Home > Finance and Moneter > Ethics-based Financial Transactions: An Assessment of Islamic Finance

Ethics-based Financial Transactions: An Assessment of Islamic Finance

Friday, May 29, 2009 – 2:45pm – 4:00pm
Sessions 24-26

CHAIR: Alicia Giron, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (Mexico)

Contact Information:
GIRON, Alicia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (Mexico)
WITKOWSKA, Janina, University of Lodz (Poland)
BANO, Sayeeda, University of Waikato (New Zealand)

Paper 24.1

WITKOWSKA, Janina, University of Lodz (Poland)

The Changing Position of Developing Sub-regions of Asia in the Global and Regional FDI Flows: Experience of East, South-East and South Asia

Developing Asia has experienced a growing interest of foreign direct investors in the recent period and remains as a whole a net importer of foreign capital in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI). On the other hand, this region of the world economy has been become an important source of outward FDI flows. Economic growth, conducive investment conditions, and regional integration processes are among the main factors encouraging FDI inflows. At the same time, processes of modernization and internationalization of domestic economies are observed, which resulted in involvement of domestic firms in businesses abroad. These processes could be treated from the point of view of development of the region as positive. However, the Asian developing sub-regions participate in global and inter-regional FDI flows unevenly.

The aim of this paper is to examine the changing position of the developing sub-regions of Asia in the global and inter-regional FDI flows and answer the question which factors have been influencing this position, as well as to evaluate prospects for FDI flowing into and out of the developing sub-regions of Asia under the global financial crisis. Special attention will be paid to East, South-East and South Asia sub-regions.

The more detailed tasks of the paper are as follows:
• to calculate the Asian sub-regions shares in the global and regional FDI stock and flows
• to examine geographical and structural trends in FDI flows into and out of the Asian sub-regions
• to evaluate the importance of FDI for the development of selected Asian economies
• to define factors influencing the changes in the position of the analyzed Asian sub-regions in FDI flows, with a special reference to countries’ policies towards foreign direct investors;
• to discuss the role of regional integration processes in stimulating inter- and intra-regional FDI flows with special reference to AFTA, SAARC and APEC
• to evaluate prospects for foreign direct investors’ involvement in the analyzed sub-regions under the conditions of the global financial crisis.

Some limitations in the proposed research can appear. They are related to the complexity of the planned research and to lack of detailed statistical data on inter- and intra-regional FDI flows as far as the analyzed Asian sub-regions are concerned. The uncertainty of the present situation in the global economy causes difficulties in predicting future trends.

Paper 24.2

GIRON, Alicia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (Mexico)

Latin American Banking System and the Financial Crisis

Latin American Banking System is held by the principal top banks around the world. CITY, HSBC, Scotiabank, Santander and BBVA banks are the banks that own the national Latin American banks during the deregulation and liberalization financial process between the eighties and the nineties. Several financial and banking crises and banks’ crops made the easy way for the foreigners’ banks to merge with the national banks. Today, those big banks have fallen and decreased their utilities during the last months. The international banking crisis has reshaped the banking world system. The questions in this paper are what will happen with the Latin American banks? Will they continue with big utilities in this region to reinforce the matrix home offices or will they change their policies in order to give more credit to their branches around the world? Will they return to the hands of the State or will the Central Bank nationalize these branches?

Paper 24.3

Trade and the Transfer of Technology: New Zealand – Philippines Case Study
BANO, Sayeeda, University of Waikato (New Zealand)
TABBADA, Jose, University of the Philippines (The Philippines)


CHAIR: Peeush Ranjan Agrawal, Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (India)

Contact Information:
AGRAWAL, Peeush Ranjan, Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (India)
CHANDRASEKHAR, Sruthi, Indian Institute of Technology (India) (Student)
MULUGETTA, Abraham, Ithaca College (USA)

Paper 25.1

MUKHERJEE, Ramanuj, National University for Juridical Sciences (India) (Student)
THAKUR, Ankit, National University for Juridical Sciences (India) (Student)
CHANDRASEKHAR, Sruthi, Indian Institute of Technology (India) (Student)

Currency Derivatives: Addressing Contemporary Financial Issues in Law and Economics

