Islamic Banking & Finance Page 06-09-2019

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Muhammad Arif
Muhammad Arif: Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan.

What can be the benchmark rates for Islamic banks and Islamic financial Market

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has recently issued guidelines for the Modaraba-based Islamic refinance scheme for the working capital financing of small and low-end medium enterprises. The subsidized rate will be six per cent as opposed to the regular rate of approximately 18pc.

This has started again a discussion that Islamic banking and financial market should have its own benchmark rates. Currently Libor around the world and KIBOR in Pakistan are being used.

To fill this vacuum, alternative benchmark rates, like the Secured Overnight Funding Rate (Sofr), are being experimented. Sofr is a based on transactions in the US treasury repurchase market where banks and investors borrow or loan treasuries overnight. British Sonia and Swiss Saron are other similar examples. However they are also like LIBOR or KIBOR.

Thomson Reuters launched Islamic Interbank Benchmark Rate (IIBR) in 2011 in cooperation with Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Accounting and Auditing Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB). The rate is not very popular and faces one of the lacunae that Libor also faces.

There are other suggestions like development of a real estate index as a benchmark for Islamic banks with housing portfolios.

The main objections in all these rates are availability of correct data on daily basis and how many transactions these bench mark rates reflect. KIBOR and LIBOR reflect actual liquidity available with the banks on daily basis. So it would be appropriate to use them till Islamic banking market itself come up with its own rates being major part of total banking industry. Still it has not reached to that extent. In Malaysia such market exists but with very few transactions and tenors with no liquidity available. Since conventional banks in Malaysia can use both markets whereas Islamic banks can use only Islamic money market rates so it put Islamic banks in non competitive conditions.

We have to make the Islamic banking simple and understandable, if you want to make it grow, so from this angle and all practical angles it is better to use KIBOR or LIBOR for the time being.

 

Islamic Stock Market Index in the world and of Pakistan Stock Exchange

    

In recent years Islamic financial instruments are much in demand. Islamic Banking or Interest Free Banking, Murabah or Cost-plus Financing, Mudaraba or Trust Financing, Musharaka or Partnership Financing, Islamic Insurance, Ijara or Islamic Leasing and Islamic Fund Management are no more mere concepts today but a reality. The number of companies practicing Islamic finance is increasing day by day globally. In view of the tremendous potential of growth and profit enjoyed and offered by these companies there was a genuine vacuum to be filled for Islamic Stock Market Indices.

These Islamic indices offer the best of both worlds. The excellence of Islamic ideology coupled with brilliance of traditional financial management, gives the choice to invest where the propensity of the investor really resides.

Realizing the potential, Dow Jones has created a new equity benchmark index for people who wish to invest according to Islamic investment guidelines. The Dow Jones Islamic Market Index – DJIM, for short – tracks Shari’ah Law compliant stocks from around the world, provides Islamic investors with a truly global perspective.

Dow Jones Islamic Market Index is constructed from the 2,700 stocks in the Dow Jones Global Indexes family, which means they all are accessible to investors and are well traded. The DJGI methodology removes issues that are not suitable for global investing. Dow Jones Islamic Market Index includes the most liquid securities meeting the Shari’ah investment criteria in the market, and reflects the industry breakdown of the global market.

Dow Jones Islamic Market Index is capitalization-weighted. It is calculated in real-time and disseminated to major market-data vendors. Dow Jones Islamic Market Index is based at December 31, 1995. The base value is set at 1000. Dow Jones Islamic Market Index is reviewed quarterly, with component changes implemented on the third Friday of March, June, September and December. This frequency assures that the index reflects the latest trends and developments in the global stock market.

Islamic filters include excluding those stocks of companies whose primary business is in areas not suitable for Islamic investment purposes are excluded from the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index.

Excluded products include:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Pork related products
  3. Conventional financial services (banking, insurance, etc.)
  4. Entertainment (hotels, casinos/gambling, cinema, pornography, music, etc.)
  5. (Shari’ah scholars also do not advise investments in companies that produce tobacco and/or defense/weapons.)

These incompatible lines of business, represented by 18 of the 122 industry groups within Dow Jones Global Indexes, are removed from the “universe” of stocks considered for the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index. Other companies classified in other industry groups also may be excluded if they are deemed to have a material ownership in or revenues from prohibited business activities.

After removing companies with unacceptable primary business activities, the remaining universe is tested by three financial-ratio “filters.” The purpose is to remove companies with unacceptable financial ratios. The filters are:

  1. Exclude companies if Total Debt divided by Total Assets is equal to or greater than 33%. (Note: Total debt = Short-Term Debt + Current Portion of Long-Term Debt + Long-Term Debt)
  2. Exclude companies if Accounts Receivables divided by Total Assets is equal to or greater than 47%. (Note: Accounts Receivables = Current receivables + Long-Term Receivables)
  3. Exclude companies if Non-Operating Interest Income divided by Operating Income is equal to or greater than 9%

Companies that pass these screens are included in the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index investable universe, from which index components are selected.

