Africa Needs Islamic Financing to Fund Infrastructure

Africa Needs Islamic Financing to Fund Infrastructure – Sanusi

BY DANIEL ADUGBO Available at:

Nigeria and other African countries need to tap into opportunities provided by Islamic financing to fund infrastructure on the continent, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said.

The CBN governor said this yesterday in Abuja at a conference on infrastructure development through Alternative Funding (Islamic finance) in Africa.

The event was organized by the Metropolitan Skills Limited, Abuja in collaboration with the Islamic Finance Institute of South Africa.

Sanusi who was represented by his Special Adviser on Non-Interest Banking, Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar, said Islamic bonds called Sukuk, if well developed can serve as a financing option for governments as is already evidenced in countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others.

“It is my belief that if properly structured, Islamic bond will compliment government’s efforts in infrastructure development,” Sanusi said.

Also at the event, former Managing Director of Jaiz Bank, Mustapha Bintube, said Islamic banking has come to stay in Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, many people told me it was not possible but today, with a modest beginning, it is going to stay and it is going to make impact in the economy of this country,” he said.

The acting Managing Director of Jaiz Bank, Usman Hassan, urged the federal government to conclude the development of the framework for the issuance of Sukuk in the country.

This is necessary because with Sukuk you cannot have failed projects and “cannot be diverted.”

Zulkifli Hasan

Cape Town South Africa


Islamic finance in Tunisia could reach 25-40% share

Islamic finance in Tunisia could reach 25-40 pct share -study

By Bernardo Vizcaino Available at:

DUBAI, June 16 (Reuters) – Tunisia’s fledgling Islamic finance industry could take a 25 to 40 percent share of the country’s financial sector in five years’ time if necessary rules, consumer education and private investment plans materialise, a Thomson Reuters study found.

Islamic finance was previously neglected by Tunisia’s rulers but in the wake of the 2011 revolution, the new Islamist-led government is promoting the industry.

Currently, sharia-compliant business accounts for just 2.5 percent of the Tunisian financial sector, the study said. In the Gulf Arab states, the ratio is believed to be about a quarter.

The study estimates that Islamic financial assets in Tunisia could reach $17.8-$28.5 billion by 2018, up from $1.4 billion at present.

In a poll of about 700 ordinary Tunisians conducted for the study, 54 percent said they would consider switching to banking with Islamic lenders even if that meant lower rates of return, while 40 percent would be open to switching even if their money was not guaranteed.

But 64 percent of respondents said they were unclear about how Islamic finance worked.


One boost for Islamic finance in Tunisia would be issuance of the country’s first sukuk, which the government is planning.

“I expect the issuance process to take place in the second half of 2013,” Chaker Soltani, general director of debt management and financial cooperation at the finance ministry, was quoted as saying in the study.

The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has given Tunisia a financial guarantee to issue a sukuk worth $600 million. Last week, the IDB extended said it would extend $1.2 billion in funding to Tunisia for industrial, agricultural and trade projects.

Mohamed Sadraoui, deputy director of general supervision and banking regulation at the central bank, said Islamic windows – units of conventional banks that offer Islamic financial services – would be permitted to operate under central bank guidelines that ensured operations were segregated.

“There are four or five well-known banks in Tunisia that are trying to facilitate the way for their Islamic finance businesses,” said Mahmoud Mansour, deputy general manager of the Tunisian arm of Bahrain-based lender Al Baraka Bank.

He added that three takaful (Islamic insurance) companies had applied for licences.

Al Baraka, which entered the country in 1983, is awaiting approval for an onshore banking licence so it can open more branches and serve a broader client base, said Mansour.

Zitouna Bank, the country’s only full-fledged domestic Islamic lender, also plans expansion.

“We are planning for over 100 branches across the country within the next five years,” Ezzedine Khoja, president and general manager of Zitouna Bank, said in the study.

The bank, set up in 2009, plans to increase its capital base to 100 million dinars ($61.7 million) from the current 70 million dinars by the end of this year, as well as launching an investment funds unit and possibly expanding abroad, he added.

Some industry practices that are controversial among some Islamic scholars, and could therefore affect customer perceptions, are generally being avoided in Tunisia, the study found. One of these is tawarruq or commodity murabaha, a common cost-plus-profit arrangement in Islamic finance.

“We here in Tunisia do not consent to tawarruq, a product that is widely spread in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council),” said Khoja.

