Securities Industry Development Corporation SIDC – MRUT

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Securities Industry Development Corporation


Photographer : Mr. Raymond Lee @2007  Web Design : Vincent Yong

Location :  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

About SIDC

The Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC), incorporated in March 2007, is the leading capital markets education, training and information resource in ASEAN. Formerly the training and development arm of the Malaysian Securities Commission established in July 1994, it was known as the Securities Industry Development Centre. The SIDC’s objective remains to create investor awareness; raise professional standards; and enhance skills of Malaysian capital market participants as well as training and developing Malaysian and emerging market regulators.

For more than ten years, the SIDC has organized training programmes for Malaysian and foreign regulators, company directors and market professionals, conducted examinations for licensed market participants as well as successfully holding public investor education seminars on wise investing and investors’ rights.

SIDC develops and facilitates training both locally and internationally through a range of programmes and activities, including conferences, seminars, and workshops supported by computer-based learning. In conjunction with the Securities Commission, it develops examination questions and modules, holds examinations as part of the licensing regime for Malaysian capital market intermediaries.

Welcome Remarks by

John Zinkin
CEO, Securities Industry Development Corporation
Tuesday, 03 July 2007

at the
Islamic Markets Programme
Innovating For Growth
1- 6 July 2007
Securities Commission, Kuala Lumpur

Honored Guests, Distinguished Scholars and Panelists,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Good morning everybody, and to our foreign participants, a very warm welcome to Malaysia.

My name is John Zinkin, and I am privileged to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Securities Industry Development Corporation popularly known as the SIDC. It is indeed an honor and pleasure for me to welcome you all to the SIDC’s second Islamic Markets Programme entitled “Innovating for Growth”.

You may wonder why are we holding yet another conference on Islamic Capital Markets here in Malaysia and why the SIDC considers the IMP as one of its flagship training programs? There are two reasons: the first is that Islamic Capital Markets matter and the second is that they have yet to realize their full potential and training has an important role to play in helping bridge the gap.

Islamic finance matters
Islamic capital markets are experiencing exceptional growth not only in the Muslim world, but also in non-Muslim countries. The increasingly widespread acceptance of Shariah-compliant investments and instruments demonstrates that Islamic finance is being preferred not only on ethical and moral grounds by the Islamic community, but also as commercially viable alternatives in terms of product, cost and efficiency when compared against conventional finance by non-Muslims. As a result, today Islamic finance has a presence in over 75 countries.

The growth of the sukuk market has been particularly impressive averaging 40% per annum. Last year more than 55% of all bonds approved by the SC were sukuk – with a total value of RM 42 billion. Malaysia is the world leader in this field, with around 67% of the issues, and innovative solutions based on Musyarakah, Mudharabah and Ijarah principles have been the engine of growth.

The rise and acceptance of Islamic finance is one of the most significant innovations the financial industry has witnessed. Much has been accomplished by addressing the financial needs of customers within the framework of underlying tenets of Islam. The Malaysian Islamic capital market, for example, now has a full complement of products, infrastructure, institutions, intermediaries and investors, contributing to the development and deepening of the entire capital market. This comprehensive range of products and services includes Shariah compliant equity investment, fixed income securities, derivatives and structured products including Islamic stock broking and fund management services.

Potential demand exceeds supply
Sources of Islamic funds are now said to be in excess of US$ 1.3 trillion, and yet the Islamic capital market represents only US$ 230 billion. This shows that even though the Islamic financial market is growing at between 12 and 15 percent a year, there is still enormous scope for further, faster growth with demand far outstripping supply. Even in the burgeoning sukuk market, global demand, including domestic issuance was worth more than US$ 50 billion at the end of 2006, whereas supply stood at US$ 20.6 billion, indicating a substantial gap to be filled.

So, although Islamic capital markets have grown rapidly, they have not yet realized their full potential. The SC’s Capital Markets Masterplan (CMP) launched in 2001 recognised there was a historic opportunity for Malaysia to become the third hub with London and the Gulf to realize this potential for growth both internationally and domestically. The CMP provides a strategic blueprint for developing an internationally competitive ICM for Malaysia designed to meet the twin challenges of international competition and financial globalisation. Consequently no single sector within the Malaysian capital market has, within such a short time, received as much attention, commitment, resources and facilitation from the government and the regulators, as the ICM.

This programme is further evidence of the focus and priority placed on developing the ICM in Malaysia by the SC.

