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Maybank Islamic officially launches first overseas branch in Dubai
Last update: 11/02/2020

By Sharifah Pirdaus Syed Ali

DUBAI (United Arab Emirates), Feb 11 -- Maybank Islamic Bhd (MIB), South East Asia’s largest Islamic bank by asset has officially launched its first overseas branch in Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The branch in DIFC will bridge Islamic financing between countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and ASEAN.

MIB, the shariah compliant division of Malaysia’s largest lender, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), was granted the full Islamic banking licence by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in July 2019.

As of Sept 30 last year, Maybank’s total asset stood at US$57.35 billion.

Speaking during the launch of MIB Dubai here on Monday, MIB’s chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican said MIB has become Malaysia’s first Islamic bank to have an overseas presence.

 “With Dubai being a leading Islamic economic centre, it was timely to be here to tap into increasing demand for halal financing in the global halal economy and to become a link between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the ASEAN economic community.

“We also look forward to make the branch (at DIFC) as our hub for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, “ he said.

Gracing the launching ceremony was the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Also present were MIB chairman Zainal Abidin Jamal, Governor of DIFC Essa Kazim, DIFC Authority CEO Ariff Amiri,  DFSA CEO Bryant Stirewalt and Malaysian ambassador to the UAE Mohd Tarid Sufian.

Mohamed Rafique said MIB Dubai would focus on providing wholesale banking with an emphasis in corporate financing, treasury and capital markets and trade finance.

“The business that we intend to do here is not the retail business, but a wholesale business from an offshore financial centre, hence, would not be dealing with the local currency (dirham).

“We want to explore other currencies where we should have advantages in working with the corporate client and regional client,” he said.

In the past, MIB according to him, had already done Sukuk transactions for financial institutions based in the GCC.

“We saw strong traction and demand for papers that are issued from this region. In the ASEAN space, we saw that they like the name and invested in some of the credits.

“By having our team here on the ground, we could actually build a deeper relationship and work with sovereign financial institutions as well as quasi-government entities that are keen on Sukuk issuance,” he said.

MIB was ranked top spot on Bloomberg’s Global Sukuk League in 2019 on Sukuk issuance, he said, adding that issuance from the GCC region would remain strong, hence, the need to have a presence in the dynamic region to stay relevant.

As of September 30, 2019, the Islamic banking business contributed 60 per cent of the group’s total financing.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Maktoum in a statement said Islamic Finance is a key element of Dubai’s economic strategy.

The establishment of Malaysia’s largest Islamic bank in Dubai according to him, is an acknowledgement of Dubai’s pivotal role at the heart of the Islamic economy and the strong advantages it offers the institutions based here.

“Over the coming decade, Dubai aimed 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 looked forward to creating new economic opportunities and establishing a new partnership that could bolster not only the development of the region but also the strength and sustainability of the global economy,” he said.

MIB joined over 2,300 active registered companies that had chosen the DIFC as their preferred location of choice to gain easy access to the fast-growing Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

DIFC’s robust legal and regulatory environment, alongside its developed and dynamic financial ecosystem, continues to be a catalyst for growth in Islamic banking offering a platform to reach a Muslim population of more than 600 million people in the region.

-- BERNAMA 

 


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Source: Bank Negara Malaysia

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