How Islamic finance can help build a better future for all

Islamic finance products ‘aim to reduce the risk of asymmetric information and are contract-based, making them a natural fit for investors.’ (Shutterstock)
Islamic finance products ‘aim to reduce the risk of asymmetric information and are contract-based, making them a natural fit for investors.’ (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 31 July 2021

How Islamic finance can help build a better future for all

Islamic finance products ‘aim to reduce the risk of asymmetric information and are contract-based, making them a natural fit for investors.’ (Shutterstock)
  • Shariah-compliant finance is a rapidly growing industry that prioritizes sustainable expansion

LONDON: The Islamic finance investment model is a natural fit for investors looking to use their money ethically and sustainably, and could be a key industry in helping the world to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), experts have told Arab News.

Islamic finance takes a different approach from today’s profit-above-all investment orthodoxy.
It prioritizes low-risk investments, and avoids markets such as pork, alcohol and gambling — as well as barring the payment of interest and ensuring ethical governance.
Far from impeding growth, however, this alternative approach to investing is rapidly evolving into a booming industry, Martina Macpherson, senior vice president of partnerships and engagement at Moody’s ESG Solutions Group, told Arab News.
She and her team expect the industry to hold over $4 trillion in assets by 2030.
“Islamic finance (will) continue to expand in the next decade across regions and asset classes, and there is an opportunity for Islamic Finance and Shariah-compliant investments to align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Aligned with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030, the SDGs lay out a vision of a just, fair and prosperous world by 2030, codified into 17 interlinked goals designed by the UN as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”
The growth of Islamic finance as an alternative investment model will help to meet these goals in two ways: By uncovering sustainable and ethical opportunities and by reducing risk, she said.
The “SDGs and Islamic finance share joint values and fundamentals,” she said. “They are ethically linked, asset-backed, focused on risk and opportunity management, and centered on good governance as well as stakeholder impact.”

FASTFACTS

• Islamic finance products a ‘natural fit’ for meeting the UN sustainable development goals — Moody’s.

• The growth of Islamic finance as an alternative investment model will help to meet these goals through uncovering sustainable and ethical opportunities and by reducing risk, says expert.

“Islamic finance products aim to reduce the risk of asymmetric information and are contract-based, making them a natural fit for institutional investors committed to positive impact.”
Much like the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, one of the central goals of the SDGs is to tackle climate change, and this is “one of the key areas for Islamic finance to synchronize with the SDGs,” Macpherson said.
Stella Cox, managing director of Islamic finance intermediary firm DDCAP Group, speaking with Arab News, echoed Macpherson’s views on the role that Islamic finance can play in addressing issues like climate change. She emphasized, however, the importance of developing “a set of common standards, laws and regulations that will ensure shared best practice” moving toward 2030.
This cooperation, she said, “should be perceived as opportunity, rather than challenge, and that opportunity will enable Shariah compliant firms to work more closely with others in addressing and providing solutions for the biggest environmental and social challenges that the world has ever faced.”
Samina Akram, managing director of Samak Ethical Finance, told Arab News that the importance of ethical investing has only grown as the millennial generation have been “exposed to the harsh realities of the conventional financial system” in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
They have been turned off conventional investing by “bad governance, bad leadership, casino type banking, and a lack of transparency,” Akram said.
And critically, she added, “they want no part to play in damaging the environment.”


Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia

Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 7 sec ago

Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia

Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia
  • A consortium of Asian investors are leading candidates to win the deal
  • The financing structure of the deal will be similar to the $12.4 billion oil pipeline deal

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco has selected Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) to provide financial advice to the company in a $17-20 billion gas asset sale, CNBC Arabia reported, citing sources.

A consortium of Asian investors are leading candidates to win the deal, after Asian sovereign funds, primarily sovereign wealth funds from China, South Korea, and Singapore, entered negotiations the CNBC source said.

The American Brookfield Fund, which won the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) gas pipeline deal last year, is among potential investors.

The financing structure of the deal will be similar to the $12.4 billion oil pipeline deal, which was won by a coalition of investors led by EIG Global Energy, the source added.

The sources explained that the deal will be financed using $4 billion of issued shares, while the rest of the deal will be financed through loans from a group of banks.


PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi

PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi
A common residential area built above on the desert near the corniche park in the Dammam, Saudi Arabia (Shutterstock)
Updated 52 min 50 sec ago

PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi

PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi
  • It follows other partnerships with banks and real estate finance companies in the Kingdom
  • The company expects the acquisition to provide “long-term liquidity to the housing market”

DUBAI: The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company has signed its second housing finance portfolio purchase with Banque Saudi Fransi.

