UK

Islamic bank focuses on advisers

Al Rayan Bank has boosted its staff in order to expand its mortgage business through mortgage advisers. It comes as the bank appointed Saalik Haleem as intermediary specialist. Mr Haleem, who is based at the bank’s operational headquarters, has been tasked with boosting the 13 per cent intermediary share of the bank’s mortgage business and creating new relationships with mortgage advisers across the UK. He has worked in Islamic finance for several years, specialising in the areas of advisory and Islamic investments, specifically Sharia-complaint Oeic/unit trusts.

LCP launches UK's only Sharia-compliant fund

The London Stock Exchange already boasts 53 Sukuk issues, raising more than $38bn. It has a mounting presence in Sharia-compliant Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) too, with seven available based on Islamic indices. In addition, Takaful has reached a new high in the UK, with premiums estimated to have reached $30bn in 2012. However, since the launch of the Sovereign Sukuk, there has been a general hush around the subject, with the Government not considering another one in the near future. While investors will find a number of other commercial funds to take its place, curiously, there remain few opportunities to invest in Sharia-compliant residential funds. That gap in the market has been seized by the residential funds and asset manager, London Central Portfolio (LCP).

Al Rayan Bank finds business agility in cloud applications

Matthew Glover, head of IT and change delivery at Al Rayan Bank, says its use of cloud amounts to a competitive advantage against big banks, and its customer base of 60,000 gives it an edge against challenger banks which are similarly unburdened by legacy. Being an Islamic bank makes Al Rayan’s business different, too. Glover is not himself Muslim, and neither are many of its customers, he says. He heads a team of 14 IT and business professionals. The IT estate is a mix of on-premise and cloud. Apart from the core banking system, which is a Misys platform running on an IBM AS/400, Salesforce is the most important part of the bank’s technology landscape.

Gatehouse completes £8.6 million financing of UK petrol station portfolio

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the completion of an £8.6 million senior financing to support Investra's acquisition of a portfolio of five petrol stations in the UK. Based in Dubai and with an office in London, Investra is an investor of UK real estate. This transaction is the second financing which Gatehouse has completed in partnership with an equity sponsor based in the GCC region in the past six months. Investra is looking to increase our holdings of high-quality income generating assets. Henry Thompson, CEO of Gatehouse, said he was looking forward to announcing further transactions in the coming months.

Ethical Finance Experts to tackle question: Can Islamic Finance Governance Structures be used to Protect Reputation of Global Ethical Banking?

The Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF 2015) will serve as a platform for historic discussions on what Islamic financial governance can help address ethical lapses in the ethical finance industry. GEFF 2015 will take place on the 1 and 2 of September in Edinburgh. Experts from organizations such as the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), Al Rayan Bank, HSBC Amanah Malaysia, European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB-Rasmala) and Ernst & Young will engage fellow ethical finance leaders as part of GEFF's mandate to bridge the disconnect between Islamic finance and the rest of the ethical finance universe. During the panel discussions, experts will review the established regulatory infrastructure in Islamic finance. Find more information at www.geff2015.com.

CBI governor: Iran to set up two new banks in London

Iran has four banks in Britain and will set up two new banks in London in near future, Governor of Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif said on Sunday. He made the remarks on the sidelines of a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Speaking to IRNA, he said the two banks to be set up are the London branch of bank Melli of Iran and Persian International Bank. In the meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and his entourage, the two sides studied grounds for expansion of cooperation and the history of banking cooperation as well as existing grounds for expansion of such cooperation, he said. UK delegation voiced their willingness of the British banks to come back and resume operation in Iran, he said.

2015 IREF Summit: Global Real Estate Investment Opportunities

ICG-Events is organising its annual IREF Summit which is now in its 11th year. The event is scheduled to take place on the 1st-2nd of December 2015 in London. On the evening of the 1st of December, ICG will also be hosting the IREF Summit Awards of Excellence which will take place at the event's Gala Dinner. The IREF Summit prides itself on being industry led and industry focused and over the years has established itself as the foremost gathering based on its ability to bring together the leading industry experts and institutions to explore the key issues impacting the sector and its future development. For further information on the Summit please visit www.irefsummit.co.uk or contact info@icg-events.com

Cameron woos Muslim investors with sharia-compliant opportunities

Muslim investors have been urged to pour money into major British construction projects as David Cameron revealed a catalogue of sharia-compliant opportunities. UK Trade and Investment has produced a "pitch book" containing details of 18 projects which comply with the strict conditions of Islamic law. A total of £17 billion of projects are included in the document, with schemes including a transport upgrade project in Leeds, the regeneration of Slough town centre and housing developments in Manchester. At a lavish reception in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Cameron set out his vision of making the UK a centre for Islamic finance.

UK regeneration projects: Investing using Islamic Finance

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a Government Department which helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy, has released a brochure which contains Sharia compliant UK regeneration investment opportunities in the UK. The Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) has identified projects at a point of development where project and finance structure can be discussed with project promoters. These projects are listed in the brochure in their totality: some parts may not be Sharia-compliant. Meanwhile, Islamic finance investors are taking a keen interest in UK real estate by funding a number of high profile projects.

LCI closes innovative Islamic finance facility

LCI Helicopters has closed an Islamic pre-delivery payment facility with Bank of London and the Middle East and Lloyds Bank. The facility will be used for Airbus H175s and H224es delivering over the next three years. LCI says it will be used to make pre-delivery payments on helicopters worth $250 million. The LCI deal relied on a master Murabaha facility with Lloyds also providing a conventional loan. Lloyds was mandated lead arranger for both facilities. BLME also closed a $25 million pre-delivery facility for LCI in December that financed AgustaWestland pre-delivery payments.

