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UK Islamic finance: The business opportunities for a small conventional bank

My presentation to the senior management of the UK subsidiary of Habib Bank Zurich AG which has recently started offering Islamic banking.


Presented 9 January 2020. Posted 12 January 2020

Habib Bank AG Zurich is a bank in Switzerland which is owned by the Pakistani origin Habib family. It is not affiliated with Habib Bank Ltd of Pakistan.

Its UK subsidiary is Habib Bank Zurich plc, a UK incorporated company, which trades under the Habib Bank AG Zurich name. Its headquarters is in London, with branches in major UK cities. Habib Bank AG Zurich is a conventional bank, but it now also offers Islamic banking.

I have known some of the senior management for many years. At their request I recently gave a short presentation on the business opportunities in UK Islamic finance.

I must stress that the 22-minute presentation below is based entirely upon public domain information. It was followed by a confidential discussion which was not recorded.


Presentation outline

Slide 17 with table of financial results

I have reproduced below the results table on slide 17 for the convenience of readers.


Cumulative losses £’m

Cumulative capital increases (net of repurchases) £’m

Al Rayan was IBB

- 31



- 22    



- 21


Rasmala was EIIB

- 66



- 40



- 21


Demographic profile of British Muslims

During the presentation, I mention how British Muslims are, on average, much younger than the population as a whole. That is illustrated on the slide below, which is from my 2016 presentation "Muslim Jewish relations in the UK" at Finchley Progressive Synagogue, which uses figures from the 2011 census.

The figures for Jews above broadly match the white British population as a whole. The slide shows that about 40% of British Muslims were under the age of 19, and clearly not immediately financially worthwhile customers for banks. (Banks might still want to get them young as customers, since people move between banks relatively rarely.)

My articles about the banks named above

I have previously written about the historic results of all of the banks named above apart from ADIB (UK) which I intend to cover in the future. The articles are listed below in the same order as the table above.

A financial history of Islamic Bank of Britain plc, now called Al Rayan Bank plc

Small profits mixed with big losses - the record of the UK's largest Islamic investment bank [BLME]

The terrible financial history of European Islamic Investment Bank plc, now called Rasmala plc

The financial history of Qatar Islamic Bank’s UK subsidiary

The Financial History of Gatehouse Bank plc

Other website page mentioned

During my talk, I mentioned the article "Success tip: Using business cards effectively."

I also recommend reading "Are Islamic banks Islamic enough?" which explains more about those Muslims who will not use Islamic banks for religious reasons.

How the presentation was recorded

My first presentation recording was done on the spur of the moment, just putting my iPhone 6 on the table and relying on its built in microphone. See my page "Lecture: The Quran recognises religious freedom."

Once I found recording presentations worthwhile, I purchased a high quality Sennheiser digital lapel microphone which plugs into the data socket of my iPhone 6. That produces a much better recording.

The slides

I am happy to share the original PowerPoint slide presentation.


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