This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Islamic Banking Model

The origin of Islamic banking dates to the very beginning of Islam in the seventh century. The prophet Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, was a merchant, and he acted as an agent for her business, using many of the same principles used in contemporary Islamic banking. In the Middle Ages, trade and business activity in the Muslim world relied on Islamic banking principles, and these ideas spread throughout Spain, the Mediterranean and the Baltic States, arguably providing some of the basis for western banking principles. In the 1960s to the 1970s, Islamic banking resurfaced in the modern world.

This banking system is based on the principles of Islamic law, also referred to as Sharia law, and guided by Islamic economics. The two basic principles are the sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest by lenders and investors. Islamic banks neither charge nor pay interest in a conventional way where the payment of interest is set in advance and viewed as the predetermined price of credit or the reward for money deposited. Islamic law accepts the capital reward for loan providers only on a profit- and loss-sharing basis, working on the principle of variable return connected to the actual productivity and performances of the financed project and the real economy. Another important aspect is its entrepreneurial feature. The system is focused not only on financial expansion but also on physical expansion of economic production and services. In practice, there is a higher concentrated on investment activities such as equity financing, trade financing and real estate investments. Since this system of banking is grounded in Islamic principles, all the undertakings of the banks follow Islamic morals. Therefore, it could be said that financial transactions within Islamic banking are a culturally distinct form of ethical investing. For example, investments involving alcohol, gambling, pork, etc. are prohibited.

For the last four decades, the Islamic banking system has experienced a tremendous evolution from a small niche visible only in Islamic countries to a profitable, dynamic and resilient competitor at an international level. Their size around the world was estimated to be close to $850 billion at the end of 2008 and is expected to grow by around 15 percent annually. While system of banking remains the main component of the Islamic financial system, the other elements, such as Takaful (Islamic insurance companies), mutual funds and Sukuk (Islamic bonds and financial certificates), have witnessed strong global growth, too. Per a reliable estimate, the Islamic financial industry now amounts to over $1 trillion. Moreover, the opportunity for growth in this sector is considerable. It is estimated that the system could double in size within a decade if the past performances are continued in the future.

Why Is the Blockchain Technology Important?

Let’s say that a new technology is developed that could allow many parties to transact a real estate deal. The parties get together and complete the details about timing, special circumstances and financing. How will these parties know they can trust each other? They would have to verify their agreement with third parties – banks, legal teams, government registration and so on. This brings them back to square one in terms of using the technology to save costs.

In the next stage, the third parties are now invited to join the real estate deal and provide their input while the transaction is being created in real time. This reduces the role of the middleman significantly. If the deal is this transparent, the middleman can even be eliminated in some cases. The lawyers are there to prevent miscommunication and lawsuits. If the terms are disclosed upfront, these risks are greatly reduced. If the financing arrangements are secured upfront, it will be known in advance that the deal will be paid for and the parties will honour their payments. This brings us to the last stage of the example. If the terms of the deal and the arrangements have been completed, how will the deal be paid for? The unit of measure would be a currency issued by a central bank, which means dealing with the banks once again. Should this happen, the banks would not allow these deals to be completed without some sort of due diligence on their end and this would imply costs and delays. Is the technology that useful in creating efficiency up to this point? It is not likely.

What is the solution? Create a digital currency that is not only just as transparent as the deal itself, but is in fact part of the terms of the deal. If this currency is interchangeable with currencies issued by central banks, the only requirement remaining is to convert the digital currency into a well-known currency like the Canadian dollar or the U.S. dollar which can be done at any time.

The technology being alluded to in the example is the blockchain technology. Trade is the backbone of the economy. A key reason why money exists is for the purpose of trade. Trade constitutes a large percentage of activity, production and taxes for various regions. Any savings in this area that can be applied across the world would be very significant. As an example, look at the idea of free trade. Prior to free trade, countries would import and export with other countries, but they had a tax system that would tax imports to restrict the effect that foreign goods had on the local country. After free trade, these taxes were eliminated and many more goods were produced. Even a small change in trade rules had a large effect on the world’s commerce. The word trade can be broken down into more specific areas like shipping, real estate, import/export and infrastructure and it is more obvious how lucrative the blockchain is if it can save even a small percentage of costs in these areas.

Aiming for a Greener Financial System

In the year 2015, being a person who likes to stay abreast of the various political and economic activities, I was often confused with the term ‘Green Finance’. Moreover, the excessive use of this term in G20 pushed me to learn more about it and provide an understanding to you as well.

