The 9th London Sukuk Summit Awards, which were held on the evening of the 3rd June at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge at a Gala Dinner function, as part of the annual London Sukuk Summit, once again honoured market players at a time when the proliferation of Sukuk issuances led especially by Sovereigns and corporates, both from traditional and new markets, continues unabated.
Not surprisingly, the Sukuk Summit theme, ‘Globalising Sukuk Beyond Traditional Markets, Structures and Asset Pools’, aptly reflected the impressive developments over the last year and highlighted encouraging opportunities for the maturing and sustainable global and domestic Sukuk market, which has also been marked by exciting new innovation in Shari-ah and asset pool structures. The clarion call from speakers and participants is “more of the same, but much more” in terms of Sukuk issuances, size of volume, types of structures and frequency of offerings.
Indeed, the 2015 London Sukuk Summit Awards, whose main objective is to recognise the outstanding contribution and achievements of individuals, institutions, supra-nationals and financial centres serving the global Islamic financial services industry, especially the proliferating global Sukuk market, could not be more deserving to those recipients who have played their role in helping to further develop the market.
This year’s Guest Speaker was Jerome Cle, a veteran of the mobile payments industry, a serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Rising Sun Merchant Services. Mr Cle highlighted the huge advances made in mobile payments, e-commerce and the use of IT in the financial services industry.
Other prominent guests included Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary General of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the prudential and supervisory standard setting board for the global Islamic finance industry; Prof. Datuk Rifaat Abdel Karim, CEO of the International Islamic Liquidity management Corporation (IILM); Dr Nik Ramlah Mahmood, Deputy CEO of the Securities Commission Malaysia, and a bevy of top bankers, lawyers, accountants, business executives and academics.
The 2015 London Sukuk Summit Awards, once again proved highly successful with a wide-ranging number of deserved recipients honoured in 18 categories from countries including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey, Sharjah and the UK.
This year’s awards commenced with the recognition of four institutions that have contributed invaluably in the field of prudential regulation, liquidity management, capital markets supervision and private sector development.
The first Award of the evening went to the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), who were honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Prudential & Supervisory Standards for the Global Islamic Finance Industry.’ Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary General of the IFSB accepted the Award on behalf of the IFSB who under his watch, have issued seven key standards in recent times including the Core Principles for the Supervision of Islamic Banking and a Guidance note on Quantitative Measures for Liquidity Risk in April 2015. The latter two presents immense challenges for the Islamic finance industry, especially a lack of high quality liquid assets (HQLA), whereby qualifying highly-rated Sukuk have been included for the first time under the Liquidity Coverage ratio (LCR) of the Basel III process. The Board also does vital work in coordinating with international standard setters such as the Basle Committee for Banking Supervision, IMF/Financial Stability Board (FSB), IOSCO and the IAIS.
Another institution honoured was The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) for the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of International Islamic Liquidity Management Markets.’ The Award was in recognition of the IILM’s success in facilitating a global US dollar Shariah-compliant short-term money market for the Islamic financial services industry.
The IILM was specifically established in 2011 as a multilateral institution to facilitate the above through short-term US dollar denominated Sukuk issuance, which are backed by a minimum single ‘A’ rated sovereign assets, which in turn underpins the credit quality of the underlying asset pool. Thus far IILM Sukuk outstanding is US$1.85bn, and since its first issuance in 2013, a total of US$9.98 billion Sukuk have been issued and reissued by IILM through auctions. The Award was received by Prof. Datuk Rifaat Abdul Karim, the CEO of IILM.
Turkey is also a burgeoning Islamic banking market, where the Government has issued a number of sovereign international issuances including one earlier this year. The Government has also embarked on an active domestic borrowing strategy, which includes the regular issuance of domestic currency Sukuk. As such, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey, which has played a vital role in facilitating Sukuk issuance in the country through the amendments of the Capital Market Law and other provisions relating to trusts and tax neutrality, was recognised for its role with the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Islamic Capital Markets.’
Another institution that is playing a huge role in promoting Islamic finance in the private sector and is also emerging as a major player in advising sovereigns from the developing countries, primarily with a below investment grade rating, to issue Sukuk is The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), which received an ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Islamic Finance in the Private Sector.’
The ICD was one of the arrangers of the debut Sukuk by Senegal and has since won mandates from the Governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Niger to advise them on similar issuances. It is also talking to Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Togo on the possibility of future such issuances.
In addition, the London Sukuk Summit Awards also recognised for the first time the contribution by a Government Debt Management Office (DMO) in Sukuk Issuance. As such, the ‘Award of Excellence for Most Innovative Sukuk Issuance by a Sovereign Debt Issuer’ went to the Government of Sharjah’s DMO for the Emirate’s debut US$750m 10-Year Sukuk Al Ijarah issued earlier this year.
The Ceremony also honoured two individuals who have contributed extensively to the development of Islamic financial services and capital markets over the last two decades.
Indeed, Dr Mohd Daud Bakar, Executive Chairman, Amanie Group of Malaysia received the ‘Award of Excellence for Shariah Scholar of the Year’ and his compatriot, Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Islamic, won the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership in Islamic Finance.’
Dr Bakar is one of the most experienced and outstanding Shariah advisories of his generation and sits on several important Shariah Boards. He currently is the Chairman of the Shariah Advisory Council of the Central Bank of Malaysia, the Securities Commission of Malaysia, the Labuan Financial Services Authority and the IILM, and those of various financial institutions.
