The Bank of England said it would develop a sharia-compliant liquidity tool for use by Islamic banks, to attract business from the industry's core centres. London has for some time sought to position itself as a global hub for Islamic finance.
The central bank has issued a consultation paper on a fund-based deposit model, that would help Islamic lenders to meet regulatory requirements for liquid asset buffers. It was stated, that the facility is unlikely to be ready before the spring of 2018, and it has yet to decide on whether it will develop a liquidity insurance facility. However, the tool would be a welcomed development for Britain's Islamic banks. These include Gatehouse Bank, the Bank of London and the Middle East, Al Rayan Bank and a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank.
The pricing would be comparable with conventional tools, and attractive for Islamic banks.
As the referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union looms in the UK, voices are getting louder, particularly in the country’s financial industry that it would not necessarily be a good idea to vote for a Brexit. Since the weight of the UK in the global financial market is substantial – the financial sector of the City of London has a 20% share in the global market for trading foreign securities and a sizeable part of it depends on the UK’s access to the internal EU market – such a strong position would be certainly threatened.
This could have serious impact on the growing role of Islamic finance in Europe which is entrenched in the UK and from there makes its way into the continent. Since the 1990s, when the first mortgages in the UK were set up in line with Shariah law, the country has aggregated the most advanced experience in Shariah-compliant finance in the Western world. Corporate sukuk followed a decade later, and in 2014, the UK became the first country in the EU to issue some sovereign sukuk and listed them on the London stock exchange. From then on, Islamic finance steadily entered the rest of Europe.
LCI Helicopters has closed an Islamic pre-delivery payment facility with Bank of London and the Middle East and Lloyds Bank. The facility will be used for Airbus H175s and H224es delivering over the next three years. LCI says it will be used to make pre-delivery payments on helicopters worth $250 million. The LCI deal relied on a master Murabaha facility with Lloyds also providing a conventional loan. Lloyds was mandated lead arranger for both facilities. BLME also closed a $25 million pre-delivery facility for LCI in December that financed AgustaWestland pre-delivery payments.
Dr. Natalie Schoon became a new member of the Board of Directors at Noriba Investing - the world's first online Halal Investing broker. Mrs. Schoon belongs to the Islamic Finance industry's most capable practitioners, due to her vast experience in various board leadershiop roles with some of the largest brands in the world.