Finance & Capital Market

DIFC records 45pc rise in Islamic assets in Q2

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a leading international financial hub, has marked a significant rise in Islamic assets being managed in the Centre, recording a 45 per cent growth between the second quarter (Q2) of 2018 and Q2 2019.

Islamic finance is growing at 1.5 times the rate of traditional finance, and the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region continues to be a steady driver of this industry, fuelled by a number of jumbo sukuk issuances and almost $1 trillion in financial assets across GCC countries.

Dubai remains one of the world’s largest centres for Sukuk listings by value at $62 billion, with DIFC-based Nasdaq Dubai at $60 billion.

The DIFC continues to be a catalyst for growth in this sector, with more than 40 firms offering sharia-compliant products and services, using the Centre as a springboard to reach a Muslim population of over 600 million in the Middle East and Africa region alone.

The DIFC’s robust legal and regulatory environment, alongside its highly developed and dynamic financial ecosystem, has attracted major Islamic institutions such as Maybank Islamic Berhad to establish their regional headquarters in Dubai.

Arif Amiri, chief executive officer of DIFC Authority said: “The growth in the number of financial institutions with a sharia-compliant offering, alongside the rise of Islamic assets managed from the DIFC highlights the increasing demand for Islamic financial products in the region.

“Aligned with the vision of Dubai’s leadership to establish the city as the capital for Islamic Economy, we are committed to continuously enhancing our world-class business environment to support the growth of sharia transactions here in the Centre.”

The Centre has also become the preferred home for emerging Islamic FinTech firms, contributing to the UAE’s position as the fourth largest Islamic FinTech hub in the world.  The DIFC has showcased its commitment to developing the sector by establishing dedicated an Islamic FinTech stream in its award-winning FinTech Hive accelerator programme, alongside RegTech, InsurTech and FinTech.

The 31 participants chosen for the third cohort of the programme include four promising Islamic FinTech specialists, such as Malaysia headquartered HelloGold, the world’s first Shariah compliant gold mobile application and IslamiChain an innovative start-up leveraging Blockchain Technology to enable philanthropy and compassionate giving.

Hakbah, an Islamic FinTech startup specialised in cooperative savings and Wethaq, a platform focused on structuring and distribution of securities in sukuk capital markets.  As part of the programme, the budding start-ups receive guidance and mentorship from leading Islamic institutions such as the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, Emirates Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, amongst others from FinTech Hive’s network of 22 partners. – TradeArabia News Service