Is this stock halal? Islamic finance charts high-tech future

first_img“Is it halal to buy shares in Tesla?” a young Muslim would-be investor asks on Twitter.Islamic finance – an amalgamation of Sharia law and modern banking – has become a US$2 trillion business over the past two decades, covering everything from bonds to buying cars.But with complex standards set out by a number of Islamic bodies, it’s not easy for observant Muslims to decide whether or not an investment is halal (religiously permissible). Yet new technology is helping.Tesla, the American electric car pioneer, for example, is considered 96 percent Sharia compliant, according to the Zoya mobile application.The app screens US-listed stocks based on criteria issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, one of several bodies that set Islamic finance standards.Islamic funds are banned from investing in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol, pork or gambling. Earning interest is also banned as “usury”. US-based Wahed Invest, an online halal platform, uses those criteria to help tens of thousands of people invest “ethically”.Islamic bankers are hoping that modern platforms will open the industry up to young investors, and that its innately ethical credentials will prove to be another draw.Mehdi Benslimane, Global Expansion Strategist at Wahed Invest, said the guidelines in religious texts boil down to two conditions.”A business must have a real economic impact, not just a speculative one. And it must have a positive contribution to the world,” he told AFP. Not just for MuslimsAccording to the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, the Islamic finance industry has in its relatively short existence grown to be worth $2.1 trillion.In projections made before the coronavirus outbreak, it predicted the sector would “continue to expand slowly” in 2020.Financial technology, or fintech, could help the industry grow by “facilitating easier and faster transactions”, it said in its Islamic Finance Outlook 2020 Edition.The meltdown the coronavirus pandemic has caused in other parts of the economy has prompted fears of a collapse in the sector. Dubai Islamic Bank has already delayed a planned issue of Shariah-compatible bonds, according to Emirati media reports.Yet Islamic finance – based on the concept of shared profit and loss, thus minimising risk for banks – has fans well beyond the Muslim world.For example, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank in November signed an agreement with Japan’s mammoth pension fund to support the development of sustainable Sharia-compliant products.And the Responsible Finance & Investment (RFI) Foundation, a think tank, has talked up their ability to respond to the latest crash, due to the fact they are anchored in the real economy.It also suggests that profits on investments in industries such as protective medical equipment could be donated to charities, helping tackle the coronavirus crisis without breaking the Islamic ban on interest payments.But the sector’s current slow-moving nature may hobble its ability to respond to crises.The emphasis has been on growing the market rather than making it more efficient, said Mohammed al-Sehli, CEO of Wethaq Capital, a Dubai-based fintech firm.The sector must focus more on innovation after “suffering from lack of innovation, standardisation and automation of processes”, he told AFP.Particular challengesBefore the novel coronavirus pandemic forced them to work from home, young men and women – in traditional abaya robes or jeans and T-shirts – sat on bean bags or hunched over their laptops in an open working space at Dubai’s FinTech Hive.The company’s executive vice president Raja al-Mazrouei says it connects start-ups with the Dubai Islamic Economic Development Centre, Sharia scholars, Islamic banks and financial regulators. “If you’re targeting countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia… you have to be able to offer a (sharia-compliant) solution,” Mazrouei told AFP.However, Islamic fintech firms face a string of obstacles that don’t bother their traditional counterparts.”The main challenge… is to make sure that the whole supply chain, the regulations, are actually tested and verified by the Sharia scholars,” said Mazrouei, a former computer scientist and a Harvard graduate.Talal Tabbaa, founder of which connects investors with start-ups, and itself uses blockchain technology, describes an industry where cultures can collide.The approach of some Muslim scholars who approve financial products “is not technological, it is very manual and, in my opinion, subjective,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Brexit horror scenarios failed to materialise, says Germany’s BVV

