First Energy Bank


A Message from the Chief Executive

“We had a challenge of a task of building a world class organisation in a short period of time. We searched globally for partners to support us in this challenge, and found only a few firms that had the depth of experience and expertise required to make a quantum difference to our efforts.

Catalyst was sought out based on its unique model of deploying highly experienced operational managers and executives, tremendous track record of delivering value to some of the largest corporations in the world and its ability to develop the capability of our people. Over the last six months, together with Catalyst, we have achieved tremendous gains. They have made the difference we were looking for.”

Chief Operation Officer, First Energy Bank

First Energy Bank engaged catalyst to establish a full investment banking operation from a very small start. Catalyst developed and implemented a complete business framework over 2 years. The bank now operates as a modern investment bank with investments of aprrox. $2 billion.

Assignment Overview

Bahrain’s First Energy Bank is a pioneering investment bank. It was granted a wholesale Islamic Banking License in July 2008. Initially, with only limited organisation, people, processes or systems in place to support a banking operation, First Energy Bank engaged Catalyst to assist transition into a fully operational Islamic investment bank.

Following extensive advisory assistance by our team led by our Chairman, Zia Qureshi to the Bank’s senior executives in relation to establishment of the Transformation Program, a number of consultants were engaged to implement the transformation project.

Catalyst consultants including Darcy Geale, a highly experienced banking and investment specialist and Peter Tighe, a highly experienced international audit and risk specialist guided the establishment of the necessary processes, systems, organisation structure and governance mechanisms to make the Bank’s vision capable of being achieved and maintained. Peter and Darcy supported the Bank by:

  • Mentoring and guiding the convergence of ideas of people from other banks brought together to establish the foundation staff for the new bank and align views with modern banking practices;
  • Establish a Program Office and Steering Committee to manage the transformation
  • Review and propose new operational management guidelines and structures;
  • Design and implement internal governance systems and reporting processes;
  • Assist in the business plan and implementation of actions to support the business;
  • Help design operational processes, assist with preparation of instruction manuals and operationalisation of the new processes and procedures for significant operational activities;
  • Assist in system and business requirements for a core banking system, its selection and implementation;
  • Ensure the above were aligned with the requirements of the Central Bank of Bahrain.


Outcomes Achieved

The First Energy Bank’s Transformation

Catalyst worked with the First Energy Bank from its embryonic stage, playing an instrumental role in transforming First Energy Bank into a fully operational bank in less than a year.

To-day, First Energy Bank, housed in its new premises at Bahrain Financial Harbour, is well placed to become a major Islamic investment bank in the energy sector throughout the world.

The bank became an organisation capable of delivering on its Vision, which is “to create and capture value in the global energy sector”. First Energy Bank’s focused targeting of the energy industry puts it in the unique position of being able to offer investors superior, specialised opportunities.