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IFN Investor

Awards Report 2017

Bringing you the best

As the year gets into full swing, IFN is once again delighted to bring you our annual Awards Report, detailing the very best of 2017 and listing the top performers and leading players in every category across our four industry-leading awards: Deals of the Year, Best Banks, Service Providers and Law. Last year was another exceptional year for Islamic finance, with innovations and advances across the global marketplace, and we are honored and proud to yet again recognize, reward and respect all the dedicated stakeholders who play such a fundamental role in developing our industry.

2017 was a challenging but rewarding year, with some high peaks compensating for the steep troughs. From landmark issuances and geopolitical dramas to the explosion of interest in ethical products and the fascinating popularity of fintech, the volatility of the global financial markets also continued, with three Federal Reserve rate hikes challenging emerging markets performance yet failing to dampen investor enthusiasm for Islamic issuance, while equity markets continued to soar across the board.

We saw a number of unique firsts throughout the year – from Saudi Arabia’s debut Sukuk in April 2017 to SkyWorld’s first Islamic securitization of real estate progress billings in December, while sovereigns and corporates alike continued to flock to market. Our Deals of the Year awards showcased the resilience of the Islamic markets, with a record number of entrants and a tough choice for our independent panel of judges across the 35 product and country categories. Corporate finance emerged as a strong category, in comparison to the usual Sukuk dominance, while the twin themes of social responsibility and alternative energy also took center stage, and Tawarruq remained popular across the board. The Deals of the Year in 2017 also showcased the increasing globalization of Islamic finance, with impressive performances from a number of local players punching above their weight to achieve international status – such as Malaysia’s Adnan Sundra and Low, who took home an impressive clutch of awards across multiple categories. Read the full results on Page 29.

Our Best Banks Poll entered its 13th year, with a positive showing across 36 impressive categories confirming the health and strength of the Shariah compliant banking sector. External pressures continued to squeeze Islamic banks in 2017, with tightening liquidity, low oil prices, US rate hikes and geopolitical dramas presenting their own challenges. Nevertheless, the industry still managed to deliver exceptional results – with 2017 seeing repeat performances from long-standing pillars as well as new challenges from innovative entrants. Special mention must go to Dubai Islamic Bank, who swept the board after an astounding year that saw it achieve the highest profitability in its history. Read who else stormed the boards on Page 48.

The IFN Law Awards demonstrated the continued innovation in the industry as the legal sector drove forward with pioneering new products and services. King & Spalding showcased its expertise in the private equity sector, Winston & Strawn dominated in project finance, Linklaters nailed the capital markets category while Clyde & Co won the real estate battle. For the full list of winners, head to Page 54.

And finally, we come to the unsung heroes of the industry – our tribute to the wonderful workers behind the scenes, the supporters and service providers without whom none of this would be possible. From advisors to indices, research to re-Takaful, the IFN Service Providers Poll 2017 once again rewarded the players facilitating the industry through their hard work and tireless dedication. Turn to Page 60 to explore the full list of winners across the top 10 categories.

This Special Awards Report contains within its pages the very best and brightest of the Islamic finance industry, representing not only the illustrious performers of the past year but our brightest hopes for the future. I hope you enjoy this outstanding illustration of an industry at its best.

Lauren McAughtry
Group Managing Editor
Islamic Finance news