Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, has issued new hedging and foreign exchange rules aimed at restoring stability to the ringgit, which has been under pressure for some time. However, the effort may well have the opposite effect.
Retail demand for Islamic finance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the wider region keeps increasing. Growth areas include structured hedging and investment products, project and aviation finance, equity-linked and greenfield project sukuk.
Maybank Islamic is developing outside Malaysia, establishing a footprint in the region. With a return on equity of 16%, achieved despite a capital ratio of 17%, the trick will be to sustain the bank’s bullish approach to investing despite the country’s economic downturn.
The Islamic finance industry has grown significantly over the past 15 years, and Harris Irfan's book, Heaven’s Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance gives a fine account of some the groundbreaking transactions that opened up the industry and made it more competitive.