IILM sukuk needs time to cook

The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp has attracted criticism for delays in getting its programme of short dated sukuk underway. But IILM’s project must not be rushed if it is to achieve the success the Islamic market badly needs.

  • By Mark Baker
  • 23 Jul 2013
Email a colleague
Request a PDF

The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM), whose aim is to issue short term sukuk to be used as liquidity tools by Islamic financial institutions, has had a rough ride since it launched in late 2010. Market participants and the media have grown impatient for a debut — recent delays have only heightened the clamour.

It is easy to sympathise with the agitators. Success for Kuala Lumpur-headquartered IILM — which is backed by 11 central banks — could be a breakthrough for Islamic banking, which has been hampered by the lack of liquidity products of this kind.

But with the best will in the world, something involving so many moving parts and such a high level of negotiation was bound to take time. A big reason for IILM’s delays has been that its instruments must comply with the wide range of financial regimes and Shariah interpretations in its member countries.

The latest questions about IILM have stemmed from its no-show after it looked close to hitting the market with a $500m programme in late April — despite stakeholder Saudi Arabia dropping out of the plan. But a better question is: why would IILM have come to market?

In early May the global sukuk market was buoyant, but Saudi Arabia’s walk-out from IILM meant that changes were needed — the kingdom's shares were bought out by the central banks of Malaysia and Qatar. There was also the small matter of Malaysia’s close-run general election, on May 5.

Since the end of May, however, the whole emerging market bond sector has been hit by an unforeseensell-off — which has turned out to be the longest since the credit crisis. This has created big swings and inefficiencies in sukuk prices as well as in underlying currencies. Meanwhile, political goodwill between the UAE, Saudi, Kuwait and Qatar and Turkey has been strained over the deposal of president Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. The leadership in Qatar has also changed.

Rather than demanding black and white answers from IILM and holding its debut to a definitive timeline, those who care about the Islamic market would do better to give its pressured CEO, Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, some breathing space and understanding. These are not the right conditions to launch any new product, let alone one so intently scrutinised and whose success or failure will project a lasting colour wash over Islamic finance as a whole.

In any case, IILM’s ultimate success will be judged not on one landmark issue but on whether it can sustain continued issuance over many years. Its failure, however, could well be proclaimed after one poorly timed or orchestrated attempt to come to market, so why risk more than two years of work in such conditions and with stakes so high?

One clue that IILM is ready to issue when market conditions allow is that Standard & Poor’s has taken its proposal seriously, giving its programme an A-1 short term rating. IILM has also secured the services of Standard Chartered as a primary dealer.

And the fact that IILM recently shuffled some of its Shariah board should not be taken as a sign of trouble but rather that it is ready for the next phase of development (the original board was only meant to sit until the end of 2013 in any case).

Those who know Karim’s record and determination say it is odds-on that he will soon make the naysayers eat their words.

  • By Mark Baker
  • 23 Jul 2013

Bookrunners of International Emerging Market DCM

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Citi 68,957.80 315 9.72%
2 HSBC 63,598.43 369 8.97%
3 JPMorgan 58,711.87 255 8.28%
4 Deutsche Bank 32,827.09 139 4.63%
5 Standard Chartered Bank 30,983.80 220 4.37%

Bookrunners of LatAm Emerging Market DCM

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Citi 20,172.62 62 14.30%
2 JPMorgan 16,300.95 61 11.56%
3 HSBC 15,707.62 42 11.13%
4 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 13,030.61 52 9.24%
5 Santander 11,734.03 47 8.32%

Bookrunners of CEEMEA International Bonds

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 JPMorgan 26,997.79 92 13.19%
2 Citi 24,968.00 87 12.20%
3 HSBC 18,039.36 69 8.81%
4 Deutsche Bank 10,385.92 29 5.07%
5 Standard Chartered Bank 10,214.05 48 4.99%

EMEA M&A Revenue

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • 02 May 2016
1 JPMorgan 195.08 50 10.55%
2 Goldman Sachs 162.26 37 8.77%
3 Morgan Stanley 141.22 46 7.64%
4 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 114.20 33 6.18%
5 Citi 95.36 35 5.16%

Bookrunners of Central and Eastern Europe: Loans

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 ING 3,133.69 26 8.62%
2 UniCredit 2,986.04 23 8.21%
3 Credit Suisse 2,801.35 8 7.70%
4 Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group 2,594.98 10 7.14%
5 SG Corporate & Investment Banking 2,301.01 20 6.33%

Bookrunners of India DCM

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 AXIS Bank 12,906.34 183 21.93%
2 ICICI Bank 5,706.63 152 9.70%
3 Trust Investment Advisors 5,552.05 162 9.43%
4 Standard Chartered Bank 4,365.14 48 7.42%
5 HDFC Bank 2,786.90 77 4.73%