Friday, March 13, 2009

MIDF Investment to tap local talent

By Habhajan Singh
MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd (MIDF Investment) is pinching back a local talent in Islamic finance from the Middle East as its new deputy chief executive officer, sources says.
Mohamad Safri Shahul Hamid, currently with Deutsche Bank Dubai and previously at CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd, is understood to have accepted MIDF Investment's offer and is in the final stages of getting Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) clearance.
It is understood that the appointment signals MIDF Investment's move to tap the growing Shariah-approved financing, including cutting sukuk deals.
For 2008, Malaysia remained the world's largest sukuk market, accounting for more than 37% of global sukuk issuances in that year.
Safri, 37, is currently the director of global markets and head of Islamic structuring at Deutsche Bank Dubai.
He left CIMB Islamic almost a year ago as the director and head of debt capital market.
He was involved in groundbreaking and complex sukuk transactions, both onshore and offshore, including Khazanah Nasional Bhd's exchangeable sukuk.
"Some time ago, the talk was that he may be coming back to spearhead Deutsche Bank's Islamic operations in Malaysia," said an industry executive.
This was most likely in reference to newsreports in February 2008 that HSBC Malaysia and Deutsche Bank had received the go ahead by regulators to set up dedicated Islamic banking subsidiaries.
It had been reported then that Deutsche Bank had appointed Safri to lead its Malaysian operations. The idea was for him to be stationed in Dubai first before moving back to Kuala Lumpur.
Since then, HSBC has unveiled its Islamic subsidiary, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd. Other foreign banks that have followed suit are Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd and OCBC Al-Amin Bank Bhd.
Deutsche Bank has yet to do so.
Malaysia is the first South-East Asian country in which Deutsche Bank has opened an office.
In 2006, it was the lead arranger of foreign currency bonds for local corporations following Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd's US$1 billion (RM3.69 billion) transaction.
At MIDF Investment, Safri will report to its chief executive officer Datuk Megat Hisham Megat Mahmud.
MIDF Investment is the rebadged investment bank setup in 2007 following an internal restructuring at Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF), a subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).
It is an integration of four companies within MIDF’s investment banking division — Amanah Short Deposits Bhd, Malaysia Discounts Bhd, MIDF Sisma Securities Sdn Bhd and the former Utama Merchant Bank Bhd.
On the Islamic front, MIDF Investment was the principal adviser and lead arranger in a RM350 million debt capital market transaction for Tanjung Langsat Port Sdn Bhd.
It involved a RM250 million sukuk musyarakah and up to RM135 million musyarakah commercial papers/musyarakah medium term notes programme.
It also acted as the joint lead arranger and underwriter for Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd's RM150 million Islamic securities comprising RM80 million bai bithaman ajil Islamic debt securities and RM70 million murabahah underwritten notes issuance facility.

(This article appeared in The Malaysian Reserve, page 1, Mar 13, 2009. the business/financial daily has a dedicated sector page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

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