New Islamic finance initiatives announced
The Prime Minister recently delivered a keynote speech to the World Islamic Economic Forum which held its ninth meeting in London. This was the first time that the forum has ever been held outside the Islamic world. The meeting which was attended by over 1,800 political and business leaders from over 115 countries is known as the Islamic Davos.
David Cameron stressed that the UK is at the forefront of Western countries offering products and services that are compliant with the requirements of Islamic finance. The Prime Minister said that‘We have already removed the double tax on Islamic mortgages and extended tax relief on Islamic mortgages to companies as well as individuals, and just last week we made new commitments to open up new forms of student loans and business start-up loans for Islamic students and entrepreneurs’.
The Government also want the City of London to become the foremost Western centre for Islamic finance. As part of this move the UK will become the first non-Islamic country to issue an Islamic sukuk , the Islamic equivalent of bonds. HM Treasury is working on the specifics of issuing an Islamic sukuk which is expected to be worth around £200 million and could be launched as early as 2014.
The London Stock Exchange Group have also announced the creation of a new Islamic index that will identify Islamic compliant business activities. The index will identify companies compliant with Islamic law and will exclude companies such as those dealing in alcohol or gambling.