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Bahrain builds on Islamic finance leadership

Islamic finance is a particular focus for Bahrain’s financial services sector. We have the skills and experience to help investors take advantage of the dramatic worldwide growth in demand for Islamic finance products.

Bahrain has the region’s highest concentration of Islamic finance institutions – including 24 dedicated banks with over US $24 billion assets, as well as some of the industry’s most influential bodies. We advise over 30 countries in setting up their own Islamic finance and structures.
 
Now, four stories demonstrate Bahrain’s continued prominence as a global Islamic finance hub.
 
Islamic finance to reach US $80 billion
 
Thomson Reuters, the international media and information company, expects finance to grow in Bahrain to US $80 billion by the end of 2014. It states that Bahrain’s ‘eco-system’ has helped the Kingdom to accumulate Islamic banking assets of more than US $65 billion and issue sukuk worth over US $4 billion.
 
Mustafa Adil, Thomson Reuters’ head of research and development, speaking at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), confirmed that Bahrain was the GCC’s leading Islamic finance market for the second year in succession. This stems from the ICD-Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI) findings announced in September 2014 that showed Bahrain to be the top global performer in governance, knowledge and corporate social responsibility, and awareness.
 
Bahrain hosts the 2014 World Islamic Banking Conference
 
The 21st annual World Islamic Banking Conference takes place in Manama 1-3 December 2014. More than 1,300 finance leaders, representatives from over 50 countries and 90-plus international speakers are due to attend. Prominent keynote speakers include HE Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor, Central Bank of Bahrain and Nurlan Kussainov, Deputy Governor, National Bank of Kazakhstan.
 
‘Towards the new paradigm shift in global financial markets’ is the theme for 2014, while the conference features ‘The world comes to WIBC’, a platform for the international Islamic finance industry to highlight and discuss key issues.
 
Turkiye Finans plans to open in Bahrain
 
Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi is Turkey’s leading participation bank and is the country’s best Islamic bank, according to the World Finance 2014 Islamic Finance Awards. Its operations concentrate mainly on corporate lending.
 
The bank, which has Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank as its largest shareholder, has expressed an interest in establishing a presence in Bahrain. A Bahrain headquarters would be not just Turkiye Finans’s first investment outside Turkey, but a welcome addition to Bahrain’s Islamic finance community.
 
Mumtalakat holds onto AA2 sukuk rating
 
RAM Ratings, a leading provider of independent credit research, reaffirmed Bahrain’s Mumtalakat sukuk (financial certificate or bond) at AA2/Stable. Specifically, this is for Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company BSC’s Sukuk Murabahah Programme (2012/2032), calculated at RM3 billion (around US $915 million).
 
Mumtalakat is the Bahrain government’s wholly-owned investment arm, and spearheads structural changes in the domestic economy. Its investment portfolio spans a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, aviation, telecommunications and financial services. Mumtalakat’s key asset and largest dividend contributor is Aluminium Bahrain (Alba).
 
The rating is important because RAM Ratings regards Mumtalakat as an extension of the Bahraini government and equates Mumtalakat’s rating with Bahrain’s sovereign ratings: the long-term outlook of one affects the other.