Best Sukuk Bank
Malaysia-based CIMB Islamic has been the top sukuk underwriter for each of the past four years. In 2010 it boosted its leading global market share to 23%, largely on the strength of Malaysian ringgit-denominated issues. CIMB Islamic’s deal count of 43 Islamic bond issues was more than double the total of second-place Maybank, which arranged 21 issues, according to Dealogic. HSBC, with 13 issues, was the leading arranger of sukuk in the Middle East last year and was second to CIMB Islamic in terms of global proceeds. In addition to its extensive Malaysian network, CIMB Islamic has offices in Brunei, Indonesia and Bahrain. Its shariah-compliant services are also accessible from Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, executive director and CEO of CIMB Islamic, says the bank expects a robust year for Islamic finance in 2011. “The sukuk, or Islamic debt capital market, will see record high issuance, driven by infrastructure-development needs,” he notes. “Islamic consumer banking will gain market share as Asian regulators become more facilitative, and the Islamic equity capital market will see more shariah-compliant IPOs, as corporations try to widen their investor base in Asia,” he says, adding that Islamic fund management will also see heightened activity as its investment universe grows.
Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, executive director and CEO
Best Islamic Retail Bank
Jordan Islamic Bank
Jordan Islamic Bank, a member of the Al Baraka Banking Group, is one of the world’s largest Islamic retail banks. The Amman-based bank has 29 branches in the capital city and a total of 60 branches nationwide. Jordan Islamic Bank arranged a $100 million murabaha (cost-plus-profit) transaction last year for the Ministry of Finance. The deal to import wheat and barley involved opening six letters of credit in London. The bank’s assets increased by 19.3% in 2010 to $3.7 billion, and its deposits rose by 21%. Jordan Islamic Bank signed a $25.4 million credit line with the Housing and Urban Development Corporation to be administered on a cost basis as part of the bank’s social responsibility to the citizens of Jordan.
Musa Shihadeh, vice chairman, CEO and general manager
Best Islamic Investment Bank
Jadwa Investment, a Saudi Arabia–based investment bank, offers customized, shariah-compliant products to high-net-worth individuals, family businesses and institutions. The bank offers a wide range of products both geographically and by asset class. The Jadwa Africa Freestyle Equity Fund was the best-performing fund in Saudi Arabia last year, with a return of 31.74%. Jadwa offers 14 public equity funds and six private equity funds, as well as structured products and discretionary portfolios. Some of the funds focus on Saudi Arabia or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and others are global. The bank recently introduced the Russell-Jadwa shariah indexes, based on the Russell global index.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, managing director and CEO
Best Takaful Provider
Salama-Islamic Arab Insurance
Dubai-based Salama-Islamic Arab Insurance has six takaful companies that serve customers in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Senegal, Algeria and Jordan. Salama plans to expand in Southeast Asia and all of the GCC countries. It is one of the few takaful companies offering an extensive range of general, family and health products. Salama celebrated the 25th anniversary this year of its major subsidiary, Best Re, the largest re-takaful company in the world, with a network of four regional offices and three representative offices that cover 90 countries, primarily emerging markets in Asia and Africa. Best Re relocated its headquarters last year from Tunisia to Malaysia.
Saleh Malaikah, vice chairman and CEO
Best Asset Management Company
CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management
CIMB-Principal Asset Management, jointly owned by CIMB and Principal Financial of the United States, structures and distributes a range of Islamic funds. In January 2010, it introduced the CIMB-Principal China-India-Indonesia Equity Fund, which seeks to capitalize on undervalued listed companies based in these fast-growing economies. The investment management venture also offers money market and infrastructure funds, as well as the CIMB Islamic Global Equity Fund.
Datuk Noripah Kamso, CEO
Best Shariah-Compliant Index Provider
Dow Jones Islamic Market indexes
The Dow Jones Islamic Market (DJIM) indexes are the most widely followed shariah-compliant benchmarks of global markets. They include thousands of indexes of equity and fixed-income markets, as well as indexes based on themes and strategies. What they all have in common is the exclusion of companies engaged in businesses involving alcohol, tobacco, pork, financial services, defense and entertainment. Companies also must meet requirements for debt levels, interest income and expenses. An independent shariah supervisory board counsels Dow Jones Indexes on matters related to compliance with Islamic law. More than $7 billion in assets are benchmarked to the DJIM indexes.
