Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) has planned to open a new office in Dubai, as its assets grow and the emirate tries to turn itself into a global hub for Islamic finance.

BLME CEO, Humphrey Percy, said: "BLME, set up six years ago and owned primarily by Kuwaiti shareholders, saw total assets reach more than GBP1 billion at the end of 2012 and has already exceeded a further 15% growth target in 2013.

According to Percy, given that growth and the maturation of Dubai as a financial services centre, it was "the right time for the bank to open its first office outside the UK in the Dubai International Financial Centre".

"Another reason to move to Dubai was a rise in Islamic finance activity emanating from the Gulf, in particular the spike in regional issuance of Islamic bonds, or sukuk," Percy added.

BLME’s office in Dubai will be a representative office, Percy said, which will promote the bank’s services, but no investment funds or lending will be domiciled in Dubai.