first_img“But,” he added, “and this is a big but – we do not know what will happen next, what a Britain without the EU will look like.”Jakubowski said “what has really increased now is uncertainty”.He said he hoped that, five years from now, he could look back and see that a solution was found to ensure that Brexit “did not disrupt the EU’s economic and political cooperation with Great Britain too greatly”.He added: “Brexit is an example of the fact we are not only living in a world where interest rates were abolished by the central banks and returns are at an all-time low but also where geopolitical events keep on rattling the markets.” On a personal note – “as an EU citizen” – Jakubowski lamented that “nobody is talking about EU as a peace project anymore”, and said this model had been “disrupted” by the UK’s vote to leave. Market reaction to the UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union (EU) has largely been overplayed, according to Rainer Jakubowski, chairman and CFO at the BVV, the €26bn pension fund for Germany’s financial sector.“I think the markets are prone to overreacting in situations like these,” Jakubowski told IPE.“They eventually recovered more quickly than expected”.He said it became clear to many that, first, a Brexit was still two years away, and second, that the “horror scenarios described prior to the vote failed to come true”.last_img read more

Pension funds boost alternatives by 5% globally as shift speeds up

first_imgOf the top 100 alternative asset managers, the survey showed that real estate managers had the largest share of assets, at 34%, followed by hedge funds with 21%, private equity fund managers with 18% and private equity funds of funds with 12%.Funds of hedge funds, meanwhile, had 6% of the total, infrastructure accounted for 5% and illiquid credit 5%.Nikulina commented that institutional investors were continuing to focus on diversity – but not at any cost. “While inflows into alternative assets continue apace, investors have become more mindful of alignment of interests and getting value for money,” she said.She said this had contributed to more blurring of the lines between individual asset classes, as investors concentrated on underlying return drivers.The ultimate aim of this is to achieve true diversity and make portfolios more robust in the face of the increasingly volatile and uncertain macroeconomic environment, Nikulina said.Separately, a survey from Northern Trust suggested that Nordic institutional investors were about to increase their allocations to alternative asset classes and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments.Polling around 50 Nordic institutional investors about the changing role of alternative investments at a recent event, Northern Trust said more than 80% expected investor allocations to alternatives to rise within the next five years, with the highest new allocations going to private equity and infrastructure.Paul Cutts, head of alternative investment services for Northern Trust Global Fund Services across Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “In the current low-growth, low-interest-rate environment, alternative investments play an increasingly important role for investors looking for higher yield and lower volatility.”Poll participants also said they expected an increased focus on ESG factors within the investment process over the next five years, with 26% saying ESG credentials could make or break a deal. Mamadou-Abou Sarr, global head of ESG investing at Northern Trust Asset Management, said: “ESG considerations are naturally linked to infrastructure investments.” The largest 100 alternative investment managers around the world saw a 3% rise in their assets under management in 2015 to $3.61trn (€3.26trn), with pension funds accounting for $1.49trn of this – up 5% from the year before, according to a survey.Willis Towers Watson’s Global Alternatives Survey showed that total global alternative assets managed by all 602 investment managers covered in its broader survey had reached $6.2trn at the end of December 2015.Luba Nikulina, global head of manager research at the consultancy, said: “The shift away from equities and bonds into alternatives has gained momentum among most institutional investors around the world, as these strategies have helped to manage risk through diversity.”Persistent economic uncertainty coupled with highly volatile conditions is likely to reinforce this trend, she predicted. last_img read more

