Al Rayan Bank has been named as the provider of ‘the Best Islamic Finance Services in Western Europe’, by Trade Finance Global magazine at its annual excellence awards. The awards are designed to recognise and commend organisations for their contribution and dedication to the trade finance sector. Award selections are made by the editorial team of Trade Finance Global and the criteria considers independent reviews, expert opinion and levels of customer service.
Al Rayan Bank, which has established a track record of providing innovative, ethical Sharia compliant banking products with market leading rates1, does not offer currently offer trade finance but does provide a wide portfolio of products and services for business, including commercial property finance, business savings accounts and, working with Carey Pensions, the Islamic Pension Trust – a Sharia compliant pension scheme that meets the criteria for automatic enrolment.
James Sinclair, Editor, Trade Finance Global magazine said: “The judges felt that Al Rayan Bank is a leader and pioneer in educating and providing Islamic and Sharia compliant services to growing businesses, and the judging panel were particularly impressed by their services to the Islamic Community in the UK, as well as the in depth information about Sharia and Islamic Finance on their website”.
Commenting on the accolade, Sultan Choudhury, CEO of Al Rayan Bank, said: “I’m delighted that our business banking services have been recognised by Trade Finance Global magazine. Islamic banking is designed to enable society to conduct its finances in a way that is fair and ethical, and since the Bank was founded in 2004 we have striven to deliver innovative Sharia compliant products and great customer service for both our business and personal banking customers.”
The award follows the publication of a study earlier this year, entitled ‘Understanding the UK Business Landscape’, which was produced for Al Rayan Bank by Experian, the global information services company. The ‘first-of-its-kind’ study provided a fascinating insight into the British Muslim business market. The results of the study, which were attained through a combination of public, modelled and research data, estimate that:
- The UK is home to 297,715 companies, where at least one third (33%) of directors are believed to be Muslim. Of these companies, 230,877 are considered ‘live and trading’.
- 6.8% of the companies in the UK are believed to have at least one third Muslim directors; with 5.8% having at least two thirds (67%) Muslim directors. A separate study by Experian in 2012 indicated that Muslim adults account for 3.1% of the UK adult population2.
- 96.8% of companies where Muslims account for two thirds of directors have three or less directors in total. This compares with 93.0% of companies which are not Muslim influenced (i.e. where less than one third of directors are believed to be Muslim).
Mr Choudhury added, “There is growing demand for Sharia compliant finance products from businesses in the UK; from Muslim influenced companies looking for alternatives to conventional banks, and from enterprises looking for Sharia compliant financial services which they can provide to their employees, such as Workplace Pensions. Al Rayan Bank’s aim is to meet the needs of these businesses with innovative, Sharia compliant banking products and services”.
Al Rayan Bank has more than 60,000 personal and business customers throughout the UK. As a Sharia compliant bank, it pays profit to its savings customers and charges rent to its property finance customers. As part of its ethical positioning, the Bank is prohibited from investing savers’ deposits in activities such as gambling, pornography, speculation, tobacco, arms and other commodities not in keeping with the values of the faith, which are deemed to have negative effects on society.
In May 2015, Al Rayan Bank was named by Global Finance magazine as one of the best Islamic banks in the world, in its annual list of the World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions. The Bank has also been highlighted as a leading ethical alternative to conventional banks by the Move Your Money campaign and Ethical finance magazine.
Al Rayan Bank was recently accredited as an ‘Investors in People’ organisation, demonstrating the signs of a great employer with a clear commitment to sustainability, and it is also an accredited ‘Living Wage Employer’, voluntarily opting to pay employees a ‘Living Wage’ which is significantly higher than the current minimum wage and the new compulsory National Living Wage, to be introduced in 2016.
As an independent UK bank, Al Rayan Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is a member of Financial Services Compensation Scheme.