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11 February 2020
MARKETS

Maybank Islamic opens first overseas branch in DIFC

Malaysia’s largest Islamic bank will focus on wholesale banking with emphasis in corporate financing, treasury and capital markets and trade finance

Photo credit: Maybank Islamic

by Nabilah Annuar

Maybank Islamic, the largest Islamic Bank in Malaysia and the ASEAN region by assets size, inaugurated its first overseas branch in DIFC. Maybank Islamic was granted the full Islamic banking licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in July 2019, to open a branch in the DIFC making it Malaysia’s first Islamic bank to have a foreign presence.

HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) who attended the official opening said, “Islamic Finance is a key element of Dubai’s economic strategy based on Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for a new phase of transformative growth in the next 50 years. The establishment of the first overseas office of Malaysia’s largest Islamic bank in Dubai is an acknowledgement of Dubai’s pivotal role at the heart of the Islamic economy and the strong advantages it offers institutions who base themselves here.”

“Over the coming decade, Dubai aims to further consolidate its role as the capital of the rapidly growing Islamic Economy sector, which currently caters to the needs of about a quarter of the world's population. By building this sector, we look forward to creating new economic opportunities and establishing new partnerships that can bolster not only the development of the region but also the strength and sustainability of the global economy.”

Maybank Islamic is the Shari'ah-compliant division of Malaysia’s largest lender Malayan Banking (Maybank), and one of the leading arrangers in Bloomberg’s Global Sukuk League Table. Maybank Islamic’s total assets stood at more than $57.35 billion as of 30 September 2019. Maybank Islamic Dubai DIFC branch will engage in wholesale banking with emphasis in corporate financing, treasury and capital markets and trade finance.

Dato’ Mohamed Rafique Merican, Group CEO Maybank Group Islamic Banking & Maybank Islamic CEO commented, “We are delighted to be announcing the launch of Maybank Islamic’s operations in Dubai. The opening of our DIFC branch is indeed significant for us. Not only does this mark our very first overseas branch, but it also establishes us as Malaysia’s first Islamic bank to have a presence overseas. With Dubai being a leading Islamic economic centre, it was timely for Maybank Islamic to be here to tap into the increasing demand for financing in the global Halal economy and to become a link between the GCC countries and the world’s 5th largest economy that is the ASEAN Economic Community. Indeed, we look forward to making the Dubai DIFC branch our hub for the MENA region.”

He added that it has been the aspiration of the Maybank Group that Maybank Islamic becomes a Global Leader in Islamic Finance, and the opening of the Dubai DIFC branch in a leading Islamic financial hub, the DIFC, is a major achievement for the Bank into that direction.

HE Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC said: “The DIFC continues to be a catalyst for growth in the Islamic finance sector, offering Shari'ah-compliant products and services to over 600 million Muslims in the Middle East and Africa region alone. Aligned with the visionary leadership of Dubai to establish the city as the capital for the Islamic Economy, we are committed to continuing to support the growth of Shari'ah transactions in the DIFC and transforming the future of finance. We are pleased to welcome Maybank Islamic Berhad to the home of the region’s Islamic finance with its newly established regional headquarters in Dubai.”

The new branch is headed by Country Manager, Nik Joharris Nik Ahmad who has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. He has extensive experience, having worked across geographies such as Malaysia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia particularly in Islamic corporate debt financing.

The addition of Maybank Islamic reinforces the rapid growth of financial institutions with Shari'ah-compliant services and complements the sharp rise of Islamic assets managed at the DIFC. Present at the opening ceremony today were Maybank Islamic Chairman Zainal Abidin Jamal, Governor of DIFC HE Essa Kazim, DIFC Authority Chief Executive Arif Amiri, DFSA Chief Executive Bryan Stirewalt and Malaysian Ambassador to the UAE, HE Mohd Tarid Sufian.


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