Al Busaidy Mansoor Jamal & Co.

Barristers and Legal Consultants

Islamic Banking and Finance

New rules for marketing insurance products in Oman

Filed under Capital Markets, Insurance, Takaful

Oman insurance rules

Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has published new rules for the marketing of insurance and takaful products in Oman (Decision E/69/2017). These replace the previous rules issued in 1983.

The new rules introduce a raft of additional requirements including:
– obliging insurers to complete CMA-issued application forms;
– expanding the documentation that an insurer needs to furnish in support of its application for product approval including: policy documents in Arabic, or Arabic translations (which are deemed to override their English counterparts); the insurer’s pricing policy for the product (which must be consistent with the insurer’s board approved underwriting and pricing policy); and marketing materials for the policy;
– recognition of fairness standards, which oblige insurers to ensure that policy documentation is balanced and fair;
– introduction of a time-bound application process (30 days in which to complete the application process from initial filing) and response process (30 days from filing of a complete application for the CMA to respond); and
– levying fees which insurance companies are required to pay the CMA for scrutiny of the product application (OMR 100) and for marketing it in Oman (OMR 500).

While overall the new rules bring structure to the previous practice-driven approach to obtaining CMA approval for marketing new products, insurers are likely to need further guidance on matters not specifically addressed by them. These include the procedure to be followed upon a refusal or deemed refusal of an application by the CMA, or the impact on insured parties and reinsurers of the cancellation by the CMA of consent for marketing a product.

For more on Oman’s insurance law, contact Ardeshir Patel.

AMJ advises Oman Government on US$2billion international sukuk

Filed under AMJ Deals, AMJ News, Capital Markets, Islamic Banking and Finance, Sukuk

Oman's US$2billion sukuk

AMJ has advised the Government of Oman and the issuer, Oman Sovereign Sukuk Company, on the Omani law aspects of establishing an unlimited sukuk alijarah trust certificate issuance programme, and the debut US$2bn international sukuk issuance under the Programme. The Programme was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange in mid-May and followed by the US$2bn sovereign issuance which settled on June 1.

The sukuk facility, which has a seven-year tenor and profit rate of 4.397 percent, was effected under Rule 144A and Regulation S and listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.

The final order book was reportedly in excess of US$6.9 billion, more than three times the issue size, which demonstrates strong international demand for Oman’s high-yielding debt despite the country’s recent credit downgrade by Standard and Poor.

The transaction marks a number of firsts; the Programme is the first of its kind established by the Government; the sukuk issuance is Oman’s largest-ever; and the Sovereign’s first public offer of sukuk in the international market. The issuance marks Oman’s second foray into the international debt capital markets this year following a US$5 billion multi-tranche conventional bond sale in March upon which AMJ also advised. The funds raised by the two issuances are expected to meet a significant portion of the Sultanate’s requirements for 2017.

Mansoor Malik, managing partner, supported by senior Islamic Finance associate Asad Qayyum acted as Oman counsel to the Government and the issuer. Clifford Chance acted as international counsel. Alizz Islamic Bank, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered Bank were the sukuk book-runners.

In mid-2016, AMJ acted as sole counsel to the government on the Sultanate’s first international US$500 million sukuk issuance, which was privately placed. In two earlier ‘first of a kind’ transactions, AMJ advised the issue manager and joint lead managers on Oman’s debut US$648 million sovereign sukuk in 2015 and on Oman’s first-ever corporate issuance in 2013.

AMJ partners Islamic Finance Oman Forum 2017

Filed under AMJ News, Banking and Finance, Capital Markets, Islamic Banking and Finance

Mansoor Malik IFN

AAMJ partnered the Islamic Finance News in staging a successful second Oman Forum and Dialogue at the Grand Millennium, Muscat on March 7. The day-long event gathered over 150 industry players, legal experts and stakeholders from across the Middle East, Europe and Asia in an audience with the regulators to discuss trends in Oman’s fast-growing Islamic finance industry.

In the opening keynote address H.E Abdullah Salim Al-Salmi, executive president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced that two private sector sukuk programmes totalling OMR 300million (US$ 780million), have received initial approval from the CMA. These sukuk programmes are the ‘first of a kind’ under Oman’s new sukuk regulation and come as the government is contemplating a second international sovereign issuance.