The importance of currency derivative contracts, entered into in order to hedge foreign exchange related risks, cannot be exaggerated. As a global trade regime is emerging, those who engage in international trade are affected by fluctuations in the forex markets more than ever before. Currency risk hedging is also closely related to the process of hedging risks in the commodity market. The market of currency hedging today runs into tens of trillions of dollars. While currency derivative contracts have steadily become a very important component of the process of globalisation of trade, these instruments are looked upon with suspicion as well. In fact, a surprisingly large body of literature is dedicated to the general desirability of derivative contracts. Although very few of those who have exposure to the international currency market, which includes Multi-National Corporations, banks catering to international clients, investment banks, exporters and importers or any institution or individual who have at least a part of their earnings in foreign currency, can ignore the necessity to enter into currency derivatives to hedge against risk, there have been legal and sociopolitical controversies over these contracts. A whole lot of currency derivative contracts around the world, and specifically in India, have been challenged as wagering contracts. If a derivative contract is entered into with a speculative purpose, it will be a wagering contract. Wagering contracts in most legal systems are unenforceable. What is the boundary that distinguishes hedging of genuine risk from speculation? Is it necessary that a party having genuine hedging necessity would not speculate? It is proposed that the discipline of Law and Economics can provide useful insights and develop a test that can tell apart hedging from speculation.

For this purpose, understanding of wagering and legal treatment of the same in economics is in need of consideration. For creating a legal certainty that can facilitate a growth of the currency derivative market which is acceptable socially and in financial quarters, one must also address the possibility of elimination of risk post contract, but before the derivative contract materialises. Behavioural economics can be used to predict the actions of counterparties in a currency derivative contract in the face of possibility of risk elimination post contract. Should such elimination render a derivative contract into a wagering contract, very interesting behavioural patterns may emerge in the currency derivative markets, which will considerably influence international trade. Application of the game theory in this respect provides significant insight into the law making processs. Hedging enables those with expertise in a certain business activity to engage in that activity without having to bear more risk than what he is able to handle. The extra corpus of risk can be passed on to a counterparty who is willing to bear such risk through a derivative arrangement. The concept of specialisation would explain that such a person is better equipped to deal with the said risk. On the other hand, through forward or options contract, one determines otherwise unknown costs to be incurred in future. Uncertainty as to value always negatively affects bargaining. It also makes searching for a counterparty for entering into a contract difficult. Removing the uncertainty reduces these transaction costs substantially. We propose that this rationale can be used to come up with better law and policy regarding currency derivative contracts, especially to deal with the derivatives or wager dilemma. This argument also has a far reaching effect on the valuation of a derivative contract. Is the arbitrage, i.e. the difference between the contract price and the market price, (known in financial jargon as asset price) be understood to be the only value of the contract, or should one also take into account the costs that could be avoided by entering into the contract in the first place as well? An attempt to answer this question from a Law and Economics perspective will involve an analysis of the current market practices. The market conditions in which currency derivatives are traded, especially in India, will be examined and tested from the angle of economic efficiency. The search for a counterparty for entering into a currency hedging contract entails some search costs. It also means that to avoid legal uncertainty, one must ensure that the counterparty is having genuine hedging interests and is not merely speculating to make profit from the difference in price of currencies. This search cost can be reduced by measures that are to be taken by a state, only one of which is an efficient exchange.

Keeping this in mind, an alternative model with greater efficiency will be proposed. A further economic analysis of accounting standards and how they affect accounting for currency derivatives will be made. Recently, AS‐30, a new standard is being implemented. The advantages of the same as well as the effects on international investors will be discussed. At a theoretical level, the interaction of accounting standards and derivative contracts will be the focus in this part. The proposed paper will elucidate upon some contemporary legal issues surrounding currency derivatives, use economic rationale to describe these issues, and recommend reforms where it is found to be desirable. The primary concern of making international trade barrierless, by removing both regulatory and systemic barriers and protecting legitimate financial and trade interests in a globalised economy would form the underlying philosophy.

