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UAE: First Gulf Bank acquires full ownership of Aseel Islamic Finance

By Staff Report Gulf News


Abu Dhabi: First Gulf Bank (FGB), one of the major leading banks in the UAE, has increased its stakes in Aseel Islamic Finance, through a purchase agreement which has raised the bank’s ownership from 40 per cent to 100 per cent.

With a paid-up capital of Dh800 million, Aseel is now FGB’s Islamic banking and finance arm, offering innovative Sharia-compliant solutions for customers and businesses.

This agreement is part of the bank’s larger dual expansion strategy which is focused on enhancing its global presence and on further developing existing businesses while meeting customer needs. Islamic finance is an important and growing segment of the region’s banking sector, and Aseel will provide innovative Islamic products to a broad base of customers and businesses which require Sharia-compliant services.

Aseel plans to diversify its offering from mainly mortgage products and home financing to a broader mix including small and medium enterprises, such as a full-fledged range of Islamic solutions, such as Business Financing, Murabaha and Ijarah products for SMEs, Takaful, Investment products, Corporate Deposits, and Trade facilities in addition to Real Estate services, the statement added.

Set up in 2006, Aseel is capitalized at Dh800 million ($218 million). It has total assets of Dh1.5 billion

Customer-driven trend

It will also share responsibility for managing the bank’s existing Emirati Al Awwal Islamic savings certificates programme, Transaction Accounts and Individual Deposits.

Commenting on the bank’s step into Islamic finance, Andre’ Sayegh, CEO of FGB, stated: “The customer-driven trend for more Sharia-compliant financing products in the UAE is clear. We have listened to our customers and our ownership of Aseel will allow us to build on our existing Islamic product portfolio to meet this growing demand. Our intention is to establish Aseel Islamic Finance as an Islamic finance powerhouse in its own right while maintaining the customer centric approach and values of First Gulf Bank.”

Aseel Islamic Finance will maintain an independent board of directors with Hana Al Rostamani as the Chairperson, while Javed Afzal was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer. Under their leadership, and with their combined expertise, the bank’s Islamic subsidiary will continue to provide top quality Sharia-compliant products and services, with further expansion plans to be announced in due course.

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