Deloitte eyes 'significant opportunities' in Islamic finance

Deloitte & Touche is targeting the Islamic finance sector for future growth as it provides a significant opportunity, the company’s Middle East chairman and CEO said.

Globally Islamic financial institutions hold $960bn in assets, of which 60 percent are concentrated in the GCC, Omar Fahoum said.

“Islamic finance is here to stay. This is not a fad. This is not a flash in the pan. The numbers are substantial in terms of the assets with Islamic financial institutions,” he told journalists in Dubai.

He said 80 percent of Islamic financial institutions are based in the GCC.

“Islamic finance activities have been growing at the rate of 20 percent for the past five years,” said Joseph el Fadiof of Deloitte’s financial services industry.

“It has seen a slow down in 2009 and 2010 but still this market is growing, just not as before.”

Banks have started to create windows for Islamic finance products rather than switching all their products to Islamic finance, he said.

Deloitte has continued to expand in the region and has hired more than 1,000 staff in less than two years, taking its total Middle Eastern staff to 2,200 employees.

Fahoum said he was optimistic about regional economies returning to growth due to stable oil prices and investment in public spending.

“Public spending in GCC countries is at unprecedented levels higher than previous years. How does that translate to our business? We definitely have the confidence that were making the necessary investments,” he said.

“Naturally if the view from our end was other than an optimistic view we wouldn’t be making these investments.”

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