Tag Archive | "First Gulf Bank"

First Gulf Bank acquires full ownership of Aseel Islamic Finance

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First Gulf Bank acquires full ownership of Aseel Islamic Finance


4192First Gulf Bank (FGB), one of the major leading banks in the UAE, has increased its stakes in Aseel Islamic Finance, through a purchase agreement which has raised the bank’s ownership from 40% to 100%.

With a paid-up capital of AED 800 million, Aseel is now FGB’s Islamic banking and finance arm, offering innovative Shariah-compliant solutions for customers and businesses.

This agreement is part of the bank’s larger dual expansion strategy which is focused on enhancing its global presence and on further developing existing businesses while meeting customer needs. Islamic finance is an important and growing segment of the region’s banking sector, and Aseel will provide innovative Islamic products to a broad base of customers and businesses which require Shariah-compliant services.

Aseel will offer a full-fledged range of Islamic solutions, such as Business Financing, Murabaha and Ijarah products for SMEs, Takaful, Investment products, Corporate Deposits, and Trade facilities in addition to Real Estate services. It will also share responsibility for managing the bank’s existing Emirati Al Awwal Islamic savings certificates programme, Transaction Accounts and Individual Deposits.

Commenting on the bank’s significant step into Islamic finance, Andre’ Sayegh, CEO of FGB, stated: “The customer-driven trend for more Shariah-compliant financing products in the UAE is clear. We have listened to our customers and our ownership of Aseel will allow us to build on our existing Islamic product portfolio to meet this growing demand. Our intention is to establish Aseel Islamic Finance as an Islamic finance powerhouse in its own right while maintaining the customer centric approach and values of First Gulf Bank.”

Aseel Islamic Finance will maintain an independent board of directors with Hana Al Rostamani as the Chairperson, while Javed Afzal was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer. Under their leadership, and with their combined expertise, the bank’s Islamic subsidiary will continue to provide top quality Shariah-compliant products and services, with further expansion plans to be announced in due course.





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First Gulf Bank launches World Elite MasterCard Credit Card

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First Gulf Bank launches World Elite MasterCard Credit Card


245In a first move of its kind for the Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific, leading financial partner of choice First Gulf Bank (FGB) launched the exclusive World Elite MasterCard-Credit Card in the United Arab Emirates. Targeting High Net Worth Individuals (HNI), the card is offered by invitation to select customers.

The credit card comes with a range of unique distinctive privileges. Partnering with world class concierge service, users will enjoy global priceless lifestyle experiences ranging from personalized assistance, access to global luxury experiences, last minute reservations and much more.

The World Elite MasterCard travel Program offers exclusive privileges for over 800 of the world’s top hotels and resorts. The Card also offers complementary unlimited entries with Priority Pass to the world’s largest VIP airport lounge program globally. In addition, cardholders can avail an exclusive VIP airport services at over 450 destinations globally as well as a complimentary Elite Travel Insurance up to $2m.

Commenting on the latest addition to FGB’s Card portfolio, Andre’ Sayegh, FGB CEO said: “We at FGB strongly believe in continuously upgrading our product portfolio reflecting on the shifting trends in the market to better address customer needs. The World Elite MasterCard- Credit Card launch reinforces our commitment to develop innovative products and solutions as well as to best serve our customers and reward them.”

Eyad Al-Kourdi, vice president and country manager UAE, MasterCard Worldwide added, “The World Elite MasterCard Credit Card is our best in class premium product that opens a world of possibilities for the cardholder. We are confident that this new premium offering by MasterCard will enrich the discerning consumers’ lifestyle with unmatched global service and support. Ten years ago, together with First Gulf Bank we launched the World MasterCard card, and now we’ve achieved another milestone with the introduction of the World Elite MasterCard Credit Card.”




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First Gulf Bank launches Al Manara mentorship programme for UAE Nationals to push forward its Emiratisation strategy

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First Gulf Bank launches Al Manara mentorship programme for UAE Nationals to push forward its Emiratisation strategy


287First Gulf Bank (FGB), the financial partner of choice, launched its training scheme ‘Al Manara’, meant to empower UAE National employees and enable them to mentor fresh Emirati talent.

Rightly named “Al Manara” or lighthouse, the programme is a one-of-a-kind initiative launched for the first time by a bank in the UAE and is set to train 30 FGB managers to mentor 90 UAE National employees.

Participants of the programme will receive instruction on a range of different skills, to qualify them to hold the position of mentors. The course will provide them with guidance on different teaching approaches and methods for providing professional advice and support in an effective manner.

Upon the conclusion of the course, participants will be awarded with international certification, following FGB’s leading efforts to develop practical solutions to enhance Emiratisation rates in the banking sector.

