Forbes: SINGAPORE (Thomson Financial) –
Singapore is proceeding smoothly in the development of its Islamic finance industry with the first listing of a Shariah-compliant exchange traded fund (ETF) on the local bourse.
‘We have seen promising growth,’ Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday at the launch of the Daiwa FTSE Shariah Japan 100 ETF.
Daiwa’s first ETF that debuted on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) today offers an investment channel into Japanese companies that fully complies with Shariah investment principles.
Daiwa Asset Management Co. Ltd. president and chief executive officer Michihito Higuchi hopes to grow the size of the ETF to between 30 billion to 50 billion yen ($290 million to $484 million) in the next six months.
Heng said this listing adds to the range of ETF and Shariah compliant products in Singapore and provides a direct channel for investing in Japan.
What’s this you say, what’s the matter with Sharia Compliant Finance?
Well according to Shariah Finance Watch:
“The most serious problem with SCF is that it legitimates and institutionalizes Shariah law (i.e., Islamic law), a theo-political- legal doctrine violently opposed to Western values. With $1 -$2 trillion petrodollars annually looking for an investment home, blind exuberance is driving financial institutions to adopt SCF, without even a minimal baseline for legal compliance. This willful blindness, and lack of both transparency and due diligence may cause SCF to be the next sub-prime crisis, but this time with deadly consequences.
Legal Risks: Western financial institutions which adopt SCF may have criminal and civil exposure to claims of aiding and abetting sedition and the material support of terrorism, securities fraud, consumer fraud, racketeering, and antitrust violations, as well as exposure to tort claims for sedition and terrorism, and for the violation of internationally recognized norms of the law of nations.
Terror Financing Mechanism: SCF as monitored by paid Shariah law advisors to U.S. banking institutions must “purify” certain return on investment (ROI) dollars that do not meet Shariah law standards. This money must be donated to Islamic charities – including some that promote Jihad and support suicide bombing. Investment disclosures state that these profits can be as high as 6% of profits of investments. With $800 billion already in SCF assets, the potential for billions of dollars to be siphoned off for terrorism is real. This would be a serious criminal violation of U.S. law.
H/T Rolf K