| April 11
April 11 Pakistan's capital market regulator
plans to streamline rules for issuing Islamic bonds, providing
local firms with alternative funding options as demand for
sharia compliant products continues to outstrip supply.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)
has proposed amendments to its 2015 sukuk regulations to make
the process easier and cheaper for issuers, with a two-week
public consultation on the amendments until April 24.
"SECP shall finalize the amendments soon after the
completion of public consultation," spokesperson Bilal Rasul
"This is a fairly quick process, it tends to be completed
within a week or two."
Amendments include waiving mandatory underwriting when the
purpose of issuing sukuk is to repay existing debt and reducing
the minimum number of underwriters from two to one.
Pakistan has seen strong growth of Islamic investment funds
which has fueled demand for sukuk. Islamic mutual funds held
242.7 billion rupees ($2.3 billion) in assets as of December, or
37 percent of the total.
Around two-thirds of assets in the country's voluntary
pension system are now managed under Islamic principles.
The SECP also wants to emphasize the use of special purpose
vehicles for sukuk issuance, a common practice in other sukuk.
It would also align the definition of sukuk with that of the
Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial
Institutions (AAOIFI), a global standard-setting body.
The regulator has also asked the stock exchange to submit
its own set of proposals to reduce the costs of both market
making and issuance of sukuk.
($1 = 104.7000 Pakistani rupees)
(Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Kim Coghill)