Commenting on the new programme, Sara AlGhanem, UAE National Development Manager at FGB, stated, “This programme highlights the importance of mentorship and how it will affect both current FGB employees in acquiring leadership and mentoring skills and the new employees which will be supervised and taken care of.”

“With our plans to continue retaining new UAE talent, we need to ensure that we provide them with appropriate guidance to succeed in our organization, and in the banking sector in general. This programme will target a total of 90 Emirati employees, and complements all the other training efforts that we already have in place,” she added.

Earlier this month, FGB also launched its Nujoom training scheme for UAE Nationals as well. Covering a period of 18-months, the programme incorporates practical training methods and activities and is divided into three phases structured to expose participants to real-life work scenarios.


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ADX receives First Gulf Bank employees

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ADX receives First Gulf Bank employees


2368As part of its ongoing commitment towards the development of the financial sector in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) received a delegation from First Gulf Bank. The visit aims to strengthen the cooperation between national financial institutions and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

The delegation was briefed by Mrs. Manar Al Tammimi, Senior Research Officer at ADX, on the financial services of ADX in fields relating to financial institutions and capital markets.

Mr. Rashed Al Baloushi, CEO of ADX, said, “ADX believes in the importance of exchanging knowledge and experience with our partners in the financial sector which in turn ensures the achievement of sustainable and balanced development in Abu Dhabi”

Chief Executive of ADX noted that: ” ADX has organized many specialized workshops and educational courses which benefited numerous private and public companies. Mr. Al Baloushi added that ADX is always looking forward to coordinate with any organization in matters of exchanging knowledge and experiences.”

At the end of their visit, the delegation praised the facilities and services provided by ADX to financial companies and investors, which will enable them to constantly advance in their work.



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UAE’s First Gulf Bank plans to double paid-up capital

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UAE’s First Gulf Bank plans to double paid-up capital


215First Gulf Bank, the second-largest bank by market capitalisation in Abu Dhabi, approved plans to double its paid-up capital through a bonus share issue, the bank said in a statement on Thursday.

FGB’s capital will rise to AED3bn (US$816.8 million) from AED1.5bn after the bonus issue, the bank said in a bourse filing.

A cash dividend of AED1 per share was also approved by the bank’s annual general meeting, it added.

The bank, 67 percent owned by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, posted an 18 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits at the end of January, driven by higher interest income and Islamic financing.

It raised US$500m through a five-year Islamic bond, or sukuk, sale in January - its second sharia-compliant debt offering.

FGB’s shares have risen 30.4 percent year-to-date at the end of trading on Wednesday, closing at their highest level since September 2008.



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First Gulf Bank Steps Up Emiratisation Efforts

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First Gulf Bank Steps Up Emiratisation Efforts


2174First Gulf Bank PJSC, (FGB), the leading financial partner of choice in the UAE, is pioneering an initiative to enhance Emiratisation efforts in the banking sector, where it recently held a meeting with a number of prominent banks in the UAE. The session shed light on key Emiratisation challenges and opportunities and will be followed up by a series of meetings pertaining to this initiative.

The first meeting was led by Sara AlGhanem, UAE National Development Manager at First Gulf Bank and was attended by representatives from different national and International banks such as Emirates NBD, ADCB, NBAD and LIoyds Bank.

During the meeting, attendees each presented success and challenges pertaining to their respective Emiratisation programmes in addition to holding a brainstorming session on effective solutions to increase Emirati employment within the banking sector. It also set benchmarks and measures for employing UAE nationals in different positions and divisions.

The meeting focused on many points, including the need to enhance packages, retain the right people, provide mentors for new recruits, provide career advancement tools, conduct regular appraisals and the importance of acknowledging successes.

FGB has developed a number of activities to work on retaining higher rates of Emirati talents. FGB’s initiatives in this matter fall in line with its commitment to promote growth for the UAE’s economic sector and to its strategy of employing talented, motivated individuals.

“FGB is leading this initiative, where it will be organizing regular meetings with UAE national and international banks to set a platform for open, honest discussions regarding the attraction of more UAE nationals to the banking sector. These meetings fall in line with our overall people strategy, and aid in developing practical schemes to add more talented UAE nationals to our team,” Gareth Powell, Head of Human Resources at FGB, said.

Powell added: “We aim to continue to hold these meetings in order to follow up on our progress and to continue to receive feedback on new challenges and opportunities that arise with regards to enhancing Emiratisation efforts.”

FGB recently held a number of initiatives in support of Emiratisation goals, including partnering with the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council to develop training programmes for young Emiratis.


