Dubai 2017 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Shichito Tobari, Managing Director & Regional Head for the Middle East, MUFG's core banking unit, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, on the subject.

Shichito Tobari

The bank launched its Islamic finance arm in 2015. What types of services has this brought to your clients?

We are the first Japanese bank to now have a fully-fledged Islamic window license in Dubai. We looked at our customer needs and developed the necessary Islamic financing, treasury, and trade finance solutions to serve people's sharia-compliant needs. We conducted a dozen transactions thus far. We currently rely on murabaha for most of our products and gradually will move towards applying other concepts such as ijara and istisna which will enable us to book Islamic project finance transaction in Dubai as well in addition to Malaysia.

What is the bank's strategy for expanding its customer base?

Our client base is mainly sovereign or state-owned companies or Japanese companies. One focus area is trade finance. For instance, many automobiles are coming to this region from Japanese companies, and Japanese companies account for more than 50% of the automobile market share in the UAE and Saudi. We are focusing on the trade for automobiles and plan to eventually provide services to each automobile manufacturer who has a local partner here.