“We don’t believe in this product and reject its use for Tunisia, despite its widespread use in other jurisdictions.”

Zulkifli Hasan
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Reconstruction of Islamic Thought: Syikwah and Jawab Syikwah by Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Dear My weblog readers,

I take this opportunity to share with you these amazing pieces by Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Very inspirational and thought provoking. These poems have provoked debate and controversy and even some scholars criticized Allama Iqbal of being rude and harsh in his words when talking to God.

I believe these poems will be good entertainment for us and at the same time able to stimulate our thought with the reality of the Muslims world today. I dedicate these poems to all my fellow Muslims brothers and sisters.

Enjoy reading, watching and listening!!!!

The Complaint (Syikwah)

Why should I abet the loss, why forget the gain,
Why forfiet the future, bemoan the past in vain?

Hear the wail of nightingal, and remain unstirred,
Am I a flower insensate that will not say a word?

The power of speech emboldens me to speak out my heart,
I’ll sure be damned, I know, if fault my God.

Hear, O Lord, from the faithful ones this sad lament,
From those used to hymn a praise, a word of discontent.

Enternally were you present, Lord, eternally omniscent,
The flower hung upon the tree, but without incense.

Be Thou fair, tell us true, O fountsinhead of grace,
How could the scent spread withoutthe breeze apace?

The world presented a queer sight ere we took the stage,
Stones and plants in your stead were worshipped in that age.

Man, being inured to senses, couldn’t accept a thing unseen,
How could a formless God impress his senses keen?

Tell me, Lord, if anyone ever invoked Thy name,
The strength of Muslim arm alone restored Thy fame.

There was no dearth of peoples on this earth before,
Turkish tribes and Persian clans lived in days of yore;

The Greeks and the Chinese both bred and throve,
Christians as well as the Jews on this planet roved.

But who in Thy holy name raised his valiant sword,
Who set the things right, resolved the rigmarole?

We were the warrior bands battling for Thy cause,
Now on land, now on water, we the crusades fought.

Now in Europe’s synods did we loudly pray,
Now in African deserts made a bold foray.

Not for territorial greed did we wield the sword,
Not for pelf and power did we suffer the blows.

Had we been temped by the greed of glittering gold,
Instead of breaking idols, would have idols sold.

We impressed on every heart the oneness of our mighty Lord,
Even under the threat of sword, bold and clever was our call.

Who conquered, tell us Thou, the fearful Khyber pass?
Who vanquished the Imperial Rome, who made it fall?

Who broke the idols of the primitive folks?
Who fought the kafirs, massacred their hordes?

If the prayer time arrived right amid the war,
With their faces turned to Kaaba, knelt down the brave Hejaz.

Mahmud and Ayaz stood together in the same flank,
The ruler and the ruled forget the difference in their rank.

The rich and poor, Lord and slave, all were levelled down,
All became brethern in love, with Thy grace crowned.

We roamed the world through, visited every place,
Did our rounds like the cup, serving sacred ale.

Forget about the forests, we spared not the seas,
Into the dark, unfathomed ocean, we pushed our steeds.

We removed falsehood from the earth’s face,
We broke the shackles of the human race.

We reclaimed your Kaaba with our kneeling brows,
We pressed the sacred Quran to our heart and soul.

Even then you grumble, we are false, untrue,
If you call us faithless, tell us what are you?

You reserve your favours for men of other shades,
While you hurl your bolts on the Muslim race.

This is not our complaint that such alone are blesse,
Who do not know the etiquette, nor even can converse.

The tragedy is while kafirs are with houries actually blest,
On vague hopes of houries in heaven the Muslim race is made to rest!

Poverty, taunts, ignominy stare us in the face,
Is humiliation the sole reward of our suffering race?

To perpetuate Thy name is our sole concern,
Deprived of the saqi’s aid can the cup revolve and turn?

Gone is your assemblage, off your lovers have sailed,
The midnight sights are no more heard, nor the morning wails;

They pledged their hearts to you, what is their return?
Hardly had they stepped inside, when they were externed.

Thy lovers came and went away, fed on hopes of future grace,
Search them now with the lamp of your glowing face.

Unassuaged is Laila’s ache, unquenched is Qais’s thirst,
In the wilderness of Nejd, the wild deer are still berserk.

The same passion thrills the hearts, enchanting still is beauty’s gaze,
You are the same as before, same too is the Prophet’s race.

