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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia recently launched its full-fledged Islamic banking outfit named Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad

Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia recently launched its full-fledged Islamic banking outfit named Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad.

It will offer syariah-compliant products and services in Malaysia, and is set to play a key role in leading the banking group’s global thrust in the fast-growing Islamic finance sector.

Standard Chartered has spent an initial sum of RM50 million to establish Saadiq and its first financial centre in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI).

The bank’s managing director and CEO Julian Wynter said Standard Chartered was the first in recent years to offer innovative variable rate financing and the first to launch over nine first-to-market Islamic financial products such as the Islamic Profit Rate Swap, the Islamic Cross Currency Swap and the Islamic Rate Agreement.

He said the Saadiq financial centre in TTDI has several smart branch features for the convenience of customers. The features include e-brochures, e-charges, Internet stations for online banking, e-kiosk, web telebanking, e-statements and e-reward redemption.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi officiated at the launching of Saadiq. Also present was Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

The comprehensive range of 33 innovative syariah-compliant products offered at Saadiq include Saadiq Saver, Saadiq Business Saver, Saadiq Account, Just Home–I, Biz Property–I, Biz Financing–I and Islamic Unit Trust (third-party unit trust).

Abdullah said in his address that Islamic finance needs to quickly integrate itself with the international financial system and prove itself as a viable alternative.

He said there were tremendous opportunities for Islamic finance to lead the financial fraternity into a new growth era.

“We are at the dawn of a global financial renaissance,” said Abdullah.

“The financial meltdown illustrates the desperate need for such a system,” he said, referring to the profit and loss sharing principles of Islamic banking.

“Many observers are increasingly considering the Islamic financial system with renewed respect and admiration. As such, Islamic finance must be prepared to take on a new dimension to meet the changing demands of business, in an increasingly globalised environment.

“By transforming into an essential element of global finance, Islamic finance will surely end its perceived position as a niche or boutique financial service,” he said.

Abdullah said Malaysia is well poised to lead any attempt to reform the global financial system by infusing concepts and themes borrowed from Islamic finance.

“However, for Islamic finance to be an effective complement to global finance, it is imperative to have a sound legal framework which would provide the Islamic finance sector with the credibility it requires,” he added.

Abdullah said the launch of Saadiq was testimony of Standard Chartered’s relationship with Malaysia over the last 130 years, with the bank’s history interwoven with the development of the nation. (The Sun Daily)

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