Welcome to the Islamic Finance Resources blog, a grassroots initiative started by industry professionals and supported by practitioners from around the globe.

We constantly update this site and its overall content, and encourage you to use the various navigation tools available and welcome your feedback and comments.
A few of the resources that you can find in this site:
- Funds@Work: Network Analysis Among Sharia Scholars v 4.0
- ISRA: Islamic Finance Knowledge Repository
- IFSB-IRTI-IDB Islamic Finance and Global Stability Report
- Sukuk Reports: I, II, III, and IV
Much more available under 'Industry Reports' and 'Academic Papers' (right hand side menus)

Islamic Finance in the News

Islamic Finance Gateway on Twitter

30.7.09

CW: International Evidence on Ethical Mutual Fund Performance and Investment Style

International Evidence on Ethical Mutual Fund Performance and Investment Style
Rob Bauer, Roger Otten, Kees C. G. Koedijk
March 2002
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25.7.09

Academic Papers & Case Studies

Some minor changes to the blog: we have created a new submenu (right hand side) that compiles "Academic Papers and Case Studies" which have been profiled so far. There is a substantial amount to be included in the future, but the hope is that this aids in the navigation of information currently available.

In addition, our Linkedin forum now has three new subgroups to focus on certain topics/discussions (feedback is very much appreciated):

Islamic Finance - Accounting & Auditing
Islamic Finance - Careers & Education
Islamic Finance - Takaful & Pensions
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24.7.09

Understanding Islamic Finance: Local Innovation and Global Integration

Understanding Islamic Finance: Local Innovation and Global Integration
Shamshad Akhtar, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Robert W. Hefner, Nik Norzrul Thani, Angelo Venardos, Frank E. Vogel and Ibrahim Warde
The National Bureau of Asian Research

"What is Islamic finance (IF)? Islamic finance has recorded dramatic growth over the last decade or so, with a presence in more than 75 Muslim and non-Muslim countries and total financial assets now estimated to exceed $1 trillion. With the integration of IF and Islamic banking into the global economy, IF’s appeal as a market for and source of global capital is increasing. The industry’s rapid growth is marked by increases in Islamic financial products and services, the development of the industry’s regulatory frameworks, and enhanced international linkages.

To gain a better understanding of the phenomenal rise of IF in general, of Southeast Asia’s particular role as an epicenter for IF innovation and development, and of the opportunities and challenges facing IF as an economically viable global financial industry, Asia Policy presents insights from a panel of senior finance officials, industry practitioners, and scholars."
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22.7.09

CSR Survey for Islamic Financial Institutions

We would like to invite everyone to participate in a first-of-its kind Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) survey of Islamic Finance Institutions. Your participation will enable, in confidence, to benchmark your Institutions CSR efforts compared to your peers. This is the last week for submissions and we would hope you are represented along with others in the Islamic Finance Industry, which includes some of the most prominent Islamic Financial Institutions in the world.

The Survey is supported by AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institution) and is being organized by Dinar Standard--a market intelligence consultancy focussed on the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) member countries and Dar Al Istithmar--a leading Islamic Finance advisory firm.

The output will be an Islamic Finance CSR Trends Report to be released publicly August 31st, 2009. Each institution submitting the survey will also receive a confidential benchmark report that will highlight their performance compared to their peers in aggregate. Major CSR accomplishments of the Industry will also be recognized by the introduction of Maqasid Al-Sharia CSR Awards.

Please find the PDF version of the survey attached which can also be downloaded here. You may fill in this form electronically or print and send it back to us as a scanned copy by email. Also, you can fill in this survey online if you so wish.

For and on behalf of Sayd Farook
Senior Consultant Structuring and Legal
Dar Al Istithmar

Organizing Institutions:

Supported by:

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Stock Market Volatility Transmission in Malaysia: Islamic Versus Conventional Stock Market

Another empirical study from KAU's Islamic Economics Research Centre, which delves not just on a comparison between conventional and Islamic equities, but also on the impact that interest rate fluctuations have on either one.

Stock Market Volatility Transmission in Malaysia: Islamic Versus Conventional Stock Market
Rosylin Mohd. Yusof and M. Shabri Abd. Majid
Islamic Economics Research Centre
King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Abstract: "This study attempts to explore the extent to which the conditional volatilities of both conventional and Islamic stock markets in Malaysia are related to the conditional volatility of monetary policy variables."

