2012 ‘was a banner year for sukuk in Kingdom’

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Updated 09 May 2013
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2012 ‘was a banner year for sukuk in Kingdom’

Sukuk has become a global trend, with countries increasingly finding it instrumental to develop their economies. This was among the conclusions stressed at the Eighth Euromoney Conference that ended here yesterday.
The conference,which was opened by Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, was attended by 1,200 senior financiers, business leaders and government officials. Housing Minister Shwaish Al-Duwaihy, Economy and Planning Minister Muhammed Al-Jasser and Abdullatif Al-Zayani also addressed the delegates at the inaugural ceremony.
More than 20 financial institutions including Bank Albilad, HSBC, Muscat Capital and Al-Rajhi Capital displayed their products and services at an exhibition that ran concurrently with the conference.
The panellists during the discussion highlighted the important role played by the stock exchange and sukuk in a nation's economy. They also observed the recovery of the global stock market reflected the economic recovery.
"The year 2012 was a banner year for sukuk, especially for the Kingdom," a speaker said.
In her speech, Rafiza Ghazzali,chief financial officer of the Cagamas-Malaysian National Mortgage Corporation, said her country was harnessing its state mortgage law to boost development in the real estate sector for the benefit of its economy. She pointed out that many of her country's economic policies reflected similarities of the Kingdom's economic efforts.
Ahmed Almeghames, secretary general of the Saudi organization for Certified Public Accountants, pledged that his department would work for the economic development of the country through its concerted efforts.
Paul Louis Gay, chief financial officer of Almarai, said: "Plans are under to turn the establishment into a global company, which will have its branches in Argentina, Ukraine and the United States." He pointed out that the organization would take a decision about globalization during the next three months. He added that such ventures would compel the organization to borrow funds from international banks. The company has long-term plans to expand its business to drinking water, ice cream and confectionery to boost healthy competitiveness in the local market.
Indicating a growth rate of 20 percent, he stated that the company intends investing some SR 6 billion in the next five years. The company, which has 120,000 milking cows and 20 million birds, will ensure food safety and security in all its products.
Abdullah Alsuwelimy, chief executive officer of Tadawul, said the stock exchange has plans to innovate new services to attract investors from the Gulf region. He said that last year, the Kingdom witnessed the issue of sukuk to the value of SR 15 billion, which was a record in the annals of the decade.
The market value of the Saudi financial market was SR 1.4 trillion at the end of 2012, up 10.19 percent compared to the market value recorded at the end of 2011.
Strategic plans helped open the market to foreigners on the recovery of the Saudi bourse in 2012 and pushed trading values to levels approaching SR 21 billion compared to the average values of trading going on between SR 5 billion and 6 billion during the current year.


Barclays chief Staley survives whistleblowing inquiry with fines

Updated 3 min 51 sec ago
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Barclays chief Staley survives whistleblowing inquiry with fines

  • Case marks first test of Britain's "senior managers regime"
  • Decision not to dismiss Staley comes as relief for shareholders

Barclays said Jes Staley will be fined by British regulators for attempting to unmask a whistleblower, but will be able to keep his job as the bank’s chief executive.
The country’s banking watchdogs concluded Staley’s attempt to find out who wrote a letter raising “concerns of a personal nature” about an unnamed senior employee represented a breach of individual conduct, Barclays said on Friday.
Staley’s case is the first big test of Britain’s “senior managers regime” (SMR), aimed at making top banking officials personally accountable for their actions after few were punished for their roles in bank collapses during the financial crisis.
If Staley accepts the findings of the regulators, it would be the first time that a sitting chief executive of a major bank in Britain has been fined by its regulators. A bank spokesman said the size of the fine had yet to be determined.
Barclays said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) were “not alleging that he (Staley) acted with a lack of integrity or that he lacks fitness and propriety to continue to perform his role as Group Chief Executive Officer.”
News of the FCA and PRA fines follows a more than year-long probe in Britain that had led to speculation among some investors and bank insiders that Staley could have been forced to step down if deemed unfit to continue by those authorities.
Barclays also said that the FCA and PRA will not take enforcement action against the bank, while authorities in the United States are still investigating the case.
“Staley will live on to fight another day – which we welcome as a positive development for the bank and a relief for shareholders,” John Cronin at Irish broker Goodbody said.
“He’s been delivering on the strategy far more effectively than his predecessor had and therefore absent any sort of genuine malpractice we’re pretty keen for him to crack on,” one of the bank’s top 40 investors said.
The British bank, which in April last year said it had reprimanded Staley and would cut his bonus for his attempts to identify the whistleblower, will be required to report to the FCA and PRA on aspects of their whistleblowing programs.
The watchdogs could have banned Staley and opting for a fine could dent the fledgling SMR’s credibility.
“The magnitude of banning the sitting CEO of such a systemically important institution made outcomes other than a fine unlikely, but the case does set an interesting precedent,” said Nicholas Queree, an associate at law firm Peters & Peters.
Staley received the draft warning notice last week and was given 28 days to accept the findings or appeal. If he agrees to pay the two fines he would get a 30 percent discount.
The fines have been set according to a formula that considers the type of offense, the offender’s position in the company, any financial hardship, any previous cases, and whether there was any monetary benefit from the offense.
“We ... will announce the outcome once this issue has reached a conclusion,” the FCA and PRA said in a statement.
Legal experts question whether a light sanction for Staley could send a signal to other potential bank whistleblowers that they risk unmasking if they speak out.
Barclays said it will recommend Staley’s re-election as a director at its board meeting on May 1. At the last annual meeting he faced resignation calls, but was given a public endorsement from Chairman John McFarlane.
Staley’s pay package was £3.88 million ($5.45 million) in 2017, 8.5 percent less than the previous year.