Accounting roundup: FRC raises going concern sign-off standards

first_imgA Thomas Cook aeroplane takes off from Manchester AirportMeanwhile, the FRC has launched a probe into the audit of failed UK tour operator Thomas Cook plc’s financial statements by auditor giant EY.The watchdog said the investigation will focus on the firm’s last set of accounts to 30 September 2018.The FRC has the power to fine audit firms up to £10m (€11m) where it rules that there were shortcomings with an audit, as well as ban individual accountants from practice.Last year, the watchdog imposed financial penalties totalling £43m. The FRC has come under substantial political pressure over the Thomas Cook collapse in recent weeks. The business secretary, Andrea Leadsom, has asked the Insolvency Service to investigate the case.Separately, the UK Parliament’s business select committee has opened its own inquiry into the failure. Delay urged on new insurance contract standardMeanwhile, the body responsible for advising the European Union on the suitability of new International Financial Reporting Standards has urged the International Accounting Standards Board to delay the effective date on its new standard dealing with insurance contracts until 1 January 2023.In a 24 September letter to the London-based board, the  European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) warned of a number of outstanding issues with International Financial Reporting Standard 17, Insurance Contracts.In addition to raising previously-aired concerns about the new insurance-accounting rule book, EFRAG has also raised a total of six specific technical issues that it argues warrant further consideration by the board. EFRAG says a one-year delay would in the circumstances be a more “realistic effective date” by which to implement the new standard.The IASB issued IFRS 17 in May 2017. It is the first standard to address how preparers should account for insurance contract liabilities under international standards.In June this year, however, in order to make it easier to implement the new standard, the board released an exposure draft proposing to defer the date from which it will apply to 1 January 2022. IFRS 17 is currently slated to take effect on 1 January 2021.The new standard is applicable to any entity that issues insurance contracts that fall within its scope and not just insurers. New leadership duo in place The FRC’s new chief executive and chairman have taken up their roles, the regulator announced last week.Simon Dingemans has taken over from Sir Win Bischoff as chair while ex-UK tax chief Sir Jon Thompson has assumed the role of chief executive, replacing Stephen Haddrill. They pick up their roles at the audit watchdog as it begins the process of transitioning into a new regulatory authority, dubbed the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority. Simon Dingemans said: “I am delighted to be joining the FRC at this critical juncture as we prepare to establish the ARGA with a clear mandate to be a very different and more effective regulator.” The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued updated guidance for auditors signing off on whether or not a business is a going concern. In a statement, the watchdog said auditors will in future have to meet “significantly stronger requirements” than those required by international standards at present.The new requirements, which apply only to audits carried out under the UK iteration of International Standard on Auditing 570, Going Concern, spell out that auditors must:robustly challenge management’s going concern assessment (paragraph 12)provide not only a detailed assessment of the assessment but also detail the steps they have taken to confirm the position (paragraph 16); andassess the adequacy of the available audit evidence (paragraph 17)  As the situation currently stands, a company’s management must assess whether their business is a going concern and prepare their financial statements on that basis.  In March 2012, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the FRC’s Sharman Panel issued a report in which it noted that the importance of the concept of prudence “remains important in making going concern assessments.”The Sharman report noted: “Prudence involves weighting downside risks more heavily than upside opportunities. … Therefore, in making such judgements, directors should seek to ensure that the company is solvent and liquid on a prudent basis.”Thomas Cook probe last_img read more

This amazing home reno took just two months: Find out how they did it

first_imgThe bathroom at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. The front of the house at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.But the framework from the original kitchen was retained and the cupboard panels resurfaced with 2 pac, which saved on costs.The fifth bedroom in the house was converted to the kitchen’s butler’s pantry and study.Two of the four bedrooms are upstairs, including the master suite, which has been reconfigured to accommodate an ensuite, walk-in robe and balcony. The kitchen in the home at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. One of the bathrooms in the house at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoMr Madhoji undertook the renovation with the help of his daughter, Shoma, who helps run the family business.“I liked the house beforehand, but we knew if we renovated it, we would potentially get a higher sale price,” she said.Every room in the house was completely gutted and rebuilt.“Pretty much everything, besides the timber floor and railings, is new,” Miss Madhoji said. “I was more involved in the later stages, picking finishings and fittings.”The brand new kitchen is one example of where the quality of the finishes shines through, from the marble island bench to the Bosch appliances and concealed butler’s pantry. REAL ESTATE: The kitchen in the house at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.Fast forward to 2018 and it was time to sell, but Mr Madhoji realised the current home he had built back in 2005 simply would not do.Prices have risen substantially in the suburb, which has a median house price of $1.3 million — and so have buyers’ standards.“We had initially decided to do a partial renovation, but then we decided the bathrooms and kitchen were too dated, so we did a full demolition,” Mr Madhoji said.“Most buyers expect the house to be done properly — they don’t have the time.” The toilet at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. One of the bathrooms at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.Time is something Mr Madhoji is very good at managing, with the entire renovation taking just two months.“I had a very good team,”he said.“I brought in subcontractors of my own and the builder had some of his subcontractors.Mr Madhoji said the key was to schedule tradespeople well in advance and draw up plans for the renovation “so everyone’s on the same page”.“The biggest problem is tradies aren’t always available when you need them,” he said.“I booked in a painter two months before the renters vacated.” Shoma Madhoji at the home she and her father renovated in Bulimba. Picture: Peter Wallis.ARUN Madhoji has built close to 100 homes all over Australia, but he believes his latest project is by far his biggest and best yet.The experienced property flipper bought what he believed was the worst house in the best street 13 years ago.He had been looking for his next project in the leafy, up-market suburb of Bulimba when he spotted 26 Cowper Street. Mr Madhoji subdivided the block and built two houses — one he has since sold and the other, a replica Queenslander, which he rented out. One of the bedrooms at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.just to modernise it and get that edge over other propertiesalways bought as an investment propertycenter_img The backyard at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. The backyard of the property at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation. The living room at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. One of the bedrooms at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. The back of the house at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.All three bathrooms were demolished and reconfigured, and new light fittings and ceiling fans installed in every room.A key feature of the house is the covered deck, which overlooks the fully-landscaped backyard featuring a Balinese-style garden.The 404 sqm block means there’s room to put in a pool if the new owners desire. The front of the house at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, before the renovation. The living room at 26 Cowper St, Bulimba, after the renovation.Mr Madhoji estimates the total spend came to about $180,000.“I decided to spend a bit more money than I usually would because houses in this area are selling for a good price,” Mr Madhoji said.“(The house is) in a good location, the house across the road sold for almost $1.5 million and it has a lot of trees — I’m a tree lover.”There’s no doubt the property in is in a great location, close to Oxford Street’s shopping and dining precinct. And the best thing for its potential new owners is that all the hard work has been done for them.The property is for sale through James McKinlay of Place — Woolloongabba.RENO FACT CHECK:Time taken: 2 monthsTotal spend: $180,000Approximate end valuation: $1.5m-pluslast_img read more