The company, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, expects the acquisition to provide “long-term liquidity to the housing market.”

“We have illustrated to primary originators in the Kingdom the crucial role we play in developing the housing market and supporting their businesses through liquidity and risk management solutions,” SRC chief Fabrice Susini said.

It follows other partnerships with banks and real estate finance companies in the Kingdom, as SRC seeks to promote stability in the real estate finance market. 

“SRC has played a vital role in ensuring that the Vision 2030 housing program objectives are being met and we expect ourselves to play a significant role in this by supporting them,” Rayan Fayez, managing director and chief executive officer of BSF, said.


Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO

Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 26 September 2021

Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO

Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO
  • Although America continues to be their biggest market, Asia is going to be very important in the future Investcorp
  • The company is currently pursuing a five-year growth plan

Bahrani investment company Investcorp has ambitious plans to be a 100-billion-dollar company in seven years, its chief Mohammed Al-Ardhi said, saying the company is currently valued at nearly $40 billion.

“We believe in about seven years we can get there [through] acquisitions, organic growth, joint ventures, [these] are things that we have done and we will continue to do,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“We operate in America, North America and Europe, in the Gulf and in Asia. America and Europe are 80 percent of our markets at the moment,” Al-Ardhi added.

The company is currently pursuing a five-year growth plan.

“Obviously it is about changing our model for many years. We have served the retail investors in the deal-by-deal model. We would like to change that. So, we target sustainable capital, institutional capital,” he said.

“The structure of going private (delisting) is the right thing for us to do now as we prepare the company for the next stage of its growth,” he added.

Al-Ardhi added although America continues to be their biggest market, Asia is going to be very important in the future Investcorp.

“The growth that is happening on the scale that it is happening there is just something you cannot ignore. We started our businesses in India two years ago and in China, we have offices in both of these countries and in Singapore. In China, we have concentrated on the consumer, on technology, on food. In India, we have concentrated financial services on the consumers and health care,” he said.

“We see a lot of growth there and we see a lot of appetite of our investors to actually -whether retail or institutional- to get the opportunities that we can bring in India and China and Southeast Asia,” Al-Ardhi added.


Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund

Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund
Updated 26 September 2021

Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund

Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund
  • The Riyadh development consists of high-end office spaces, as well as a retail space with a hotel and a gym.
  • The offering is expected to raise equity of SR370 million ($98.6 million)

DUBAI: Advisory firm Jadwa Investment has launched the second offering of its real estate investment trust (REIT) Saudi fund to acquire a luxury retail and office complex in Riyadh.

The offering is expected to raise equity of SR370 million ($98.6 million), which will be used to purchase “The Boulevard.”

The Riyadh development consists of high-end office spaces, as well as a retail space with a hotel and a gym.

Once acquired, the complex will become one of the fund’s flagship properties, representing 13.4 percent of its assets. It is expected to generate a net rental income of SR29.6 million annually.

“We are pleased to offer our existing and potential clients the opportunity to invest in Jadwa REIT Saudi at an attractive price and to gain exposure to prime real estate assets across Saudi Arabia,” Tariq Al-Sudairy, chief executive officer and managing director of Jadwa Investment, said.

The Jadwa REIT Saudi Fund is a closed-end, Shariah-compliant fund with a term of 99 years and total gross assets value of SR2.19 billion.

The acquisition will push the fund’s assets by 16.9 percent to SR2.56 billion.


Saudi builder Arriyadh Development appoints PIF exec Jihad Al-Qadi as CEO

Saudi builder Arriyadh Development appoints PIF exec Jihad Al-Qadi as CEO
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi builder Arriyadh Development appoints PIF exec Jihad Al-Qadi as CEO

Saudi builder Arriyadh Development appoints PIF exec Jihad Al-Qadi as CEO
  • The Tadawul-listed company is involved in a number of public service projects
  • He holds more than 18 years of experience in the financial and investment sector

DUBAI: Saudi developer Arriyadh Development Company (ARDCO) has appointed Jihad bin Abdul Rahman Al-Qadi as its new chief executive officer.

The Tadawul-listed company is involved in a number of public service projects, including building, operating, and managing transportation centers and public markets.

Newly appointed Al-Qadi will assume the position in December, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

He holds more than 18 years of experience in the financial and investment sector. He has also worked in the treasury sector of the National Bank of Saudi Arabia, Jadwa Investment Co., and the Saudi Economic and Development Co.

He previously worked at the Public Investment Fund, where he was the director of real estate asset management and director of institutional development.

Al-Qadi is a member of a number of boards of directors, including that of the Islamic Development Bank Fund for Infrastructure, and the Saudi Economic Association.

The appointment is part of the company’s ongoing plans to boost value for its shareholders.