Britain's first Islamic law compliant stand-alone High Street bank has opened for the first time in Scotland.
Al Rayan Bank, formerly the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), which has just over 2000 customers north of the border, has opened an office in Glasgow. The West Midlands-based bank will not pay or charge interest and is founded on an Islamic financial model in which the customer and the bank share the risk of any investment on agreed terms, and divide any profits between them. The move north comes some 12 years after IBB opened its first branch on Edgware Road in London.
A bank spokeswoman said that a key reason for the move was that it was able to form a partnership in Glasgow with the Islamic Finance Council, the advisory and developmental body, with which it shares its office location in Fitzroy Place, Glasgow. Cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown said: “Al Rayan Bank’s welcome decision to expand its operations into Scotland for the first time highlights the real opportunity offered by ethical finance. This announcement reflects Scotland’s growing profile in ethical finance."
Islamic finance seen as a real point of convergence between the East and the West. Hasan AlJabri, CEO of SEDCO Capital participated in the Global Ethical Finance Forum which was hosted by the Scottish Government and in cooperation with the UK Islamic Finance Council.
The forum which took place in Edinburgh, Scotland, brought together thought leaders and executives from the ethical finance industry to ‘discuss untapped opportunities and spur convergence and collaboration’. The forum was officially opened by Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia and HRH Emir Muhammad Sanusi II, Emir of Kano.
Under the title “Growing the global ethical finance industry through collaboration and convergence”, AlJabri pointed that although there are many different forms of responsible investments, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), and Islamic Finance, they all emerge from concern about the social and environmental consequences of investment practices, and a desire to ensure that investors make a positive contribution to the societies in which they operate to create sustainable economic development.
Redefinition of the banking landscape, especially with regards to the community and environment, will be the main topic of the 2012 Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Top-quality speakers will discuss on how to reestablish the connection between the money economy, local needs and productive activity in order to find new balance.
The Tods Murray/Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) ethical finance forum will analyze the practical challenges relating to marketing and distribution and talk about methods for measuring social returns.
Over the last few weeks, these discussions have reached more pertinent against the backdrop of constitutional reform. Scotland’s monetary system is being strongly debated.
IMF studies have shown Islamic banks are more stable than their conventional counterparts and it needs to be seen what we can learn from this to diminish systemic risk.