Islamic Banking

Dubai Bank Plans Islamic Finance Expansion In South East Asia

Vanessa Doctor Asia Correspondent 7 September 2012

Dubai Bank Plans Islamic Finance Expansion In South East Asia

Noor Islamic Bank, the Dubai-based financial services firm, has expressed plans to expand in South East Asia to tap the region's growing Islamic finance market.

"Asian countries are facing escalating infrastructure and development needs backed by solid economic growth. Our aim is to work with existing financial institutions in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to help bridge the funding gap created by the shrinkage of the global liquidity pool," said Hussain AIQ emzi, group chief executive of Noor Investment Group and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank.

South East Asia is home to some 227 million Muslims, with Indonesia as the most populous Muslim country. Secular countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia have also opened opportunities for Islamic finance by modifying local laws and tax regulations to permit Shariah-compliant investments. 

Shariah prohibits the acceptance of interest or fees for loans, among other related principles, and engaging in businesses that provide goods or services that contradict Islamic guidelines.

In addition to a strong shariah-compliant base, the region is also the largest sukuk (insurance) market in the world, accounting for more than two-thirds of the global market, according to KFH Research. Malaysia leads the way, accounting for US$46.8 billion of the total global issuance of US$109.4 billion in 2012. 

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