The challenge we face
Great progress has been made, yet there is still room for further improvement as evidenced by the shortfall of supply to meet pent-up demand. The market suffers from a shortage of supply of sophisticated capital market instruments. There is a pressing need to achieve balance between demand and supply through new product introductions in addition to raising awareness of existing products in other jurisdictions. In short we are faced with the challenge of creating more liquidity – the result of a lack of sufficient knowledge and understanding of the products that are currently available in different jurisdictions; a lack of innovative products to satisfy unmet needs; and finally a shortage of people skilled in Islamic finance to understand the opportunities and to create and market the instruments to meet them.

It therefore goes without saying the development of an ICM talent pool is indispensable for sustaining the performance, competitiveness and future growth of this sector. As a result raising the standards of our intellectual capital must be a high priority on any agenda designed to meet this challenge. The ICM needs a new generation of innovators, regulators, intermediaries and risk managers with the right blend of capital market knowledge and understanding of Shariah principles.

And that is why the SIDC’s annual Islamic Markets Programme is of particular relevance because it represents a planned and carefully thought through process designed for creating educated and well-informed ICM practitioners.

Why the theme “Innovating for Growth”?
This year we have chosen to concentrate on “Innovating for Growth”. Given the strong growth in demand for Islamic financial instruments and a shortage of satisfactory ICM products, the role of innovation in meeting client needs has never been more essential. Moreover, the rapid innovation required can only be based on a profound understanding of the fundamentals and mechanics of the Islamic capital market and its instruments. Therefore the IMP covers the principles of Islamic finance on which further successful innovation and product development must be based.

ICM Products must be structured so that they offer equivalent or better investment returns than their conventional rivals. However, product proliferation should aim at creating not only viable but also attractive options to investors. With intermediaries worldwide rushing in to tap into the Islamic capital market, competition is fierce when it comes to developing new instruments that will satisfy increasingly sophisticated Islamic investors. Constructive thinking, creative product differentiation and positioning, global compatibility, credible pricing, aggressive branding and promotion will ensure that we meet competition head on with mature products to satisfy sophisticated investors. Institutions and intermediaries must take these essentials to heart when structuring innovative Shariah compliant financial instruments.

As a result, during the course of this learning program, you will not only deal with Islamic Capital Market fundamentals, concepts and mechanics, but you will also get to take away new ideas and approaches generated from discussions with our line up of distinguished ICM experts and scholars. In addition to improving the understanding of ICM fundamentals, each year the IMP is designed to focus on one key aspect of this rapidly growing sector.

The programme
The IMP is designed to cater to a wide audience of both experienced practitioners and new entrants into the world of Islamic Finance. It is designed for individuals involved in any aspect of Islamic Finance and is of greatest value for professionals dealing with Islamic products and institutions.

The IMP is an interactive programme designed to facilitate the exchange of views through presentations and panel discussions. We hope that the resulting interaction will provide ample opportunities for you to share the concerns and challenges you face in your home markets. I would encourage you to participate actively in all the sessions and freely voice your thoughts or ideas and challenge “received wisdom” in order to gain maximum benefit from the programme utilizing the unique mix of expert speakers gathered here.

Given the array of experts we have here with us in this programme, I am confident that all of you will go back to your countries brimming with fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and successful models which may help you to address issues that are unique to your countries. Please use this opportunity to network, make new friends, and reconnect with old friends; for only by fostering an active interchange of ideas and experiences and by building a strong international network of expertise will we be able to create the climate of innovation and collaboration needed to produce the new instruments necessary to satisfy the demands of sophisticated Islamic capital market participants.

I hope that my introduction to this seminar has sharpened your appetites to learn more. I have no doubt that you will have much to share and learn from the speakers, and from one another’s experiences.

Distinguished speakers, practitioners and experts, please accept our deepest appreciation for taking time out of your busy schedules to share your experiences and views with the participants of this programme.

A special note of thanks is due to our course directors, Dr. Daud Bakar and Mr. Wan Rahim for their Herculean effort in putting this program together and agreeing to coordinate the program sessions.

Let me not keep you any longer from the programme prepared for you. I hope all of you have a fruitful and rewarding seminar, and a memorable stay in Kuala Lumpur and I look forward to seeing you again next year.

