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IFN Annual Guide 2019

The best of times, the worst of times

The end of the year is once again upon us, and the last 12 months seem to have flashed past at the speed of light – it seems just a few short weeks ago that we were starting out in January with hope in our hearts and a spring in our step, high off the back of a strong year for Sukuk and an even stronger surge of sovereign issuance. So did that optimism translate into reality?
2018 was, as ever, a year of ups and downs – characterized, perhaps unusually, by the external economic headwinds buffeting the industry as much as by its own internal challenges. Despite a strong recovery towards the end of the year the oil price remained turbulent; while the strengthening US dollar and rising Fed rates put pressure on emerging markets and the ongoing threat of a US/China trade war exacerbated geopolitical tensions. The spat between Qatar and its neighbors shows no sign of settling down, while in November the US added to the fuel to the fire with a full reinstatement of sanctions against Iran.

But that is not to say that we have not seen positive developments as well. In the GCC, Saudi Arabia continues to go from strength to strength and the positive progress made towards regulatory reform, not to mention the enthusiasm with which the Kingdom has taken to sovereign Sukuk issuance, is sure cause for celebration. Oman saw its Islamic banking market boom over the year to top 12% of the total market, while an array of banking mergers across the GCC drove a growing trend of market consolidation. Dubai retained its crown as the capital of the regional Islamic economy but Abu Dhabi has also made great strides over the year – driven by the pioneering role of the admirably active Abu Dhabi General Market. Also in 2018 the UAE market regulator finally introduced new standards for Sukuk – a major step forward that underlines the ongoing standardization drive across the industry.

What else was new in 2018? The UK saw its inaugural corporate Sukuk issuance from Al Rayan Bank, Singapore stepped forward once again to express an interest in the Islamic finance space and Turkey made waves (although not always for the right reasons). Green and socially responsible Sukuk hit the headlines with Malaysia and Indonesia taking a strong lead; and REITs stormed the asset management industry with as many as 11 new funds launching over the past year.

The fintech space is another hotspot to watch — with blockchain booming, cryptocurrencies climbing and investment soaring. The US$500 million Transform Fund from the IDB, the ground-breaking Investment Account Platform in Malaysia, the Fintech Hive in Dubai, Bahrain’s Fintech Bay, the newly launched Islamic Fintech Panel in the UK are just a few initiatives that have supported the sector over the past year; while initiatives such as the new robo-advisory service from Wahed Invest, the successful seed funding for the UK’s Yielders, the initial coin offering from Africa’s Ovamba and the first blockchain Sukuk transaction from Al Hilal Bank show that this support is already translating into real commercial progress.

The tumultuous progress of the past year only serves to showcase the strength and sophistication of today’s Islamic finance industry, and in our Annual Guide for 2019 we are delighted to do the same in microcosm — highlighting and applauding not only the achievements and accolades of the last 12 months but recognizing and rewarding the unique characteristics and individual strengths of each market. Featuring a comprehensive overview of the industry from its most respected experts and experienced practitioners, we are once again delighted to provide you with a truly tempting array of material to get your teeth into.

With my sincere thanks for all your support over 2018, I wish all our readers the very best for the year ahead — now sit back, and enjoy the read!

Lauren McAughtry
Contributing Editor

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Content in IFN Annual Guide 2019

China, the sleeping giant of global Islamic finance space, needs prompt action

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance in Egypt: Renewed opportunities

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Canada: New platforms for Islamic financial services

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Agribusiness to increase Shariah compliant assets in Brazil

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Bangladesh: More training and research needed in Islamic banking

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Bosnia & Herzegovina: Creating impact through Halal economy value chain

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Indonesia: The future of Islamic capital market

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Hong Kong should actively participate in the golden era of Islamic finance with new means

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Expansion drive in Germany’s Islamic banking sector

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance finds a perfect market in France

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Iran capital market: What was witnessed and will be seen?

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Uncertain times and changes ahead for Ireland

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Japan at the crossroads between growth and stagnation

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Time for the Ivory Coast to move up a level in the Islamic finance industry

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Kuwait: Mergers and acquisitions could be a key source of value addition

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Kazakh government should concentrate on attracting cross-border Islamic financing

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Supervisory and Shariah framework reform initiatives in Kyrgyzstan

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Public-private partnership thrust to support Malaysia’s Sukuk market

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Stagnation of Islamic finance and banking in Lebanon

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Coming year to be major test for Luxembourg as Islamic finance center

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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The ecosystem approach of Islamic finance in Morocco

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance withstands the winds of political change in the Maldives

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Nigeria’s Islamic finance keeps getting better

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Malta: Islamic finance opportunities at the blockchain island

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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The use of offshore centers for Sukuk issuances to continue

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Saudi Arabia: Sweeping change in regulatory environment to attract investors

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Spain: Growing concern and first initiatives

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance and post-apartheid South Africa: A match made in heaven?

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Interview with Dr Adnan Chilwan, group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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WAEMU a growing market

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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A record year for the UK’s Islamic finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Stellar growth in Sukuk issuance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Participation banking can be key feature in Turkish financial system

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Financial markets in Sudan

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance in Tunisia: What’s next?

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance in Sri Lanka here to stay

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance growing on sound footing in Pakistan

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance in Russia – slow but steady development

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic banking in Palestine

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Qatar smoothly navigating turbulent waters

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Emerging legislative measures in the Philippines for Islamic banking and finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic financing in Oman may accelerate with the energy and utility projects

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance in Singapore — A promising niche

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Harnessing fintech in Zakat management

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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The new ‘normals’: Women as principal drivers in Islamic finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic trade finance: A viable alternative solution

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Room for enhancing Takaful in the Middle East

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Takaful & re-Takaful in the European region

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Need to differentiate for Takaful to succeed in Asia

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Structured financing ­‑ harbinger of a new era

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Absolute standardization not possible as it discourages innovation

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Standards in Islamic finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Bright future outlook for Shariah governance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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SRI, ethical and green: A momentum to be maintained

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Tumultuous times ahead in managing risks

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Action must follow intention: The growth of responsible finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Real estate: Recognizing global quality

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic ratings require an overhaul in approach

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic project and infrastructure finance market

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Private equity and venture capital

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Banks’ consolidation moves to determine the performance of M&A sector

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Novel liquidity instruments need of the hour for Islamic financial institutions

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Leadership in Islamic finance: Fortune favors the just and the bold

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Laws of attraction and finding common ground

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Volatility returns

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Sustainable development in Islamic social finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic microfinance: Ready for takeoff?

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Diversification needed as Islamic leasing looks toward global markets

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Exciting year ahead for Islamic crowdfunding

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic accounting: A fundamental element in the growing industry

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic institutional asset management making developments but more to do

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Human capital in the global finance industry

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Global Halal industry: An overview of current developments and future perspectives

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Gold in Islamic finance

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Bahrain embraces financial digital transformation

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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The other side of fear – the profitable new world awaiting banks

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Private sector Sukuk market: Are we there yet?

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Entrepreneurship in the fourth industrial revolution

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance education excellence framework

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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2018 proved its resilience in the face of tough market conditions

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Neobanks and AI for fraud mitigation start to take center stage to support digital in GCC

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Cryptocurrencies and Shariah law: A debate in Islamic finance

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Artificial intelligence to steer cross-border financial flows

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Capital allocation to alternative investments to continue upward trajectory

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Australia: Islamic finance needs to punch well above its weight

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Expecting more in 2019 following the first fully-fledged Islamic bank in Afghanistan

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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Islamic finance: The dotted lines between sustainable growth and desired impact

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | IFN Annual Guide 2019

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