Standard Chartered Securities introduces Islamic investments

Azlan Othman

Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) plans to launch a retail sukuk to diversify domestic investment opportunities, lower the cost of sukuk issuances by providing standard legal templates, and promote leveraging of financial technologies such as Syariah based Digital Takaful or Syariah based Robo-Advisory.

Minister of Home Affairs cum AMBD Deputy Chairman Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong yesterday highlighted this as Standard Chartered Securities introduced Islamic investments through the first Islamic window at The Empire Brunei.

Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said, AMBD remains committed to realising the values of Islamic finance in the country.

Globally, the Islamic finance industry accounts for a double digit growth in 2019, rising to 14 per cent to USD2.88 trillion, according to the ICD-Refinitive Islamic Finance Development Report 2020: Progressing Through Adversity. This demonstrates the robustness of Islamic finance against the backdrop of sustained low oil prices across economies.

The report also noted that the growth was a result of an increased number of sukuk issuances in the GCC and Southeast Asia, as well as the launch of Islamic exchange traded funds in a number of countries. The report also forecast the potential of the industry to grow further to USD3.7 trillion in assets by 2024.

Minister of Home Affairs cum Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam Deputy Chairman Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong receives a memento from Standard Chartered Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) cum Standard Chartered Securities Chairman Pengiran Aki Ismasufian bin Pengiran Haji Ibrahim. At right is Standard Chartered Bank Head of Wealth Management and Standard Chartered Securities CEO Brenda Low. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said, “In Brunei Darussalam, we have seen an increase in demand for investments even amid the pandemic and current economic conditions.

“From 2019 to 2020, investor participation in investment funds alone showed an average increase of 61.6 per cent year-on-year, of which about 20 per cent of the volume of investments are in Islamic funds.

“In terms of fund offerings, I noted that only about seven per cent of funds offered are Syariah- compliant. In light of this, it is hoped that financial institutions will cater to and hone this growing demand, especially in Islamic funds.

“The journey in progressing Islamic finance is not without its challenges, but I believe the initiatives we have collectively undertaken to foster the development in this area will be fulfilling and beneficial to all.

“This requires not only efforts from the regulator to pave the way through policies and regulations, but also the necessary efforts, coordination and support from the local financial industry to implement new innovative ideas as well as the financial consumers to drive demand for Islamic finance.

“That said, I commend the efforts taken by Standard Chartered Securities to acknowledge the opportunities in the Islamic capital market, and to understand the virtues of the country as an Islamic and Zikir Nation. It is very encouraging to see participation and contribution from the financial industry in such endeavors, and not forgetting the support of the AMBD and the Syariah Financial Supervisory Board (SFSB) to make this possible,” he said.