Perth cafe owner charged after mum, two children eat marijuana-laced brownie bought from store

first_imgHospital tests showed Sharon and the children had traces of marijuana in their system, they said.Michael, who did not eat the brownie or have any symptoms, said he returned to the cafe the next day and bought another brownie.READ MORE: up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox. The complainants, known only as Michael and Sharon, told the ABC their family went to the Bada Bing Cafe in Woodlands on March 2. Afterwards their five-year-old daughter Emily described things as “jumping” and her vision became impaired, they said. TVNZ One News 2 July 2019Family First Comment: Edibles’ potency (several times that of an average joint) and their attractiveness to kids have led to serious problems in legalized states. Edibles comprise at least half of Colorado’s marijuana market.A cafe owner has been charged after two young children and their mother ate a brownie allegedly laced with marijuana at his Perth business. The family went to hospital and soon Sharon began developing similar symptoms, while their three-year-old son Thomas was drowsy.last_img read more

Police investigate the death of Alvin Liverpool of Grand Coulibri

first_img Share Tweet Sergeant Kenth Matthew.Police Public Relations Officer Sergeant Kenth Matthew has reported to Dominica Vibes News that an investigation has been launched into the death of Alvin Liverpool of Grand Coulibri by the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force.Sergeant Matthew says the deceased in his attempt to evade the police jumped into a 150 200 foot precipice.“On the afternoon of Wednesday 12th October 2011, a police patrol came upon a sizeable marijuana field in the Grand Coulibri area when their sudden appearance surprised a man, 39 year old Alvin Liverpool of Grand Coulibri who was in that field then. On seeing the police, Alvin promptly ran away and jumped into a 150-200 foot precipice in an effort to evade them.”According to Sergeant Matthew, mounted a search and found Mr Liverpool’s body severly mangled.“Officers, familiar with the area, feared the worst; that is to say, they believed that by using that mode of escape, Alvin may have caused himself grave injury. Other colleagues joined them and they all mounted a search during which they found Alvin’s severely mangled body on some rocks below where he had jumped. He was taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital where a doctor pronounced him dead sometime after 3 am today, Thursday 13th October 2011. Investigations surrounding the circumstances of Alvin’s death has started,” he said.Dominica Vibes News 34 Views   one comment Sharing is caring!center_img Share Share LocalNews Police investigate the death of Alvin Liverpool of Grand Coulibri by: – October 14, 2011last_img read more

