Bahrain Financial Services Articles & Analysis

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Despite its diversified economy, Bahrain has nonetheless faced pressures in recent years as a result of the 2014-15 drop in global oil prices. However, a multibillion-dollar aid package from other Gulf states and an accompanying fiscal adjustment plan, as well as growth following a partial oil price recovery and a major oil and gas discovery, offer hope for an economic turnaround in 2019.

Both the government and the private sector are continuing efforts to develop the financial technology (fintech) industry in Bahrain, providing a platform for new financial services growth.

Although Bahrain has faced economic headwinds in recent years, the modest recovery of oil prices in 2017 bodes well for the future in addition to the non-oil sector driving growth, with activities unrelated to hydrocarbons extraction forecast to expand by 3.9% in 2018.

 

Bahrain’s sharia-compliant insurance industry has developed rapidly in the years following the turn of the century. According to a report by multinational professional services firm EY, in 2001 takaful (Islamic insurance) accounted for 3% of the sector’s gross written premium (GWP), but by 2016 it had expanded to capture nearly a...

 

In 2017 Bahrain took an important step towards a more centralised approach to sharia supervision. The issue has been on the domestic agenda for some years, and speaks to the broader conversation taking place in the global Islamic financial services (IFS) sector as to how the industry should be governed.

 

How will the issuance of new regulations that require Islamic banks in Bahrain to undergo external audit challenge the market?