BRITAIN is encouraging banks through a task force to establish sharia-compliant products, aiming to position London as a Western hub for a fast-growing Islamic finance sector that is expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2017.
“We want to be the leading (Islamic) finance sector outside of the Muslim world,” deputy mayor of London Edward Lister said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Islamic finance follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling, and is playing an increasingly prominent role internationally as often oil and gas-rich investors from Islamic countries put more of their money to work overseas.
Britain’s Islamic finance task force, established in March, is led by several ministers and industry figures as well as top executives from Gatehouse Bank and Oakstone Merchant Bank.
London is due to host the World Islamic Economic Forum in October.
City A.M. Reporter