Sun rises on Singapore's first Islamic bank

Singapore welcomed its first Islamic bank on May 7, a sign of burgeoning Islamic banking activity in Asia. The Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) is a joint venture between majority stakeholder DBS Bank and 22 investors from prominent families and industrial groups in Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries.

IB Asia will offer services in commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and private banking.

The bank will be incorporated with an initial paid-up capital of $418 million, with DBS contributing $250 million and holding an initial stake of 60%. IB Asia plans to attract capital from other GCC investors in the coming weeks to increase the bank's capital to $500 million. With the proposed capital injection, DBS will continue to hold a majority stake, with no less than 50% plus one share.

Abdulla Hasan Saif, adviser for economic affairs to the prime minister of Bahrain, is chairman, and Jackson Tai, vice-chairman and chief executive of DBS, vice-chairman.

Tai says IB Asia will originate and distribute wealth management and capital market instruments for corporate and private banking clients in the Middle East and Asia.

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