Paper 25.2

AGRAWAL, Peeush Ranjan, Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (India)
SRIVASTAVA, Rakesh Kumar, Allahabad,U.P. Technical University (India)
AGRAWAL, Anupama, Gujarat National Law University (Student) (India)

Foreign Direct Investments: Interlocutory 4PS Test Model

In a meeting with the CEO of Unilever UK at its corporate office, the first author, deliberating on organization’s future strategy of expanding business in Eastern Europe and in a new Asia, when USSR had disintegrated and Chinese economy followed by of India started emerging, Unilever preferred to strive for M&A than of green field ventures. On FDI inflows, cross-country supply chain management vertically integrates the cross- functional entities into a singular unit, in fulfillment of a unified goal of enhancing international manufacturing base and market, with several centralized activities remain to their command. The graphical depictions drawn together network, global flow of capital and technology, appropriately to plug missing links in the host country and reap the benefit of scale of economies.

Laxmi Mittal sticks to in an integrated production facility for steel production in Jharkhand and Orissa, focusing on two most populous markets India and China together through Nathula Pass in Sikkim.

Designing an ‘Interlocutory 4Ps test model’ authors translated four complementary factors, the People, the Policy, the Product and the Price for circuiting success of FDI in a country like India, which started its journey of late in 1992, emerging out of economic hardships being witnessed with a high debt -service ratio of 35.6%, now pitching in for a second inning of economic resurgence, on after signing world’s ever unified – the largest civil nuclear treaty for a new generation of technology infusion , naturally to be via FDI route. The flow chart and model designed in the research paper shall draw a new piece of knowledge.

Paper 25.3

MULUGETTA, Abraham, Ithaca College (USA)
MULUGETTA, Yuko, Ithaca College (USA)
TESSEMA, Asrat, Eastern Michigan University (USA)

Varying Influence of Objective Economic Factors on Exchange Rates Determination in the Turbulent Global Credit Crisis

The varying impact of the financial crisis on the economy of nations called for different measures to combat the weakening forces exerted on the global economic structures. Most of 2008 has witnessed coordinated actions of repeated and competitive interest rate reductions by most industrialized and emerging economies in order to stem the sub-prime mortgage loan crisis. The different monetary tools, decreasing interest rates, increasing liquidity, and decreasing reserve requirement, were used by nations like Australia, Canada, Euro-zone, Iceland, India, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S., to soften the blow emanating from the crisis. Similarly, many nations have deployed fiscal policies to avert a collapse in the banking system and to stimulate the faltering economic activities. However, the unprecedented and swift moving economic crisis that has cascaded over most of the industrialized and emerging economies over the last two years is shaking the viability of economic cooperation and coordination among nations to achieve their stated economic goals and reduce exchange rates volatility. In an environment where citizens are stressed from declining economies, property foreclosures, bankruptcies, job and investment losses, and shrinkage of retirement funds, it is difficult to foresee cooperation and coordination of economic activities that are not hampered by political policies. The policies that have been deployed by different nations to combat the crisis are, to a large extent, increasingly being driven by political realities that may not pay due attention to shared benefits of nations that come as a result of reduced exchange rates volatility. National political policies, in a fast declining global economy, do not bode well for economic cooperation and coordination, for such conditions, among others, will lead to increased levels of exchange rates volatility. It is the premise of this study that the tenuous parity relationships of exchange rates determination that are entertained during normal economic conditions will be further tested in this unfolding and declining economic situation. Thus, the enhanced volatility of exchange rates that are triggered by differing economic performance and relatively different economic tools used by nations will make determination of the equilibrium exchange rates among currencies more difficult.

Expectations and Data
In general, central banks of various nations do intervene to influence their nation’s exchange rates and economic performance; however, unless there are coordinated and cooperative actions, individual central bank actions, particularly direct intervention in general, fall prey to currency speculators’ activities. Such seems to be the case in Japan and Switzerland’s efforts in late 2008 and early 2009 to depreciate and Hungary and Iceland to appreciate their currencies. When interventions by many central banks are buffeted by activities that camouflage the real actions, the interventions confound the work of forecasters and currency traders in spot, forward, future, and option markets. Such seems to be the situation in the international financial system at this juncture of seemingly disjointed fiscal and monetary actions. Thus, it is in such circumstances that the study of relative real interest rates and particularly that of forward rate, as an unbiased predictor of future spot rate, becomes questionable, and studies of the contemporaneous relationship between the forward and spot rates take center stage. It is further anticipated that using panel time series analysis that enables the pooling of cross-currency data, may shed light on the usefulness of the parity conditions in forecasting exchange rates, particularly that of the forward rate, in an era of relatively changing (strong in earlier and weak in later periods) economic cooperation conditions.

