DIFC Investments and Dubai Islamic Bank establish Waqf Trust Services

First Exclusive Islamic Trust Services Provider in the World offering Sharia compliant trust services

DIFC Investments and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced today that they have initiated a project to establish ‘Waqf Trust Services’, the first Islamic trust services provider in the world exclusively offering sharia compliant trust services, which will operate from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), upon approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The company is set to operate along the guidelines of the ‘Trust law of 2005’, enacted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre. The law is primarily intended to ensure the proper succession and preservation of lineage while allowing families to manage their wealth in such a way as to guarantee the rightful disbursement of their inheritance while maintaining a strict adherence to Sharia’a guidelines.

Waqf Trust Services offers a diverse array of trust services for both corporate and individual clients, primarily encompassing the provision of tools to assist clients in the protection of assets, succession planning and the preservation of family wealth. Invariably, the key demand driver influencing the market for personal trust services is the existence of wealth. Essentially, the greater the wealth of individuals, the more assets there are to protect, preserve, invest and pass on to future generations. As such, the planning process can be extremely complex and requires the assistance of highly trained professionals, especially when different jurisdictions and asset types are involved.

A trust is a legal arrangement under which the legal and beneficial ownership of assets are separated.  Under this arrangement, the primary owner of the assets (the “Settler”) transfers the legal ownership of his/her assets to the “Trustee” for the benefit of the “Beneficiaries”, of whom the Settler can be one. There are three main types of trust services: Personal Trust; Corporate Trust; and Charitable Trust.

His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Chairman of Waqf Trust Services, said: “Since Dubai is now one of the world’s major wealth centres and a hub for investors in the Middle East, the setting up of Waqf Trust within DIFC is a welcome move to help maintain and preserve the region’s assets. DIB has a solid and long-standing reputation as a provider of quality Sharia’a compliant banking products and services to its customers in the UAE and across the region, and this new venture will enable it to build on its successes and strengthen existing ties with clients.”

Mr. Saad Abdul Razak, Group CEO of the Dubai Islamic Bank Group and Vice Chairman of Waqf Trust Services commented: “Extensive research was conducted to provide an indication of the outlook for a new trust service provider in the region, the results of which have formed the basis of the business strategy for Waqf Trust . As such, we are proud to be the first to introduce these specialized Islamic trust services. Our aim, as it has always been, is to find different ways to assist our clients in managing their assets and together with DIFC Investments, we look forward to helping our clients, and the region as a whole, prepare for a prosperous future.”

Farhan Bahman Al Bastaki, who will be the Director responsible for establishing Waqf Trust Services, said: “It is a great opportunity for DIFC Investments and Dubai Islamic Bank to work together on this exciting project. Islamic finance and wealth management are key areas of focus in the Middle East and as such Waqf marks the introduction of an invaluable additional line of business to the DIFC family; one that promises to keep the best interests of future generations at the forefront of its vision.”

DIFC Investments has been allocated the entire range of non-public administration and commercial activities previously carried out by the DIFC Authority, including the operation and management of subsidiaries. Furthermore, DIFC Investments will be given the responsibility of the development of the DIFC’s investment strategy, as well as relevant policies and alliances that will aid in achieving the objectives and visions of the DIFC.

Dubai Islamic Bank (“DIB”) was established in 1975 and is the world’s first fully fledged Islamic bank. It currently offers a wide range of Sharia’a compliant products and services, including retail, corporate and investment banking, within the UAE and internationally across  Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Ireland, Bosnia, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Dubai Islamic Bank is the world’s leader in Sukuk issuances and in May 2007 it was awarded best Islamic bank by Banker Middle East.

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