Why then this indifference, without a cause or fault?
Why with your threatening looks dost thou break our heart?

Accepted that the flame of love burneth low and dim,
We do not, as in your, dance attendance on your whims;

But you too, pardon us, possess a coquettish heart,
Now on us, now on others, alight your amorous darts.

The spring has now taken leave, broken lies the lyre string,
The birds that chirped among the leaves have also taken wing;

A single nightingale is left singing on the tree,
A flood of song in her breast is longing for release.

From atop the firs and pines the doves have flown away,
The floral petals lie scattered all along the way.

Desolate lie the garden paths, once dressed and neat,
Leafless hang the branches on the naked trees.

The nightingale is unconcerned with the season’s range,
Would that someone in the grove appreciates her wail.

May the nightingale’s wail pierce the listeners’ hearts,
May the clinking caravan awaken slumbering thoughts!

Let the hearts pledge anew their faith to you, O Lord,
Let’s re-charge our cups from the taverns of the past.

Through I hold a Persian cup, the wine is pureHejaz,
Thought I sing an Indian song, the turn is of the Arabian cast.

The Answer (Jawab Syikwah)


The word springing from the heart surely carries weight,
Though notendowed with wings, it yet can fly in space.

Pureand spiritual in its essence, it pegs its gaze on high,
Rising from the lowly dust, grazes past the skies.

Keen, defiant, and querulous was my passion crazed,
It pierced through the skies, my audacious wail.

“Someone is there,” thus spoke the heaven’s warder old,
the planets said, “From above proceeds this voice so bold.”

“No, no,” the moon said,” “tis someone on the earth below,”
Butted in the milky way: “The voice is hereabouts, I trow.”

Ruzwan alone, if at all, understood aright,
He knew it was the man, from heaven once exiled.

Even the angles wondered who raised this cry,
All the celestial denizens looked about surprised.

Does man possess the might to scale empyreal heights?
Has this mere pinch of dust learnt the knack to fly?

What are these earthly folks? Careless of all respect,
How bold and impudent, the lowly dwellers of the earth!

Extremely rude and insolent, cross even with God,
Is it the same Adam whom angels once did laud?

Steeped in bliss, man is of wisdom’s lore possessed,
Nonetheless, he’s alien to humility’s sterling worth.

Man feels proud of the power of his speech,
But the fool doesn’tknow how and what to speak.

You narrate a woeful tale, thus the voice arose,
Your heart is boiling overwith tears uncontrolled.

You have delivered your plaint with perfect skill and art,
You have brought the humans in contact with God.

We are inclined to grant, but none deserves our grace,
None treads the righteous path, whom to show the way?

Our school is open to all, but talent there is none,
Where is that soil fertile to breed the human gems?

We reward the deserving folks with splendid meed,
We grant newer worlds to those who strive and seek.

Arms have been drained of strength, hearts have gone astray,
The Muslim race is a blot on the Prophet’s face.

Idol-breakers have left the scene, idol-makers remain,
Aazar has inheritedAbraham’s glorious name.

Wine, flask,and drinkers-all arenew and changed,
A differentKaaba, different idols now your worship claim.

Therewas a time when you were respected far and wide,
Once this desert bloom was the season’s wealth and pride.

Every Muslim then was a lover profound of God,
Your sole beloved once was the all-embracing Lord.

Who removed falsehood from the earth’s face?
Who broke the shackles of the human race?

Who reclaimed our Kaaba with their kneeling brows?
Who presses the sacred Quran to their heart and soul?

True, they were your forbears, but what are you, I say?
Idle sitting, statue-like you dream away your days.

What did you say? Muslims are with hopes of houries consoled,
Even if your plaint is false, your words should be controlled.

Justice is the law supreme, operative on this globe,
Muslims can’t expect the houries, if they follow the kafir’s code.

None of you is,infact,deservingof the”hoor”,
A Moses is but hard to fin,burneth still the Tur.

Common to the race entire is their gain or loss,
Common is their faith and creed, common too the Rasul of God;

One Kaaba, one Allah, and one Quran inspire their heart,
Why can’t the Muslims then behave like a single lot?

Cast, creed and factions have disjointed this race,
Is this way to forge ahead, to flourish in the present age?

It’s the poor who visit the mosque, join the kneeling rows,
The poor alone observe the fasts, practise self-control.

If someone repeats our name, it’s the poor again,
The devout poor hide your sins, preserve your vaunted name.

