Arab Banking Corporation (B.S.C.) was presented with two awards at a gala dinner held at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. The ‘Excellence in Real Estate’ awards are an annual event put on by The Islamic Conferences Group, the leading event promoter in Islamic banking, and recognise best-of-breed performance in a number of categories which cover Sharia’a-compliant financial services in property investment and banking.
Both ‘Excellence’ awards related to Islamic finance business transacted by ABC’s major international subsidiary, ABC International Bank plc, in the UK.
Commenting on the award for ‘Best Islamic Mortgage Provider’, Keith Leach, Head of ABC’s ‘alburaq’ Islamic retail financial services business, said, “We are delighted that alburaq has again been recognised for its continuing contribution and excellence in Islamic finance in the UK. During 2006 we extended our home finance product range to include buy-to-let, self-certification and fixed and discounted products, as well as special options for non-UK residents. alburaq is the UK’s leading provider of Islamic home finance, offering a range of innovative and highly competitive products, direct or via Lloyds TSB or the Islamic Bank of Britain.”
The award for ‘Most Innovative Islamic Finance Structure’ was in recognition of ABC’s ‘Parallel Phased Istisna’ instrument which was developed by ABCIB Islamic Asset Management’s real estate finance team in conjunction with their Sharia’a scholars. It was used in 2006 on the construction of a $60 million multifamily residential development in the north of England and successfully brought the cost of Sharia’a-compliant development finance down to a level which is similar to interest-based financing.
Derek Weist, acting CEO for Islamic Financial Services at ABC International Bank, confirmed the bank’s enthusiasm for real estate finance using the new instrument. “We are constantly looking to develop new solutions to assist our clients. In this instance, the new Istisna’ contract has provided a well-priced solution for a leading Kuwaiti investor client.”