BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei Darussalam’s Islamic finance sector showed significant growth last year, recording a three percent increase in Islamic banking assets from 2016.

A statement issued by the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) on Friday disclosed that the country’s Islamic banking assets were valued at $11.2 billion in 2017, compared to $10.9 billion in 2016.

Islamic banking assets last year accounted for 64 percent of the country’s total market share of assets, maintaining Brunei’s rank as one of the top 10 performing Islamic finance markets, according to data published in the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Report 2018.

According to the report, the sultanate’s score in the Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI) increased from 47 to 50, ranking Brunei ninth this year out of 131 countries, and second in the ASEAN region, after Malaysia.

Other areas of the country’s total assets also showed significant growth, with the country’s capital market almost doubling in size from $52.2 million in 2016 to $102.5 million in 2017.

Takaful asset size rose to $491.8 million in 2017, a growth of five percent from the $466.8 million in 2016.

“The report also indicated Brunei Darussalam as one of the countries with a strong regulatory landscape with governance being assessed through regulations, corporate governance and Shariah governance,” read the AMBD statement.

The Thomson Reuters report showed that the global Islamic finance industry grew by 11 percent year-on-year, amounting to US$2.4 trillion in assets last year. The industry is projected to grow to US$3.8 trillion in assets by 2023.

Malaysia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates remained top three Islamic finance markets in overall development, while Iraq, Suriname, Nigeria and Ethiopia were indicated as emerging Islamic finance markets with the most improvement in their financial and supporting ecosystems.

The IFDI provides rankings and profiles for different Islamic finance markets around the world based on factors in five broad areas of development. These include quantitative development, governance and corporate social responsibility among others.