Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I joined the Middle East and Islamic Financial Services team at the British investment bank, Kleinwort Benson, in 1984. Ultimately, I progressed to be the head and director responsible for Islamic finance and Middle Eastern institutional business.
In 1998 I was invited to join Dawnay, Day as a partner, with responsibility for establishing a new subsidiary to support and expand Dawnay, Day’s Islamic financial market activity. Currently, I head a team of 32 individuals providing intermediary and facilitation services to Islamic institutional clients globally.
What does your role involve?
Apart from my responsibility for the strategic growth and development of our business and people, reporting directly to our shareholders ICAP Private Group (IPGL) and Dawnay, Day, I retain my passion for being involved in originating and structuring transactions.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement is having created the excellent team of financial sector professionals working with me at DDCAP Group.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Our firm’s position in the Islamic financial services industry is quite unusual as our position is one of an intermediary, providing support and assistance to our clients. Although we enjoy a solid reputation for our broking services, in many asset classes we are not a broker in the conventional sense, as Shariah stipulations in regard to asset ownership and transfer of title preclude this. Otherwise, we try to offer our clients complete coverage and service solutions:
- Our investment asset focus for Islamic clients includes commodity, structured trade, real estate, quoted and private equity.
- We provide asset facilitation services to over 150 third party institutions, funds and private offices.
- We facilitate wholesale, structured investment opportunities for Islamic and other institutional clients and we have assisted clients with placement of over US$25 billion in asset-based transactions.
- Working with conventional and Islamic banks, we have arranged over US$3.5 billion of Shariah compliant finance during the past year.
What are the strengths of your business?
Our strength is in the size, depth and diversity of our business segments. Our directors have worked specifically in Islamic finance for over two decades and this is complemented and supported by a wealth of expertise from colleagues with experience across the financial and investment world. We are not solely a broker, fund manager or advisory house, but combine our abilities across all of these disciplines in an endeavor to provide a bespoke service to clients.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
Our success is, again, due to our people and our diverse capability but, most importantly, the long-term commitment and support of our clients – some have had active transactional relationships with us for 25 years. This, we believe, gives us a genuine long-term appreciation of the market and its trends and stages of development.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
Presently the obstacles typically relate to our aspirations for international expansion and anticipating the timeline needed to overcome the regulatory and administrative hurdles that are a feature of global business today.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
It is an interesting time both home and abroad. In the UK we have a number of licensed Islamic banks, with more pending, and the British government is proactively supporting the development of the domestic Islamic financial sector, as well as London’s potential as a hub for global Islamic financial activity, particularly in the capital markets space. Internationally, there are huge opportunities and the cross-border flows of capital between the Middle East and Asia have already resulted in significant enhancement in the standardization of Islamic financial practice in certain product areas across both markets.
Overall, I can see a marketplace poised for rapid growth in assets, capability and technology. My only cautionary note, based upon some recent and planned innovations, is that we must remain mindful of the core values of Islamic finance and the expectations of market participants, not just at wholesale level, but through to the ultimate retail consumer, as we strive for future development.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
We are immersed in such a period of expansion and development of Islamic finance at present, that we are all experiencing significant change and review of product, process and Shariah validation. Ensuring that significant change is fully and sufficiently embraced throughout the Islamic financial industry during this rapid stage of growth is essential to ongoing sustainability and all major market participants should seek the best opportunities to work towards this common aim.
Dawnay, Day is a privately owned group operating in select markets around the world specialising in property investment and fund management, financial services and principal investments. Dawnay, Day companies are members of the London Stock Exchange, the London Investment Banking Association, the London Metal Exchange, London Platinum and Palladium Market and the Alternative Investment Management Association.