Copyright © 2007 SIDC

Fireworks On Chinese New Year 2009

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Fireworks On Chinese New Year 2009

25th January 2009

Photographer : Mr. Raymond Lee @2008 | Web Design : Vincent Yong



A firework is classified as a low explosive pyrotechnic device used primarily for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event (also called a fireworks show or pyrotechnics) is a display of the effects produced by firework devices. Fireworks competitions are also regularly held at a number of places. Fireworks (devices) take many forms to produce the four primary effects: noise, light, smoke, and floating materials (confetti for example). They may be designed to burn with colored flames and sparks. Displays are common throughout the world and are the focal point of many cultural and religious celebrations.

Fireworks were originally invented in ancient China in the 12th century for entertainment purposes, as a natural extension of the Chinese invention of gunpowder. Such important events and festivities as Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival were and still are times when fireworks are guaranteed sights. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.

Fireworks are generally classified as to where they perform, either as a ground or aerial firework. In the latter case they may provide their own propulsion (skyrocket) or be shot into the air by a mortar (aerial shell).

The most common feature of fireworks is a paper or pasteboard tube or casing filled with the combustible material, often pyrotechnic stars. A number of these tubes or cases are often combined so as to make, when kindled, a great variety of sparkling shapes, often variously colored. The skyrocket is a common form of firework, although the first skyrockets were used in war. The aerial shell, however, is the backbone of today’s commercial aerial display, and a smaller version for consumer use is known as the festival ball in the United States. Such rocket technology has also been used for the delivery of mail by rocket and is used as propulsion for most model rockets.

Improper use of fireworks may be dangerous, both to the person operating them (risks of burns and wounds) and to bystanders; in addition, they may start fires after landing on flammable material. For this reason, the use of fireworks is generally legally restricted. Display fireworks are restricted by law for use by professionals; consumer items, available to the public, are smaller versions containing limited amounts of explosive material to reduce potential dangers.


The earliest unequivocal documentation of fireworks dates back to 12th century China,[1] where they were first used to frighten away evil spirits with their loud sound (鞭炮/鞭砲 biān pào) and also to pray for happiness and prosperity.

Eventually, the art and science of firework making developed into an independent profession. In ancient China, pyrotechnicians (firework-masters) were well-respected for their knowledge and skill in mounting dazzling displays of light and sound. Fireworks may have also led to the use of military rockets in China. A record in 1264 states that the speed of the rocket-propelled ‘ground-rat’ firework frightened the Empress Dowager Gong Sheng during a feast held in her honor by her son Emperor Lizong of Song (r. 1224–1264). By the 14th century, rocket propulsion had become common in warfare, as evidenced by the Huolongjing compiled by Liu Ji (1311–1375) and Jiao Yu (fl. c. 1350–1412).

Since then, any event—a birth, wedding, coronation or New Year’s Eve celebration—has become a fitting occasion for noisemakers.

Amédée-François Frézier published a “Treatise on Fireworks” in 1706, covering the recreational and ceremonial uses of fireworks, rather than their military uses. The book became a standard text for fireworks makers.

Music for the Royal Fireworks was composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749 to celebrate the peace Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which had been declared the previous year.

In the United States

America’s earliest settlers brought their enthusiasm for fireworks to the United States. Fireworks and black ash were used to celebrate important events long before the American Revolutionary War. The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before Americans knew whether the new nation would survive the war; fireworks were a part of all festivities. In 1789, George Washington’s inauguration was also accompanied by a fireworks display. This early fascination with their noise and color continues today.

In 2004, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, pioneered the commercial use of aerial fireworks launched with compressed air rather than gunpowder. The display shell explodes in the air using an electronic timer. The advantages of compressed air launch are a reduction in fumes, and much greater accuracy in height and timing.

Islamic Alternative Strategy Funds

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) will be organising the 2nd International Islamic Capital Market Forum on 13 November 2008 in Kuala Lumpur. The Forum’s theme is Islamic Alternative Investments – Alternative Strategy Funds and Venture Capital. It is not an easy task these days to chart the landscape for finance, let alone in an area of active innovation as in Islamic finance. The enthusiasm and energy levels are certainly high enough that Islamic finance frequently wanders off well-trodden paths and beyond neatly-defined boundaries.



Islamic Alternative Strategy Funds

& Venture Capital

13th November 2008

Conference Hall, Securities Commission, Kuala Lumpur.

Photographer : Mr. Raymond Lee @2008 Web Design : Vincent Yong

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) will be organizing the 2nd International Islamic Capital Market Forum on 13 November 2008 in Kuala Lumpur. The Forum’s theme is Islamic Alternative Investments – Alternative Strategy Funds and Venture Capital.

