The Swiss bank expects demand for investments that conform to Islamic principles will continue to grow in the Gulf and globally as a number of factors are drive the Islamic finance.
“I have not witnessed a banking activity that has shown such sustained growth for two decades,” said Fares Murad, global head of Credit Suisse Islamic investments.
“There are many socio-political factors that are driving this growth. To say that Islamic finance is growing because of petro-dollars is simplistic,”
He even sees the possibility of the Islamic banking sector overtaking conventional banks in terms of assets in the region in the coming years.
The possibility is there. Islamic banks in the region are very active and innovative and they are eager to grow,” Murad told Gulf News.
Industry sources estimate the Islamic finance sector to be around $400 billion globally. Half of the assets are located in the Gulf, 25 per cent in Southeast Asia and the rest distributed in other parts of the world.
Murad said his bank is responding to demands from clients for Sharia-compliant products that would exclude investment in interest-based assets or in businesses that produce or deal in alcohol, pork, gambling, weapons and entertainment. “We are active within the region and at our global platforms,” he said.
Credit Suisse launched its first Sharia-compliant fund earlier this month to raise an unspecified amount. The subscription period for the open-ended fund will close on March 30. Up to 20 per cent of the amount collected will be invested in emerging economies.