Ref No. 18/2008
THE ISLAMIC BANK OF ASIA LAUNCHES TWO SHARIAH-COMPLIANT AND
INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS FOR CLIENTS
Profit rate swap better manages funding cost volatility
Foreign exchange forward purchase maximises economic opportunities from currency market movements
SINGAPORE, 7 July 2008 - The Islamic Bank of Asia announced the launch of two products, an innovative profit rate swap structure and a foreign exchange (FX) forward purchase contract, designed to help customers manage their liability risks and maximise opportunities from currency market movements respectively.
Profit rate swaps and FX forward purchases are risk management products that help companies limit their exposure to fluctuating funding costs and currency prices. Both the bank's profit rate swaps and FX forward purchases are available in the G7 currencies.
Established in May and headquartered in Singapore, The Islamic Bank of Asia is a joint venture between DBS Bank, one of the largest financial services groups in Asia, and
34 investors from prominent families and industrial groups based in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The bank opened its representative office in Bahrain in conjunction with its first anniversary last month. In its inaugural year of business, The Islamic Bank of Asia closed over 20 significant cross-border capital transactions worth more than half a billion USD.
Kareem Hussaini, The Islamic Bank of Asia's Vice President of Product Development, said that these two structured products are unique from those currently in the marketplace because of their innovative designs and Shariah-compliant processes: "Time is of the essence when capturing market opportunities. Our products are therefore designed to allow customers to better manage volatile funding costs and maximise economic benefits from the moving markets with less time, less costs and less documentation. These new structures can cut traditional transaction costs by as much as half.
"With increasing demand from more companies and investors to conduct their businesses in a Shariah-compliant manner, our sophisticated products are timely and suited to meet their needs," he added.
The profit rate swap and FX forward purchase are but the first in a series of innovative products and investment solutions that The Islamic Bank of Asia will launch as part of its expansion efforts.
Vince Cook, CEO of The Islamic Bank of Asia said that the bank is currently working towards launching its first Shariah-compliant Asian equities fund and real estate fund targeting special opportunities in the region later this year.
He added: "Now that we have established ourselves in the wholesale financing markets and capital markets space, our focus is very much on building a similarly robust platform in wealth management and structured product activities, which will support business development and cultivating long-term client relationships in the Middle East and Asia."
Such products will enhance The Islamic Bank of Asia's position as one of the few standalone Islamic banks that can provide the type of sophisticated investment solutions coming from the global investment banks.
Mr. Cook said: "Our commitment to providing a comprehensive array of customer-friendly, innovative products and solutions that uphold Islamic values will go far in helping us become a leader in the Islamic financial markets."
About The Islamic Bank of Asia
Incorporated in May 2007 with DBS Bank and prominent investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as shareholders, The Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) combines banking expertise and insights of Asia with strong Islamic banking credentials to tap into opportunities within Asia and the Middle East. Headquartered in Singapore, IB Asia focuses on commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and private banking services. To find out more about IB Asia, log on to www.islamicbankasia.com.