Dubai 2018 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to, Michael P. Grifferty President, The Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association (GBSA) on the challenges in the region.

Michael P. Grifferty

What can you tell us about the GBSA?

The GBSA is a membership organization that represents its members, which are investors, issuers, banks, ratings agencies, legal firms, and other leaders in the regional bond and sukuk business. Our mission is to promote the growth and maturing of the bond and sukuk market in the region. That squares well with the need for investment and transformation of the economies in the region and the overall need to further develop regional capital markets.

What are the challenges that green bonds and sukuk face in the region?

It is early days in terms of the number of issuances of green bonds and sukuk. The first green bonds were issued in 2017 by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. We remain highly focused on green sukuk because the sharia-compliant element of sukuk is an excellent complement to green finance. Green bonds do not need to be necessarily about energy. We promote the maturing of the project finance market in capital markets for more general infrastructure projects. That also supports the green bond agenda. A key element has not taken root here yet, but we are working on developing a dedicated green investor base.