Gatehouse Bank eyeing universal banking licence in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR (May 29, 2013): London-based Kuwaiti-owned Gatehouse Bank Plc, a syariah-compliant investment bank, is looking to secure principal banking licences in Malaysia after opening a representative office here yesterday, said its senior executive.
The bank is exploring licences in universal banking, investment banking and wealth management.
Its chief representative in Malaysia, Richard Thomas, said the bank will work closely with the local regulators to see what would be the most appropriate licence(s) for the bank here.
"The representative office is very much a first step and it's our intention to develop the bank here," he told reporters at the opening ceremony yesterday, adding that the bank aims to expand its operations here over the next two years.
He said the bank also intends to use its Malaysian office as springboard into other Asian markets such as Singapore and Brunei.
On its targets for the Malaysian market this year, Thomas said it is in the midst of building its key performance indicators.
"Our core strength is in real estate but we are also looking at the sukuk market and Malaysia is of course the largest global sukuk market.
"Cross border reach between London and Kuala Lumpur for developing capital markets is also important for us and wealth management services as well," he added.
He noted that Gatehouse Bank has been approached by two or three parties, but the bank has yet to profile their risk appetites.
He said the Malaysian office would also help global investors understand the Asian market better, especially its global clients who are interested in investing here.
Meanwhile, Gatehouse Bank chairman and interim CEO Fahed Boodai said Malaysia will be a hub for the bank to diversify its client base that are mostly from the Gulf region.
"Our international clients are looking for investment opportunities that promote wealth preservation in mature and stable markets, and responding to their needs on an on going basis remains a core priority for the bank.
"Expanding our global footprint so that the bank can act as a gateway between the Islamic finance markets in Europe, the Gulf Cooperation Council and now Asia is fundamental to achieving this objective and establishing a new base in Malaysia is not only an exciting development for the bank but one that will help to deliver significant longer term value on behalf of our clients," he added.
Fahed also said there is a strong trend among Malaysian investors actively buying in the UK including both institutional and private investors.
The bank expects to make two billion pounds worth of real estate acquisitions in the US and UK markets this year.
Gatehouse Bank specialises in originating, structuring and funding investments in a syariah-compliant manner driven by a real estate strategy. Since its inception in 2008, the bank has established a global portfolio worth in excess of US$1.5 billion spread across real estate assets, capital investments and term deposits.