The boom of the Islamic financial industry on the back of growing Muslim affluence worldwide is attracting new players into the sector, including one multinational conventional financial advisory group which is laying down the foundation for its Islamic business. VINEETA TAN reports.
Dubai-based Alpen Asset Advisors (Alpen), an associate of Alpen Capital, is looking at offering the first of a suite of Islamic financial products in the “coming months”, pending approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The product will be provided on an Islamic window basis.
Alpen Capital, which is present in the UAE, Qatar, Oman and India, confirmed that it has formed a Shariah supervisory board to monitor and advise on Shariah-related matters including conducting the necessary Shariah review, consultation and audit. Sheikh Dr Mohamed Ali Elgari is chairing the board which also welcomed Sheikh Dr Amin Fateh and Sheikh Abdulsattar Ali Al Kattan. In terms of product development, Alpen will be advised by Minhaj Advisory.
Alpen’s decision to service the Muslim market with dedicated products is motivated by the rise of international demand for Shariah compliant financial instruments. For the firm, the decision is further compounded by the strong regulatory push and the Dubai government’s commitment to become a capital of the Islamic economy which includes, among other measures, the ambitious plan to establish a unified global legislative framework for Islamic finance, according to Rohit Walia, the executive chairman and CEO of Alpen Capital.
The Islamic finance community has been growing steadily and welcoming new entrants across the world: in Bangladesh, conventional banks began introducing Islamic windows or converting to become fully-fledged Shariah banks such as United Commercial Bank, Midland Bank Salaam and Mercantile Bank; while in Kazakhstan, Asia Alliance Bank is readying itself to launch an Islamic window this year.