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Standard Chartered to offer Islamic financial products to private clients

Institution aims to boost its share in an under-served market

Gulf News

Dubai: Standard Chartered Plc will begin offering Islamic financial products to its private-banking clients to boost its share of a fast-growing market.

The products, which comply with Islam’s ban on interest, include deposit accounts, property financing, equities, Islamic bonds or sukuk and mutual funds, the London-based lender said in a statement before a news conference in Dubai today.

Standard Chartered’s five-year-old private-banking business manages more than $50 billion (Dh183.65 billion) in assets and reported a 21 per cent rise in revenue in 2011 to more than $500 million, the bank said.

Rise in Islamic banking assets

Islamic banking industry assets are growing twice as fast as those of conventional banks and are estimated to reach $1.1 trillion by the end of 2012, up 33 per cent from 2010, the bank said today, citing data from Ernst & Young LLP.

The market for Islamic investment products is “under-served,” Stephen Evans, regional head of private banking for Europe, Middle East, India, Africa and Americas, told reporters today. Of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, only 14 per cent bank “Islamically”, in part because the industry doesn’t offer sufficient products, he said.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has more than 500,000 individuals with investable assets totalling more than $1.7 trillion, Evans said.

Standard Chartered Saadiq, the lender’s Islamic banking business, has 270,000 retail and small and medium-sized companies as customers, Evans said.