IFN Forum: Saudi Arabia key market to watch for sukuk

Updated 18 November 2013
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IFN Forum: Saudi Arabia key market to watch for sukuk

Islamic Finance News Forum 2013 began in Riyadh on Monday with focus on Saudi Arabia's exceptional growth in the Islamic capital market and its immense potential in Islamic issuance space.
The two-day forum features an issuers and investors' day and addresses key issues pertinent to the current economic scenario in the Kingdom and follow up on the latest developments within the country’s Islamic financial market, including recent governmental efforts.
The forum will explore the opportunities within the country for Islamic issuers, investors, corporate and financial institutions.
Islamic finance is a booming industry with a strong growth rate that is attracting participants from all over the world as the flaws in the conventional industry are increasingly exposed and countries seek alternative means of diversifying their financial bases.
Speaking to Arab News Khalid A Al-Mulhim, acting CEO of Alkhair capital and one of the forum panelists, said: "The Kingdom is considered to be one of the key markets to watch as it has proved its potential in the capital market’s issuance space in the last fiscal year, with a slew of high-profile issuance of Islamic bonds (sukuk) backed by the government."
The Kingdom issued the single largest sukuk in January 2012, which was worth $4 billion, by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and its sukuk market is considered one of the largest in the world with Malaysia.
Commenting at his company headquartered in Bahrain, he stated that it seeks to provide the market with an integrated and comprehensive range of Shariah-compliant investment products and services with emphasis on delivering exceptional value and tailored solutions to clients and shareholders.
"Alkhair has the unique advantage to issue Islamic financing securities (sukuk) with a strong track record, and a strong access to the Malaysian sukuk market and expertise, as we have a fully licensed Malaysian sister company AlKhair Malaysia," he said.
"AlKhair Capital Saudi commands the skills and the capabilities to create suitable Islamic financing solutions to our clients," he added.
Bank Alkhair, a Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank founded in 2004, is the major shareholder in Alkhair capital, he said, adding that it is an Islamic wholesale bank with subsidiaries in Malaysia and Turkey.


Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

Updated 20 August 2018
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Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

  • Blockchain technology challenges traditional outdoor media
  • Adverts connect to driver mobile phone

LONDON: A new startup founded by UAE-based entrepreneurs is in the process of test-running a blockchain-based technology that could help people turn their cars into mobile advertising vehicles.
It could challenge the use of traditional advertising methods such as outdoor billboards, the founders of The Elo Network claim.
The platform — which has been set up by Mohammed Khammas and Mohammed Bafaqih and incorporated in the Cayman Islands — will enable people to be paid for displaying adverts on the side or back of their vehicles while they go about their daily routines of driving to work, the mall or doing the school run.
The adverts will feature low-frequency bluetooth ‘beacons’ that connect to the drivers' mobile phone which will be able to monitor when the driver is in the car and where the car is being driven.
There is a minimum threshold for the number of miles being driven a day, but the main prerequisite is that the driver is in the car. Drivers will still be paid even if stuck in a traffic jam.
Advertising clients will be able to put out requests that drivers head to a particular area — for instance to be close to a new brand launch — with drivers being paid up to 4 or 5 times more than their standard rate if they accept.
While the concept of paying people to use their cars for advertising is not new, it is the use of blockchain technology that will make The Elo Network particularly grounding-breaking in the advertising world, its founders said.
“Billboards are very expensive and static and don’t give you the KPIs and insightful information that brands want these days. You solve that by getting them that data,” Bafaqih said.
The Elo Network collates detailed data by tracking the movements of the drivers and their day-to-day activities. Data points such as a particular area’s population density can been collected.
The information will be encrypted ensuring that the brand will never know the identity of the driver, said Bafaqih.
“It creates data sets that didn’t exist before. You don’t have to worry about privacy but at the same time the brand can know about your patterns. They can know where you go in mornings, where you drive, what normal patterns are created in certain areas and countries,” he said.
This level of detail is increasingly important for brands looking to run targeted campaigns, and it is something that traditional billboards are unable to offer.
The technology will also be used to overcome the payment problems that other similar car advertising schemes have faced.
“Historically what happens, where there is a authority that is issuing payments, it causes a lot of problems. There can be disputes on how much they (the drivers) are owed or how many miles were driven or what campaign someone has done,” he said.
Under the Elo Network program, the blockchain technology allows you to create so-called “Smart Contracts” — which is a software protocol that enforces and verifies the performance of a contract.
“It says driver A is going to be paid — for example — a dollar per mile — so as the person drives he starts receives ‘IOUs’. Those IOUs are convertible at any time,” he said.
With no ‘middle man’ involved, the driver is able to redeem their IOUs and get paid as and when they want.
The network is currently at ‘proof of concept’ stage and is test-running the platform with a number of brands. It is anticipated that the network will be rolled out to the public toward the end of this year and early 2019.