Islamic banks in UK rise


The number of Islamic banks in the United Kingdom have more than doubled over the past 12 months as they make their mark on the financial markets of non-Islamic countries, AT Kearney, a global strategic management consulting firm, said in a report.

Shariah-compliant banking has traditionally focused on the GCC and Malaysia.

At the same time, Islamic banks' products remain popular in their core markets, where Islamic banks consistently outgrow their conventional competitors.

Assets in the Islamic banking sector grew to more than $250 billion (Dh 918bn) globally in 2006, according to the UK Treasury.

In the GCC, this segment expanded to 15 per cent of the total system and is expected to reach 50 per cent within the next few years.

The success at home enables these banks to export their business abroad, as Islamic banks from the GCC are the major shareholders behind all of the newly set-up Islamic banks in the United Kingdom.

"While Islamic banks in their core markets take a universal banking approach, with retail, corporate and investment banking business lines, they focus on wholesale banking in the UK," said Dr Alexander von Pock, Manager of Financial Services, AT Kearney Middle East.