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UK Trade: Level Playing Field For Islamic Finance

UK Trade & Investment welcomes a level playing field for Islamic Finance in London

UK Trade & Investment (UK)

UK Trade & Investment CEO, Andrew Cahn, has strengthened the UK's commitment to Shariah compliant banking at the World Islamic Banking Conference being held in London this week.

Mr Cahn addressed the conference by highlighting the increasingly important role Islamic Finance is playing all over the globe and the need for the UK's financial industry to provide an open door to this thriving market.

"The market is currently estimated at $500 billion, and while that may be small when compared with the rest of the UK's financial services industry, its annual growth is estimated at 15 per cent over the next few years."

"The growth of Islamic finance in the past few years has been remarkable, and it has proven itself resilient to some of the recent shocks to the financial markets."

The World Islamic Banking Conference, normally held in Bahrain, is for the first time being held in London and will bring together the leading international players in this rapidly growing market under the theme of 'Islamic Finance in Europe: Seizing the Growth Opportunity'.

"The fact that the World Islamic Banking Conference is being held for the first time in London is, I think, confirmation of the role that the UK's financial industry plays in helping developing markets, particularly for Shariah compliant products. Islamic finance presents the UK with many exciting opportunities," said Mr Cahn.

Andrew Cahn highlighted the progress the Government is making on Islamic Finance with the HM Treasury's work on tax reform and researching the potential for the issuance of a sovereign sukuk.

Richard Thomas, a member of the UK Trade & Investment Financial Services Sector Advisory Board and chairman of the sub-committee on Islamic Finance has also lent his voice to the discussion, stating that Islamic Finance has real potential to emerge as a substantial financial powerhouse.

"To benefit from this growth sector, the work UKTI is doing by working side-by-side with Government and business to implement a world class promotional strategy will greatly assist in making Islamic Finance a global success in Britain."

"2008 is off to a fantastic start. The FSA has licensed 2 new Islamic banks as well as the first stand alone Islamic insurance provider in Europe, and I'm confident more will follow."

Andrew Cahn added, "The huge financial flows currently coming out of the Gulf and some Asian countries are driving growth in the Islamic finance industry. Investors want and expect their investments to be Shariah compliant and this demand is only going to become more prevalent in the near future."

*** World Islamic Banking Conference in London - July 8

NOTES

1. UK Trade & Investment is the UK Government's international business development organisation, supporting businesses seeking to establish in the UK and helping UK companies grow internationally. The services offered by UK Trade & Investment bring together a network of business sector specialists and support teams in British embassies and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posts all around the world, as well as key experts in government departments across the UK. UK Trade & Investment works with a wide range of partner organisations in the UK, including Regional Development Agencies and the Devolved Administrations, Business Links, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk For latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at http://www.newsroom.uktradeinvest.gov.uk

For further information on the UK as the leading global financial services centre and the single most internationally focused financial marketplace in the world go to http://www.theCityUK.com

COI ref 163080P

ENDS

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