Islamic finance shows resilience as London consolidates position as key western centre

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London, Feb.10 (ANI): A report that may interest a lot of people in the world's financial markets is that Islamic finance is showing resilience, even as London continues to consolidate its position as key western centre.

Incidently, the global market for Islamic financial services rose by 37 per cent to 729 billion dollars at end-2007.

In 2008, IFSL's Islamic Finance report notes that the industry felt the influence of the credit crunch and downturn in the global economy - Sukuk issuance has more than halved and the value of equity funds has fallen.

Islamic banks, however, have been less affected than many conventional banks, as they are prohibited from activities that have contributed to the credit crunch, such as investment in toxic assets and dependence on wholesale funds.

Two Islamic banks, Gatehouse Bank and European Finance House, have been granted licences bringing to five the number of fully Sharia compliant banks in the UK.

Principal Insurance became the first Shariah compliant independent company authorised to offer Takaful to UK residents.

Four new exchange traded funds and two new equity funds were launched in capital markets.

International Financial Services London (IFSL)'s report suggests that the United Kingdom's offering includes a total of 22 Banks, far more than in any other Western country.

Professional services are provided by 18 law firms and the Big Four accounting firms.

A cumulative total of 18 Sukuk issues raising 10 billion dollars have been listed on the London Stock Exchange, which is second only to Dubai.

With 55 institutions offering educational and training products in Islamic finance, the UK has more providers than any other country worldwide.

According to Duncan McKenzie, IFSL's Director of Economics, : "The UK has benefitted considerably from supportive government policies intended to put Islamic services on the same footing as conventional services. Evidence of London's growing role in Islamic finance is shown in the UK being the only western country to feature prominently, 8th with assets of 18 billion dollars in a global ranking of Sharia compliant assets by country."

As per Sir Andrew Cahn, UK Trade and Investment's Chief Executive Officer: "Despite its origins overseas, Islamic finance has found a natural home in the UK. Though no sector is immune to the global financial crisis, Islamic finance has shown great resilience. It is important we continue to work with our Islamic finance partners to maintain our position as the leading western centre for Islamic finance service providers."

IFSL's Islamic Finance Working Group is taking a leading role in the promotion of Islamic financial services available from the UK. The group is working closely with private sector and government, particularly UKTI and the City of London Corporation.

IFSL Research aims to raise awareness of the UK's role in international financial markets and to highlight the contribution of financial services to the UK economy. (ANI)

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