Philippines to set rules on Islamic banking by year-end

New rules allowing for the expansion of the Islamic banking system by end of year. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 November 2019

Philippines to set rules on Islamic banking by year-end

  • Foreign Islamic banks will also be allowed to operate

MANILA: The Philippines is aiming to introduce new rules allowing for the expansion of the Islamic banking system in the country by the end of the year, officials announced on Wednesday.

Chuchi Fonacier, deputy governor of the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), told Arab News that implementing the regulation and organization of Islamic banks was a “priority” in line with an act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August.

She said that the central bank envisioned “a regulatory regime that accommodates Islamic finance within a flexible but secular unitary framework.

“For example, the proposed licensing framework for Islamic banks will be anchored on the existing licensing framework for conventional banks with supplementary prudential requirements that recognize the inherent characteristics of Islamic banking and finance, particularly Shariah compliance.”

Fonacier pointed out that under the act, full-fledged Islamic banks or Islamic banking windows could operate in the Philippines, with the BSP “pushing for an open approach where conventional banks can operate Islamic banking windows or establish subsidiary Islamic banks.”

FASTFACTS

• Duterte’s act is expected to widen access to banking services for Filipino Muslims, including those in the Bangsamoro region. • Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines is currently the only Islamic bank operating in the country.

Foreign Islamic banks would also be allowed to operate in the country under the terms of amendments to another act liberalizing their entry and scope, she added.

Duterte’s act is expected to widen access to banking services for Filipino Muslims, including those in the Bangsamoro region.

BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno hailed the signing of the new law, which he said would unlock the full potential of Islamic financing in fostering inclusive economic growth.

An interagency working group on Islamic banking and finance has been established to help develop the regulatory framework and new rules.

In the Philippines, the potential market for Islamic banking products mainly comprises the Muslim population, which accounts for about 10 percent of Filipinos.

However, the BSP said Islamic banking and finance could also be attractive to non-Muslims, particularly investors within or outside the Philippines.

Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines is currently the only Islamic bank operating in the country.


Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

Updated 28 November 2020

Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

  • Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October

LONDON: More than 200 British retail investors have lost nearly 10 million pounds ($13.4 million) in total to sophisticated investment scams since a government lockdown in March to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a trade body said on Saturday.
Fraudsters cloned genuine investment management firms’ websites and documentation, and advertised fake products on sham price comparison websites and on social media, the Investment Association said.
Greater financial uncertainty and more time spent online have likely contributed to the increase in scams, industry sources say.
Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October, the IA said, based on information it got from member firms which had been cloned.
“In a year clouded in uncertainty, organized criminals have sought opportunity in misfortune by attempting to con investors out of their hard-earned savings,” Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association said.
The investment management industry was working closely with police and regulators to stop the scams, he added.
Britain’s Action Fraud warned earlier this month that total reported losses from all types of investment fraud came to 657 million pounds between September 2019 and September 2020, a rise of 28% from a year ago. Reports spiked between May and September, following Britain’s first national lockdown, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting center added.