First Home-grown Wholesale Islamic Bank to Open in DIFC

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Dubai Investments PJSC [DFM: DIC], the leading diversified investment company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, has announced plans to lead a consortium of investors to launch Arkan Bank, a wholesale Islamic financial institution with an initial paid-up capital of US$ 100 million. The authorised share capital of Arkan Bank will be US$ 500 million.

Arkan Bank is applying to the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) for approval for a prudential Category 5 licence to operate as an Islamic Financial Institution. This will be the first home-grown Islamic bank to operate from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Arkan Bank will reinforce the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai as the capital of Islamic economy and a centre of Islamic finance.

The bank will offer a fully integrated range of Sharia-compliant banking services and investment products serving the needs of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, corporate as well as institutional clients through its core business lines – Corporate Banking, Asset Management & Awqaf, Investment Banking and Treasury.

Arkan Bank also plans to list its shares on NASDAQ Dubai within 12 months of establishment, subject to the fulfilment of listing guidelines and regulatory approvals.

Khalid Bin Kalban, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Investments, and the Founder & Chairman of Arkan Bank, said: “The launch of Arkan Bank is coming at an opportune time in the UAE Islamic banking landscape. Arkan Bank is poised to achieve phenomenal success, as it will be the first wholesale Islamic bank operating in the UAE. The bank will initially focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale and reach across its business lines, products and geographies to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region and global arena. Coupled with strong public markets, sukuk and mergers & acquisition outlook, the future looks optimistic for the bank and aligns with Dubai’s vision to become the capital of Islamic economy.”

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), said: “We welcome this unique show of support for ‘Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy’ strategy and the first initiative of its kind to originate from the private sector. Dubai is fast-tracking its efforts to achieve its envisioned goal of becoming the global centre of Islamic finance. Amidst these trends, the proposed launch of Arkan Bank bodes well for the Islamic banking sector that has experienced exceptional growth in the region at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. The move aligns with the Dubai’s strategy to support the development of Sharia-compliant banking and reinforces Dubai’s reputation as the Islamic banking gateway to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.”

Mohammad Alqahtany, Managing Director and SEO of Abwab Capital, and the Founder and Managing Director of Arkan Bank, said: “We are grateful to Dubai Investments for its support as a strategic partner in this landmark initiative. Our aim is to be a first-class wholesale bank rooted in Islamic values, and set a new standard in Islamic banking to capitalise on the increasing demand for Sharia-compliant banking services witnessed in the global market. We are committed to providing bespoke financing solutions and products that match our professional clients’ goals and expectations while adhering to the highest governance standards and Sharia principles.”

Abwab Capital Limited (Abwab) is the Investment Advisor to Arkan Bank. Abwab is a financial services firm focusing on investments and advisory services in the MENA region and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

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