The report I wrote for Yasaar Media on Islamic Finance in North America will be released tomorrow, but the press release came out today. The report shows the history of how Islamic finance developed in the United States since the 1980s. A lot of the headline grabbing developments have been retail-oriented, but the U.S. represents the destination of significant Shari'ah-compliant investment from the GCC and other parts of the world. The depth of the U.S. capital markets and breadth of the economy has provided a way for investors around the world--including in the GCC--to diversify their investments, and this extends to those using Shari'ah-compliant financing.
The press release is below, but the report will be available tomorrow from Yasaar Media.
Yasaar Media is a specialist media house that focuses exclusively on the Islamic finance domain. The founders of Yasaar Media recognise that there is a serious need for an information provider in the Islamic finance space: a provider that produces in-depth reports and studies on specific market niches, asset classes and countries. These reports are designed to be market-defining works that will become the benchmark in their field. As the Islamic finance industry grows and expands so too does the need for high quality analysis and comment that is produced in a timely fashion.
North America Next Big Growth Market for Islamic Finance
Dubai, 24 September 2009
As world economies struggle to move from recession to recovery, Islamic finance is being hailed as a possible alternative to risk-prone conventional financial services – even in the capitalist heartlands of the USA and Canada. Extensive evidence of this shift in action is presented in a new report called Islamic Finance in North America 2009 published tomorrow by Yasaar Media and co-published by Codexa Capital, UM Financial Group, King & Spalding, and Doha Islamic.
The report explores for the first time the true depth of penetration of Islamic finance in both the USA and Canada and concludes that both core North American markets could be set for a boom.
According to the report Islamic finance in North America has developed along two quite separate paths. The first path focuses on retail Islamic finance and centres mostly on home financing products and credit cards. The second path involves a number of high profile GCC-based Islamic investment banks and their deployment of hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity and real estate developments in North America.
With many global markets showing the first signs of emerging from the worst of the financial crisis, North America could be set to witness a surge in Islamic finance activity along both paths as institutions and individuals look for alternative financing propositions that shun the use of excessive risk. The significant inroads that Islamic finance has made in both the USA and Canada look set to be expanded upon in the years ahead.
Paul McNamara, editorial director of Yasaar Media, says, ‘Investors and businesses alike are still smarting from the worst ravages of the global recession and they are looking for a lower-risk alternative. Islamic financing structures are inherently more risk averse than their conventional counterparts and as a result such structures are now being studied closely in all sorts of markets – including highly sophisticated markets like those of North America’.
These important markets are examined for the first time as growth areas for Islamic finance. ‘Both the USA and Canada are home to some very experienced Islamic finance firms – both on the financial and the legal side – and many market observers are now watching closely to see how they will help accelerate development of Shariah financing in North America. These are lucrative markets and it makes sense that GCC- and Malaysia-based Islamic finance houses are watching them with great interest’, according to Mr. McNamara.
Islamic Finance in North America 2009 is published by Yasaar Media tomorrow (25-09-09)