With this as a background, our study examines the unbiased and contemporaneous relationships of forward and spot rates as the time span imbedded in the forward rate is shortened. The study period covers from 1985, when the Plaza Accord was signed to encourage cooperative actions to influence currency movements by industrialized nations, to December 2008 for some series, and up to April 2009 for others. Each currency specific analysis and panel analysis will be conducted based on the data, ranging from third quarter 1986 to last quarter 2008 for the quarterly analysis, and from February 1985 to April 2009 for the monthly analysis. The countries included in this study are Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.

The dominant model used in the study is:
S t = B0 + B1F t-1 + B2X1 t-1 + .. + B10X9 t-1 + ∑ B n+1ARn t + e t
Where F t-1, is the percentage change of forward rate at time t-1, for delivery at time t. St is the percentage change of the actual spot exchange rate at time t, and e is an error term.

The model includes nine key macro variables in the equation. These are: 1) relative percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index of a foreign nation in comparison to that of the U.S.; 2) relative percentage changes in the Gross Domestic Product; 3) relative percentage changes in the money supply that may account for a probable shift in a nation’s monetary policy; 4) relative percentage changes in foreign exchange reserves (measured in SDR) that may indicate a central bank’s foreign currency intervention activities; 5) relative percentage changes in the industrial share price index that may help assess shifts in perception of risk-reward trade-off of international equity investors in regard to a nation’s financial market performance; 6) relative change in the trade balance ratio (exports divided by imports) that may partially account for the level of strength/weakness of a currency, and/or likely decrease (increase) in a nation’s foreign currency reserve; 7) relative change in budget deficit; 8) percentage change in oil price; 9) relative change in real interest rates derived from nominal interest rates and CPI. The relative percentage change is computed by subtracting the percentage change of a foreign nation from that of the United States for each macro variable.

The reason why these macro variables (major economic factors) are included in the equation is that if the unbiased spot-forward lagged relationship holds, and all macro fundamental information is captured into the forward rate at time t-1, it is thus expected that B0 = 0, B1 = 1 and B2 … B10 = 0. In contrast, if the forward rate at time t-1 is a valid but not perfect predictor of the spot rate at time t, which is also influenced by the macro variables, it is anticipated that at least one of beta coefficients associated with the macro variables should be statistically significant and between 0 and 1, or between -1 and 0, depending on how the exchange rate is quoted, direct or indirect quote.


CHAIR: M. Raquibuz Zaman, Ithaca College (USA)

Contact Information:
ZAMAN, M. Raquibuz, Ithaca College (USA)
ARIFF, Mohamed, Bond University (Australia)
PERRY, Frederick V., Nova Southeastern University (USA)

Paper 26.1

ARIFF, Mohamed, Bond University (Australia)

Ethics-based Financial Transactions: An Assessment of Islamic Finance

This paper assesses a 45-year old experiment with a new form of ethical financial practice, Islamic Finance, which has rapidly established a worldwide foothold. Financial instruments created by Islamic financial institutions are designed to promote seven key ethical financial practices that appear to have evolved over many millennia as equitable contracting promoting socially responsible finance. We then compare these principles with the 200-year old conventional financial principles embodied in modern banking-finance-insurance. The operation of Islamic Finance is based on: profit-shared debt- and equity contracts, and fee-based buy-sell contracts that replaced pre-agreed interest payments; participating in the risk of business before getting a reward, instead of disregarding risk-sharing as in modern debt contracting; and explicit prohibitions on financing few economic activities not promoting socially responsible production. These principles can be traced as divine injunctions in major scriptures. The paper also examines briefly the regulations underpinning this new finance.

