Banking and Finance

Bahrain is home to more than 400 licensed financial institutions, representing a rich mix of international, regional and local names. They cover the full range of financial services, with particular concentrations in wholesale banking, insurance and funds/asset management. The financial sector is an important sector of the economy, accounting for more than 16% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The sector is regulated and supervised by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), which has functioned as the single regulator for the entire financial system since 2002. Bahrain's banking system consists of both conventional and Islamic banks, and is the largest component of the financial system.

The industry growth has been supported by an open-market economy; stable and prudent macro-economic and fiscal policies; a credible regulatory framework in line with international standards; and a notably strong and well-qualified local workforce. All these factors have combined to position the Kingdom of Bahrain as a regional banking hub, attracting numerous foreign banking organisations to establish a physical presence in the Kingdom.

Capital Markets

The Bahrain Bourse (BHB) is the focus of capital market activities in Bahrain. The exchange has grown in the number of listed securities with equities, bonds (both conventional and Islamic) and mutual funds currently listed.

The capital market is under the regulatory and supervisory oversight of the Central Bank's Capital Market Supervision Directorate, which oversees both the primary and secondary markets. Following the enactment of the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law 2006, a new and comprehensive set of regulations based on international best practices is being introduced.


The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is responsible for regulating and supervising the entire financial sector of Bahrain. A summary of the licensing process and associated matters, such as CBB license fees and the commercial registration process, can be found in the CBB Guide to Licensing. Complete details of the CBB licensing process and requirements are prescribed in the CBB Rulebook . For more information, please visit the CBB website. or connect with the CBB via the National Suggestions & Complaints System “Tawasul” to send any enquiries or comments.


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Content Last Updated: 10 Jul, 2024

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