Executive summary – A survey on public awareness about Takaful concepts and principles in Bahrain

Takaful has been growing considerably in the last decade with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29% from 2005-2009 globally. Apart from Malaysia, the GCC region is one of the main contributors to this growth.

Among the GCC countries, Bahrain is seen as an important market for takaful with CAGR of 40% during 2001-2010. In addition, the market share of takaful in the Kingdom increased significantly from only 3% in 2001 to 18% in terms of gross contributions in 2010.

One possible explanation to this growth is the increase in public awareness about takaful in Bahrain. Public awareness is an important factor to increase market share for Islamic finance overall and Takaful is no different. Bahrain’s insurance regulator and other stakeholders have put in a lot of effort to enhance public awareness on the benefits of insurance and takaful; national efforts include the establishment of the Bahrain Insurance Association (BIA), Insurance Learning Center (ILC) and Gulf Insurance Institute (GII). (more…)

Mutual fund smackdown – graphic of the day

Based on data from Lipper, the momentum stock revolt has led to a rough month for mutual funds. Today’s graphic shows the average month-to-date performance of different fund categories so far in April.

mutual funds

Q1 Thomson Reuters TRust Index – Financial institutions in the Americas show upbeat start to 2014

TRust Index

The latest results of our proprietary TRust Index show that first-quarter 2014 trust sentiment in the Top 50 Global Financial institutions as a whole remained steady, but modestly negative.  However, institutions from the Americas started the year well, ending with the first positive trust score of any region since the Index was launched a year ago.

Tracking trust through news sentiment reveals that the 18 Americas institutions in the TRust Index crossed into positive territory to end the first quarter with a trust score of 2 percent (compared with -1.85 percent Q4 2013), due in part to the performance of Canadian banks.

“During the financial crisis, and since, Canada has been noteworthy for the policies and discipline that allowed the country to better weather the storm and its financial institutions to more quickly recover,” said David Craig, president, Financial & Risk, Thomson Reuters. “It is no surprise therefore to see Canadian banks leading the Americas region into positive sentiment as we measure trust in the Top 50 Global Financials for the 5th consecutive quarter of the TRust Index.”

This compares to a Q1 score of -1 percent for the Top 50 Global institutions as a whole (-1.75 percent Q4) and  -2 percent for both Europe (-1.25 percent Q4) and Asia (-1.5 percent Q4).  In Asia, decreasing trust was partially attributable to tightening credit conditions in China, whilst European financial institutions experienced a decline in trust due to continuing investigations around interest rate fixing, rigging of exchange rates and tax fraud.

Other findings of this quarter’s TRust Index include: (more…)

Attracting talent, innovating Eikon: EikonHack 2014

Our first ever student Hackathon was held in London in March. A 24-hour coding competition, the EikonHack tasked 35 students with building a news discovery app for a mobile device using Thomson Reuters Eikon technology and Reuters news.

Read more about the event on the Thomson Reuters Eikon Blog.

Companies crunching Big Data are winning a competitive advantage

big data

By Tim Baker, CFA, Thomson Reuters

Too much information

A growing number of companies are using the tools and disciplines of Big Data to transform their businesses and markets. Its application in the consumer sector is becoming well known, but it is also playing a crucial role in financial services.

There are many definitions of Big Data but most will agree that it refers to the enormous expansion in the volume, velocity and variety of information available about people and their habits. Much of this data is created as people go about their business online – their digital footprint. When crunched and combined with other kinds of information it can provide marketable insights which were previously unthinkable. A simple example is the use by online supermarkets of analytical tools to recommend to shoppers new products that they might be interested in but were unaware of. (more…)

Thomson Reuters Eikon Interactive Map

Interactive Map on Thomson Reuters Eikon is the most direct way to monitor and analyze the key factors that affect the supply chain and impact prices. Maps give you current views of assets, weather and vessels, while fast download to spreadsheets enables you to build and monitor comprehensive pictures of regional flows.

The merits of rotating scholars on Shari’a Boards of Islamic Financial Institutions

By Muhammad Musa

The Shari’a board of Islamic financial institutions (IFI) is the engine which powers the industry towards achieving maqasid al-Shari’a, – the overarching Shari’a objectives of procuring and increasing benefits while eliminating harms – and adds a layer of corporate governance. The institutionalisation of the Shari’a board is the primary differentiator between conventional and Islamic finance.

The Shari’a board ought to be independent, objective and honest. Its mandate is to objectively oversee the firm’s compliance with the tenets of Shari’a, to independently guide it and to honestly endorse its products, services and operations. Several design attempts or Shari’a board models have emerged over the years. Most could best be described as “works in progress”. Malaysia and Pakistan have their own models, which differ from the ones in Bahrain and Oman. There are merits and drawbacks to each.

Merits of Oman’s rotational system (more…)

Reuters Africa Investment Summit

Reuters Africa Investment Summit

What are the risks and the opportunities of investing in Africa today? (more…)

Islamic banking in Morocco: Late, but timely

It is heartening to know that Morocco is planning to open the door to Islamic banking. Morocco definitely has the potential to prove itself as a main player in the field; with a relatively large Muslim population that exceeds 30 million and a rapidly developing economy, the future of Islamic banking in Morocco is promising.

While the decision has come rather late, it undoubtedly gives Morocco the advantage of learning from the experience of other countries which have nurtured this fast-growing industry in their own jurisdictions. In fact, lessons from others’ experience can benefit Morocco in many aspects, and I would like to highlight two of them for their paramount importance.

First, Morocco should work on removing the legal obstacles that have been facing Islamic banks by acknowledging the special nature of the Islamic banking industry, which is dictated by Shariah, so that both Bank Al-Maghrib (the central bank) and the country’s courts of law can accommodate the unique legal and operational requirements of the industry. Some countries have succeeded in creating a plausible legal environment for Islamic banks after decades of challenges, and Morocco can comfortably and readily benefit from their experience.  (more…)

In Japan, higher grocery bills add to a leader’s burden

As Japanese consumers contend with a tax hike, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is under more pressure than ever to deliver on a long-awaited new tranche of growth-boosting reforms. Yonggi Kang reports.