With offices already in the UK and France, IFAAS took the step of opening its third office in the Gulf region following increasing local demand for its services and expertise. Local businesses have expressed interest in its Shariah consultancy services based on its extensive knowledge and experience in Islamic finance operations with services incorporating European standards. By working with IFAAS, businesses in the Gulf have direct access to international Islamic finance expertise and IFAAS’ ability to facilitate transactions between Middle Eastern investors looking to develop opportunities with European corporations.
Commenting on IFAAS’ Gulf launch, Farrukh Raza, managing director, IFAAS, said, “Bahrain has the reputation of being the hub for the Islamic finance industry in the Gulf. Therefore, it was the natural choice for IFAAS when choosing where to locate its Gulf office. We have enjoyed tremendous interest from local businesses in the IFAAS offering, and now with our own dedicated offices in the region, we look forward to working even more closely with organisations in Bahrain and across the Gulf to help develop the thriving regional Islamic finance industry.”
“I offer the IFAAS team a warm welcome to Bahrain, and the Gulf region overall,” said His Excellency Jamie Bowden, British Ambassador to Bahrain. “I am also delighted that IFAAS has chosen Bahrain as its hub. As a trusted player in the European Islamic finance landscape, I am confident that IFAAS’ official arrival to the Gulf will offer local businesses a valued service helping them to develop their local and overseas Islamic finance offering.”
Mahomed Akoob, CEO of Hannover Re Takaful, also commented, “IFAAS and its team are well respected by us and many organisations in the Islamic financial services sector internationally; with its physical presence in the Gulf it will quickly become a recognised and valued asset to the regional industry as well. From my own experience of working with IFAAS I know that it has industry-leading expertise and delivers excellent work. The team consistently exceeds expectations with an outstanding level of professionalism and commitment which can easily be considered the IFAAS seal of quality.”
IFAAS has been at the forefront of the development and growth of the European Islamic finance industry. Its founding members were instrumental in establishing the UK’s pioneering Shariah-compliant brands and launching innovative products across different sectors of the Islamic financial industry. Over the last few years IFAAS has developed into the first point of call for professional advisory on Islamic financial projects in Europe and beyond.
IFAAS’ arrival in Bahrain is a real enhancement to the regional financial industry and Bahrain’s position as an Islamic finance hub. According to the Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain is widely recognised as the global leader in Islamic finance, playing host to the largest concentration of Islamic financial institutions in the world. Presently, there are 29 Islamic banks (whose assets under management total $16.4bn), 15 Islamic insurance companies (Takaful), and 1 re-Takaful company operating in the Kingdom.
Bahrain also plays host to a number of organizations central to the development of Islamic finance, including the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) and the Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA).
The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), the world’s largest and most influential gathering of Islamic finance leaders for 18 years, is also held annually in Bahrain. This year the event will take place from 22nd – 24th November, 2010 where IFAAS will be exhibiting and eagerly awaiting to meet with its colleagues from the national and international Islamic finance industry.
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