Drunk with the wine of wealth, the rich are unconcerned with God,
The Muslim race owes its life to the poor, indigent lot.

“Muslims have vanished from earth,” this is what we hear,
but we ask, ” Were the Muslims ever the Jewish sects.

You are Nisars by your looks, but Hindus by conduct,
Your culture puts to shame even the Jewish sects.

If the son is alien to his learned father’s traits,
How can he then claim his father’s heritage?

All of you love to lead a soft, luxurious life,
Are you a Muslim indeed? Is this the Muslim style?

All of you desire to be invested with the crown,
You should first produce a heart worthy of renown.

The new age is the lighting blast, it will set your barns on fire,
It can’t produce in groves or deserts the Old Sinai’s burning spire.

The new fire consumes for fuel the blood of nations old,
The clothes of the Prophet’s race are incinerated in its folds.

Don’t be depressed, gardener, by the present scene,
The starry buds are about to burst with a brilliant sheen.

The garden will soon be rid of its thorns and weeds,
The martyr’s blood will bring to bloom all the dormant seeds.

Mark how the sky reflects its orange purple hues,
The rising sun will flush the sky with its rays anew.

Islamic tree exemplifies cultivation long and hard,
A fruit of arduous gardening over centuries past.

Your caraven needn’t fear the perils of the path,
But for the call ofbells you own no wealth at all.

You are the plant of light, the burning wick that never fails,
With the power of your thought you can incinerate the veil.

We’ll love you as our own, if you follow the Prophet’s ways,
The world is but a paltry thing, you’ll command the pen and page.

Best Regards

How Islam & Democracy Can Support Each Other

VISIONS FOR A NEW TUNISIA: How Islam & Democracy Can Support Each Other

By Rached Ghannouchi Available at:

In the name of God, prayers and peace be upon all His Messengers,Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, may God’s peace and blessings be upon you.

I thank the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) for giving me the opportunity to speak to this distinguished elite group of American scholars, experts and policy makers, as well as those coming from other countries to participate in this important conference.

I would like to briefly address the issue of the Democratic Transition in Tunisia and the challenges that we are facing.

The success of the Democratic Transition in Tunisia is not important for Tunisia only but for the whole region because it will establish the first country in the region which is both democratic and Muslim. That is why in Tunisia we feel the burden of this responsibility and try our best to make it succeed. Our revolution is not for export, but we hope that a successful model can influence the rest of the region.

Since before the elections, we announced that we will choose to govern through a coalition with other secular parties. We could have formed our government by getting the support of independents but we chose to form a coalition that had the widest degree of support across the political spectrum. We believe that in transitional periods simple majority government isn’t enough but we need a wide coalition to send a message that the country is for all and not just the majority. We believe that moderate Islamists and moderate secularists can and should work together and that they both should find compromises to build consensus across the spectrum.

We have tried hard to avoid ideological polarization because this is recipe for chaos and failure, that is why we have made many concessions whether in government or in the constitution so as to avoid this danger.

We believe in the need for coexistence between secularists and Islamists, in the framework of the Troika with the Congress for the Republic and the Democratic Forum for Work and Liberties (Attakatol), on the basis of a number of convictions including:

First: There is no contradiction between Democracy and Islam. Democracy does not mean that governance should be particularly granted to secularists while considering the Islamists as enemies of the state who should be either imprisoned or exiled. It does not also mean excluding secularists from power and marginalizing their role in authority and in drafting the Constitution simply because they did not get a majority in the elections.

Second: Islamists’ arrival to power does not mean that they will dominate the state, the society, and the revolution because they are the most popular party, as practiced by tyrannical systems. the state’s role is not to impose a certain way of life on the people but it’s role is to provide security and services to its people then let them make their own choices with regards to their way of life.

Third: The conflict between secularists and Islamists, which has continued for decades, wasted enormous energies and helped dictatorships in their control of our countries.
Therefore the alliance between Islamists and secularists is important for the establishment of a democratic and free society able to handle its differences, even through deep and sincere dialogue.

Ladies and Gentelmen,

On the Question of the Constitution:

The Constitution is an important document as it limits the government’s and the rulers’ authorities and forces it to abide by the law. We have a precedent in Islamic history in the form of what is known as ‘al-sahifa’ which came at the time of the establishment of the first Islamic state by the Prophet peace be upon him. This constitution established a pluralistic state that brought together different ethnicities and religions and established citizenship as the basis of rights and responsibilities.