Paper 26.2

PERRY, Frederick V., Nova Southeastern University (USA)
REHMAN, Scheherazade, George Washington University (USA)

The Role of Islamic Banking in the Restructuring of the Global Financial Architecture

The understanding of corporate governance in the general literature is essentially the mechanism by which the structure, goals, and regulatory framework of an organization is managed. Over the course of the past two decades there has been an acute awareness of and keen interest in the issue of corporate governance not only on a regional but global scale. This has, in part, been driven by globalization, various regional financial crisis, the velocity of capital flows, poor economic and corporate performance, visibility of sovereign wealth funds, and corruption scandals. The 2008-2009 U.S. banking debacle, which manifested very quickly into a global banking crisis and an ensuing global recession, has renewed the urgency and importance of corporate governance and accompanying regulatory frameworks within the regional and global financial industry (banks and non-bank-financial institution (NFBI). There are renewed calls for not only overhauling regional financial systemic regulatory frameworks to better safeguard the public and investor but also for a renewed better integrated and defined global financial architecture.

In the past, shareholders, depositors, and investors in the United States have felt fairly comfortable, believing themselves protected by a broad range of federal and state laws and regulations that provided a degree of financial oversight for banking and other non-bank financial institutions (NBFI) i.e. hedge funds, credit rating agencies, brokerages, insurance companies, investment banks and the like. However, at the same time, shareholders and the public alike have been equally concerned to ensure that the managers of those companies and institutions, engage in only a reasonable degree of risk, and that they take prudent steps to ensure the financial and legal health including the ultimate success and the maximum profits of the entities in their charge. This basic notion of having confidence in these internal managers and their boards of directors has been the backbone of the U.S. investment community – especially in the purchase of stocks . By the same token, depositors and borrowers also had a fair degree of confidence in the legal and fiscal viability of the banks and financial institutions with which they do business. This multilateral confidence has been undermined and shaken to the core during the 2008-2009 U.S. banking crises. There has been failure on all parts: lack of prudential financial regulatory oversight by Federal and State authorities, the central bank’s faulty interest rate policy and late call of alarm, rating agency’s systemic failure, lack of sound judgment and greed on Wall Street, and undereducated investors, among other players. The resulting erosion of the lack of public confidence in the banking system and NBFIs, and even a loss of confidence of banks in other banks and in NBFIs as well, has resulted in the collapse of investment banking in the United States and giant bankruptcies among both banks and NBFIs. This has brought about an economic slowdown that has reduced financial transactions, which has seriously and adversely impacted global commerce and trade activity, causing a serious and growing world wide economic downturn.

Consequently, the urgent American public’s cry for U.S. regulatory changes and better safeguards in corporate governance in the financial services industry has reverberated all over the world. Many now believe that any changes in the U.S. banking regulatory framework have to be encompassed within a global context, and that the global financial architecture is also in dire need for a regulatory and structural overhaul.

It is interesting to note that within the midst of this global financial meltdown, Islamic banking is being talked about. Islamic banks all over the world are of special interest as their balance sheets are seen to be less affected during this crisis than western banks have been. In retrospect this should not come as a great surprise, since Islamic banks operate under a special set of Islamic rules that seems to have insulated them to some degree in the current crisis revolving around risky assets and financial instruments. Some aspects of Islamic finance and banking are now becoming attractive to western depositors and investors. Some businesses are also now considering safer options such as the Islamic trade financing. Of course, it must be said that while this crisis did not directly hit the specialized balance sheet of global Islamic banks another type of crisis might inflict sizable damage. Nonetheless, the global liquidity crunch and the mistrust of banks in general will impact all financial institutions.

While the global and regional template for the banking is under construction, perhaps certain elements of Islamic banking can provide some guidance, especially in the area of how risk is handled and allocated.

