Established in May 2007 and headquartered in Singapore, IB Asia is a joint venture between DBS Bank, one of the largest financial services groups in Asia, and 34 investors from prominent families and industrial groups based in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The bank also has a Shariah board consisting of world-renowned Islamic scholars Sheikh Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari, Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah, Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar and chaired by Sheikh Nizam Yaqouby, based in Bahrain.
IB Asia committed $200m of deals (see ANNEX) in the first quarter of 2008. In conjunction with its first anniversary this month, the bank also opened its first representative office in Bahrain at the Bahrain Financial Harbour, West Tower, Level 45 (Flat 4501, Building 1459, Road 4626, Block 346, Manama Sea Front, Kingdom of Bahrain). It will give IB Asia easier access to shareholders and customers in the Gulf.
IB Asia Chairman His Excellency Abdulla Hasan Saif said, “IB Asia’s rapid progress is particularly encouraging because it underscores our progression from a newcomer to an innovative financial services provider that became profitable within the first 12 months.”
His Excellency, who is also the Economics Affairs Advisor to His Highness, the Prime Minister of Bahrain said,
“Our strong performance reflects the robust foundation and operational competencies that the bank has established. The combination of Shariah expertise, banking capabilities and twin networks of clients in Asia and the Middle East will enable us to play a prominent role in this fast-expanding market.”
Wide Range of Structured Products in the Pipeline
In IB Asia’s first year of operation, the bank focused on establishing itself in the wholesale financing markets and developed a platform of financing structures including trade finance and large-scale syndications. It also built a range of Treasury services from the provision of foreign exchange to money market activities.
IB Asia CEO Vince Cook said,” The next phase is to launch more complex treasury products, including a proprietary and efficient profit rate swap structure, FX forwards, cross currency ideas and structured products. These structured products will position IB Asia as one of the few standalone Islamic banks able to provide the type of investment solutions coming from international investment banks. We will be able to offer investors greater exposures to underlying assets such as commodities, equities and FX and where required, provide capital protection.”
He said, “In the capital markets space, we are currently in discussions with a number of Asian and GCC-based companies and international agencies on future Sukuk issues. We intend to launch IB Asia’s first Shariah-complaint Asian equities fund and are in the process of establishing a real estate fund targeting special opportunities in the region.”
His Excellency said, “We are heartened by IB Asia’s progress and remain committed to providing a comprehensive range of innovative products and solutions that uphold Islamic values and serve our customers’ needs.”
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