Thomas will be inducted into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth the Second, at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The OBE has been handed by Her Majesty on behalf of the UK Government, in recognition for civic excellence and the contribution that Thomas has made to the UK Islamic financial services industry.
Jamie Bowden, the UK Ambassador to Bahrain, who has worked with Thomas on many global Islamic finance promotional initiatives, said, “I am delighted that Richard Thomas’s work in support of the UK Islamic Financial Services industry has been recognised. In the many years that I have worked with him he has tirelessly furthered the UK’s and the industry’s interests. His efforts have strengthened the links between the British and Bahraini Islamic financial sectors.
“I am certain that he personally deserves much of the credit for the UK building its position as the leading Western centre of Islamic financial activity.”
Fahed Boodai, Chairman of the bank said, “The shareholders and the Board of Directors at Gatehouse Bank warmly congratulate Richard Thomas, Gatehouse’s CEO, on the well-deserved and important honour of an OBE conferred on him by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom. This recognition by the UK Government of Richard’s outstanding work in developing business ties with the GCC countries, and Kuwait in particular is also honouring his leading contribution to the development of Shari’ah-compliant financing over the past 30 years.
“A large part of this work has been in growing Gatehouse Bank to be a major player and innovative Islamic finance institution in London. His colleagues and the shareholders wish him the best of success and are delighted with the honour bestowed upon him.”
Neil Miller, Global Head of Islamic Finance at KPMG said, “I was delighted to hear that Richard’s hard work has been recognised with this honour. I have had the pleasure of working with Richard Thomas on a variety of Islamic finance transactions for more than ten years.
“He has been a true champion of the industry and is dedicated to supporting its integration and expansion in the United Kingdom. In his previous role at Arab Banking Corporation, he developed the Alburaq suite of market leading Islamic home finance products and worked closely with the UK Government Treasury to facilitate this activity in the UK.
“As CEO of Gatehouse Bank he is constantly on the road marketing the City of London and is a great ambassador for the UK Islamic finance industry, promoting its strengths internationally, from the GCC to SE Asia.”
Thomas said, “I am most grateful for this honour and thank everyone for their kind words of support. I am pleased to see the UK emerge as a centre for Islamic finance in the past decade. Although we have not reached the heights of development in the GCC or Malaysia, the UK offers a level of expertise and a strong financial infrastructure to complement the services provided by our regional neighbours.
“This award will help motivate the emerging community of UK specialists who are looking to advance the growth of Islamic finance and see its increasing potential to develop not only regional but cross-border experience in international transaction activity.”