamic space and socially responsible investing (SRI) within the industry. IFN Managing Editor Lauren McAughtry caught up with Cox in London to discuss her views on where the industry is headed – and what challenges it currently faces.
‘It has been a very interesting 12 months. In the capital markets space, we have been extremely busy – there has been an elevation of activity, particularly in sovereign Sukuk, with a lot of high-profile transactions in the first quarter,’ noted Cox. One of these was the landmark US$1.25 billion IDB issuance, which it is hoped will not only expand the Sukuk landscape but deploy proceeds into sustainable and responsible initiatives – a trend which Cox believes is key to the future of the industry.
‘We have now seen Indonesia issue the first sizeable green Sukuk, and Malaysia has been very busy in rolling out regulations to embed SRI principles within its broader Shariah compliant legislation. There is plenty going on.’
But could Islamic finance and SRI be in danger of overlapping too far?
‘It is a very interesting question,’ agreed Cox. ‘Are Islamic and ethical finance the same? My view is no, but there is overlap, and there are perspectives that are very similar. If we look at green initiatives, for example, based on the stewardship that we see in the Shariah code then in terms of impact investment there is a lot of similarity – but then if we look at our core industry, we have emerged as a banking platform from markets and countries that have built their economies on revenue from traditional fossil fuels. So in terms of the green environment, and prospects for Shariah compliant ‘green’-focused investments and issuance, I think there has to be a drawing together of perspectives and a common understanding. There has been a lot of development over the last few years, but it is about policy formation – and as governments buy into climate change and controls, that is going to have an impact on the Islamic finance industry. But it will be very much driven by public sector engagement.’
But what does the Islamic investor community want – and why is the SRI sector so keen on attracting Shariah compliant interest? ‘The Islamic financial footprint has grown from its original banking platform – now it is all about assets under management, liquidity, deployment of funds,’ said Cox. ‘SRI itself is really based more on an asset management model and its footprint has predominantly been in the international space. But now there are an awful lot of asset managers that are interested in exploring the overlap. It is a dialogue worth having, to see where different perspectives can be combined to best effect.’
DDCAP has been particularly involved in promoting the use of technology, and fintech is a key focus for the firm. But it has not always been easy.
‘We cover the core banking and wholesale financial services space, and a lot of the processes and transactional flows surrounding our business have historically been very manual, so anything that serves to automate those and make them more effective is very helpful. However, it has taken us an awfully long time to evolve and implement our own automated platform, because we have had to be cognizant of some of the reticence and sensitivities of our core client base. In moving from a manual to an automated process, they fear that some of the integrity and transparency of process is lost, and we have had to explain that this is not the case,’ explained Cox.
New entrepreneurs in fintech are often described as disruptive, but Cox feels that this may not always be the case. ‘As far as we are concerned, when you look at the core requirements of Islamic financial services, fintech is really enabling in order to support the outreach of Islamic financial practice. It supports the process of creating better financial inclusion. And actually, for the banks, there is a very significant role to play in terms of participating in the Islamic fintech movement.’
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: firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.