Green finance can be described as an umbrella term which refers to the changes in financial flows that are required to support projects that not only help the environment but also the society. Pollution, air quality, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energies are certain genres that are covered under green finance.

To meet the aspiring goal of the Paris treaty, it is important to align the green growth and financial sector. If we talk about green finance in the long-term, we should be happy to know that it has ample opportunities for profitable investments in developed and developing economies. Investing in green economy will set the course for carbon footprints. The only need at the minute is a step change in greening the financial system. There is a rising awareness in the financial system related to sustainability risks, commercial opportunities and changing customer preferences. The government has smoothened these developments through national roadmaps, sectoral guidelines and policy signaling. The economy is witnessing a competitive urge between financial centers and companies for green finance leadership.

An accepted green finance will always constitute a right proportion of policy action and market. Below are certain actions which can be helpful for an effective market action:

Connecting environmental risks analysis with core business activities
Feeding back into the policy process
Driving the environmental risk analysis
Anchoring sustainability, and
Controlling financial technology to strengthen retail demand.

The authorities should be able to shape effective policies to minimize market failures and create conditions which help in the growth of green finance. Apart from using policy packages with fiscal policy and environmental reforms, there should be an involvement to support the greening of financial markets with options such as:

Supporting data provisions and capacity building
Using the limited public means effectively, and
Creating a smart and well-organized incentive system.

After the government, multilateral development banks and international financial banks have also an important role to play, with options like:

Streamlining governance structures and portfolios according to the Paris agreement
Using methods to strengthen environmental guidelines, and
Promoting financial market development and filling project pipelines.

Since the Paris treaty, businesses have initiated that streak of competitiveness at various levels of the financial system. The global financial centers such as London, Shanghai, or Paris are preparing themselves as global green finance centers – this and many more to lure specialized companies. Designing smart market systems and policies, in order to maximize the positive effects in the long-term can be a strong approach towards scaling-up the green finance.

Developing countries encounter major investment gaps and receive a small share of the green financial flow. This is the case when these developing economies offer huge opportunities for long-term green investment in areas such as transport, agriculture, infrastructure and energy. There are a number of developing countries which are advertising green bond roadmaps, highlighting the potential for green finance. Though, the various effects of an updated version of environmental risk analysis need to be understood to manage possible development policy implications. The UN environment is developing a range of options to make the most of the combined activities of green finance and sustainable development.

Choosing Merchant Providers

If you are running a new business, then you may have a very hard time choosing a provider of merchant services. There are some things that can help in the determination of which is the best credit card processor. There are very many options that are available in the market today and this means that you have to be even more careful. It is important to select processors that can focus on some factors that are relevant to the company you are running.

The fee

The fees charged can actually increase as time goes by. A provider that allows for the negotiation of the percentage is the best. It is also important that all pricing differences are well understood and all variables such as credit card types, the value of the dollar and volume should also be laid out. Fees and should also be understood and they vary in accordance with variables.

The cash flow

This is yet another thing to consider. The credit card processors are responsible for holding the cash from processing time up until the time you get it in your account. It is important to appreciate the fact that different processors use different systems and they can manage time so as to earn some interest. When you choose a merchant provider that offers payment wallet, then you can gain access to the funds immediately. Sometimes the fees of companies aren’t as competitive as what independent providers offer.

Some of the questions that you should ask before choosing the merchant account

· Customer support: this is important because you may need some technical support from time to time. A good merchant service provider will allow you access to customer support 24/7. This will guarantee that issues will be addressed as soon as they arise.

· Live support: this has become very popular in the present times. Some of the companies have email support, but sometimes when you have a problem, you may want to talk to someone in real time.

· Time the company has been in operation: a provider that has a track record that is proven can really help. This is because the team has been able to build a reputation and specialized in the field.

· Offline and online transactions: as the business expands, do not keep on switching the merchants because they lack some of the services. It is essential to work with a merchant who will be able to help the retail business go online or offline.

· Fraud protection: ask the merchant about the ways they use so as to protect financial data because it is very sensitive.

· Funds processing time: it is important to have a predictable cash flow if you want business to prosper. You therefore need a provider who can tell you clearly how long it will take to clear the funds. This helps you avoid any surprises that can derail the operation of the business.

· Length of contract: this should also be put into consideration. For starters, a shorter contract is always better. You build on trust on the way and start looking at longer options.