A message from the Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to the Arab Bankers’ Association!

We are an association of bankers and finance professionals who work in Arab financial markets. Most of our members, both corporate and individual, are based in the U.K. but a significant proportion are based outside. Nearly all of us have spent much of our professional lives living and working in the Arab world.

Our aims are simple: to foster improved relations, information sharing and understanding between the private and public sectors in the Arab world and the U.K. We achieve this through our programme of evening seminars and social events, through tailored events for individual members and their clients, and through personal interaction and introductions that are based on decades of business experience.

You will find more information about our work on the various pages of this website. For example, elsewhere on this page you can download a copy of our Annual Magazine; on the “Events” page you can download presentations given at recent evening seminars; and soon we will be adding a new page to our website -- “Arab Banking News” – where you will see a brief round-up of recent events that are relevant to our membership.

The “Join” page also contains a full list of member benefits.

This is an exciting time for Arab banks and their subsidiaries and affiliates in London. Gulf banks are looking to expand their international operations, banks in Egypt and other north African countries are finding their footing after the uncertainties of the Arab Spring, and debt issuance across the region is increasing.

London hosts the largest and most important banking community in Europe, so its not surprising that it is in London that many of the innovative new financial structures that are shaping Arab finance are designed and sold.

The ABA has been serving and promoting Arab banking in London for more than 30 years and we are as enthusiastic and committed to our mission today as we were on the day we were founded. If you are a member, I look forward to working alongside you in the months ahead. If you are not a member, I hope you will consider joining us.

George E. Kanaan Chief Executive Officer


04/08/16  IMF Deal Crucial to Egypt's Financing Needs, Fitch Says

News Egypt is asking the IMF for $12bn over three years and if negotiations are finalised by mid-August then an agreement could be in place by September, Fitch says. An IMF team began a visit to Egypt on 30 July. Fitch says that IMF assistance (and any other assistance that follows in its wake, for example from the World Bank and the African Development Bank) would be disbursed in predictable tranches, provided that conditions are met. In contrast, financial support from the Gulf states is less regular and transparent. Furthermore, Fitch says, the levels of financial support that Egypt can expe...


01/08/16  Fieldfisher Provides Update on Iranian Sanctions/Business Opportunities

News Fieldfisher, the international law firm, has issued an updated note on Iranian sanctions, summarising recent guidance given by US officials and by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on how US and non-US companies can interact with Iran without breaching continuing US sanctions. Fieldfisher cites the Acting Director of OFAC, John Smith, saying that there are only two rules for non-US persons/entities governing compliance with US sanctions – 1. Do not do business with Iranian persons or entities that remain on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list 2. Do not involve a...


Thu July 7 2016 - Thu July 7 2016
Eid Dinner at Maroush

Events , ABA Events The Association held its Eid Dinner at Maroush Gardens, the Lebanese restaurant in London's West End, on 7 July. We always hold a holiday party around this time of year. It usually takes the form of a Ramadan Iftar, but with Ramadan now falling in the middle of summer (with the result that Iftars cannot start until very late, since Muslims break their fast at sunset), this year's event was an Eid Party, coinciding with Eid el-Fitr, the holiday that follows the ending of Ramadan. One hundred and twenty guests attended the party, which was sponsored by Bank ABC, National Bank of Kuwait Inte...


Wed July 13 2016 - Wed July 13 2016
Annual Real Estate seminar draws big crowd

Events , ABA Events Our annual seminar on real estate drew over 100 members and colleagues to hear a series of presentations on the London and UK property market – both retail and commercial –  Islamic finance and recent developments in taxation and regulation that are related to real estate. There was also a special presentation on Qatari investments in London. The seminar was sponsored by Al Rayan Bank, National Bank of Kuwait International and Qatari Diyar. The speakers were, Mr. Liam Bailey, Knight Frank's Global Head of Research Mr. James Roberts, Knight Frank's Chief Economist Mr. M...


12/07/16  Samba to close branch in London

News Samba Financial Group, one of the biggest banks in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East, is to close its London branch. The decision was made on 8 June. The Board cited concerns over long term profitability as the reason for its closure. Samba first received a branch license in 1987. Since then, the branch has focussed on private banking, serving corporate clients in the UK and in Saudi Arabia, and deploying through its treasury excess liquidity accumulated at head office. Arab banks in London have become increasingly concerned about the high costs of regulation and compliance in London an...