"The study finds that interest rate volatility affects the conventional stock market volatility but not the Islamic stock market volatility. This highlights the tenet of Islamic principles that the interest rate is not a significant variable in explaining stock market volatility."

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19.7.09

Opalesque Islamic Finance Intelligence - Free Archive

Reminder to sign up here for Opalesque Islamic Finance Intelligence (OIFI).

OIFI is produced by leading alternatives publisher Opalesque Ltd. and Amsar Partners LLP (select "Opalesque Islamic Finance Intelligence" for our FREE monthly premium subscription, and "Islamic Finance Briefing" for FREE daily news updates).

For more information on Opalesque Islamic Finance Intelligence visit the Opalesque site, and also please feel free to check their online archive from Opalesque Islamic Finance Breifing for a historical data bank of industry news as well as back issues, testimonials page and other useful information.

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18.7.09

Moody's Report: The Future of Sukuk, Substance over form?

This is a link to a relatively recent publication from Moody's highlighting some of the issues in the Sukuk (in particular, how a whole swathe of the market was declared possibly haram, yet the market still lumbers on). This report highlights issues about Asset-Backed vs Asset-Based Sukuk, the fact that very few sukuk actually involve true sales or give sukuk investors any recourse (i.e., typically their claims will most likely be treated as pari passu with senior debtholders). This of course has severe repurcussions to actual ratings and window-dressing should make Shariah Compliance seem all the more questionable.

It speaks about AAOIFI standards, the question of legitimacy of purchase undertakings, and most importantly, whether the current debate and stalemate will jolt the market into an demand for actual compliance.

Definitely worth a read.

Thanks to Juweria Amin of IBFNet.
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17.7.09

4th Seminar on Legal Issues in the Islamic Financial Services Industry

4th Seminar on Legal Issues in the Islamic Financial Services Industry
The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB)
28-29 September 2009, Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

The Seminar programme is designed to focus on the following areas:
  • Duties and responsibilities of Sharī`ah Boards from a legal and regulatory perspective;
  • IFSI insolvency and asset recovery framework - Gaps and challenges;
  • Interlink/interface between civil law systems and Sharī`ah rules and principles and effective dispute resolution mechanism; and
  • Challenges in managing legal risks in Islamic financial services
For details on online registration please click here.
To download the registration form directly click here.
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16.7.09

Islamic Finance: Global Trends & Challenges

Islamic Finance: Sustainability and Challenges
Shamshad Akhtar
The National Bureau of Asian Research

"Islamic finance must be recognized as a parallel system that will augment, and be augmented by, a deeper knowledge and experience of the conventional financial system. As such, the industry’s long-term growth and sustainability depend on: (1) how Islamic finance interfaces with and benefits from complementing and supplementing the conventional system, and (2) how Islamic finance adapts and conforms to international regulations and supervision while remaining aligned with the technicalities and nuances of Islamic financial instruments and their associated risks. Properly exploiting the unique features of Islamic finance with appropriate adaptability, and without compromising principles of sharia (Islamic law), will be critical to the growth and promising future of the Islamic finance industry.

Touching on some of these debates, the essay begins by addressing trends in Islamic finance, then turns to lay the case for the sustainability of Islamic finance, and concludes with a discussion of some key prospects and challenges facing the industry."


Enhancing Interlinkages and Opportunities: The Role of Islamic Finance
Zeti Akhtar Aziz
Bank Negara Malaysia

"Five years ago discussions regarding Islamic finance focused on the challenges of developing an efficient and robust Islamic financial system. Today the Islamic financial system has evolved significantly to become a dynamic and competitive form of financial intermediation in the global financial system. This essay addresses the transformation and innovation that have taken place in these five years in both the national and international Islamic financial systems and concludes with an examination of necessary elements for sustaining the systems’ growth. Most significant have been the development of the Islamic financial markets, the growth in the range of financial products and services, the increasing significance of the international dimension of Islamic finance, the development of an international Islamic financial architecture, and the enhanced international interlinkages that have been brought about by these developments."
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15.7.09

Trends in Islamic-Finance Regulation

Following on our previous posting on Regulatory Perspectives on Islamic Finance, here is a more recent discussion (published at the end of last year) from the point of view of the US Department of Commerce. While this is very much a summary overview, it does prove interesting in terms of how Islamic finance in gradually viewed by regualtors and participants in 'periphery markets'.

