In the Spotlight
‘Dubai is our spring board for the Middle East’

Standard Chartered’s reach in emerging makets will benefit UAE businesses
By Babu Das Augustine, Deputy Business Editor
Published: 13:07 November 11, 2012

Dubai: Sir John Peace, chairman of Standard Chartered PLC, was in Dubai last week to attend the bank’s global board meeting. Ahead of the board meeting, Sir John met with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In this high level meeting, he apprised Shaikh Mohammad of the bank’s plans for the region. In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Sir John spoke about the bank’s global and regional strategic direction, investment plans in the UAE and the challenges and opportunities in the post-crisis global economy.

Gulf News: You met Shaikh Mohammad during this visit. What were some of the topics discussed and what was the key message you delivered to him and to the UAE leadership?

Sir John Peace: It was a great opportunity for me to have met Shaikh Mohammad and let the government know that this is a very important market for Standard Chartered, a market that we have been in for a very long time. It was a very important meeting for us to make him aware of our commitment to the UAE and we continue to invest here. Indeed, I came here for the board meeting and to visit our new regional headquarter building. We expect it to be ready early next year. He made me feel very welcome and was very supportive of what we are trying to do as a bank. I explained to him that as a bank, we are almost unique in terms of the importance we give to some of the emerging markets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East and the network we have is very important for the UAE as it expands its business relationships with some of these markets. Read More...
Islamic finance driving force in world growth
Last Update 15 December 2012 1:13 pm
AJEDDAH: Saudi banks are doing a good job in the field of Shariah-compliant financing and are creating more excitement in the world about the industry, says SEDCO Capital CEO Hasan S. AlJabri.
SEDCO Capital has worked with some of the leading global managers to develop Shariah-compliant investments that are as sophisticated and at often times more rewarding than conventional investments due to its low leverage, he says.

“The virtue of Islamic finance is the creation of real value in the economy thus creating real growth and jobs,” he told Khalil Hanware of Arab News in an exclusive interview.

“You are not taking advantage of a situation where you make money because somebody lost that money. Here you are making money, the employer made money, the employee made money and the economy grows. That is Shariah investment,” says AlJabri who has been a major player in investment banking and corporate finance in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region for more than 27 years holding leading positions in two of the region’s most influential financial institutions — NCB Group
and Samba.

The sukuk market continues to grow globally due to an increasing interest in Islamic modes of financing. What prospects do you see for sukuk in Saudi Arabia?

Sukuk sales in Saudi Arabia have risen to a new record in 2012 as demand outstrips supply, which is expected to continue next year. Sukuk offerings jumped to about $ 8 billion, or 45 percent of the GCC’s total this year. Overall sales of sukuk in the region surged to $ 17.7 billion this year from $ 4.8 billion in the year earlier. Demand and supply fundamentals on the Saudi and GCC sukuk markets are not yet balanced, and investors will welcome new issuances. Read More...