Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Fatwa shopping? Not for Barclays

The limited number of Sharia scholars has meant the same
group of men are on various advisory boards which has led to criticism
that people can go “fatwa shopping” and that scholars are in it for the money.

Not so, says Harris Irfan, head of Islamic products at
Barclays Capital.

“We’re not out fatwa shopping,” he said at the Reuters
Islamic Banking and Finance Summit. “We want to work with the
scholar who’s willing to say ‘no’ (to non-Sharia products)”

A study last year by Funds at Work, a consultant for the
fund industry, looked at scholars’ engagement by financial firms
in the Gulf Arab region. It found the top 10 scholars hold about
46 percent of all available positions in the region.

Internationally, excluding the Gulf, the top 10 scholars –
out of 70 active outside the region — hold 58 percent of board
positions.

Skeletons in the closet, sprawling ownership stymie Gulf bank consolidation

Anyone waiting for Gulf banks to consolidate — a long talked about prospect — can forget about it for now.

With debt markets shut, leaving only pricey equity financing, budding suitors are standing frozen, unable to make a commitment.

from Global Investing:

101 ways with halal

SheepThe technicalities of Islamic finance may seem arcane to outsiders but participants of the Reuters Summit on Islamic Banking and Finance have been keen to take it to a broader audience.

On Tuesday Mahesh Jayanarayan, CEO of Halal Industries, unveiled his ambitious plans for a halal park in Wales, whilst stressing the industrial site could also house Welsh cottage industries. Halal is simply an Arabic term that means “permissible” but in the West it is largely associated with the preparation of meat and poultry.

Is Islamic banking truly sharia-compliant?

Manama, Bahrain Feb. 16  - The Islamic finance industry has a problem. Its main selling point is that it is sharia-compliant, meaning it adheres to Islam’s prohibition of interest and avoids dealing with forbidden sectors such as alcohol and gambling.

But in the eyes of many, much of the industry is actually not sharia-compliant at all.

from Global Investing:

Dubai World crisis dispels wishful thinking

Dubai WorldThe Dubai World crisis has forced sukuk bond investors to wake up to the reality that sukuk isn’t completely straightforward, said Farmida Bi, a partner at Norton Rose, speaking at the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit in London on Monday.

“There seems to have been a lot of wishful thinking around implied (sovereign) guarantees and enforcement, which isn’t straightforward in this region,” she said.

Islamic Banking & Finance to attract new attention in 2010

Islamic banking is one of the world’s fastest growing financial sectors, according to industry estimates. It has attracted more attention in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as investors are increasingly looking for alternative, ethical ways of investing. This has also intensified a debate within the industry on whether it should move further away from conventional banking, designing products based more directly on Islamic principles.

Global issuance of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, is expected to fall this year from 2009 levels, a recent Reuters poll showed, as the Dubai debt crisis and an expected rise in borrowing costs weigh on market sentiment. In the Gulf Arab region, a funding crunch at Bahrain-based Islamic investment house Gulf Finance House shows that the financial crisis is far from over in the region and that the industry urgently needs to develop new products and business lines to generate revenues.

from MediaFile:

Islamic Banking & Finance set to attract more attention in 2010

Islamic banking is one of the world's fastest growing financial sectors, according to industry estimates. It has attracted more attention in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as investors are increasingly looking for alternative, ethical ways of investing. This has also intensified a debate within the industry on whether it should move further away from conventional banking, designing products based more directly on Islamic principles. Global issuance of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, is expected to fall this year from 2009 levels, a recent Reuters poll showed, as the Dubai debt crisis and an expected rise in borrowing costs weigh on market sentiment. In the Gulf Arab region, a funding crunch at Bahrain-based Islamic investment house Gulf Finance House shows that the financial crisis is far from over in the region and that the industry urgently needs to develop new products and business lines to generate revenues. CEOs and other top names will discuss these and other topics in a series of closed on-the-record interviews at the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit, to be held in Dubai, Manama, Kuala Lumpur, London, Geneva and Jakarta on February 15-18, 2010.

AIA CEO Blakey says she’s got Jet-A in her veins

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AERO-ARMS-SUMMITAerospace Industries Association Chief Executive Officer Marion Blakey says when she started working on aviation issues earlier in her career she was hooked.

She has held a number of prominent positions in Washington that emphasized transportation and safety.

EADS O’Keefe sees corporate life similarities to government, academia

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He’s been head of NASA, the Navy, and Louisiana State University and spent practically his whole professional life in either government or academia. USA/AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT

So when it came time for the next step on a varied career path, Sean O’Keefe broke from the past and chose the corporate route.

Would you send a postcard of Boeing’s new Dreamliner?

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BOEING/787

For some fans, Boeing’s first test flight of its new 787 Dreamliner this week was apparently a virtual postcard.

The aerospace company says people sent about 25,000 postcards electronically of the lightweight commercial plane made primarily from carbon-based plastics and titanium.

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