Badlisyah Abdul Ghani is that new generation of Islamic bankers who has spent almost his entire career in Islamic banking. As head of Islamic Banking, Badlisyah manages and oversees the overall Islamic banking and finance franchise of CIMB. CIMB Islamic operates as a parallel franchise to the Group’s conventional operations and covers Islamic wholesale banking, Islamic consumer banking and Islamic asset management, and under his watch the CIMB Islamic brand is now one of the top and trusted in the Islamic finance space in the region.
The Awards also recognised the achievements of three market players in key Sukuk categories. In terms of utilising Sukuk as an investment vehicle for wealth managers, the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Islamic Wealth Management Services Provider’ went to Oasis Group Holdings of South Africa, one the most consistent performers in Islamic asset management globally. The Award was received by Adam Ebrahim, CEO of the Oasis Group, who reiterated the importance of Sukuk being listed and/or traded, and that the market increased its depth especially with more quality and highly rated Sukuk offerings.
The ‘Award of Excellence for Best Sovereign Sukuk Arranger’ went to Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Investment Co. K.S.C.C., which is in the process of being incorporated into KFH Capital as part of the parent, KFH’s restructuring plans. KFH Investment is headed by Emad Al Monayea and he in fact received this latest Award on behalf of the company. KFH Investment was recognised especially for its contribution to the development of the Sukuk markets in the GCC region and Turkey and in forging new frontiers for Sukuk origination in countries such as South Africa.
Similarly, the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Lead Arranger of Sukuk’ went to The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), another major player in the global Sukuk market both in terms of structuring and arranging such transactions and in trading in Sukuk. NBAD’s Debt & Capital Markets Team, headed by Andy Cairns, have featured as Joint Lead Manager & Book runner so far this year for the Hong Kong Government’s latest US$1 billion Sukuk Wakalah in May; for the US$500 million Sukuk Wakalah issued in May also by Garuda Indonesia; and the US$914 million Sukuk issued in March by Emirates Airlines backed by a Guarantee from the UK Export Finance, the export credit agency of the UK Government.
The London Sukuk Summit also honoured two institutions for their continued outstanding roles in developing the Islamic Finance industry in the Middle East and Asia. Kuwait Finance House (KFH), one of the oldest and pioneering Islamic banking groups, won the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Islamic Financial Institution in the Middle East.’ KFH is currently undergoing a major restructuring which would see the Group focus on its core regions in Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Turkey, and activities including commercial banking and capital markets activities.
Malaysia’s CIMB Islamic, whose parent Group is also undergoing a restructuring with a clearly-defined focus for the next few years, was honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Islamic Financial Institution in South East Asia.’ CIMB Islamic remains one of the market trendsetters in the Islamic banking industry in Malaysia both in consumer banking, corporate finance, asset management and the capital markets space.
There were a number of Award recipients from the UK. The DDCAP Group led by the seasoned Stella Cox, the Managing Director, scooped two Awards – one an ‘Award of Excellence for Best Facilitator for Secondary Market Sukuk Transactions’ and the other an ‘Award of Excellence for Best Shariah Compliant Asset Facilitation Platform’. DDCAP Group is a pioneer of Islamic Finance intermediation services in the UK serving clients and counterparties in the GCC countries, Turkey, Malaysia and beyond. It has also one of the largest commodity Murabaha brokerage services serving the Islamic Finance industry.
Other UK recipients included City law firm Ashurst LLP, for the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution by a Law Firm to Islamic Financial Services’, where Partner, Abradat Kamalpour, another stalwart of the UK Islamic Finance scene, has huge experience in working on several major transactions, including Sukuk originations.
Another advisory service company that was recognised is Amanie Advisors, which won the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Shariah Advisory Services.’ Amanie Advisors, under the leadership of Dr Daud Bakar, is today a leading but continuously evolving Islamic Advisory firm headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Dubai, but with offices in Luxembourg, Cairo, Melbourne, Astana, Muscat, Seoul, Dublin and Tunis. The firm is playing an important role in taking the message of applied Islamic Finance to new markets.
The penultimate accolade went to Rasameel Structured Finance Company K.S.C. in Kuwait, a Capital Markets focused investment company, for the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Islamic Structured Finance House in the GCC’ in recognition of the company’s efforts in helping to develop the Islamic debt market. The Award was picked up by Issam Al Tawari, Chairman and Managing Director, Rasameel Structured Finance. Issam, a regular participant and supporter of the London Sukuk Summit, this year also took part in the ‘Shariah Scholars and Issuers Panel Discussion’; This panel is a permanent and a popular annual feature of Summit as it always provokes interesting discourse and vibrant discussion and this year was no different.
The final Award of the evening went to Path Solutions for the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Islamic IT Solutions Provider’ in recognition of its iMal Core Banking Solutions System for which it is a market leader for Islamic banks. The Award was picked up by Mohammed Kateeb, Group Chairman and CEO of Path Solutions; Mr. Kateeb also spoke at the Summit shedding light on the impact of regulation on Shariah based technologies and Path Solutions’ role in helping to shape the sector. Mr Kateeb identified constant progress, innovation and strategic differentiation as being imperative in a competitive market.
Once again the premier London Sukuk Summit Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony was greatly appreciated for the research and hard work that the organisers undertake each year, to identify and honour great leadership and outstanding achievement specifically in Islamic Capital Markets and the Islamic financial services sector as a whole.
(Culled from the Sukuk Summit Press Release)
For more information on the Summit and Award Winners, please visit the Sukuk website.