posted by Christopher W. Holton

Readers who do business with Citi Group may be interested in their activities involving Shariah-compliant finance in Pakistan.

According to annual report issued by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Shariah-compliant assets now represent 34.6 per cent of the total assets of the Non-Banking Financial Institute (NBFI) industry in Pakistan. the number of Shariah-compliant mutual funds has reached 109 and Shariah-complaint funds have 41 per cent of the assets under management of the mutual fund industry. The report added that the Takaful (Shariah-compliant insurance) industry comprises of five dedicated Takaful operators and 21 window Takaful operators. Takaful sector assets represent 2.7 per cent of the total assets of the insurance industry.

The market share of Shariah-compliant assets is rising in Pakistan.

This wouldn’t be particularly interesting for most readers since Pakistan is an overwhelming majority Muslim nation with Islamic institutions fully integrated into its government and legal systems.

But what should be interesting to those of us in the West is the fact that U.S.-based financial conglomerates are playing a large role in the march of Shariah finance in Pakistan.

Citibank CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) James C. Cowles has said he expects economic growth to continue in Pakistan…

Speaking at Citibank’s EMEA Media Summit held in London earlier this month, Mr Cowles said the global bank has got a “robust business” in Pakistan in terms of both international and local clients.

Refraining from making a direct comment, he skirted around the issue of growing political instability in Pakistan.

The federal government is a major client of Citibank. It is part of a consortium that advised the government in the recent issue of sukuk and eurobond, which raised $2.5 billion from global institutional investors.

In other words, Citibank helped Pakistan raise billions of dollars through Shariah-compliant bonds.

You may wish to consider Citibank’s Shariah activities in making your own personal financial decisions…

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