Jul 03 2011

Islamic wealth management grows in the Gulf

By Gerard Al-Fil Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) are not willing to leave wealth management to conventional foreign banks any longer.

According to the 15th Cap Gemini Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report, the number of high-net worth individuals in the Middle East increased in 2010 by 10.4% to 440,000. Altogether they sit on $1.7tr, 12.5% more than in 2009.

In the UAE, the happy few with over $1m said good-bye to some 1,900 wealthy members of the HNWI club, a decrease of 3.5%. Nevertheless in the UAE, all IFIs have established wealth management centers in recent years. At Dubai Bank this segment is called Royal Banking.

Dubai Islamic Bank tries to lure the 'high society' with Al Islami Private Banking. In mid-June three-year old Ajman Bank founded Mahra Ladies Banking, which is not primarily designed for wealthy women but aims to reach for the growing capital in women's hands, which according to Maryam al-Shorafa, head of ladies' banking, stands at a quarter of the UAE's private wealth.

Competition is fierce. Eight months ago, Swiss private banks Bank Sarasin and Clariden Leu expanded from Dubai to Abu Dhabi where they opened representative offices but of these two only Sarasin has a specialized Islamic wealth management offering.

© The Islamic Globe 2011

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