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Monday, 9 July 2007

Bank of London and the Middle East launches as London based Islamic bank

Bank of London and The Middle East ('BLME') today announces that it has received FSA authorisation to launch as a standalone, wholesale, Sharia'a compliant bank based in the City of London. The new bank, which has raised £175m from a number of institutional shareholders, will provide a range of high quality Sharia'a compliant banking services and advice to businesses both in Europe and the MENA region who wish to access innovative Islamic financial products. BLME, whose largest shareholder is leading Kuwaiti bank Boubyan Bank, will focus on four main business lines: • Islamic Treasury and Financial Institutions - a complete package of both products and services to help manage liquidity; • Corporate Banking - addressing all the financing needs of corporates, projects and institutions; • Private Banking and Investment Management - assisting high net-worth individuals with their banking and investment management requirements; and • Investment Banking - accessing equity capital markets for customers and providing corporate finance advisory services. BLME is founded and managed by a high quality team bringing together a combination of highly experienced international financiers and leading experts in Islamic finance. Humphrey Percy, who has more than 30 years experience in banking, is Chief Executive of BLME. He said today: 'BLME is coming to market at a time when Islamic finance in the UK has passed the initial stage and is now entering a solid growth state. We are confident that the timing of our entry into the market, combined with our level of capitalisation and the high quality institutional backing will ensure success in this fast growing market'. Yacob Al-Muzaini, is Chairman of BLME and Chairman and Managing Director of Boubyan Bank, the Kuwaiti based Islamic bank. He commented 'London is already one of the largest centres for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world and we are delighted to be involved in developing this innovative and impressive UK offering. It is crucial that businesses and individuals seeking Shari'ah compliant financing and investment products have a choice in the range of financial services they are offered without having to compromise on either service or Islamic principles. BLME offers an unrivalled level of service and range of products, driven by innovation and energy, and underpinned by fairness and respect - the ethical cornerstones of Sharia'a compliant financial services.' To ensure that all BLME's services and operations are wholly Sharia'a compliant, BLME has a dedicated Sharia'a Supervisory Board whose role is to review contracts and agreements relating to all of BLME's transactions to ensure they are consistent with the principles of Islamic jurisprudence. Boubyan Bank owns a 20% stake in BLME whilst the remainder is owned by a combination of financial institutions, investment companies and employees. - (AI, 8 July 07)

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