Michael Petronella, president
Best Islamic Project Finance Provider
Riyadh-based SABB, the Saudi British Bank, is one of the largest banks in the kingdom and the leading arranger of Islamic project finance. In November 2010, SABB was mandated lead arranger on the $1.6 billion project financing of Maaden Aluminum, the largest smelter project in the Middle East and North Africa. The project is an essential element of Saudi Arabia’s effort to diversify its economy.
“We are delighted to be recognized as the leading shariah-compliant project-financing bank in Saudi Arabia,” says David Dew, managing director. “SABB has a substantial market share of the Islamic corporate banking market in Saudi Arabia, and we are committed to increasing our share of the business in line with the market and the needs of our customers.”
SABB and its affiliate HSBC were initial mandated lead arrangers on the $8.5 billion project financing of Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical, the largest project financing ever in Saudi Arabia. With more than $1.4 billion on Islamic facilities, the transaction involved one of the largest Islamic financing tranches for a project financing. SABB operates 111 retail outlets in Saudi Arabia, 86 of which are fully Islamic.
David Dew, managing director
Best Islamic Commodities Provider
Al Rajhi Bank
Al Rajhi Bank, one of the largest Islamic financial institutions in the world, offers short-term finance to commodity trading companies under the concept of bay’ bithaman ajil, a sales contract whereby payment is made in installments after delivery of the goods. The Saudi Arabia–based bank was registered last year as a commodity-trading participant with Bursa Malaysia Islamic services to trade on Bursa Suq Al-Sila, a platform that facilitates commodity-based Islamic financing and investment transactions. Al Rajhi Bank has 20 branches in Malaysia, as well as a branch in Kuwait and two branches in Jordan. It offers direct investment in commodity murabaha transactions in Malaysian ringgit and other foreign currencies.
Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al Rajhi, managing director and CEO
Best Islamic Real Estate Finance Provider
Kuwait Finance House
Kuwait Finance House, the leading Islamic financial lender in Kuwait, has directed a major part of its investment portfolio to international real estate. KFH creates and manages structured real estate funds. It also provides shariah-compliant project financing to institutions for the purchase of properties outside of Kuwait. The bank targets investments in sectors with high occupancy rates in partnership with global real estate firms. KFH is participating in a $4 billion project, Durrat Al-Bahrain, with the government of Bahrain, to provide 33,000 housing units. It is also involved in a $6 billion project in Iskandar City, a link between Malaysia and Singapore. In the Kuwait home-financing market, KFH is offering free takaful insurance that covers a fixed installment contract. The Kuwait Investment Authority has hired KFH to manage a $900 million commercial property fund.
Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Omar, CEO
Best Islamic Fund Manager
Falcom Financial Services
Riyadh-based Falcom Financial Services is a fully shariah-compliant investment bank licensed by Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority. Falcom has eight investment centers in Saudi Arabia and one in Oman. It was the first provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the Middle East and North Africa. Falcom focuses on the Saudi market, the Tadawul, which has a capitalization of more than $350 billion and is one of the most liquid markets in the region.
“Our home is where our heart is. The home market is our biggest opportunity,” says Adeeb Al-Sowailim, CEO. “We were the only bank to come up with two ETFs in succession to enable international investors to participate in the Saudi growth story.”
Falcom’s local equity fund beat the Tadawul index by 37% over the past three years. Two of its funds held leading positions in the Zawya Funds Ranking in the fourth quarter of 2010. Established in 2007, Falcom leads among new participants in the local brokerage market and offers a range of online tools and access channels. “Our model of empowerment and innovation is paying off,” Al-Sowailim says.
Adeeb Al-Sowailim, CEO
Islamic Finance Deal of the Year
Maaden Aluminum, Saudi Arabia, $1.6 billion project financing.
Maaden Aluminum is a $5 billion joint venture between Maaden, a public mining company majority-owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, and Alcoa. The project is part of a $10 billion integrated aluminum complex, including a bauxite mine, an alumina refinery and a rolling mill. The government is also involved in funding the power plant serving the smelter, the railway linking the mine and the refinery, and the port of Ras Azzour. SABB, the Saudi British Bank, was mandated lead arranger of the $1.6 billion project financing for Maaden Aluminum and also participated in the shariah-compliant procurement facility. The debt was two times oversubscribed in November 2010, with 15 banks participating in the transaction. The groundbreaking for the rolling mill was held in April 2011.
Khalid Al-Mudaifer, president and CEO