In a second keynote, H.E Hamoud Sangour Al Zadjali, the executive president of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) expressed satisfaction with the pace of development in the Islamic finance segment. In the short span of four years, the combined assets of Oman’s Islamic banks and windows had reached OMR 3billion, representing a 10% market share, by the end of December 2016.

AMJ’s managing partner, Mansoor Malik, shared his insights on Islamic finance regulatory frameworks in two expert panel sessions. He stressed the need for the industry and regulators to embrace alternative investment products in order to maintain the positive growth trajectory of the Shariah compliant segment and create a vibrant and sustainable market. Malik recently advised on the Sultanate’s international US$500 million sukuk, which was privately placed and settled on 14 July 2016, as well as the sovereign’s debut sukuk and preceding corporate sukuk, the first of its kind in Oman.

AMJ’s banking partner, Marcus Pery, participated in the Forum’s closed-door dialogue on developing Oman’s Islamic financial markets, between industry experts and CMA and CBO representatives. Senior associate, Asad Qayyum delivered a workshop to students on legal and regulatory issues in Islamic finance.

For more information, contact Bernadette Bhacker-Millard

IFN Islamic Finance Forum returns to Muscat

Filed under AMJ News, Capital Markets, Central Bank of Oman, Islamic Banking and Finance

AMJ is partnering with the IFN for this major event in the Islamic finance sector calendar in Muscat on March 7, 2017.

With keynote addresses by H.E Abdullah Al-Salmi, Executive President of the Capital Market Authority and H.E Hamood bin Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, the Forum will provide an opportunity for industry players to gain insight into Oman’s Shariah-compliant capital raising and investment space as well as to network with other executives and leaders from government, industry and institutions.

This 2017 Forum builds on the success of the inaugural seminar last year which brought together more than 120 senior industry players from across the GCC with 26 domestic and international speakers. It will include an audience with the regulators and expert panel discussions on legislative and regulatory developments in the Islamic finance space as well as the outlook and prospects for Oman’s fast fund management industry, more sukuk issuances and cross border deals

For more information, contact Bernadette Bhacker-Millard

AMJ advises on Oman’s international sukuk issuance

Filed under AMJ Deals, Capital Markets, Sukuk

Oman Islamic finance - sukuk regulation

AMJ acted as sole Omani Counsel to all the parties on the Oman government’s recent US$500mn sukuk issuance. The sovereign sukuk issuance, Oman’s first US dollar-denominated sukuk issuance, was privately placed by Oman Sovereign Sukuk S.A.O.C, a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Oman and wholly owned by the Government of Oman.

The certificates were priced with a profit rate of 3.5% per annum, payable semi-annually. As in the case of Oman’s debut sovereign sukuk, the certificates are based on an al-Ijarah structure. The tenor is 6 years with maturity date of July 14, 2022.

Standard Chartered Bank acted as lead manager and placement agent for the issuance and Deutsche Bank as the certificate-holders’ agent and principal paying agent.

The purpose of this sophomore issuance is to finance ongoing development projects as well as to raise Oman’s profile in international debt markets. The issuance met with strong demand from investors despite a Baa1 rating by Moody’s compared to its A1 rating for the previous sovereign issuance.

Commenting on the deal, AMJ managing partner, Mansoor Malik, said, “It is a testament to investor confidence in Oman’s stable outlook and the government’s risk profile that, despite the rating downgrade, this international issuance achieved the same pricing as the previous sovereign issuance. We are pleased to have played our part in another landmark transaction in Oman’s Islamic finance space and to assist efforts to maintain forward momentum in the economy during challenging times.”

Mansoor Malik led AMJ’s team which included corporate and capital markets partner, Ardeshir Patel, and senior Islamic Finance associate Asad Qayyum. The same team acted as Oman Counsel to the issue manager and joint lead managers on Oman’s debut sovereign transaction in 2015.

Allen and Overy acted as International Counsel for Standard Chartered Bank and Clifford Chance as International Counsel for Oman Sovereign Sukuk S.A.O.C and the Government.