Keynote Address
YBhg Dato’ Sri Zarinah Anwar,Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia
at the
Second International Islamic Capital Market Forum
Islamic Alternative Strategy Funds and Venture Capital
13 November 2008, Conference Hall, Securities Commission

Distinguished guests, speakers, ladies and gentlemen

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to the Second International Islamic Capital Market Forum and the Securities Commission. ‘

1. It is not an easy task these days to chart the landscape for finance, let alone in an area of active innovation as in Islamic finance. The enthusiasm and energy levels are certainly high enough that Islamic finance frequently wanders off well-trodden paths and beyond neatly-defined boundaries.
2. Managing the change process in Islamic finance becomes an even more challenging task in the current global financial crisis where recent events portend that the future topography of global finance will be radically different from the way it is currently shaped. Even as global efforts are underway to contain the effects of financial contagion, it is evident to all that the current global financial architecture is flawed and major re-wiring is required.
3. But just how different remains a conjecture. Many see — or hope to see — a future environment that provides stability where financial risk-taking and leverage is better controlled; where private gains do not come at the cost of huge social losses; and where the distribution of wealth is firmly grounded and more inclusive.
4. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, amid this soul-searching about the global system of finance, proponents of the Islamic approach are discovering a renewed sense of purpose and adopting a more confident view of their future — a view where, according to one commentator,

Islamic finance has entered a bright new stage of development, emerging after the global financial crisis as a more equitable and efficient alternative to the Western approach.1

5. Indeed, there are many who see the Shariah-based approach as a panacea for the problems that have beset global finance. They argue that Islamic finance has largely escaped the fallout from the global financial crisis, thanks to rules that forbid the sort of risky business that is felling mainstream institutions.2
6. So will Islamic finance lead the way for others to follow? There are certainly good reasons to think so. Islamic financing involves a closer link between financial flow and productivity because interest-bearing transactions are not sanctioned. This contributes towards insulating Islamic finance from potential risks resulting from excess leverage and speculative financial activities. This characteristic of Islamic financing, along with a tight regulatory framework governing transparency for trading and fund management has helped cushion Malaysia from the shocks affecting the global hedge fund industry.
7. Let me emphasise that the Securities Commission recognises the need to facilitate a shift from a traditional long-only view of investing into one that provides the flexibility to employ sophisticated strategies to manage risk with greater precision. The advantage of modern finance is that it makes markets more efficient and deepens liquidity and, consistent with this, it should be an objective of securities regulators to facilitate the hedging of risks in markets. From our perspective, problems arise when hedging activities are opaque, when there is lack of oversight and a sense of accountability and ethical conduct.
8. In this context, the SC is reviewing its Regulated Short-Selling and Securities-Borrowing and Lending Framework with a view to introducing appropriate flexibilities within the Shariah context to enable the establishment of alternative strategy funds which are highly dependent on their ability to undertake hedging strategies. The Shariah Advisory Council has already approved regulated short selling via a Shariah-compliant replicated SBL and would continue to assess other issues including leveraging and other hedge strategies. These regulatory developments will provide a sound basis for Alternative Strategy Funds to be used as a launch-pad for Islamic funds employing absolute return strategies.
9. In this regard, I would like to highlight that the Shariah-based approach contains in-built checks and balances through risk- and profit-sharing structures. More critically, it demands a high level of disclosure and transparency in the financial system which is consistent with the principles of sound securities regulation as well as in compliance with Shariah requirements. You would have noted the tendency for sound financial conduct to share common characteristics with Shariah principles.
10. At the same time, it is important to note that  Islamic finance is not risk-free finance. Any endeavour carries risk—otherwise there would be no reward. Islamic finance exists within the real economy; it interacts with the financial system through Muslim and non-Muslim investors, issuers and intermediaries; it is therefore no less exposed to business risks and market cycles.
11. For example, deflation of the property sector, on which many Islamic structures are based, would lead to a fall in the value of Shariah-compliant securities as it would for any mortgage-backed securities. And as Islamic finance expands its international dimension, Islamic transactions would also increasingly be exposed to broader risk elements such as currency volatility, counterparty risks, macro risks and operational risks.
12. Islamic asset markets have certainly been affected by price volatility and higher risk aversion: the value of Shariah-compliant equities worldwide has declined as a result of the current market turbulence in tandem with that of global equities; the returns on sukuk have been flat for the year. In fact, several banks in the Gulf states recently experienced liquidity problems which was triggered by the sudden appreciation of the US dollar and a decline in the price of crude oil – requiring the same type of interventions that occur also in the global markets.
13. The global environment has also affected the pace of innovation in the Islamic space. Growth in Islamic hedge funds, for instance, is reportedly slower but this is not surprising given that the conventional hedge fund industry is expected to shrink by a third to a half.3
14. However, it should also be noted that the more established areas of Islamic finance seem to be weathering the storm relatively better than their conventional finance counterparts. Global sukuk issuance is down this year—possibly by as much as 40% — but nonetheless the estimated issuance of $20–25 billion4 is reasonable in the current market environment. In fact, several Middle Eastern sukuk funds have been established in recent months reflecting the views of the fund management industry that there are still ample opportunities in this market segment.5
15. In June this year, I spoke at the Islamic Capital Market Conference on the sustainability of Islamic finance. One of my observations then was that Islamic finance has begun to move increasingly into the realm of capital markets, primarily through the growth of sukuk instruments, but also in the area of structured products. However, I also noted that so far, structured financing is being done by re-crafting conventional instruments in an Islamic way.
16. This is an important issue because if Islamic finance is to take the lead in driving forward a more robust and equitable global financial system, then innovations within the Islamic space must come organically, and not just by mimicking the conventional industry. Islamic finance emphasises the link between financial assets and real assets and provides a framework that is stable and sound. In light of the current market developments, this is highly commendable and the Islamic finance industry must take the opportunity to put this advantage to work.
17. Venture capital is another promising growth area, because the financing techniques required are similar to the stated principles of Islamic finance, namely favouring profit and loss over interest. Moreover, by providing funds to entrepreneurs with sound ideas, Islamic finance can help to promote innovation, invention, job creation and the development of high-growth industries. The promotion of Islamic venture capital is also timely given the tightness in global credit markets.
18. We can thus view the advent of the Islamic hedge funds in the spirit of promoting organic innovation. Currency and commodity funds have been successful in attracting Islamic investors because their investing styles involve underlying assets. The use of Shariah-compliant methods to cope with Islamic requirements on the use of leverage6 represents another promising path to be explored.

