The 2016 London Sukuk Summit Awards, which this year celebrated its 10th Anniversary, once gain lived up to expectations by honouring individuals and organisations who have contributed to the on-going development of and innovation in the global Sukuk market.
The Awards Ceremony, which was held at a Gala Dinner on the evening of the 25th of May at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge as part of the annual London Sukuk Summit, once again recognised market players at a time when the Sukuk industry continues to show its resilience in the face of difficult market conditions tempered by the inevitable impact of low crude oil and commodities prices and ongoing turmoil in the Middle East region.
Sukuk issuances saw a marked decline in 2015 to US$64.3 billion, down from the US$118.8 billion in 2014 and the record US$131.2 billion in 2012 respectively. The figures for the first four months of 2016 encouragingly show issuances of up to US$30 billion, which is almost half of the issuances in the whole of last year. This suggest that as crude oil prices start to veer upwards of US$50 per barrel, the Sukuk market is starting to gain its traction as both sovereigns and corporates are returning to the market to raise funds as yields settle down and pricing becomes more acceptable. Not surprisingly, the Sukuk Summit theme, ‘Sukuk and Sustainability - Driving the Momentum’, aptly reflected the best developments over the last year and highlighted encouraging opportunities for the Sukuk market, which continues to be driven by innovation in Shariah governance and structures.
The 2016 Awards, hosted by the organiser, ICG-Events, once again proved highly successful with a wide-ranging number of deserved recipients honoured in 14 categories from countries including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, South Africa, Sudan and the UK.
Indeed, the 2016 Sukuk Summit Awards, whose main objective is to recognise the outstanding contribution by and achievements of individuals, institutions, supranationals 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.
Given that the Awards Ceremony this year coincided with the celebration of Africa Day by the African Union (AU), the organiser ICG-Events, invited Washington Kapapiro, Chairman of the Association for African Owned Enterprises and the President of the Global Africa Business Club, to address guests on the potential and opportunities for Islamic Finance in Africa especially through engaging with the private sector.
Mr Kapapiro’s main message was that Africa is ‘open for business’ and that Islamic Finance has an exciting future in contributing to the real economy and future prosperity of the rising continent.
“However, many corporates, SMEs and businessmen are not very familiar with the Islamic Finance phenomenon. They have heard about the word but they do not understand the concepts, structures and contracts. What is urgently needed is market education in Islamic Finance,” he explained.
The Chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), Dato’ Seri Ranjit Ajit Singh, who also delivered the 10th Anniversary Keynote Address at the Sukuk Summit, was honoured with the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution for the Development of the Islamic Capital Markets (ICM) by a Regulator’ for his leadership work over the last few years especially in developing the SRI Sukuk, Corporate Governance and FinTech Frameworks and under whose watch the Islamic Capital Market in Malaysia continues to thrive. Indeed, according to the latest SC Annual Report 2015, the Islamic Capital Market (ICM) in Malaysia grew by 6.7% to RM1.70 trillion in 2015, compared to RM1.59 trillion in 2014.
Dato' Seri Ranjit Ajit Singh
“It is truly a great honour for me to receive this prestigious award. It is also a strong recognition of the leading role played by the SC in advancing the development of the Islamic capital markets internationally through its extensive initiatives undertaken over the years, particularly in creating robust and facilitative regulatory and Shariah frameworks which have also contributed to the vibrancy of the Malaysian Islamic capital market,” said Dato’ Seri Ranjit Ajit Singh upon receiving the award.
Another veteran of the industry, Prof. Datuk Rifaat Abdel Karim, CEO of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) was honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution for the Development of Accounting, Prudential Standards & Liquidity Management in the Islamic Finance Sector’ for his cumulative contribution including the establishment of AAOIFI, IFSB and IILM.
Professor Datuk Rifaat
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), the private sector funding arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group.
This time the accolade went to Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, CEO of ICD who won the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Islamic Capital Markets by a Multilateral.’
Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi
In the citation, Mushtak Parker, Editor of Islamic Banker, officiating at the ceremony, stressed that the Award was in recognition of the ICD’s leadership in arranging the debut Sukuk by Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire and the issuance in April this year of its debut US$300 million Sukuk issuance, the first by a stand alone IDB entity on its own books.
Also honoured were two individuals who have contributed extensively to the development of Islamic financial services and capital markets over the last two decades.
Indeed, Datuk Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar, Founder & Chairman, Amanie Group received the ‘Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution for Shariah Leadership & Advisory’ and his compatriot, Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, Former Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Islamic, won the ‘Award of Excellence for the Development of Islamic Consumer Banking.’ 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. Dr Bakar has recently published an iconic book titled ‘Shariah Minds in Islamic Finance’ in which for the first time by any prominent scholar he takes the Shariah advisory industry to task and speaks frankly about the shortcomings and challenges of Shariah governance to date. He urges his fellow Shariah advisories to take ownership and responsibility of their roles to help take the industry to its next level. The London launch of the Book took place during the Sukuk Summit.
Amanie Advisors was also honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for the Best Islamic Finance Consulting Services’ for its wide raging pioneering consultancy services to a number of emerging Islamic markets in Oman, Morocco, South Africa in addition to its established work in Malaysia and the GCC.
Datuk Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar
Amanie Advisors, under the leadership of Dr 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.
Another well deserved recipient was Cagamas Berhad, the Malaysian Mortgage Finance Corporation, which won the ‘Award for Outstanding Contribution for the Development of Shariah-Compliant Mortgage Securitisation’ . Cagamas is the most prolific Sukuk issuer after the Malaysian Government and has pioneered various Sukuk structures over the last decade or so.
Chung Chee Leong
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 Nazeem Ebrahim, Deputy Chairman of the Oasis Group.
The Awards Ceremony also honoured an institution for its continued outstanding roles in developing the Islamic Finance industry in the Middle East and Asia. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Capital, the investment banking arm of KFH, one of the oldest and pioneering Islamic banking groups, was honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for the Most Innovative Sukuk Structure for the Kuveyt Turk Sukuk.’
M. Saqib Aftab
KFH Capital, which has worked on several of the major Sukuk transactions in the global industry over the last few years, was also honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for Best Sukuk House in the GCC’.
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 Sukuk Intermediary’ and the other underlying its innovation edge, DDCAP was also honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for best Islamic FinTech Trading Platform’.
DDCAP Group are 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. Indeed DDCAP Group has scooped these awards for the sixth successive year, which underlines the Group’s dominance in this market segment.
Other UK recipients included City law firm Ashurst LLP, for the ‘Award of Excellence for Opening New Market for Sukuk Issuance’ for their work in Iran, where Partner, Abradat Kamalpour, another stalwart of the UK Islamic Finance scene, has been proactive in exploring new opportunities in Islamic Finance and Sukuk origination in Post-Sanctions Iran, whose economy is fast opening up and is in need of major funding requirements.
The final accolade went to the international auditing firm Grant Thornton, which was honoured with the ‘Award of Excellence for the Best Auditing & Consulting Firm for Islamic Capital Market Products.’ The award was received by Samer Hijazi, the new Head of the firm’s Global Islamic banking & Finance practice, based in Abu Dhabi.