A new Islamic bank is to be set up in Bahrain by Saudi and Kuwaiti investors with an authorised capital of $50 million. Reuters reported on 13 November, quoting local newspapers, that First Islamic Investment Bank has received a banking licence from the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA).

The new bank is owned by the Al-Jomaih group of Saudi investors and the Kuwaiti-owned Majestic Global Investments. Further details were not available as MEED went to press.

The establishment of a new Islamic bank in Bahrain – albeit a small one – confirms the growing importance of the island as a centre for Islamic investment banking. Citibank set up its own wholly-owned Islamic bank there earlier this year and Arab Banking Corporation is sponsoring the establishment of another.

Islamic bankers say that with the industry now quite well-developed on the liability side, the focus of expansion in the next few years is likely to be on creating a broader range of investment products and financial services.