Dubai Financial Market (DFM) officially published the final version of its ‘Standard for Issuing, Acquiring, and Trading Sukuk’, the first of its kind comprehensive standard, as part of the DFM’s constant efforts to further enhance the regulatory environment of Islamic finance and capital markets. The Sukuk standard is DFM’s most recent contribution to the Islamic finance sector as it has published its ‘Standard for Issuing, Acquiring, and Trading of Shares’ immediately after the transformation of DFM into the first Sharia’a compliant exchange globally in the year 2007, which ultimately attracted enormous numbers of investors looking to invest in Islamic financial products.
The new standard creates a favorable environment for the prosperity of this dynamic sector which has gained greater momentum since the launch of ‘Dubai the Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai in early 2013, followed by the launch of ‘Dubai, the Global Sukuk Centre’, the first executive plan of the initiative as various institutions are jointly working to realize the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed. The total value of Sukuk listed on Dubai capital markets increased 103% to Dhs68.6bn ($18.6 bn) by the end of the first quarter 2014 compared to Dhs33.8bn ($9.2bn) at the beginning of the 2013.
The ‘Standard for Issuing, Acquiring, and Trading Sukuk’ is the outcome of extensive efforts and contributions of the DFM Fatwa and Sharia’a Board as well as various Sharia’a scholars and experts who participated in the hearing session held by DFM in March 2013 and attended by 45 Islamic financial services experts who submitted a number of suggestions which were taken into consideration when drafting this comprehensive final version of the standard.
The key amendments and add-ons to the draft of the standard issued in early 2013 are:
1-Addressing the issuance guidelines and information to be included in the issuance prospectus, in addition to listing the procedures and the rules for trading and redemption.
2-Identifying the Sukuk Shari’a Committee and the possibility of the DFM’s Fatwa and Shari’a Board to replace it when inexistent.
3-Clarifying the nature of the Sukuk investment in regards to the sukuk holders’ entitlement to gains (Ghonm) and liability for losses (Ghorm).
4-Reaffirming the permissibility of the distribution of reward to Sukuk holders as a donation from the Sukuk manager.
5-Stressing the independence of the legal entity as well the financial liability of the special purpose vehicle, SPV, from those of the Sukuk originator.
6-Defining the lawful ways to protect the Sukuk holders rights and hedge the risk of their sukuk investment.
7-Increasing the allowable percentage of cash and debt from 70% to 90% of the total underlying sukuk assets.
8-Stating the permissibility of the periodical calculation and payment of the incentive to the Sukuk manager during the financial year, for each profit distributing period after a constructive liquidation and not necessarily at the end of the year.
Commenting on this major development, His Excellency Essa Abdulfattah Kazim, Chairman of Dubai Financial Market and Secretary General of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, said, “The “DFM Standard for Issuing, Acquiring, and Trading Sukuk” will create a broad standardization environment for the Islamic finance sector and complement the “Standard for Issuing, Acquiring, and Trading of Shares” published by DFM in 2007 as well as add to the successes achieved by the ‘Dubai the Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative within this short period. Over the past few months, we have seen enormous efforts aimed to realize the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai under the direct supervision of HH Sheikh Hamadan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and patron of the initiative. These productive efforts have successfully positioned Dubai at the center stage of the Islamic Economy sector globally. We deeply believe that this standard will noticeably play a crucial role and further enhance Dubai’s position amongst global Sukuk centers and put the emirate at the top as the centre for issuing, acquiring, and trading Sukuk. Moreover, this all-inclusive standard will be the focal reference for Islamic finance institutions as well as Sukuk issuers and investors globally, and encourage the issuance of Sukuk instead of conventional bonds and the introduction of new Sharia’a compliant financial products.”
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Vice President- Head of Media & Public Relations
Dubai Financial Market