Islamic finance awards 2014: BLME
Best Islamic bank in UK
Bank of London and the Middle East is the best of the Shariah institutions to have sprung up in London. Having received its FSA banking licence in 2007, it can now claim to be the biggest Islamic bank in Europe.
BLME has been structured sensibly with a diversified presence: corporate banking, treasury and wealth management, with both private banking and asset management offered. BLME is, ultimately, a play on London’s role as an Islamic financial centre and on the interaction between the Middle East and Europe, and these are the business areas that will benefit from those themes.
By June 30, the bank’s total consolidated assets stood at £1.14 billion, a big increase from £799 million the previous year. That increase in the balance sheet has come alongside a slide in profitability in a difficult market, with operating profit before impairment charges dropping year on year to just £2.47 million for the first six months of 2013, but it looks well placed for recovery and is still expanding, opening an office in Dubai during the year.