We are happy that over the last few days in Tunisia , the committees of the constituent assembly have finally managed to finish working on the final draft of the constitution. This will hopefully be presented to the whole assembly over the next few weeks.

The guiding principle for us in this constitution is that it should not just be the constitution of the simple majority but that it should be the constitution of all Tunisians, that all Tunisian can see themselves in this constitution and that they feel that it represents them all, whether in the majority or the minority.

In order to achieve this we have organized wide consultations with the different political players and with civil society organizations. Through this process we try to develop a wide consensus around the constitution. However when we faced serious differences around issues like Sharia, the political system whether presidential or parliamentary, around the freedom of conscience, the universality of human rights, we had to organize a national dialogue between the main parties to reach consensus, and this lasted for nearly 5 weeks and ended up in reaching compromises around these different issues hence we accepted to leave any mention of shariah in the constitution because this notion wasn’t clear to the Tunisian people, with regards to the political system, although we chose the parliamentary system initially, we ended up in a compromise where we have a mixed system where the executive power is divided between the president and the Prime Minister, we also made compromises by accepting the universality of human rights and the freedom of conscience. Some people Within our party accuse us in the leadership that we have become the party of compromise, but we say that as the largest party we have a greater responsibility to make the necessary compromises to help our country move forward.

We believe that we have now a draft constitution that brings together the values of Islam and combines them with the values of modernity and democracy. This had been the dream of the great reformers since the 19th century and we hope that through ratifying the constitution that we would have realized this dream. The new constitution incorporates all the values of equality, the different freedoms and rights, and the separation of powers.

We hope that once the constitution is approved then the whole country will start preparing for its second elections which we hope will be free, and fair and we hope that many of our friends across the world will come to observe and monitor the elections to vouch for its veracity. we hope that all the different parties will be participating. One flower does not make a spring, that is why this election is very important to prove that the democracy process cannot be reversed.

Now I would like to speak quickly about the challenges that we face.

The first challenge is the economic/ social one. We all know that this factor was one of the main elements behind the revolution.

We are faced with many problems, the first is that people’s expectations are very high and their patience is very low. Also the economic situation in our main trading partners in Europe is affecting our exports and affecting tourism. Despite these problems the government has managed to reduce unemployment by 2% from 18 to 16%. Also growth went up from -2% when we took over to 3.5% for 2012 the number of tourists had also gone up and we received 6 million tourists last year.

However the young people who made the revolution in Sidi Bouzid and Kasserine have not seen any improvement in their lives and this is a challenge that will need many years to tackle.

The second challenge is the security challenge. The revolution has weakened the state and it’s authority. This has given an opportunity to different groups to try to push the boundaries and cross the law. Extremists on both sides, whether on the religious right or on the extreme left have tried to impose their views with no respect to the law. We tell these groups that do not think for one moment that democracies are weak.

Slowly we are rebuilding the state’s authority but not on fear as it used to be under the dictatorship, but it will be based on the rule of law.

With regards to the Salafi issue, I would like to stress that this phenomena is first, the fruits of the Ben Ali regime and not the fruits of democracy.

Secondly, the phenomena is a complex one therefore it needs a complex solution. We see for example that this phenomena exists in the poor areas, therefore development needs to be part of the solution.

Also we need to know that this phenomena is diverse and that it’s not all violent. Therefore we need to push as many of the salafis away from violence in order to isolate the violent ones and make them a minority. This can be achieved through dialogue and through convincing them that their understanding of islam in wrong and that they need to work within the law if they want their full rights as citizens.

The third element in the solution is the security one: those who want or try to break the law or to impose their views on others with violence have to be dealt with severely. This is what the government has done over the last year by imprisoning hundreds of those who tried to break the law and regrettably in some instances also killing some of them in violent confrontations.

This security solution however, needs to be governed by the respect for human rights and rule of law and not as in the times of the dictatorship when all rights were disregarded.

The fall of the dictatorial regime in Tunisia was the spark that launched the Arab Spring. There is no doubt that the success of the Tunisian experience will lead to the promotion of this peaceful and democratic path. Tunisia has shown that the Arab Spring is not turning into a Fundamentalist Winter.

Today, we can assure you that it will not turn into a fundamentalist “religious” or “secular” winter but into a democratic spring where all have a place.