Ladies and gentlemen

19. The current challenges posed by an unstable global financial system provide an opportunity for Islamic finance experts to consider the opportunities to promote the virtues of a shariah-compliant financial system. This must go hand-in-hand with continued advancement in knowledge and innovation.  Islamic investors also need to consider diversification strategies and to reduce their reliance on their traditional investments in commodity mudharabah, mutual funds, and direct equity and bond investments. Islamic banks and other financial intermediaries do need to expand their capabilities in diversifying the risks on their balance sheets and to manage their liquidity. A thriving Shariah-based industry in venture capital, private equity and alternative investments would add breadth to Islamic capital markets and provide the impetus to grow a comprehensive and more robust Islamic financial system.
20. Overall, we must remain mindful that the key to sustainability lies in innovation. To add value, Islamic finance must provide form with substance, and not form over substance. So we must work together to chart the future landscape of Islamic finance so that it delivers an “inclusive prosperity” that meets not just the pursuit of profit for individuals but the equitable sharing of wealth for society. After all, Islamic finance is synonymous with socially responsible and ethical finance.

Thank you.

1 “Global financial crisis highlights benefits of Islamic finance.” By İbrahim Öztürk. Today’s Zaman. Oct 22nd 2008.
2 “Islamic banking escapes global financial crisis”. Middle East Online. Oct 20th 2008. The same report quotes a Kuwait Finance House report that states: “In the current financial turmoil, it is interesting to note that Islamic financing may have prevented a majority of the mess created by the conventional banking and financial institutions.”
3 “Extinction predicted for a third of hedge funds.” Financial Times. Oct 23rd 2008.
4 “Sukuk Issuance Expected To Exceed $20bn In 2008”. Standard & Poor’s press release. Sep 9th 2008.
5 They are Algebra Capital (Dubai), Elaf Bank (Bahrain), Al Arabi Investment Group (Jordan) and Jadwa Investment (Saudi Arabia).
6 A common scenario is where “… fund managers purchase a commodity from a seller – the lender – and agree to resell it to the lender at a price to be paid in the future. The fund manager then sells the commodity and invests the proceeds. In some cases, the seller also acts as broker to sell the commodity for the manager and forward proceeds.” See “Hedge funds home in on Islamic investors” by Tahir Jawed. Nov 6th 2008.