Islamic banking has been a fairly new phenomenon on the world stage and has grown at a rapid pace during the past 30 years. In order to grow and prosper, and become a viable companion or alternative to conventional financing, it must appeal not only to Muslims but to others as well. While Islamic banking marks a stark departure from the ways that conventional banking works as equity participation, risk and profit and loss sharing are the hallmarks of the Islamic banking paradigm. Further Islamic banks can neither give nor charge interest or any fixed return in advance. Those engaged in such financing transactions share in the profit or loss arising from the use of the funds. So whereas a conventional bank is both a borrower and lender of money, an Islamic bank attempts to act as a partner with both its depositors and its borrowers. These customs give rise to unique challenges in the area of governance. This complicates the relationships, since typically a stockholder is concerned about governance, because the risk of the stockholder’s funds are dependant on the success or failure of the entity’s governance, but in the Islamic banking scenario, it is not only the stockholders who share in profit and losses, but the depositors and the borrowers. So the stakeholder relationships are multiplied. In the west, as an example—and as opposed to the Anglo-Saxon model–a German industrial company has a two tiered board system. Arguably so does an Islamic bank, since there is also a Shari’ah board of Islamic legal scholars that must oversee the operations and rule upon whether the financial instruments offered by the bank actually comply with Islamic law. So an Islamic bank must obey both rules of man and the rules of God all at once, and there are to be two sets of overseers attempting to ensure that it does just that. One also finds that Islamic banks are subject to varying interpretations of the Islamic rules, depending often on the country in which the bank is headquartered.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (ISFSB) , among others, is attempting to instill a universal code of governance, consisting of what they call “Guiding Principles.” They wish to enhance the “soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry.”
The current financial crisis may be helping the ISFSB in this endeavor, at least insofar as the public’s confidence is concerned, since consistent performance of sound banking practices and corporate governance, and steadfast performance during this global financial meltdown has added credibility to the proposition that Islamic banking may be a viable alternative option to the western banking model.

This paper’s overall theme is to investigate the role of Islamic banking during what may be a paradigm shift in the western banking industry. It examines the efforts Islamic banks have made to date to instill universal standards of corporate governance and risk reporting within Islamic banks, and the degree of success they have had in devising and implementing these universal Islamic banking rules. Moreover, the paper investigates whether these universal Islamic standard governance regimes are indeed applicable world-wide as a useful paradigm, or whether some elements of the paradigm can be used to strengthen the conventional and now being constructed western banking system, and if so, has there been any evidence of their success or failure given the continued growth and popularity of Islamic banking amidst a western financial collapse.

Paper 26.3

ZAMAN, M. Raquibuz, Ithaca College (USA)

Evaluating the Practices and Prospects of Islamic Banking and Finance

The collapse of the financial markets in the USA and the contagion that was felt all around the globe in 2008 and its continuing on to 2009, has provided an opportunity to some of the proponents of today’s Islamic banks and financial institutions, IBFI, to claim that IBFI has withered the effects of market meltdown because of their business practices that are, supposedly, based on Islamic precepts of financial dealings. However, verification of any such claim is all but impossible, because IBFI rarely publish discernible detail information about their operations. This is because most of the IBFI are not regulated by national banking authorities as these are essentially at the periphery of the financial markets of the individual countries and are answerable to their own Shariah councils (a group who interprets religious sanctions) and, thus, to a Higher Authority—God.

At the time of the advent of Islam in the beginning of the seventh century A.D., borrowing and lending were limited to individual transactions and, mostly, were in the form of exchange of commodities. Financial institutions were not developed yet, nor were there financial intermediaries or intermediation. The basic religious injunctions were against Riba or usurious transactions. In the Muslim holy book, the Quran, and the teachings of the Prophet that are collected later in the form of Hadith literature, all impose prohibition on Riba. The proponents of IBFI make no distinction between Riba (usury) and interest. They claim all transactions involving interest are usurious, i.e. dealing with Riba. Thus, the claim is IBFI do not deal with interest in any form.

This study aims to demonstrate that the IBFI’s claims about adherence to Islamic principles are not borne out by the facts of their operations. In reality, there are not much of any material differences between the financial instruments they use and those used by conventional financial institutions, CFI. The differences lie in the terminologies used by the IBFI and CFI, and the ways they are (or, are not) supervised or regulated by governmental authorities where they operate. The objective of this study is to show that the IBFI ought to be either re -designated as nonconventional financial institutions, NFI, or, completely reorganized so that they are in compliance with the basic Islamic teachings of justice and fair play in financial dealings.

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