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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Islamic banking UK: Islamic Bank of Britain re-branded to Al Rayan Bank as number of non-Muslim investors grows

The Islamic Bank of Britain has unveiled plans to change its name to Al Rayan Bank, as it aims to increase its presence in London and acquire a wider range of customers.
 
It will also update its logo and all other aspects of its brand identity across its website and UK branches. As long as shareholders approve, the new identity will be introduced in December this year. 
 
The IBB, which was set up in 2004, remains the UK's only sharia-compliant retail bank and has developed the largest range of related retail financial products in the UK. Earlier this year, it was acquired by Masraf Al Rayan (MAR) – the fifth largest Islamic bank in the world and the second largest in Qatar. 
 
As it enters its second decade of existence, the bank hopes to see through ambitious expansion plans, particularly in London where its commercial and GCC operations will be based. It has £100m of capital investment from its new parent company.
 
It will focus on corporate and real estate finance, and hopes to continue attracting a wide range of customers. The bank estimates that nearly 83 per cent of customers who opened a deposit account the bank between January 2013 and August 2014 were non-Muslim. 
 
Sultan Choudhury, CEO of IBB said, “IBB has pioneered British retail Islamic banking over the last 10 years, achieving global recognition for its outstanding successes.  The change to Al Rayan Bank represents the latest chapter in the Bank’s history, in which it will expand its retail and commercial product offering to a wider audience, with the backing of a strong and successful parent.”
 
The Bank will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank, and customers’ deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

(City A.M / 23 October 2014)

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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Morrocan bank ‘planning Islamic finance subsidiary with Gulf partner’

Brahim Benjelloun-Touimi said in an interview with Reuters that the proposed subsidiary “will take our partner’s name”, but he declined to reveal the identity of the financial institution.
Benjelloun-Touimi said he would give details after a bill to regulate Islamic banks and sukuk issues has been approved by Morocco’s parliament, which is expected before the end of this year. BMCE’s move would then need to be endorsed by Morocco’s central bank.

According to the Arab international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Morocco’s lower house of parliament backed the bill last June. The paper said currently only the country’s leading bank, Attijariwafa, which is part-owned by Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s investment company Societe Nationale d’Investissement, has an Islamic banking subsidiary in the kingdom.
Morocco’s minister for general affairs and governance Najib Boulif said earlier this year that the Islamic finance bill was designed to allow “a gradual introduction of Islamic banks to preserve the competitiveness of existing, conventional, banks”.
Boulif said: “Local banks will be allowed to take at least 51% of the capital and as much as 49% will go to foreign Islamic lenders. There is a very strong demand from abroad for such a project.”
“We thought it is best to start with one Islamic finance institution as we wish to assess closely the experience to ensure its success,” Boulif said. “If it proves to be a success within six months, then nothing should stop us from authorising more Islamic lenders.”
A report published last February by international ratings agency Standard and Poor’s said Islamic finance could be a “good fit” for infrastructure and project finance in North Africa, because banks lack the long-term funding that these projects require. “After tremendous global success over the past decade, with total assets estimated at about $1.4 trillion, Islamic finance could make inroads in North Africa,” the report said.
Islamic finance expert Amir Ahmad of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said at the time that the report “sets out the natural course of development of Islamic finance in the rest of the Islamic world”. “The demand for infrastructure in North Africa could be the ideal catalyst for this development and North Africa is likely to be an attractive market.
(Out-Law.Com / 23 October 2014)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

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