FT Adviser

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.

Sharia finance popular among non-Muslims

Sultan Choudhury, managing director of Islamic Bank of Britain, discussed findings from a poll of more than 300 investors by IBB, which showed one-third of respondents were non-Muslim. Some 66 per cent of those surveyed believed sharia finance was appropriate in a modern western society. A similar number (60 per cent) said sharia finance was relevant to all faiths, while more than half (58 per cent) said they considered Islamic finance to be an ethical system. IBB also reported 81 per cent of its customers said they were likely to use sharia-compliant finance again. This first piece of research will shape how the retail market for Islamic finance evolves, he added.

Takeover deadline extended for Islamic Bank

Deadlines for Qatar-based Islamic bank Masraf to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Islamic Bank of Britian have been extended to the end of August. The latest deadline again lapsed as talks that have been ongoing since late 2012 continue. The bank has struggled to make a profit in recent years and at the end of 2012 bosses revealed the lender would look at ways to offer more products. In 2009 the bank attempted to boost business by targeting mortgage advisers, launching a website providing resources enabling them to re-sell the Islamic Bank of Britain’s range of Sharia-compliant home purchase plans and commercial property finance products. Yet in 2011 the bank reported a loss of £8.9m despite income from home purchase plans increasing 17.9 per cent to £2.3m.

HSBC offers more funds for local UK Muslims

FT Adviser reported on 23 February that HSBC is making a number of Sharia-compliant funds available to UK investors for the first time by restructuring them into a single, Luxembourg-domiciled offering. The funds in the range include Global Equity Index, Global Equity, Europe Equity and Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity.

Andy Clark, managing director for UK and Mena wholesale at HSBC, recognises the demand in UK as growing and denounces the perception that Islamic finance is only applicable in the Middle East.

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