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KUWAIT, KUWAIT - Finance

Abdulwahab Issa Al-Rushood

Acting Group CEO, Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Group

Bio

Abdulwahab Issa Al-Rushood received his BA in mathematics and computer science from Western Oregon State College in the US. He successfully completed the strategic leadership program at Harvard Business School, in addition to numerous professional courses in banking. Currently, Al-Rushood is the Acting Group CEO & Group Chief Treasury and Financial Institutions Officer at KFH. In addition, he is chairman of KFH Capital Investment Company and a board member of KFH Bahrain. He possesses extensive banking experience, spanning over 35 years. He has held prominent leadership roles and served as a board member for numerous leading companies.

"In terms of financial performance, KFH came first among Kuwaiti banks in terms of profits."
KFH’s expansion in London is a step forward in its global aspirations, providing access to new markets, investors, and opportunities in the Islamic banking sector.
KFH has listed a USD4-billion sukuk program on the London Stock Exchange. What strategic significance does this move hold for the bank?

KFH’s USD4-billion sukuk listing on the London Stock Exchange is a strategic move that will have a significant positive impact on the bank. It will allow KFH to access a wider pool of capital, enhance its brand recognition, diversify its funding base, and support its international expansion plans. This is a major milestone for the bank and further cements its position as a leader in the Islamic finance industry. KFH successfully issued a five-year senior unsecured sukuk of USD1 billion, the first issue under KFH’s USD4-billion sukuk program. The issuance attracted orders exceeding USD3.45 billion and was oversubscribed by more than three times. The successful issuance confirms the confidence investors placed in KFH, its capabilities, strategy, and reputation. In addition, it reflects the prestigious position it enjoys among financial institutions and capital markets, as well as its efficient operations and reliable and outstanding performance.

KFH has been recognized as the World’s Best Islamic Bank for ESG in 2023. Could you elaborate on the policies and practices that contributed to this recognition?

As a pioneer in Islamic finance, KFH’s commitment to ESG development is not only a response to global trends but also a core value deeply embedded in our Islamic shariah principles. This commitment has earned us the recognition as the world’s best Islamic bank for ESG by Euromoney in 2023. KFH’s ESG policy depends on expanding its investments in green sukuk and green finance by providing financial advantages to projects and initiatives that take into account environmental aspects and carbon emissions mitigation. The bank issued its sustainability report which included ESG pillars as part of the comprehensive sustainability strategy. In addition, KFH signed an MoU with the UN Development Program (UNDP) to establish stronger alignments with the SDGs across KFH Group. The bank has also launched the Keep it Green campaign, under which it executes several sustainability initiatives. KFH is the first bank in Kuwait to receive the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certificate – Gold level for its environment-friendly auto showroom KFH Auto. In terms of social considerations, the bank also channels its policies on empowering women, supporting youth, providing unique services to clients with special needs, and focusing on talent development.

What is the significance of KFH’s new expansion in London?

KFH’s geographical reach represents a significant step toward the bank’s global aspirations. KFH’s acquisition of Ahli United Bank—Bahrain allowed the bank to be present in 11 markets across the world, of which the UK is one of them. By expanding its global reach, KFH Group now has access to a wider range of international markets, investors, and business opportunities. This expansion allows KFH Group to tap into new sources of capital, invest in diverse assets, and strengthen its position as a world leading Islamic financial institution. Additionally, this expansion enhances KFH Group’s global brand recognition and reputation. Moreover, KFH Group’s presence in London can contribute to the development of the Islamic finance industry by offering its expertise and experience to a wider audience.

What is KFH’s long-term strategy to maintain its leadership position in the Islamic banking sector?

KFH is moving forward in its strategy of focusing on core banking business to achieve sustainable profitability. In terms of financial performance, KFH came first among Kuwaiti banks in terms of profits made, where it reported a record net profit of KWD584.5 million for the year ending 2023, an increase of 63.4% compared to 2022. KFH made its highest-ever profit in history and the biggest in the Kuwaiti banking sector. KFH became the largest bank in Kuwait by consolidated assets and by profitability, and the second-largest Islamic bank in the world. Total assets reached KWD38.01 billion for 2023. KFH also ranked first among all listed companies in Boursa Kuwait in terms of market capitalization, at nearly KWD11.2 billion.

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