Wasim Saifi, Singapore-based global head of Islamic and consumer banking at Standard Chartered Plc, comments on the city-state’s development of Islamic finance in an e-mailed response to questions.
Singapore will host the second World Islamic Banking Conference (Asia Summit) from June 8 to June 9.
On Singapore’s attempts to grow Islamic finance:
“With its role as a major financial centre, Singapore is very well positioned to leverage its considerable talent to help innovate Islamic wealth management.
“I believe that once Islamic products are launched in Singapore demand will be created, not only from the domestic population but also from the substantial offshore business which originates from Southeast Asia and South Asia.
“However, the build-up of the business is likely to be more gradual than in other Islamic markets in the region and hence banks are probably evaluating whether the opportunity justifies the investment.”
On the bank’s plans for Shariah-compliant products in Singapore:
“We’re currently focusing our efforts on the creation of Islamic wealth management products which can be offered to our customers in key Islamic markets of South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
“We are looking to see how we can work with partners who already work closely with us in the conventional space, and we can use their expertise combined with our Islamic structuring capabilities and our substantial Islamic customer base across several markets to help bridge the current product gaps in the market.”