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First Middle East Pilots Football Charity Event in UAE Sponsored by First Gulf Bank

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First Middle East Pilots Football Charity Event in UAE Sponsored by First Gulf Bank


2139Abu Dhabi, November 10, 2011:  Through its commitment to the community within which it operates, First Gulf Bank (FGB), the leading financial partner of choice in the UAE, sponsored the Pilots Football Charity Match, which took place yesterday, November 9, 2011 at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Jazeera Sports Club in Abu Dhabi. The event was held alongside the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The match which was sponsored by First Gulf Bank, and held under the patronage of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, saw sporting champions from both the UAE and overseas play for the charity title. The event celebrated its 30th Anniversary and was held for the first time in the UAE and the Middle East. It has so far raised over fifteen million euro for charity since its establishment. This year the money raised will be donated to two regional charity foundations and one local charity foundation selected by ADSC on behalf of the International Sports Stars Team.

World class Grand Prix Stars Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, along with Felipe Massa were part of the Nazionale Piloti Team and played against the team of International Sports Stars composed of Adnan Al Talyani, former Captain of the UAE National Football Team and other former stars including Abdul Rahman Mohammad, Fahad Khamis, Mohsin Musabah, and Mohammed Obaid Hamodoon. Other players included former player with Al Wahda, Al Jazira and Al Wasl clubs and now General Manager of Al Jazira Club Mohammad El Enzia, Captain of Al Jazira Club,  Ebrahim Diakeh, former international referee,  Fareed Ali, in addition to a number of football legends present in the UAE including Al Nasr Coach Walter Zenga, Technical Advisor for Al Ahli Club Fabio Cannavarro, Player at Bani Yas Club David Trezeguet,  Brazilian Player Pinga, and former player with the Kuwaiti National team Abdullah Wabran. The event also included a number of media stars including Mustafa Agha and Haitham Al Hammadi and representatives from Abu Dhabi Sports Council such as Fahed Ali, Majid Al Owais, Abdul-Hamid Almistika and Talal Al-Hashimi in addition to HE Khaldoon Al Mubarak from Mubadala. All of these players were supervised by world renowned coach Marcello Lippi.

George Abraham, Group Head of Corporate Banking at FGB, said, “The Bank has always been a pioneer when it comes to encouraging people to play sports and to be more socially responsible. As one of the most established banks in the UAE, FGB places great emphasis on continuously engaging in our community to help make the world a better place.”

Abdulwahed Juma, Head of Corporate Affairs, said, “FGB has always shown great commitment to our society, and through our recently launched CSR initiative, ‘Charity First’, we have reaffirmed our pledge to help those in need. Our sponsorship of this charitable sporting event demonstrates our dedication towards such noble causes and what is more rewarding for us is being able to bring sports, charity, and entertainment to everyone”

For more information on the Pilots Football Event, please visit: www.pilotsfootballevent.com


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First Gulf Bank Q3 Net Profit rises 8% to AED 920 million AED 2.7 Billion for first 9 months

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First Gulf Bank Q3 Net Profit rises 8% to AED 920 million AED 2.7 Billion for first 9 months


2401Abu Dhabi, October 24, 2011: First Gulf Bank PJSC, (FGB), the leading financial partner of choice in the UAE, today posted a net profit of AED 920 million for the third quarter (Q3) of 2011. This result is an increase of 8% compared to the same quarter of 2010 (AED 849 million). FGB has achieved consistent growth in net profit for the fifth consecutive quarterregistering a growth of  3% over the previous quarter (Q2, 2011).  Core banking  revenuestood at AED 1,599 million  which represented  98% of total  revenue and was  6% higher than the same period of last year.

Commenting on the strong financial performance, Andre’ Sayegh, CEO of First Gulf Bank said: “These results confirm the effectiveness in implementing  our strategy for 2011 and beyond. This success can be attributed to our cautious yet diverse approach to the financial and business markets. We like consistency, over the past few quarters we have witnessed consistent growth in our core businesses which have been on an ascending curve since Q2, 2010. We are on the right path with this continuous progress to meet our set targets for 2011.

”Sayegh  added, “The UAE medium and long term fundamentals are clearly very strong, and with our in-depth understanding of the UAE banking sector, we are well placed to witness future growth in this market.  During the first nine months of 2011, the  Core banking revenue represented 98% of total  revenue and was at AED 4,729 million, an 8% jump compared to last year.  These numbers  are reflection of  a  solid balance sheet management by FGB. Between December 2010 and September 2011, the net interest margin  improved to 3.75% from 3.60%, the  non-performing loans to gross loans ratio gradually decreased from 3.7% to 3.4% and the cost to income ratio slightly increased to 18.3% from 17.8%. With our dynamic business strategy, we are in a privileged position to continue offering our customers  optimized  products and services while at the same time generating  sustainable returns for shareholders  by maintaining our strong business fundamentals.”

