Qatar’s ‘Best Bank’ leads #Islamic #finance sector - Interview

The country’s leading Sharia-compliant lender, Qatar Islamic Bank now controls more than 43.5% of the Islamic banking market share in Qatar and 11.5% of the overall market. The quality of its customer service, portfolio of products and services, solid financial performance and measured approach to growth have also contributed to it recently adding the ‘Best Bank in Qatar’ honor from Euromoney to its list of awards. Group CEO Bassel Gamal explains QIB’s winning formula, its dedicated support for SMEs, and the opportunities Islamic finance holds for clients and investors.
What are the main opportunities in Islamic finance in Qatar?
Islamic finance has recorded many significant achievements over the last few years as it continued to strengthen its capabilities and grow by providing the products and services, as well as the capacity, to structure and finance major infrastructure projects in Qatar, in line with the country’s National Vision 2030.
The sector has recorded strong growth momentum over the last few years and this growth is predicted to continue into the foreseeable future. Recent figures confirm that Islamic assets remain the fastest-growing banking segment in Qatar. The share of Sharia-compliant assets in the local banking sector is now more than quarter of the total banking assets at 27%, while the share of deposits stood at 30% as of December 2015. Islamic banks are now targeting all segments by competing and acquiring not only Sharia-compliant sensitive customers, but also value-seeking customers who find the Islamic products pricing and offerings comparable to that of conventional banks.
How do these developments impact QIB activities and what are the main highlights of the first Basel III and IFSB-compliant additional Tier 1 perpetual sukuk in Qatar launched by QIB?
In Qatar, we have the fastest growing Islamic banks in the region, and the Qatar Central Bank has provided a sound legislation and platform for Sharia-compliant banks to be properly regulated and to grow and succeed. At the same time, the witnessed growth of total banking assets in the local banking sector is naturally putting some pressure on the liquidity conditions in the market, leading to increased cost of funding for all banks. In order to support QIB’s business growth and optimize the management of our cost of funds, as well as the bank’s liquidity and capital position, we have been tapping the capital markets with our sukuks being received with strong investor interest across the globe, resulting in significant oversubscription of all our issuances in recent years.