Gatehouse Bank expands into Asia with opening of new representative office in Malaysia

Gatehouse Bank expands into Asia with opening of new representative office in Malaysia

Gatehouse Bank plc (Gatehouse), a wholesale Shariah compliant investment bank based in the City of London, has today opened its first representative office in Malaysia, authorised by Bank Negara Malaysia. Operating out of offices in Kuala Lumpur, this latest move by Gatehouse Bank signals the development of a significant new market across South East Asia.

The Malaysian office is being headed up by former Chief Executive Officer, Mr Richard Thomas, who has relinquished his former position to take on the role of Chief Representative for Gatehouse Bank in Malaysia. Richard will be supported by the Bank’s first local recruit, Ms. Sharifah Bakar Ali, who will head up business development in this region.

The establishment of a representative office in the region is an important element of the Bank’s global strategy to maximise the international growth potential in Islamic Finance. As a significant growth market, the opening of Gatehouse Bank’s office in Malaysia will provide an important bridge between the economies of London, the GCC and Malaysia, offering stakeholder’s access to Asia in a way not previously possible. It follows the successful completion last year of the landmark GBP 165 million (USD 250 million) acquisition of 10 Queen Street Place in London on behalf of the Malaysian Hajj pilgrims’ fund, Lembaga Tabung Haji.

Gatehouse Bank marked the opening of the Malaysia office with a high profile launch event attended by His Excellency Mr Simon Featherstone, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, and Dato Muhammad Bin Ibrahim, Deputy Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia.

The official proceedings were led by Mr Fahed Boodai, Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of Gatehouse Bank. Mr Boodai was joined by Vice Chairman Mr Oday Al Ibrahim; along with Mr Will Lowndes, Vice President of Real Estate; Ms Azeemeh Zaher, Head of Institutional Relationships; and Mr Osama Al Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Wealth Management at Gatehouse Bank’s sister company, Gatehouse Capital.

Mr Fahed Boodai commented: “Our international clients are looking for investment opportunities that promote wealth preservation in mature and stable markets, and responding to their needs on an on-going basis remains a core priority for the Bank. Expanding our global footprint so that the Bank can act as a gateway between the Islamic Finance markets in Europe, the GCC and now Asia is fundamental to achieving this objective, and establishing a new base in Malaysia is not only an exciting development for the Bank, but one that will help to deliver significant longer-term value on behalf of our clients.”

Malaysia is the world’s third largest centre for Islamic Finance, with USD 133 billion of Shariah compliant assets. The country therefore presents significant opportunities for Gatehouse’s differentiated approach based on client-led service, effectively linking together the core markets of Europe, Asia and the GCC to deliver secure, income-producing global investment opportunities.

It is expected that Malaysia's continuing progress in developing leading edge services and products, along with its robust regulatory infrastructure with strong global integration and talent in innovating Shariah compliant products, will see the Malaysian Islamic financial sector strengthening its position even further as a key international Islamic finance powerhouse. Gatehouse Bank aims to become not just an integral part of the Malaysian growth story but also act as a gateway between some of the world’s largest global economies for Islamic Finance.

As Mr Richard Thomas OBE, Chief Representative for Gatehouse Bank in Malaysia, explained: “In today’s economic climate international investors are becoming increasingly focused on wealth preservation, and sourcing income producing properties in mature and stable markets is key. As investors look to diversify their global portfolio, it is important that we have a solid framework in place to regulate the flow of cross-border activity and support future investment growth. London is already establishing its position as a strong home for international investment, from Malaysia in particular, and its reputation as a hub for Islamic Finance has created an indisputable synergy between these two countries, and the GCC, which I am confident we can continue to build on moving forward.”

In order to meet the continuing investor demand for high quality property investments, Gatehouse Bank provides leading advice and opportunities across a diverse range of properties ranging from retail and offices, to student and logistics sectors. The bank specialises in originating, structuring and funding investments in a Shariah compliant manner and, driven by an active real estate strategy, the Bank has established a global portfolio worth in excess of USD 1.5 billion since its inception in 2008, spread across Real Estate assets, capital investment, and term deposits.