Dubai: UAE's top-tier Islamic bank has opened its first branch in London to largely cater to its Emirati clientele who operate in the British capital.
The Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), UAE's second largest lender, is the first financial institution from the country to receive a banking operations license from the UK Financial Services Authority (UKFSA).
The bank, that will now operate out of its swanky One Hyde Park office, will offer full range of services to high net worth individuals, ADIB said in a statement.
ADIB London was inaugurated by Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, in the presence of Abdulrahman Al Mutaiwee, UAE's ambassador to the UK and Trad Al Mahmoud, CEO of ADIB Group and ADIB representatives.
The bank will serve its clients from the UAE whose interests are increasingly international and who often choose London as their base for business and personal transactions.
Al Mahmoud said the launch signifies the merging of the bank's interest-free Islamic financial values with the advanced financial infrastructure and ecosystem of the UK.
"By licensing 22 Islamic banks, the UK has proven that it welcomes the growth of our industry here. We are happy to begin our UK operations and to serve our customers based in the UK and those visiting. Our goal of broadening our presence in the UK will be achieved when they truly understand that Islamic finance is another name for ethical banking," he said.
According to Ernst & Young, the UK accounts for USD 19 billion of Islamic finance assets worldwide.
The receptiveness of the advanced UK financial services sector to Islamic finance is evident from the fact that 37 sukuk issues raising USD 20 billion are currently listed on the London Stock Exchange.
ADIB London will contribute to the development of the Islamic finance industry in the UK, focusing on providing Shariah-inspired financial services to its clients.
Islamic banking is based on the principle of interest free lending.