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Gatehouse sees more UK Islamic investment banks

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Points of Essence:

  • Currently, the UK has one full-fledged Islamic bank and four Islamic investment banks.
  • Gatehouse Bank sees the rise of Shariah compliant banks in the UK is driven by the government efforts to turn its capital into a global hub for the industry

* Britain intends to issue its own sovereign sukuk debt in a rolling programme worth around two billion pounds

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Sharia-compliant investment banks in the UK is expected to more than double to 10 within five years, Islamic lender Gatehouse said on Tuesday.

The rise of banking that fulfil the requirements of Islamic law in the UK is being driven by government efforts to turn its capital into a global hub for the industry, said Samer Merhi, Gatehouse Bank executive director for institutional wealth management structuring and origination.

“It has the potential to grow because of the high demand and the interest to make the UK the international heart of Islamic finance business,” Merhi told Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance forum in the Malaysian capital. The UK has one full-fledged Islamic bank and four Islamic investment banks, he said.

Gatehouse, a subsidiary of the Securities House of Kuwait, started operating in April in the UK which some industry observers say is the leading force in Europe in welcoming Islamic banking.

Britain intends to issue its own sovereign sukuk debt in a rolling programme worth around two billion pounds, although it has said legal barriers still remain and it will make a final decision later in the year.

Islamic finance is based on the Sharia or Islamic law. It requires that gains be derived from ethical and socially responsible investments and frowns on interest-based banking and sectors such as pork, gaming and pornography.

Islamic assets total around $1 trillion, the Asian Development Bank estimates, with annual growth of 10 to 15 percent a year.

Driven largely by record amounts of oil money, Islamic banking is fast growing from a niche market into a mainstream business with centres such as Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia all coveting the title of global Islamic finance hub.

Gatehouse, which has an authorised capital of 225 million pounds, currently focuses on Islamic capital markets, institutional wealth management, Islamic treasury business and advisory services. “Asia is in our loop but we are now focusing on European and GCC markets,” Merhi said, referring to the member states of trade bloc, the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The bank is studying $500 million of Islamic banking deals including bonds, real estate as well as private equity and exchange traded funds, he said.

Muslims make up less than five percent of the UK population and Merhi said there was limited consumer demand for Islamic banking products. “The retail business is still modest,” he said. (reuters)

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk

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Written by Suapi Shaffaii

August 13, 2008 at 2:45 am

One Response

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  1. Thanks for sharing that!

    VASTINE Alexis

    August 13, 2008 at 10:21 am


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