The total Malaysian Islamic capital market (ICM) is projected to reach almost three trillion ringgit, RM2.88 trillion to be precise, in the year 2020, with the sukuk market set to break the one trillion-ringgit barrier to account for RM1.33 trillion worth of issuances and the market capitalization of Shariah-compliant companies accounting for RM1.55 trillion.
The fact that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the ICM for the decade 2010-2020 is projected at a healthy double digit 10.6 percent compared with 13.6 percent for the previous decade suggests that the growth prospects for the most developed Islamic capital markets in the world is indeed sustainable and exciting.
These projections by the Securities Commission Malaysia, the securities regulator, and as detailed in the Capital Markets Master Plan 2 (CMP2), augurs well for the development of the Malaysian and regional ICM.
But as the reported postponement a few days ago of the planned debut dim sum renminbi sukuk offering by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, because of the volatility and uncertainty in the global financial markets, suggest, the growth prospects for the Malaysian ICM will be to a certain extent tempered by extraneous factors which will be out of the control of potential Malaysian issuers and which would impact on market sentiments and confidence, which in turn will affect pricing and yields and the decision to go to the markets to raise funds.
However, sovereign Malaysia has been setting the pace with its third international sovereign sukuk offering in July this year, a dual tranche $2 billion Wakala (agency) sukuk issued by the Wakala Global Sukuk Berhad on behalf of the Malaysian government, who is also the obligor. This together with the spate of corporate issuances augurs well for the Malaysian market where a yield curve for
sovereign sukuk is fast emerging given that the $2 billion offering is the third Malaysian sovereign global sukuk offering in the last 11 years.
According to the Securities Commission Malaysia estimates, as published in its latest ICM Bulletin Second Quarter 2011, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the sukuk market is projected at a robust 16.3 percent for the 2010-2020 period compared with 22.2 percent for the 2000-2010 decade. During 2010 the Malaysian sukuk market totaled RM294 billion and this is projected to quadruple to RM1.33 trillion by the year 2020.
The poor relation of the Malaysian Islamic Capital market (ICM), however, will remain the Islamic unit trust and mutual funds industry which is expected to increase from RM24 billion in 2010 to RM158 billion in net asset value (NAV), with CAGT declining from 303 percent for the 2000-2010 period to 20.7 percent for the 2010-2020 decade.
The driving factors for the Securities Commission’s optimism are manifold. Malaysia, stresses the securities regulator, already has the advantage of having a capital market where the majority of assets are Shariah-compliant, which therefore attracts participation of both Shariah and conventional investors. “The broad customer demand and liquidity provide positive reinforcement while Islamic products and services also benefit from the advantages of the broader investor protection
framework with the additional assurance of greater consistency and clarity in Shariah governance,” added the commission.
Greater internationalization of the capital market is a critical aspect of the strategy to strengthen Malaysia’s positioning as a global ICM hub. This will be complemented by strategies to strengthen the distinctive value propositions offered by Malaysia for a broad range of Islamic intermediation activities.
Khazanah Nasional itself last year originated its first cross-border sukuk with a 1.5 billion Singapore dollars issuance in neighboring Singapore to part finance the acquisition of the Parkway Healthcare company. Khazanah’s postponed dim sum sukuk in Hong Kong would have been a further example of the strategy of Malaysian government-linked companies to invest in sukuk issuances and other asset classes in markets other than domestic ones to capitalize on diversified opportunities for better returns for investments.
At the same time, according to the SC, “there is a need to strengthen the capacity of (Malaysian issuers) to structure multi-currency and cross-border transactions, and to build greater scale to enable Malaysian intermediaries to make further inroads into the international market.”
This together with the encouragement of the Malaysian government for local government-linked issuers to invest up to 20 percent of their portfolios in sukuk, is bound to impact on the cross-border activities of the Malaysian issuers. Not surprisingly, the Khazanah Nasional dim sum sukuk when it eventually does get launch, may start a trend of much greater exposure of Malaysian investors and issuers to the international sukuk market.
In the equities sector, the SC is collaborating with industry players to expand the range of Shariah-compliant stockbroking and portfolio products and services. At the current stage of development, there is also a need to strengthen the service and operational infrastructure so that domestic Islamic products and services can be effectively marketed to global customers.
This, says, the SC, requires a widening of international distribution channels coupled with intensiﬁed proﬁling of Malaysia’s ICM. There is also a need to accelerate the building of critical mass for the onshore portfolio management. The development of a signiﬁcant Islamic fund management industry is critical to build domestic take-up capabilities for innovative domestic and international Islamic products. In this regard, widening the range of Shariah-compliant products — in the form of collective investment schemes, indices, ETFs and REITs — and the diversity of their investments by sector and by geography, can attract more domestic and international investors.
Mutual regulatory arrangements to facilitate cross-border distribution will be expanded.
Malaysian Islamic asset management companies such as CIMB Principal Islamic Asset Management and AmInvestment Islamic are already taking up this challenge and positioning themselves through venturing abroad and are in the process of launching funds aimed at inter alia GCC and other investors.
One important development in the SC’s efforts to further facilitate internationalization of the Malaysian ICM, is the shift of the Malaysian ICM industry from a Shariah-compliant approach to a Shariah-based approach where the underlying structures of products such as Mudarabah and Musharakah would originate from risk-sharing principles and offer signiﬁcantly different pricing and returns characteristics. This, as opposed to the debt-based Islamic private debt securities, which are popular in the Malaysian market but are not accepted by the Middle Eastern markets because of differences in Shariah opinions.
In fact, the Malaysian government has even extended tax incentives to Malaysian structurers and issuers to launch asset-backed sukuk which are eminently acceptable to Middle East and other investors. Apart from Mudarabah and Musharaka sukuk, Wakala (agency) sukuk are now becoming popular.
Malaysia recognizes the need to focus on product innovation to develop a comprehensive array of Shariah-based products for the industry. Toward this end, the government of Mohd Najib Abdul Razak has introduced amended versions of the Central Bank Act 2009 and the Capital Markets Act 2010 to further evolve the development of the Shariah legal, regulatory and governance framework for the Islamic finance industry.
“The shift to a Shariah-based approach,” however, warns the SC, “will require a higher level of risk tolerance and acceptance of the longer gestation arising from participating in business ventures with more direct linkages between risk and returns.”
source: Arab News