Q3 2011 income statement highlightsThe net interest and Islamic financing revenue for the quarter stood at AED 1,356 million which is  26% higher than last year. The Net Interest and Islamic financing represented 84% of the total Operating Income compared to 69% in Q3’10. Fees and commissions at AED 261 million for the quarter were 10% lower than the previous quarter and 40% lower than Q3’10 mainly due to regulatory changes in retail lending implemented this year by the UAE Central Bank.

Performance for the first nine months of 2011FGB has recorded the highest net profit for the first nine months of 2011 with a net profit at AED 2,686 million  which is 5% higher than last year on the back of increase in core revenues by 8% and decrease in  provisions  by  5%. Net interest margin  for first nine months of 2011 is at 3.75%, higher than the 3.60% for the same period in 2010. Expenses for the first nine months  increased 10% to  AED  880 million, in part due to a renewed internal focus on investment in human capital.  Loans provisions  booked during  the first nine months  were  at AED 1,249 million,  which is a drop of  5%  compared to the same period of last year, this marks an overall improvement in our asset quality.

Abdulhamid Saeed, Managing Director of First Gulf Bank stated: “building on our historical performance, FGB has performed  as per set plans for the first nine months. Our sound credit and risk  strategy as well as the emphasis we place on our core banking activities means that we have a strong  revenue generating power, which will reflect into greater values for our shareholders.”

Balance Sheet – LiquidityBy the end of September 2011 Total Assets were at AED 156 billion showing a growth of 11% over the past nine months and 14% growth over the past 12 months. Customer Loans and Advances were at AED 102 billion and grew by 7% during the first nine months of 2011 and customer deposits were at AED 96 billion. Although the Loan to Deposit ratio was at 106%, , FGB liquidity is at a comfortable level as liquid assets represented 13% ofthe total assets and  the central  bank advance to stable deposits ratio was, by end of September 2011, at 85% far lower than the maximum allowed of 100% .

During the third quarter, FGB demonstrated its ability to raise medium term funds, which is part of the bank’s strategy to diversify its funding sources along with its customer deposits. The bank concluded a successful transaction recently with the issuance of Sukuk worth of US$650 million to mature after five years. The deal was over-subscribed  by  six times. During the quarter the bank raised also two year funds worth of US$ 200 million through a bi-lateral loan granted by an international bank.

Capitalisation and Earnings per Share
Total shareholder equity stands at AED 25.7 billion; the bank is solidly capitalized with total capital adequacy ratio at 22.3% and Tier 1 capital ratio at 19.2%. It remains  one of the highest within the UAE banking sector and globally as well.

Earnings per share for the first nine months of this year stood at AED1.69, 8% higher than AED 1.56 for the same period at the end of September 2010.

Saeed added: “FGB enjoys a favourable position in terms of liquidity and capitalization and this gives us great confidence moving towards the end of the financial year and beyond toreach our targets. Similar to last quarter our balance  sheet growth  is a reflection of thecontinued  improvement  of operating conditions  in the UAE  banking sector which is indicative of the overall confidence in the UAE banking sector. ”

Provisioning

According to the Central Bank 90 day’s classification of loans and provisioning, the ratio of Non-performing loans (NPLs) to gross loans after excluding Dubai World exposure was at 3.4% by end of Q3 2011, which was a decrease from 3.5% by end of June 2010 and the 3.7% at the end of December 2010.  However,  the  Provision  Coverage  Ratio improved from 89% by end of December 2010 to 105% by end of September 2011.

“In general we see the NPL formation on a gradual declining trend and this is reflected in decreasing provisions from one quarter to another.  During this quarter, the bank booked provisions of AED 379 million, which is lower than the AED 411 million booked in Q2’11 and AED 459 million booked in Q1’11. We are very comfortable with these levels of provisioning and coverage” said Sayegh.

Andre’ Sayegh concluded: “We are strong believers of maintaining a strong balance sheet position irrespective of business cycles. On the revenue side, we have once again seen a strong performance  from our Corporate and Retail businesses  during the  third  quarter which yielded reasonable returns. We now enjoy an even stronger position looking ahead to the next quarter and the year ahead aiming at increasing steadily our business growth locally and internationally in selective markets who have close links to the UAE. We will continue to drive our  organic expansion plans forward, building  and growing our existing international branch network and looking  selectively  to new overseas markets as an additional source of sustainable business growth.




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