UK aims to lead in Islamic insurance

The UK should capitalise on the growing Takaful insurance market, or other countries will steal London's lead, said experts at an IUA briefing on Islamic insurance held at Lloyd's on Tuesday. The UK government wants London to become the western hub for Islamic finance, particularly commercial insurance, said Susan Dingwall, head of Islamic insurance and partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. The government's focus on commercial lines of insurance is big break from the past, said Dingwall, speaking at a briefing hosted by the International Underwriting Association (IUA) in London this morning.

MOVES-Gatehouse promotes Will Innes as vice president

London-based investment bank Gatehouse Bank Plc said on Monday it promoted Will Innes as vice president within its real estate investment team. He will work with Will Lowndes, vice president of real estate investment, and will be responsible for sourcing and originating real estate transactions across UK and continental Europe, Gatehouse said. Innes, who joined Gatehouse in January 2014, previously worked at Waypoint Capital where he was responsible for developing international private equity real estate platform.

Seera Invests in UK Dementia Care Housing Development

Bahrain-based Seera Investment Bank B.S.C. has announced the successful completion of a new transaction in the UK Dementia Care sector. The transaction comprises a Shari'a compliant equity investment in a dementia care focused housing development in London, United Kingdom. The development, the first of its kind, when completed will provide circa 115 housing units providing specialized care to dementia sufferers. The project will be developed over a 3 to 4 year period. The units are expected to be sold over the development period with distribution of substantially all the originally invested capital in the 4th year of investment together with a part of the profits. Upon completion of the development the project will then be held to benefit from the ongoing care revenues.

QIB-UK offers investment solution for London properties

QIB-UK is providing opportunities for customers interested to invest in the London real estate market starting with providing access to properties, both residential and commercial ones. A team of real estate specialists will ensure that customers, being continuously supported by QIB Private Banking Relationship Managers stationed in Doha, are able to achieve optimal return on their investments. Recently, QIB added Knight Frank, a global property adviser company established in London back in 1896 to its partners. Customers can now visit QIB’s website to find specific property listings, along with information on locations and prices. They can then submit an online request form indicating properties of their interest to be contacted by the QIB-UK real estate team.

Al Rayan Bank opens private banking branch in Knightsbridge

Al Rayan Bank PLC, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain, has officially opened its new private banking branch in Knightsbridge, London. The flagship branch adds to Al Rayan Bank’s existing network of five branches and three agencies throughout the country. It will provide high net worth individuals and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) clients with private banking services including real estate finance, day-to-day banking services and bespoke investment opportunities. In 2014 the bank’s operating income increased by 168 per cent, customer financing increased by 86 per cent and retail deposits increased by 59 per cent. The bank also transformed a £5.5 million loss in 2013 to an after tax profit of £1.2 million, the first time in its eleven year history that it has posted a profit.

QIB hires veteran head of treasury for London business

QIB (UK), the London arm of Qatar Islamic Bank, has hired an experienced banker as its head of treasury. Anthony Lee joins the bank in London having previously served as head of treasury and investments at Doha Bank in Qatar. At QIB (UK), Lee takes over leading the treasury effort from Haissam Saleh, who has been acting head since July last year.

Gatehouse acquires UK student accommodation property

London-based Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the acquisition of Fountainbridge, a student accommodation property located in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, from Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP UK Value fund for £20.0 million. The property is a modern, purpose-built student accommodation asset with a total of 331 bedrooms, centrally located to the University of Edinburgh, Herriot-Watt, Napier and Queen Margaret universities. The investment follows the firm's successful realisation of four investments comprising over 1,600 beds with a combined value in excess of £100 million, completed last year. The firm is currently considering other investments in the UK student accommodation sector.

Saudi British Bank plans capital-boosting sukuk sale - sources

Saudi British Bank (SABB) is planning to sell a riyal-denominated sukuk that will boost its capital reserves, with an announcement set to be made as early as next week. The issue will boost SABB's Tier 2, or supplementary, capital and will be arranged by HSBC's Saudi Arabian unit. The sukuk could be worth 1.5 billion riyals ($400 million) and will have a 10-year lifespan but a clause that will allow the bank to redeem the issue at the end of the fifth year. Riyad Bank announced plans to issue a 4 billion riyal bond to boost its capital base earlier this week. It will have the same 10-year, non-call five, structure that SABB is planning to offer.

Al Rayan Bank operating income jumps 168pc

Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), yesterday announced its strongest financial performance to date, resulting in the Bank more than doubling its operating income and posting its first profit since its inception in 2004. The bank’s operating income increased 168 percent to £11.8m in 2014 from£4.4m in 2013. The bank saw 86 percent increase in total customer financing, to £450.3m. Retail deposits increased 59 percent to £509.8m and while wholesale deposits increased 53 percent to £31.7m. Increasing consumer confidence, the continued strength of the housing market and opportunities to provide property finance to the commercial sector as well as to investors in the Gulf has enabled Al Rayan Bank to post its best results to date.

Gatehouse Bank completes £17.92 million financing of UK industrial estate

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the completion of terms to provide £17.92 million of senior financing following the recent acquisition of a UK industrial estate by Saudi Arabia's SEDCO Capital. Palmer Capital is acting as the Investment Manager to SEDCO Capital which through this venture intends to deploy £100 million into UK real estate over the next 12 months through this venture. This transaction is the first such transaction for this programme, which will target the recovering office and industrial real estate market in the UK. The funding supports the acquisition of Blakelands Industrial Estate, an industrial estate in Milton Keynes.

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