Trends in Islamic-Finance Regulation
Scott Schmith
US Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
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13.7.09

English Language Fatwa Databases

This is the culmination of our modest attempts to find available and free online resources for English speakers wanting to study Islamic Finance.

Many other sources are available only in hardcopy (e.g., Sh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo's books from IIBI, Dr Wahbah al Zuhayli's two volumes on Islamic Finance, the AAOIFI Shariah Standards), but there are still some very good sources of fataawa available online and Insh'Allah this offers readers some benefit.


Fataawa Banks for Fiqh Al Mu'amalat

Fataawa Banks --General (i.e., Not Islamic Finance Specific)

Lists of Links to Fataawa Banks (Many out of date)

Thanks as well to IslamicBanking.com, Konsultasi Muamalat, and MuslimInvestor.com, and to Kamal Abdelkarim Hassan Kamal Hassan and Siti Faridah from IBFnet.


Please send in comments and updates. The only way we can keep this "fresh" is if you help alert us of bad links and new developments! JAK!

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12.7.09

The Stock-Exchange from an Islamic Perspective

This is an interesting study of capital markets (albeit slightly outdated) presented from a governance point of view and evaluated through Shariah guidelines, published by the King Abdulaziz University Islamic Economics Research Centre (also checkout their archive for a lot more interesting content).

The notion of a standalone Islamic stock exchange (as opposed to having conventional and Shariah compliant products side by side) is debatable due to issues relating to implementation and practicality. However, the paper's focus is on how to restrain/control gharar.

It proposes two "Shariah restraints": [1] "calling for the provision of relevant information on one hand, and [2] the analytical ability to estimate true exchange values on the other. These two main restraints are intended to attack the problem of gharar, or to put it differently, they are intended to account for closer convergence of the actual share’s price with its true expected economic value."

The paper inlcudes a curious quote from John Maynard Keynes:

“The spectacle of modern investment markets has sometimes moved me towards the conclusion that to make the purchase of an investment permanent and indissoluble, like marriage, except by reason of death or other grave cause, might be a useful remedy for our contemporary evils" (1970)

Keynes, it seems, would have made for a great scholar!
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10.7.09

Monetary Authority of Singapore - Islamic Banking Guidelines

Not often do we see regualtory bodies issuing comprehensive statements that directly address the operation of Islamic finance activities, even more so in jurisdictions that are only at the early stages of developing their market offerings. There is a lot to be said about how these guidelines provide direction (they read more as a disclaimer) to market participants and whether it is a valid approach to allow market forces to dictate what is and what is not Shariah compliant. Much to pick through here and a lot of reading between the lines, feedback and comments are - as always - highly appreciated.

Monetary Authority of Singapore
May 2009

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6.7.09

IICMF Conference: Islamic Structured Products and Current Issues in Islamic Finance

The Securities Commission in Malaysia will host the Third International Islamic Capital Markets Forum in Kuala Lumpur (follow link for more information) on 30 July 2009, themed "Islamic Structured Products and Current Issues in Islamic Finance."

Structured products have become popular as a wholesale fund product and a popular deposit instrument for Islamic Banks as well as an investment linked product for takaful.

Mark this event in your diary now. For further details please email icmforum@seccom.com.my

  • Topics will address the landscape and current views on Shariah-compliant structured products and hedging tools, an examination of the building blocks in constructing these products, the approach and philosophies in regulating the Islamic capital market in Malaysia and case studies.
  • A panel of speakers will deliberate on the resilience of Islamic finance, factors which are curtailing its further expansion and the development of Islamic finance products in achieving Shariah harmonisation.
  • A face-to-face deliberation with renowned practitioners, Shariah scholars as well as regulators.
Featuring two of our regular contributors: Bernardo Vizcaino and Nikan Firoozye!

Note: for those who cannot attend, we will spend some time surveying the landscape of structured product from Himalayas to Perfect Asset Allocation/Rainbow Options to TARNs to LIFTS to Range Accruals to Expert Trader Options, etc. Some are possible in Shariah-compliant format, some less easily so, and some with obvious benefit to investors, and some only with obvious benefit to issuers/investment banks (Caveat Emptor, i.e., buyer beware!). Expect some serious debate.
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