Connecting Banks, Payment Systems and People

Blockchain Protocol: Stellar Network

As a Sharia Advisor, it’s always humbling when you encounter a perfect investment opportunity. Shari’a compliant design attract our attention with its simplicity, is universally understood by investors, and does not sacrifice returns with large agency fees.

Today, Stellar gave us one such perfect piece – through its platform that connects banks, payments systems, and people. With a distributed network of global servers Stellar allows the movement of money quickly, reliably, and at almost no cost. It helps you create and design a new set of business environment through a specialized native asset known as Lumen. For example, Lumen can help your investment navigate from one side of the country to the other, transfer units with investors instantaneously, or even offer incremental payment options to customers. The best part is that you don’t have to pay huge sums to manage your accounts.

We expect Stellar to become an international obsession in the Islamic financial markets.  All in all, we built our Shari’a Advisory platform to help make such amazing experiences possible in the Islamic industry, but the investments that you can build on Stellar is what will truly make Sharia compliance come alive.

We can’t wait to see what you will build on Stellar!

As The First Blockchain Protocol to Receive The Sharia Compliance Certification, The Stellar Network is Poised to Enable Greater Global Financial Access and Inclusion

As The First Blockchain Protocol to Receive The Sharia Compliance Certification, The Stellar Network is Poised to Enable Greater Global Financial Access and Inclusion

Certification Will Drive Growth for Stellar Network with Financial Institutions in the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia

San Francisco, CA. July XX, 2018 — Stellar.org, a nonprofit that promotes financial access and inclusion, today announced that it has received Sharia compliance certification for the Stellar network. The Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), a leading international Sharia advisory agency licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has reviewed the properties and applications of the Stellar network and has promulgated guidance and guidelines that enable Shari’a compliant applications of Stellar technology in Islamic financial institutions.

Stellar is the first blockchain protocol to receive Sharia compliance certification in the money transfer and asset tokenization space. Additionally, the Sharia compliance certification extends to applications and usages of lumens (XLM).

Stellar.org’s founding mission is to promote global financial access and inclusion through the development of the Stellar Network, a distributed, hybrid blockchain that is fully open-source. Its infrastructure facilitates cross-asset transfers of value, including payments, and provides an instant clearing, settlement, and execution platform — enabling money to move directly between people, companies and financial institutions across borders as easily as email. By building public, open-source software, Stellar.org enables institutions to provide low-cost financial technologies and applications to serve all geographies, ethnicities, wealth levels, and religions.

Based out of Bahrain and licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, SRB has been serving the Islamic financial markets for well over 13 years. With 35 scholars spanning 19 countries, its Sharia certification and Sharia audit services are recognized globally. SRB is widely considered as one of the world’s leading Sharia advisory organization offering banks, insurance and asset management institutions a range of Sharia certification and supervisory services across all major asset classes.

In partnership with SRB, this certification will help grow the Stellar ecosystem in regions where financial services require compliance with Islamic financing principles. For example, Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) and parts of Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia and Malaysia) will now be able to integrate Stellar technology in their Sharia-compliant product and service offerings.

The Stellar network’s Sharia compliance certification will help further the organization’s mission of driving global financial access and inclusion, as these regions in the Gulf and Southeast Asia are major endpoints of popular  foreign worker remittance corridors. In the next few months, members of the Stellar.org will meet with Islamic financial institutions and engage them on how to best utilize Stellar in their financial services and products.

About Stellar.org

Stellar.org is a Silicon Valley based nonprofit organization that supports the Stellar network, a free, open-source network that connects diverse financial systems and lets anyone build low-cost financial services—payments, savings, loans, insurance—for their community. The Stellar network enables money and value to move directly between people, companies and financial institutions as easily as email. This interconnectivity means more access for individuals, lower costs for banks, and more revenue for businesses. For more on Stellar.org, visit www.stellar.org.

Kazakhstan Ijara Company shifts gear for expansion with Shariyah Review Bureau

Kazakhstan Ijara Company shifts gear for expansion with Shariyah Review Bureau

Kazakhstan Ijara Company (“KIC”), the first Sharia compliant leasing company that was established in Kazakhstan announced the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (“SRB”) to setup its Sharia Supervisory Board and help manage ongoing certification, consultation and Sharia Audits.

