A message from the Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to the Arab Bankers’ Association!

We are an association of bankers and finance professionals who work in Arab financial markets. Most of our members, both corporate and individual, are based in the U.K. but a significant proportion are based outside. Nearly all of us have spent much of our professional lives living and working in the Arab world.

Our aims are simple: to foster improved relations, information sharing and understanding between the private and public sectors in the Arab world and the U.K. We achieve this through our programme of evening seminars and social events, through tailored events for individual members and their clients, and through personal interaction and introductions that are based on decades of business experience.

You will find more information about our work on the various pages of this website. For example, elsewhere on this page you can download a copy of our Annual Magazine; on the “Events” page you can download presentations given at recent evening seminars; and soon we will be adding a new page to our website -- “Arab Banking News” – where you will see a brief round-up of recent events that are relevant to our membership.

The “Join” page also contains a full list of member benefits.

This is an exciting time for Arab banks and their subsidiaries and affiliates in London. Gulf banks are looking to expand their international operations, banks in Egypt and other north African countries are finding their footing after the uncertainties of the Arab Spring, and debt issuance across the region is increasing.

London hosts the largest and most important banking community in Europe, so its not surprising that it is in London that many of the innovative new financial structures that are shaping Arab finance are designed and sold.

The ABA has been serving and promoting Arab banking in London for more than 30 years and we are as enthusiastic and committed to our mission today as we were on the day we were founded. If you are a member, I look forward to working alongside you in the months ahead. If you are not a member, I hope you will consider joining us.

George E. Kanaan Chief Executive Officer


10/02/14  Ernst & Young's Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report Identifies Key Growth Markets and Provides a Wealth of Data

News Ernst & Young's Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report for 2013-2014 identifies five "high potential" markets for Islamic finance: Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  Malaysia, Qatar and Turkey are markets with significant opportunities to increase Islamic assets as a proportion of total banking activity -- in all of those countries Islamic assets have a market share of less than 25% (and less than 10% in Turkey and Indonesia), the report says. In contrast, Islamic assets already account for more than 50% of banking assets in Saudi Arabia, but Ernst & Young b...


10/02/14  Michael Tomalin Receives CMG in New Year's Honours List

News Dr. Michael Tomalin OBE, the former Chief Executive of National Bank of Abu Dhabi, was awarded a CMG in the United Kingdom's 2014 New Year Honours list. The award cited Dr. Tomalin's services to UK/UAE business cooperation and to the British Community in Abu Dhabi. CMG stands for "Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George". The award is used to honour people for service to the British Commonwealth or to foreign countries. Michael Tomalin became Chief Executive of National Bank of Abu Dhabi in 1999 and retired in 2013. In October 2012, Dr. Tomalin received...


10/02/14  Sharjah Receives A-grade ratings from Moody's and S&P

News The government of Sharjah announced on 8 January 2014 that it had received a first-time rating of A3 from Moody's and a first-time rating of A from Standard & Poors (S&P). The S&P rating is one notch higher than the Moody's rating. Both ratings have a stable outlook. Moody's said that the key drivers of its rating on Sharjah were: The emirate's strong fiscal and governmental debt position The social, economic and financial benefits arising from being a member of the UAE. Institutional weaknesses, including economic data availability and transparency deficiencies, as well as ...


10/02/14  Sukuk Issuance Falls to $115bn in 2013, but GCC Issuance Buoyant

News Global sukuk issuance fell to $115bn in 2013, compared to $136bn in 2012, according to a report by Zawya, the Dubai-based news and resport service. However, all of the decrease was attributable to reduced issuance by Malaysia, where issuance totalled $79bn in 2013, compared to $100bn in 2012. Malaysian sukuk had been boosted in 2012 by unusually large issuance in January that year ($10bn) and a significant programme of regular issuance throughout the year, Zawya commented.  The biggest markets after Malaysia were Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Indonesia and Turkey, Zawya said. Corporate suku...


10/02/14  Consolidation of Bahraini Banking Sector Continues

News Bahraini banks Al-Salam and BMI announced on 3 February that they had completed their merger. The union of the two banks has been structured as a "business combination" in which Al-Salam Bank acquires BMI shares through a swap with its own shares. Al-Salam Bank was established in 2005 and holds an Islamic retail license from the Central Bank of Bahrain. The bank had assets of BD1,088mn (($2,886mn) at the end of 2013 and equity of BD246mn. BMI Bank was established in 2004 and holds a conventional banking license. It had assets of BD756mn and equity of BD81mn at the end of September 2013.&nb...