Shari'ah consultancy to form
Plans are laid for the opening of an Islamic finance consultancy. The new consultancy will be launched by Dubai Islamic Bank and will provide research, training and legal/Shari'ah assistance to its clients and eventually provide Shari'ah rating and audit functions as well.
Islamic venture capital
Muhammad Saleem, author of the critical book Islamic Banking: a $300bn Deception, wrote in the Financial Times about proposing the use of venture capital-style products as an alternative to the murabaha (cost-plus) basis used by most Islamic financial institutions. He believes these will be closer to the substance of the Shari'ah. While this may be the case, it will be difficult to structure an entire financial system around VC. Despite the problems with moving towards a VC model, particularly in countries with weaker legal protections for investors, the VC model could still be implemented on a smaller level, such as a halal form of microfinancing. It is this area, I believe, which will seal the socially beneficial role for Islamic finance, promoting the equitable goals of Islamic finance and widening its impact and popularity among both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Indian Islamic banking
There has been a recent push by Muslim MPs in India for the government to allow the growth of Shari'ah-compliant banking in the country.
A veteran Bahraini banker, Faisal Alshowaikh,has been named as chief of the new Asian Finance Bank, the third foreign-owned Islamic bank to open in Malaysia.