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Sunday, 18 May 2008

Citi launches Shariah-compliant products in UAE

Citigroup said on Monday it will be launching a series of Shariah-compliant banking products in the UAE first in order to help companies better manage their working capital needs.

The major bank said that the new banking products, which will initially be launched in the UAE before other markets, were designed for a growing number of its corporate customers who were looking for competitive Shariah-compliant alternatives to conventional products.

"The Citigroup treasury and trade Shariah-compliant services are in line with Citi's strategy to offer our clients Shariah-compliant working capital products in the UAE to be later introduced to various other markets," said Samad Sirohey, chief executive officer of Citi Islamic Investment Bank and head of Global Islamic Banking.

Citi, which also recently launched escrow services based on a Murabaha structure, said it products would include cash management products for current and saving accounts as well as trade products, which related to import finance and trade services.

The launch of the Shariah-compliant products by Citi in the region comes soon after the news that Alberto Verme, co-head of the global investment banking team, is relocating to Dubai from Citi's headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.

The Gulf shares close relations with Citigroup, with Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal currently its largest shareholder, and both the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Kuwait Investment Authority recent investors.

Citi, which is ranked as the world's leading bookrunner of global Islamic finance transactions, set up its global Islamic banking operations in 1981 in London.

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