And if they do a U turn midstream?
March 20 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and
Singapore agreed to adopt rules for greater disclosure and to ensure their
investments are for economic, not “geopolitical,” purposes.
Paulson and officials from the two countries said there’s a “common interest
in an open and stable international financial system,” according to a joint
statement after talks in Washington. A set of “best practices will create
strong incentive among SWFs and investment-recipient countries to hold
themselves to high standards.”
The U.S. is pushing the government-run funds and their target countries to
agree to guidelines being drafted by the International Monetary Fund
and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Paulson’s efforts
are aimed in part to head off protectionist sentiment in Congress against
“Singapore and UAE have long-established, well-respected funds and are
showing real leadership by joining with us today,” Paulson said in the
statement. “The U.S. welcomes sovereign wealth fund investment and looks
forward to continuing to work with these two countries and others to support the
initiatives under way at the IMF and OECD.”
The Treasury chief has expressed concern that a lack of transparency by the
funds could spark a rise in U.S. protectionism. The European Commission last
month called for an international accord to limit the political influence of the
state-owned capital pools, which have grown in number to about 40, managing
between $2 trillion and $3 trillion.
The three countries today agreed that all investments must be based only on
commercial grounds, and the funds should increase the disclosure of information
and make sure they have strong risk management and governance controls. They
also agreed that countries that receive investment shouldn’t set up
protectionist barriers and have consistent, non-discriminatory investment rules.
Unclear abour Islamic finance. We, we are here to help. Dig this …..
Helping the West Understand Islam through
Finance Lahem al Nasser , asharq alawsat
Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Islamic banking derives its rulings and principles
from the Holy Quran and Sunnah (Prophetic traditions). Both are divine sources
that God revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). In the Holy Quran, God said:
“And Allah has revealed to you the Book and the wisdom,” (Surat An Nisaa, Verse
The torture never stops.
According to Mufassirs, those who interpret the Quran, wisdom here refers to
the Sunnah and this is what qualifies Islamic banking to solve a number of
problems that the contemporary financial system suffers from as a result of
using methods and tools that are purely governed by the selfish interests of
humans irrespective of the catastrophic effects this may have on society for
example usury, Gharar and Jahala [a sale involving risk], and Maysar [gambling]
all of which are prohibited by Shariah law because they inflict serious damage
upon individuals and society.
Perhaps the clearest example of the harm that these prohibited tools could
inflict upon society and economy is the mortgage crisis that the world is
experiencing today. It has led many international financial institutions to
write off numerous debts and consequently has suffered many setbacks causing the
dismissal of numerous employees and disturbance to financial markets. There has
been a lot of talk recently about the possibility of an international recession
as major financial institutions have collapsed one after another and their
experiences have not assisted in avoiding or predicting this crisis. What has
happened so far might only be the tip of the iceberg.
Despite the magnitude and the escalation of this crisis, it does not affect
Islamic banks because Islamic law (Shariah) that governs these financial
institutions prohibits using the financial tools that have led to the mortgage
crisis. In view of the fact that a number of Western societies have been hit by
this crisis, where numerous Islamic banking institutes are based, many
researchers within these societies will look into the foundations upon which
these institutions are based and the methods that they follow. Undoubtedly, any
study of these institutions would implicitly lead the researcher to study the
Quran and Sunnah.
I believe that any study of the Quran and Sunnah away from the preconceptions
and abhorrent fanaticism, would push one to realize the greatness of the Islamic
religion and its mercy upon mankind. In the Quran, God says, “And We have not
sent you [the Prophet Mohammed] but as a mercy to the worlds,” (Surat Anbiya,
Uh, I thought we were talking about finance.
Therefore, I consider this a suitable opportunity to urge Islamic financial
institutions to fund research and studies that are related to Islamic financial
theories and to increase the number of symposiums and workshops that will
explain the foundations upon which Islamic banking is based and the apparatus
that it uses. In addition they should demonstrate the Islamic perspective of the
causes of the mortgage crisis and how the Islamic financial institutions’
adherence to the provisions of Islamic Law allowed them to avoid this crisis.
Furthermore, Islamic financial institutions must seek to achieve the goals of
Islamic Law and keep away from formalism in its transactions, showing the world
that Islamic law is capable of solving its difficult financial problems.
There’s more trouble ……… read it all. Lahem al Nasser is an Islamic banking adviser.
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