UK-based Islamic bank seeks tie-up with Oman banks


Richard Thomas. Pic: Raj Kumar/Times of Oman

Muscat: Gatehouse Bank, a UK-based Islamic bank with an asset size of $2 billion, is seeking to attract Oman's Sharia-compliant institutions to invest their funds in the UK and vice-versa.
"We are interested in having relations with all Islamic banks. We have treasury services, capital market products like sukuk and real estate financing," Richard Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Gatehouse Bank, told Times of Oman.

The Gatehouse Bank official will meet officials of Bank Nizwa and Bank Muscat for exploring avenues of cooperation tomorrow. Saying that London has a strong Islamic banking sector, he noted that Gatehouse Bank is interested in helping Omanis who want to invest overseas and interested in bringing treasury funds to the Sultanate.

Thomas, who came along with a 20-member strong British business delegation, said the purpose of the visit is to further strengthen business relation between financial sectors of both countries. The areas of cooperation include banking, insurance, legal and accounting. Thomas also said that the delegation has already met with top-level officials of the Capital Market Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Central Bank of Oman.

According to Thomas, Gatehouse Bank has achieved a 100 per cent asset growth last year, but Islamic banking assets constitute merely one per cent of total banking sector assets in the UK.

Meanwhile, Yahya Said Al Jabri, Chairman of the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority and Chairman of the Capital Market Authority, received the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the accompanying British business delegation at CMA. The meeting was attended by Sheikh Abdullah Salim Al Salmi, Executive President of CMA.

The delegation members included Ian Cranshaw, Acting Head of UK Trade and Investment and members of the British business delegation. The meeting reviewed the cooperation between the two countries and investment opportunities in the capital market and insurance sectors. The delegation also discussed ways for boosting the relations between Muscat Securities Market and London Stock Exchange.


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