Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Islamic Finance, Malaysia's Bright Light

There is a bright light in Malaysia's financial landscape, its Islamic Finance. Malaysia has been competing with the Middle East countries to wrangle the top spot. Malaysia held a good lead prior to the global financial crisis, and for the last 2 years have edged away from the competition to be a clear leader. The Middle East countries have had to grapple with debt restructuring of its own which weighs heavily on their Islamic Finance focus.

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Its not just a matter of prestige to be the center for Islamic Finance, its a viable and attractive area of finance. Its potential is enormous. Lagging behind Malaysia are the usual suspects, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.

The most active category is sukuk or Islamic Bonds. The main difference is that sukuk does not charge interest but rather claims a portion of the issuer's profits. This year alone international borrowers have sold $9.8bn of Islamic Bonds, with 72% of that being issued in Malaysia. Similar bonds issued by the Persian Gulf nations totaled just $2.5bn collectively this year.

The gulf nations had a major real estate tumble and then had to deal with default of sukuks issued by Saad Group (Saudi Arabia) and Investment Daar (Kuwait).

Considering that there is more than $950bn in assets globally that comply with shariah law (mainly deposits), we are looking at a market with strong growth prospects. Even international big banks have been trying to muscle into that territory to get a slice of the action. The most successful to date include HSBC, Citigroup and DBS.

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As an indication of things to come, Saturna Capital, the world's biggest shariah compliant equity fund manager has just set up shop in Kuala Lumpur as did Nomura Securities and India's Reliance Capital Asset Management (all shariah compliant fund managers).

Thanks to the push by Bank Negara and SC, last year Malaysia introduced an online trading platform for murabahah transactions where banks and companies can buy and sell commodities based on a price that includes an agreed upon profit margin.

Safe to say that the bulk of the sukuk issuers in Malaysia have been GLCs and government linked debt. In order for this market to see greater acceptance and adoption, we need more non-GLCs to start tapping the market with greater frequency.

Do not lose the lead and edge you have achieved.


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4 comments:

investmentcriteria said...

hi,
As I see in your post there is good information available on sukuk .Sukuk is an alternate way of investment where the investor get the benefits of investment and its treated as rent on investment, to avoid the interest on investment which is strictly prohibited in Islam.I have also some site and blog ,I have write on same topic check my post : http://portfolioanalyst.blogspot.com/2010/09/islamic-debt-bond-market.html.

I want to write on guest post for your blog based on change on the Islamic debt market.If you agree than contact me at roseanderson26@gmail.com

hng said...

Hi Dali

Can you advice on PJD and PJD-WB? i’ve bought many PJD on hope on its warrant on basis 3 for 8 as well as its upcoming dividend of 5sen (6.6% yield). PJD have slowly show some movement from 71sen to 76sen now, but its PJD-wb move much more from 4.5sen to current 7sen, a gain of >50%!?

As these PJD-wb also entitle 3 for 8 warrant, its implies market price upcoming warrant at least 20sen (7sen x 8 unit) + (2sen x 3 unit) divided by 3 unit.

What is your opinion on both PJD and PJD-WB, should i exchange in order to gain more exposure?

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