Standard Chartered Securities (SCS), a subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) became the first capital market service license holder in the sultanate to have been granted approval to conduct Islamic investment business services.
The Islamic Investment offerings will be done through the first-ever Islamic window that has been approved by the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) and the Syariah Financial Supervisory Board (SFSB), according to Standard Chartered.
“This event marks the first establishment of an Islamic Window in Brunei Darussalam, a breakthrough for our financial sector particularly for our financial sector,” the Minister of Home Affairs shared during his keynote address at the launch.
An Islamic Window is an operating structure in a conventional bank that offers Islamic banking products and services through its branches by a dedicated team or department that is well versed in Syariah-compliant financing products and services.
“The essence of the introduction of Islamic windows is to promote the conduct of Islamic finance, and facilitate advancement towards full-fledged Islamic financial business,” said Yang Berhormat Pehing Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Awang Abu Bakar Hj Apong.
He added how the new Islamic window enables a wider variety of investment products and services to investors who are looking for Syariah-compliant investments, while also promoting competition among the financial institutions in the country.
He then noted how there is an increase in demand for investments from 2019 to 2020 despite the current pandemic and economic situation as investor participation in investment funds showed an average increase of 62 per cent year-on-year.
About 20 per cent of the volume of investments are in Islamic funds, according to the minister who is also the Deputy Chairman of AMBD, while in terms of fund offering, there was only about seven per cent of funds that are offered are Syariah compliant.
“The establishment of the Islamic window, thus, signifies progress in Islamic finance development towards achieving the goal of the Brunei Darussalam Financial Sector Blueprint (FSBP) to have a dynamic and diversified financial sector under the broad strategy of competitive and innovative financial institutions and services,” he went on to say.
In his part SCB CEO and SCS Chairman Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim reiterated Standard Chartered’s position as a market leader in wealth management having established offerings in Brunei for over 20 years.
“Following the implementation of the Securities Markets Order, SCS was established as a subsidiary of SCB in 2016 and have made significant strides since then to now which include offering Syariah compliant investments in the market,” he said.
He added how SCS has a common goal to drive commerce and prosperity in the markets they operate in by providing solutions based on a good understanding of their customers’ needs and beliefs.
“Coupled with our strategy to accelerate digitalisation across our services, Standard Chartered is well-positioned to offer wealth solutions that meet the needs of the modern Muslim,” continued Pg Aki.
The launch event was held at the Indera Samudra Grand Hall, The Empire Brunei and included a presentation by Head of Wealth Management at SCB and CEO of SCS Brenda Low about the Islamic window as well as the subsidiary’s newly launched Syariah compliant Unit Trusts.
This was followed by a presentation by Dr Aznan Hasan, a member of SCS’ Syariah Advisory Body delivering a presentation on managing one’s wealth in a Syariah compliant manner.
This was then proceeded by a presentation by Mohd Farid Kamarudin, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of RHB Islamic International Asset Management who shared further on the two new Syariah compliant Unit Trusts – RHB Global Sukuk Fund and RHB Islamic Global Developed Markets Fund.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN