DUBAI (Reuters) - Islamic private banking looks set for strong growth in the Middle East, Standard Chartered Plc's (STAN.L) head of private banking ex-Asia said on Monday.
From a current very low base, private banking services adhering to Islamic principles will grow to between 20 and 25 percent of new wealth management business within two or three years, said Stephen Richards Evans, head of private banking for Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia and the Americas.
Richards Evans was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the bank's Islamic private banking service.
While Islamic finance has drawn increased focus in recent years as financial institutions attempt to tap into heightened wealth in areas such as the Gulf, the development of private banking products in the area has been slow due to the complexities of ensuring compliance with Islamic principles.
"At the minute, the end-to-end Islamic offering is quite limited," Wasim Saifi, global head of Islamic consumer banking at StanChart, told a press conference on Monday.
"This is not the end offering but part of the journey and as we go forward, our offering will be strengthened as our customers' needs are identified."
Standard Chartered had around $50 billion (32 billion pounds) of assets under management globally at the end of 2011, Richards Evans said, though he declined to say how much of this was in the Middle East.
"We don't give the number, but we have approximately 60 relationship managers covering the Middle East, so assuming that the average relationship manager has something like $160 to $180 million, you can extrapolate," he said, which would equate to between $9.6 billion and $10.8 billion.
Editing by David Holmes