Founded in April 2013, KIC employs more than 20 staff, and primarily operates in the field of leasing and providing financing facilities to all sectors of the Kazakhstani economy, including supporting the growth and development of small and medium enterprises in the country.

SRB is one of the leading Sharia advisory firms serving clients worldwide and is acting as Sharia Advisor to various Kazakhstani financial institutions. Based out of Bahrain, it has a global network of more than 34 scholars and a dedicated team of Sharia consultants and Sharia auditors. In line with legal regulations of the Central Bank of Bahrain, SRB has built its own global Sharia compliance program.

KIC has already registered its breakthrough by having served 120 institutional clients in the country and now hopes to be doing a lot more in the region. Yusuf Karsi, General Director, said “We can provide any leasing and financing solution in the SME space: project finance, leasing development, agricultural services everything from hiring to the sale and transfer of assets. With such diverse offerings, we see it very important to create the necessary Sharia frameworks for KIC.” He adds that the assignment of SRB is part of the firm’s strategy to ensure robustness in Sharia compliance affairs. “Our new arrangement with SRB will provide us with a Sharia springboard and further strengthen our existing offerings as we continue to build upon our client base and expansion strategies in the country. We remain committed on providing the highest quality Sharia compliant products and services to our clients.”

The ability to model and certify diverse products and investment structures is critical for Islamic financial institutions. Technical support and Sharia compliance reporting are also key factors. It is here that SRB assists in maintaining and supervising Sharia compliance across variant departments and functions all the while ensuring compatibility with internal reporting structures and the central Sharia Board and review requirements. It’s centralized approach has helped lower Sharia review and certification costs.

“In today’s ever-changing world, outsourcing Sharia Board services has become a solution for an increasing number of establishments worldwide. The constant demand of new investment Funds and banking products is changing the way Islamic financial industry functions” said Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO and Founder of SRB. “Compared with outsourcing Sharia Advisory functions ten years ago, the main driver behind today’s outsourcing services is more than just cost savings. Today, Islamic banks and financing companies are looking to achieve a competitive edge and guidance about product transformation through quicker reviews and certification.”

Yasser adds “this is why we continue to make big investments in Sharia advisory management in order to be a reliable and trusted partner for our clients in their outsourcing assignments and the positive feedback we continue to receive from our clients shows our commitment.”

Simply Ethical’ s online investment service to be supervised by Shariyah Review Bureau

Simply Ethical’ s online investment service to be supervised by Shariyah Review Bureau

UK based Simply Ethical, today announces the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (“SRB”) to supervise its self-invest platform in a Sharia compliant manner. The subscription based digital platform allows investors to select and automatically manage their portfolios composed of stocks, funds and ETF’s.

Self-invest platforms have expanded rapidly in the UK and have become the main way retail investors are accessing investments. Currently in the UK there is no Self Invest platform that is wholly dedicated to providing Sharia complaint & ethical investments and this is the gap Simply Ethical is looking to fill. The Simply Ethical self invest platform will give investors access to over 100 individual investments and a range of model portfolios that can be purchased and managed in a number of tax efficient vehicles such as pensions.

Simply Ethical has been a leader and pioneer in providing Sharia Compliant Wealth Management and Investment services in the UK. It’s vision is to give Islamic Investors the best possible range of options and access when it comes to Sharia compliant investments, financial products and advice. Furthermore, Simply Ethical is seeking to appeal to ethically minded investors based on the values and principles underpinning Islamic Finance. Faizal Karbani, Chief Executive of Simply Ethical, notes: “This platform is about providing the retail market with access to Sharia compliant and ethical investments so that they can save and invest in an easy and affordable way.” Commenting on the assignment of SRB he adds “they share our excitement about the significant opportunities in the online Islamic investment marketplace. Giving our clients the assurance that our service is Sharia compliant is important and we have therefore decided to assign SRB the role of certifying and auditing our platform for Sharia Compliance”.

For well over a decade SRB has been delivering cost efficient, growth based Sharia certification and Sharia audit opportunities for clients around the world.  “Progressive businesses like Simply Ethical recognize that true Sharia compliance experience is crucial to customers satisfaction,” said Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO and Founder of SRB. “In our role as Sharia Advisor’s, we will go beyond the Sharia review of fund management and investment procedures and develop a robust Sharia screening framework that drive business growth.” He added, “we look forward to helping Simply Ethical embed Sharia compliant frameworks that is powered by best practices into the core of their digital strategy.”

