Finance articles

Beirut prepares for more Islamic banking

Beirut prepares for more Islamic banking

Lebanon is a potentially lucrative market for Islamic banking in view of its diversified community, according to many Lebanese bankers. However, the country still notes a shortage of Islamic financial operations vis-à-vis growing conventional transactions. “In Lebanon, Islamic banking is still new and requires awareness and a marketing campaign,” said Mutasim Mahmassani, general manager of

European – Lebanese partnership on tap

New seeds for economic growth were engineered last month in Beirut when the European Investment Bank and Byblos Bank Group announced that their collaboration had progressed another step towards establishing an investment company, which will take private equity stakes in small and medium enterprises in Lebanon and three other Middle Eastern countries—Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

Foreign firms ready to Bank on Egypt

Egypt’s banking sector is set to become hotly competitive in 2007. Strong international and regional banks that have entered the market in the past two years are aggressively hunting for market share in what observers are calling a very “new and lucrative” market. These growth-hungry banks will meet new competition from big local banks whose

Strong regulations benefit Turkey’s bank industry

Foreign banks are continuing to show strong interest in Turkey’s banking sector, as demonstrated by the upcoming sale of state owned HalkBank and privately-held Oyak Bank. While the inflow of foreign blood over recent years has elevated the standards of the banking sector, Turkey’s bank regulator has forced local players into shape. Since its establishment

Stock market games – The big bull stirs

While the consensus of stock market analysts at the end of a harsh 2006 was an uncertainty if those erratic equity markets – mainly those in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – have reached the bottom, recent research papers by some major financial companies were taking a view of better tidings ahead. Dubai’s Shuaa capital

Wanted: Alternative investments

The Middle East continues to experience unprecedented interest in alternative investments as regional institutional investment in hedge funds is expected to surge to $140 billion, or 14% of the total $1 trillion forecasted institutional investor capital in hedge funds by 2010, according to a report by the Bank of New York. The report said global

Saudi arabia – Just say ’no’

A decision by Saudi authorities to put a temporary halt to licensing of new foreign banks until the country completed an evaluation process for those issued in the past few years was something of a surprise. This could be a blessing in disguise for the sector, however, because it offers bankers and the international financial

Planning ahead – IFQ venture

In December, Bahrain became the latest country to offer the Islamic Financial Qualification (IFQ), which was launched two months earlier in London as a joint venture between the British Securities and Investment Institute (SII) and the Ecole Supérieures Des Affaires in Beirut (ESA). With religious feelings on the rise in the Arab world and the

Banking reforms- Syria loosens up ?

When attendees crowd the new Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Damascus for the opening of the Syrian Banking Conference on November 3-5, talk will undoubtedly turn to the complications that private banking still faces two years after the first such institutions opened for business. Indeed, although five private banks now operate—and three more are on

Banking on reform – Egypt’s BOA sold

In a deal considered to be the largest divestment of Egyptian state assets to date, the government in Cairo last month completed the sale of Bank of Alexandria (BOA) – Egypt’s fourth largest bank – to Italy-based Sanpaolo IMI, generating over $1.6 billion in revenues for the state. The proceeds are expected to be used