London Stock Exchange to offer Islamic bonds

Oct 29, 2013
<p>UK set to become first non-Muslim country to offer Sharia-compliant investments&nbsp;</p>

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is set to launch a new index designed to attract investment from the growing Islamic finance sector, Prime Minister David Cameron will tell a press conference today.

The planned Islamic Market Index aims to capitalize on a sector that has jumped 150 percent since 2006, according to Downing Street, with Islamic investments expected to be worth £1.3 tn ($2.09 tn) by next year.

The new index will identify companies that comply with traditional Islamic investment principles, making it easier for investors to choose firms that match their criteria.

In his speech to the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum in London today, Cameron will reveal that the UK treasury is ‘working on the practicalities of issuing a bond-like Sukuk worth around £200 mn,’ which the government hopes to launch as early as next year.

‘When Islamic finance is growing 50 percent faster than traditional banking and when global Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 tn by 2014, we want to make sure a big proportion of that new investment is made here in Britain,’ Cameron will say, according to the text of his speech issued by his office.

‘Already London is the biggest centre for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world,’ he will add. ‘I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.’

Islamic finance has already helped fund iconic London landmarks, including The Shard, Chelsea Barracks and the Olympic Village, explains Downing Street, while the LSE has listed more than 49 Islamic bonds – valued at $34 bn – over the last five years.

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