Monday, November 19, 2007

Islamic finance in the Financial Times

The Financial Times has a few articles on Islamic finance in the past few days' issues. The first, from Sunday, provides a few additional details about the recent progress in the U.K. government's plan to be the first western country to issue a soverign sukuk. Another article describes efforts from within the Islamic financial industry to make a clear distinction between Islamic finance and 'political Islam'. Two other articles discuss the lack of internationally-recognized Shari'ah scholars and the drive to create global standards.

In other news, the CEO of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority discussed the challenges to future growth in Islamic finance at the beginning of DIFCweek. He focused on transparency, an underdeveloped infrastructure, insufficient human capital and a lack of globally accepted standards.

Michael Ainley, head of the Wholesale Banks and Investment Firms Department at the U.K. Financial Services Authority (FSA) believes that Islamic banking is catching on in Europe noting that "So far we have issued three licenses for Islamic banks and very soon the first Islamic insurance company will be open in the UK".

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