In Pakistan KSE Meezan Index (KMI-30) is a stock market index on the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Pakistan of thirty companies that have been screened for Islamic Shariah criteria. The index was introduced in 2009 and the base period for this Islamic index is June 30, 2008. It was created as a joint effort by the Karachi Stock Exchange and Al-Meezan Investment Bank.

The index is calculated using free float market capitalization. At any point in time, the level of the index reflects the free float market value of selected Shariah-compliant shares in comparison with the base period. KMI-30 is recomposed semi-annually.

Guidance is taken from qualified and well reputed Shariah experts when Shariah compliance of stocks is done.

Like Dow Jones KSE Meezan Index for any stock to be “Shariah Compliant” it must meet all of the following six criteria:

Screening Criteria 1: Business of the Investee Company:

The core business of the company should not violate any principle of Shari’ah.

Screening Criteria 2: Interest Bearing Debt to Total Assets:

The Interest Bearing Debt to Total Assets ratio should be less than 37%.

Screening Criteria 3: Non-Compliant Investments to Total Assets:

The ratio of Non Compliant Investments to Total Assets should be less than 33%. Non-Shari’ah Compliant Investments include investments in conventional mutual funds, conventional money market instruments, Commercial Paper, interest bearing bank deposits, Bonds, PIBs, FIB, T-Bills, CoIs, CoDs, TFCs, DSCs, NSS, derivatives etc.

Screening Criteria 4: Non-complaint Income to Total Revenue:

The ratio of Non Compliant Income to Total Revenue should be less than 5%.

Screening Criteria 5: Illiquid Assets to Total Assets:

The ratio of Illiquid Assets to Total Assets should be at least 25%.

Screening Criteria6: Net Liquid Assets / Share vs. Market Price / Share:

Market Price per share should be at least equal to or greater than net liquid assets per share. Net liquid assets per share are calculated by using the following formula:

Net Liquid Assets per Share = (Total Assets – Illiquid Assets – Long Term Liabilities – Current Liabilities) / Number of Shares Outstanding.

List of Companies included in KMI-30 index i.e. June 8, 2015. are Fauji Fertilizer Company Limited, Pakistan Hubco,Corporation, Lucky, Pakistan,, Pakistan Oil Fields, Dawood Hercules Corporation, Fauji Cement Ltd, K-Electric Limited, Fatima Fertilizers, Engro Fertilizers, Fauji Fertilizer, Bin Qasim Ltd, Engro Foods, Packages Ltd, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd, Maple Leaf Cement, Mari Gas,, Glaxo Smith Kline, The Searle Company Ltd, Pak Elektron Ltd, Pak Suzuki Motor Company Ltd, Kohat Cement Company, Cherat Cement Company Ltd,Attock Refinery Ltd, Honda Atlas Car (Pakistan)Ltd, Shell Pakistan Ltd, Hascol Petroleum Ltd.

From above it is evident that if this index moves forward than it can strengthen halal business in the market and can discourage activities attached with gambling, liquor etc etc

What actually is required to Move Islamic Finance in Pakistan.

As a fast-growing emerging market and a major economy within the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Pakistan has a mature financial industry that, in the recent past, has been focusing on broadening the Sharia-compliant sector in a country with more than 200 million people.

While steps to implement interest-free banking were implemented as early as the late 1970s, and, from 1985, all commercial banking in rupees was made interest-free, the success in the Islamisation of the country’s banking industry remained limited due to the lack of a real legal framework for the industry and too few products.

However, Islamic finance is expected to take off in Pakistan in coming years due to new regulations on Sharpie-compliant banking, new industry-supporting regulatory bodies, as well as rising demand from foreign investors and the large Muslim population, experts suggest.

According to the latest Global Islamic Finance Report, growth of Islamic banking in Pakistan has been at a cumulated 30 per cent over the past five years, which is above the average global rate. This growth is supported by the strategy of the State Bank of Pakistan, which seeks to double the number of Islamic banking branches from about 1,200 and increase the market share of Sharia-compliant banking from around 10 per cent to at least 15 per cent, which has been achieved in 2019. Some economists say Islamic banking could potentially gain as much as 20 per cent of market share in the medium term, which would make Pakistan an important global player in this sector.

However this does not seem enough as this side has no legislation as yet. JI and parties like that are raising their voices in this context but this is simple hue and cry with no home work. If above figures and growth is accepted than one can imagine that at the end of this century we would not be able to implement 100% Islamic Banking in Pakistan. For that proper legislation is required from government side In addition to prudential regulations of State Bank of Pakistan. As an example we can point out here that Pakistan at the moment is raising its debt including through Islamic bonds under Public Debt Act framed in 1944.

Our forum i.e. CAIF has prepared a comprehensive Government Securities Act 2016-17 which we are sending to State Bank of Pakistan, all banks in Pakistan and Government for their consideration and approval from the Parliament.

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