Shuaa unit eyes new Islamic window
Dubai, January 15, 2013
Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital said its wholly-owned subsidiary, Gulf Finance Corporation, is in talks with the UAE Central Bank for a licence to establish an Islamic Window for some of its financing activities.
A leading UAE-based boutique finance company focused on the needs of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Gulf Finance Corporation plans to submit the necessary applications in the first quarter with a view to being market-ready in the spring of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals, said a statement from Shuaa.
"We expect SMEs, the backbone of the UAE economy, to benefit from this important initiative. As SMEs represent over 50 per cent of the country’s GDP, 80 per cent of employment, and account for over 90 per cent of non-oil exports but only receive around 4 per cent of bank lending, it will be important to their growth to facilitate access to more Sharia-compliant financing,” said Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum, the executive chairman of Shuaa Capital and chairman of Gulf Finance.
“While large corporates and banks as well as the government sector have good access to Sharia-compliant financing and the retail market is served by several Islamic banks, there is a major gap of Islamic finance available to SMEs at present,” stated Sheikh Maktoum.
According to him, Dubai has a proven track record in pioneering Islamic Finance with the launch of the first Islamic bank as well as the first Islamic financial market.
“Shuaa has traditionally been an integral part of Dubai’s non-bank financial infrastructure and with this announcement we pledge our support and commitment to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of fostering a vibrant Islamic economy,” said Sheikh Maktoum."
“We are well poised to benefit from a growing Islamic finance industry and plan to be a leader in this field,” he noted.
Steve Williams, Group CEO of Gulf Finance said, "We remain committed to providing our clients with innovative solutions that will help develop and grow their businesses. In response to customer demand, we are developing an asset-based Islamic structure."
"The UAE has already established itself successfully as an entrypoint for goods and capital, and we believe that it is well-placed to become the Islamic finance hub for the Middle East, Asia and Africa as well. Our business will be here to support the growing Islamic economy," he added.
Gulf Finance facilitates access to capital to the power, oil and gas, logistics, printing and media, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Over the last decade Gulf Finance has provided over Dh3 billion ($816 million) in finance to SMEs within the UAE.-TradeArabia News Service