London mayor Boris Johnson has celebrated the fact that some of London's most iconic buildings have been built with Islamic finance - including the Shard - while speaking at the official announcement of the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) being held in London. It's the first time the WIEF has been held outside of Asia, and in a non-Muslim country.
There was, of course, a nice quote from Johnson in there:
Boris on Islamic finance: 'as a mortgage holder in this city, I'm particularly interested in not paying interest'— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) July 3, 2013
Also speaking was Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. Praising the City as "brighter than both" Rome and Paris and "a bastion of tolerance and inclusivity amidst an often divided world" (and poking fun at the rainy weather), Razak said that the opportunities for London in taking advantage of the "trillion dollar market" of Islamic finance are clear.
In March this year, the government announced plans to boost Britain’s profile as a hub for Islamic banking, as the market for Sharia-compliant financial products explodes. Ratings agency Standard & Poor has forecast that the market for these products will double to $3tn (£2tn) by 2015, and consultancy firm Oliver Wyman has estimated that 150 new Islamic financial institutions will be needed by 2020 to satisfy global demand.
Malaysia currently holds around 80.5 per cent of the market by sukuk (Islamic bond) issuance. HSBC is the biggest institution, with 25.7 per cent of the market.