Tuesday’s Local Sports Results

first_imgSoccerBatesville Boys Varsity blanked Shelbyville 3-0.JV battle to a 0-0 tie.Submitted by Batesville Coach Chris Fox.Batesville Girls winners over Lawrenceburg 1-0.Batesville JV won 2-1.Batesville vs. Lburg (9-10)Submitted by Batesville Coach Kyle Laker.Seymour Girls beat Greensburg 3-0.Greensburg vs. Seymour (9-10)Submitted by Var Vee.Oldenburg Academy Boys victorious against South Ripley 5-1.South Ripley at Oldenburg Academy (9-10)Submitted by Var Vee.Cross CountryEast Central Invitational-Division II.Batesville Boys and Girls Team Champs.East Central CC Invite-Boys (9-10)East Central CC Invite-Girls (9-10)Submitted by Batesville Coaches Tom Barnett and Lisa Gausman.Jac-Cen-Del Middle School Girls were victorious against Switzerland County.SC Middle School Boys won.JCD vs. SC CC (9-10)Submitted by JCD Coach Steve Narwold.VolleyballOldenburg Academy won against Triton Central 25-22, 25-10, 19-25, 25-14.Oldenburg Academy at Triton Central VB (9-10)Submitted by Var Vee.Milan 8th Grade Volleyball Team defeated Rising Sun 25-23, 25-15.Milan 7th won in 3 games.Submitted by Milan AD John Prifogle.The St. Louis 7th grade Volleyball team lost in 2 games to South Dearborn 16-25, & 20-25. Though they lost, the 7th grade played aggressively during both games. Top servers for the night were Lydia Gigrich with 5 points, & Phoebe Kroen & Samantha Sheets with 3 each.The STL 8th grade team was victorious over the Squires in 2 games 25-19 & 25-24. The Lady Cardinals played tough to pull off a win. Top servers for the night were Jenna Ertel with 9 points & Audrey Amberger with 7.Submitted by St. Louis Coach Jill Reidy.North Decatur 7th won against Batesville 25-16, 25-24.Batesville 8th won 14-25, 25-23, 15-12.Submitted by the Batesville Coaches.SwimmingSunman Dearborn Boys and Girls defeated Richmond.The boys score was 136-5.  The girls score was 134-25.Alexis deLong broke the school record in the 200 Individual Medley while leading The SDMS Aqua Trojans to victory.SDMS vs. Richmond (9-10)Submitted by SDMS Coach Brandon Loveless.TennisMilan Varsity defeated Oldenburg Academy 5-0.Milan’s JV also won 3-0.Milan vs. OA Tennis (9-10)Submitted by Milan Coach Zach Wade.last_img read more

Use caution during bonfire season

first_imgStatewide—While fall bonfires and s’ mores make great memories, we want to remind Hoosiers that due to a lack of rainfall throughout much of Indiana many counties are abnormally dry. Having a bonfire can become a potential hazard due to these dry conditions.If your county is under a burn ban, please adhere to the local laws governing your county. If you are not under a burn ban, you should continue to exercise caution while open burning and ensure you have a fire extinguisher or garden hose available to extinguish any fire quickly before it gets out of hand.last_img

IHSAA Tournament Cancelled

first_imgFollowing today’s directive by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb that all Indiana schools will be closed until May 1, the Indiana High School Athletic Association announces that this year’s IHSAA boys basketball state tournament is officially canceled.“It is with great sadness and disappointment that we inform Hoosiers of the cancellation of the remaining games of the 2020 IHSAA boys basketball tournament series,” said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox. “While the Association maintained every hope of continuance, it is now evident those hopes are now unreachable. Albeit there will not be regional, semi-state and state champions crowned across our four classifications, the health and safety of our public remains paramount and our primary focus.”Last Friday (March 13), the IHSAA announced the remaining games of the state tournament would be postponed beginning with the regional games due to the growing number of school closures.Any updates on the status of IHSAA-sponsored spring sports will be announced at a later time. As always, the health and safety of IHSAA student-athletes are of utmost importance and the Association continues to remind its member schools and the general public to follow the guidance of the governor and the Indiana State Department of Health via read more