To some, the divide between the Muslim and Western worlds has
never been wider. But for the European Islamic Investment Bank's John
Weguelin, the two sides have never been closer.
That Weguelin is not a Muslim is a non-issue according to sharia law,
which restricts investment options but not necessarily investment
advisers. The U.S. Census does not track the number of American
Muslims, but a recent Pew Research survey estimates that there are 2.4
million Muslims in the country.
With his pink shirt, gold ring, and posh accent, John Weguelin seems as
if he’s been sent over by central casting to play the role of a London
investment banker. And the room where he sits—with its carpeted hush,
pale polished woods, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a
bustling street in London’s financial district—is blandly elegant,
exactly what you might expect from a banker’s office. But neither
Weguelin nor the European Islamic Investment Bank are exactly what you
might expect. As managing director of E.I.I.B., the West’s first
investment bank to comply with sharia, Weguelin is a central player in
Islamic finance’s transformation from exotic niche market to mainstream
A 30-year banking veteran whose résumé includes two decades at Bank of
America, Weguelin was recruited two years ago by E.I.I.B. chairman
Adnan Ahmed Yousif in 2005. Though Weguelin had no experience in
Islamic banking—or even extensive experience in the the Middle East—he
found the project too exciting to turn down. “The opportunity to
establish a bank?” he grins. “How often in your working life does that
Not often, particularly when the job involves heading up Europe’s first
independent Islamic investment bank. Though established in 2005, the
E.I.I.B. received authorization from Britain’s banking regulators last
March and floated on the London Stock Exchange with a £75 million
initial public offering a couple of months after that.
Full article at Portfolio.com.