Zulkifli Hasan
Muscat, Oman

Goldman Breaks Drought With Saudi Property Bond: Islamic Finance

Goldman Breaks Drought With Saudi Property Bond: Islamic Finance

By Samuel Potter Available at:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), whose shariah-compliant bond program was questioned by Islamic scholars in 2011, led its first sukuk in more than three years after helping a Saudi property developer raise $450 million. The bank was a lead arranger on Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. (ALARKAN)’s sukuk on May 21, reforging links with the Riyadh-based real estate company after helping arrange the sale of its $450 million five-year bonds in February 2010.

The New York-based bank is seeking to catch up with U.S. competitors as demand accelerates for securities that conform to Islamic principles. Global sales reached a record $46.5 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, while issuance has increased 4 percent to $18.3 billion in 2013. Citigroup Inc. (C) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are U.S. banks that have appeared among the global top 10 underwriters for Islamic bonds in the last five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“This is an area of growing importance as a source of funding” for borrowers, Martin Weber, head of debt capital markets for Europe Middle East & Africa growth markets at Goldman Sachs, said by phone yesterday. “Our presence in the region and connectivity with local issuers has gone up. You have seen us on Dar Al Arkan, and there is going to be more.”


Islamic financial assets could more than double by 2015 to as much as $3 trillion, Standard and Poor’s said in September. Emerging market sukuk have returned 0.3 percent this year, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai Sukuk Total Return Index. That compares with a loss of 1.9 percent for debt in Bloomberg USD Emerging Market Composite Bond Index. (BEM)
Dubai Electricity & Water Authority secured more than $5 billion of bids for the $1 billion of Islamic bonds it sold in February. Islamic Development Bank, the Saudi Arabia-based multinational lender, last week received $1.5 billion in bids for $1 billion of securities as it paid the lowest yield of the year.

“The Islamic industry is growing faster than conventional, so every financial institution is looking at it,” Afaq Khan, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Saadiq, said by phone this week. “If clients are demanding Shariah-compliant solutions, you must develop accordingly.”

GE Sukuk

Goldman in 2009 helped arrange the sale of GE Capital’s $500 million Islamic bond, ranking it 24th on the list of global sukuk underwriters. The bank was 17th in 2010.
“International sukuk issues, which is where houses such as ours would historically add value, had better times three years ago,” said Weber.
Goldman has yet to issue from its own $2 billion sukuk program. The sukuk, blessed at the time by eight of the world’s top scholars, was criticized by some Islamic advisers for not ensuring the debt would be traded at par value as mandated by Islamic law. Advisers including Riyadh-based Mohammed Khnifer of Edcomm Group Banker’s Academy in New York also said it’s unclear how Goldman will use the funds it raises.
“A lack of product and industry knowledge could up-end the essence of Shariah-compliance,” Hatim El-Tahir, director of Deloitte’s Islamic Finance Knowledge Centre, said by e-mail this week. “It could threaten the risk-return profile of both industry and product.”

Growth Strategy

Banks “need to see a buoyant product, and right now that is sukuk,” Rizwan Kanji, Dubai-based partner at King & Spalding, said by phone this week. “That is what is driving these players.”
JPMorgan has hired a “big name” in Hussein Hassan, former global head of Islamic structuring at UBS AG (UBSN), which proves the bank’s commitment to the industry, Kanji said.
BofA Merrill Lynch was a lead manager as Asya Katilim Bankasi AS (ASYAB) raised $250 million in Tier 2, 10-year bonds on March 28. The issue was the first of its kind from Europe, Turkey or the Middle East, King & Spalding said. Kanji worked on the deal.
“BofA Merrill Lynch has done a lot of conventional issuance in Turkey,” said Kanji. “The bank has played to its strengths to build an Islamic platform.” Spokesmen for JPMorgan and BofA Merrill Lynch weren’t available for comment.

Increased competition in the industry could work in banks’ favor, said Standard Chartered (STAN)’s Khan, as lower fees increase the chances borrowers will come to market and more banks means a greater profile for the Islamic industry.
Forty-three banks have underwritten global sukuk sales this year, compared with 30 in the year-earlier period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Forty-four companies and governments have sold Islamic bonds, up from 36 in the year-earlier period.
“The more people we have talking about a product and Islamic solutions to their clients, the deeper the market becomes,” said Khan. “So while a few fees may go down, the absolute size of the market will increase.”

Zulkifli Hasan
Statue of Liberty, New York