 

National Finance Company powers up with Shariyah Review Bureau to lead its growth

National Finance Company powers up with Shariyah Review Bureau to lead its growth

Established since 1989, National Finance Company (NFC) has been serving corporate firms and individuals in financing their investment plans business requirements. Today, it has signed an outsourcing Sharia supervisory agreement with Shariyah Review Bureau (“SRB”) to help NFC maintain its growth initiatives in compliance to Sharia.

NFC’s growth has quadrupled in the last years, driven by success across its wide spectrum of financing lines to diverse businesses and SMEs. SRB will enhance its Sharia compliance management capabilities to the core of NFC’s business, overseeing all departments and there processes. As part of the agreement, SRB will also help NFC setup a Sharia Board, certify new products and manage the Sharia audit strategy for its growth initiatives as the company accelerates its investments in the Kingdom. Khalid AbuHimid , CEO of NFC, said, “Leveraging on our past experience and capabilities, we aim to create the state of the art products for the customers we serve. With demand for innovative financing and leasing solutions growing rapidly in Saudi Arabia, NFC has a unique opportunity to be a premier Financing partner in the market. And with SRB’s support, we will streamline our Sharia compliance approval process and drive innovation in a changing landscape.”

As a global Sharia Advisory firm, SRB is responsible for review, certification, and Sharia Audit strategy for 37% of the Financing companies licensed by SAMA in the Kingdom. Among its goals are optimizing Sharia compliance control and enhancing the end-to-end Sharia supervisory journey while maintaining the sophistication and approach of the financing businesses its serves.

Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO of SRB, said “For over 13 years we have been offering the most comprehensive Sharia outsourcing solutions with a proven services model to help customers like NFC get their products certified quickly and increase their agility.”  Commenting on the new assignment Yasser added, “We look forward to working with NFC’s team and deliver exceptional value with our Sharia Advisory services.”

Abu Dhabi based BOK International Is Ready To Transform New Lines of Banking Products

Abu Dhabi based BOK International Is Ready To Transform New Lines of Banking Products

UAE based BOK International Bank (“BOKI”) today announced the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) as its Sharia Advisor, as it sets to launch new Islamic banking products in the country. Under the new contract, SRB will provide BOKI with Sharia Board, certification and Sharia Audit services for its products and new lines of businesses.

The agreement with SRB will help BOKI improve operational stability in light of Sharia, reduce cost associated with Sharia supervision and implement a Sharia framework with high levels of Sharia Advisory quality. SRB will manage all operations and investments in a Sharia compliant manner across UAE and other key locations of the bank.

BOKI is the second regional branch for Bank of Khartoum, the largest provider of Corporate, Retail, Micro-finance and Investment banking products in Sudan, operating since 1913. The newly  established UAE branch has been granted a full service commercial bank license by the Central Bank of the UAE. On this occasion Mr. Akram Elbaloula, Country CEO of BOKI in UAE, said: “We are led by a highly qualified, seasoned and focused team with exceptional banking experience and total commitment to comply with Shariah banking principles, with a focus on conducting international trade and commerce transactions benefiting from well-connected correspondent banking networks to facilitate treasury, trade finance business, and cash management banking services. More importantly, we look forward to actively contributing to UAE’s ambitious plans to become the center of Islamic finance globally.” Commenting on the assignment of SRB, he stated “We are pleased to assign SRB as our Sharia Advisor on this journey. Their capabilities demonstrates significant transformations for banking businesses and with their support we aim to deliver a world-class lines of products and services in a Sharia compliant manner to our users.”

Sharia Board services is a field that is experiencing drastic changes in the past few years and one of the major changes has been to outsource the functions and its services to institutions like Shariyah Review Bureau. More and more financial institutions around the world are outsourcing their Sharia Board and Sharia Audit functions in order to save costs and valuable resources of the entity.

Yasser S. Dahlawi, Founder and CEO of SRB said, “Outsourcing Sharia compliance helps entities in scalability” he added “the Sharia review and control processes leads to greater development with uniformity as the enterprise grows and further expands.” Speaking on the new assignment Yasser states “We are looking forward to working with BOKI and helping it transform and sustain its business in a Sharia compliant way.”

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