Sultan Choudhury named to the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Sultan Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer of Al Rayan Bank PLC has been named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his services to Islamic finance.
Mr Choudhury has been fundamental to the success of Al Rayan Bank, the UK’s largest Islamic bank* and one of the fastest growing banks in the country**, since it was established in 2004. A driving force in the founding management team that obtained Western Europe’s first authorised Islamic banking licence, his tireless efforts to raise the profile of Islamic Banking – engaging with influencers and leaders from local grass roots organisations to national government – has helped to create a Bank that has not only helped to ensure that British Muslims are able to carry out their day to day banking needs without compromising their faith, but also that people of any faith have an ethical alternative to conventional banks. Today, Al Rayan Bank has more than 75,000 customers throughout the UK – 28% of which the Bank estimates to be non-Muslim – and offers the largest Sharia compliant product range in the UK.
Commenting on the honour, Mr Choudhury, OBE, said: "It is a great privilege to receive this honour from Her Majesty the Queen. The last 13 years represent a tremendous, but sometimes difficult, journey to establish Islamic finance as an alternative to conventional finance in the UK. Islamic finance is based on ethical and faith based universal values which are good for society, embodying social justice, transparency and the equitable sharing of risk and reward. These values ensure that Islamic finance appeals, not only to Muslims, but to people of all faiths and none.
"On a personal level, these values resonate with me and as they were the ones that were ingrained in me as a young boy. I would like to dedicate this honour to my family, particularly my late mother who was so instrumental in forming my values; my wife for all her support and encouragement over the last 13 years; and of course, to my Al Rayan Bank colleagues, past and present, who have worked so hard to make Islamic banking a success in the UK."
Mr Choudhury has played an influential role in a number of Government initiatives that have helped to establish the UK as a major global centre for Islamic finance, through the creation of a legal, regulatory and taxation environment in which Sharia compliant finance can compete on an equal footing with conventional. This has included interacting with various Departments to ensure that Islamic finance issues are considered and resolved in legislation or regulation, including HM Treasury, Bank of England and the Department for International Trade. Mr Choudhury has also raised the profile of Islamic banking in the UK through his continued engagement with the relevant local, national and international communities, including grass roots engagement with mosques, Muslim community leaders, organisations and businesses across the UK.
Mr Choudhury has 23 years of financial and professional services experience and is a Chartered Accountant (FCA). He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics & Econometrics from the University of Nottingham and an MBA with distinction and honorary D.Sc. from Aston University. He is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment for whom he leads on the Employer Panel for the Islamic Finance Qualification.
Mr Choudhury regularly hosts Islamic finance awareness events, including ‘Question Time’ events at the Bank, designed to educate the public on Islamic finance and directly address any questions or concerns that they may have. Under his leadership, the Bank hosts numerous events at its branches to discuss various aspects of Islamic finance or related activity such as Zakat, the compulsory donations to charity for all Muslims and the third pillar of Islam.
Through his work at the Bank, Mr Choudhury has developed close relationships with many charities and non-profit organisations and has ensured that Al Rayan Bank is at the heart of communities in the UK through serving over 500 national and international charities.
Mr Choudhury is a Trustee of the National Zakat Foundation (NZF), a ground-breaking initiative which aims to utilise Zakat funds and voluntary donations collected in the UK for the benefit of local, deserving recipients across the country. In addition he is also an Associate of Mosaic, the Prince’s Trust charity which inspires young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential. He also actively encourages the Bank’s employees to develop their own personal and professional skills through volunteering for Mosaic and other local charitable programmes.
Mr Choudhury sits on the Board of Advisors for the RFI Foundation, the industry body for the responsible finance sector, which brings together various forms of responsible finance such as Sustainable, Responsible and Impact investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in addition to Islamic Finance. He also sits on the Islamic Finance Advisory Board of the University of East London (UEL)
Al Rayan Bank is a wholly Sharia compliant bank, founded on faith-based, ethical principles which are derived from trade, entrepreneurship and risk-sharing, in which the customer and bank work together as partners towards a mutually profitable end.
As an independent UK bank, Al Rayan Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is a member of Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
* Based on latest ‘published accounts as of May 2017
** In 2016, the Bank was named as the third fastest growing bank in the UK by pre-tax by profits, in a complete financial analysis of all 155 UK incorporated banks. Source: Bank League Tables 2017, a complete financial analysis of all 155 UK incorporated banks, Searchline Publishing 2017