Al Rayan Bank reveals findings from UK’s first survey into the British Muslim business market

6.8% of businesses in UK considered to be “Muslim influenced”

Al Rayan Bank PLC, (, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), has revealed findings from the UK’s first ever survey into the British Muslim business market. The research, which was part of a broader analysis of all businesses trading in the UK, provides insight on the size and location of Muslim-influenced* businesses in the UK. It was produced for Al Rayan Bank in Q4 of 2014 by Experian, the global information services company, drawing on its data insight and analytics expertise.

The study, entitled ‘Understanding the UK Business Landscape’, provides a fascinating insight into the British Muslim business market, a previously under researched area of UK business. The results of the study, which were attained through a combination of public, modelled and research data, estimate that:

  • The UK is home to 297,715 companies, where at least one third (33%) of directors are believed to be Muslim. Of these companies, 230,877 are considered ‘live and trading’.
  • 6.8% of the companies in the UK are believed to have at least one third Muslim directors; with 5.8% having at least two thirds (67%) Muslim directors.  A separate study by Experian in 2012 indicated that Muslim adults account for 3.1% of the UK adult population**.
  • 96.8% of companies where Muslims account for two thirds of directors have three or less directors in total.  This compares with 93.0% of companies which are not Muslim influenced (i.e. where less than one third of directors are believed to be Muslim).

Commenting on the report’s findings, Tim Sinclair, Senior Head of Marketing & Retail Sales at Al Rayan Bank, said, “As a pioneer of British Islamic banking, the industry looks to Al Rayan Bank for its insight and expertise. The findings from this piece of research indicate that the UK is home to a thriving Muslim business community, particularly in the small business sector.  Whilst Muslim adults account for 3.1% of the adult British population, Muslim-influenced businesses account for almost 7% of all UK businesses; this indicates that a strong entrepreneurial culture exists with British Muslim communities.”

He added, “This is the first time that research of this kind has been conducted into the British Muslim business market and it helps demonstrate the enormous opportunity which exists for Sharia compliant business banking products, such as business current and savings accounts, commercial property and development finance as well as Sharia compliant auto-enrolment pension schemes.  The information obtained from this study will help inform our plans for 2015, as we develop our product range for this extremely important market sector.”

Al Rayan Bank was acquired by Masraf Al Rayan QSC (MAR), the second largest bank in Qatar by market value in January 2014. As MAR’s European subsidiary, Al Rayan Bank is focused on developing its commercial proposition by offering business banking, property finance and development finance products for business customers.  A £100 million capital investment in 2014 from the Bank’s new parent company is supporting its expansion plans.

The Bank opened its doors in 2004 as the UK’s first wholly, Sharia compliant retail bank and currently has over 50,000 retail, business and premier customers.  Over the last decade the Bank has earned a reputation for providing innovative ethical products which appeal to people of all faiths.

* The following methodology was employed to define a business as Muslim-influenced:

1. First name, last name, nationality and postcode data was used to estimate the number of Muslim company directors; this formula was applied to both limited and non-limited companies.
2. Enterprises where there were more than 33% of company directors believed to be Muslim were considered to be ‘Muslim-influenced’, as were any businesses located within postal districts estimated to have a very high adult Muslim population.

** ‘Understanding the market, understanding the potential’, produced by Experian and commissioned by Islamic Bank of Britain (the former name of Al Rayan Bank) in Q1 2012.

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