New Islamic finance trade body for UK

Published: April 6, 2010

UK Islamic Finance Secretariat will represent industry at home and overseas.

A new trade body has been launched to promote the UK as a centre for Islamic finance.

The UK Islamic Finance Secretariat will represent the Islamic finance industry to authorities including the treasury and the Financial Services Authority, as well as representing the UK industry internationally.   

Industry players have welcomed the development. “The UK has a unique opportunity in the West to benefit from the growth of Islamic finance,” said Richard Thomas, CEO of London-based Shariah-compliant bank Gatehouse. “We have a favourable regulatory framework after unfair taxes were repealed and equal tax relief was extended to certain Islamic financial products – and the UK has a breadth and depth of sector expertise that is unrivalled in Western Europe.

“This business environment, combined with expected global growth rates of 15 to 20 per cent each year, could make Islamic finance a golden goose for the financial services industry in the next few years.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Martin, managing director of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, which is hosting the UKIFS, added that education, training and qualifications should also be “a significant part” of the body’s remit.