Harris Irfan

Book Review - The history and future of Islamic finance

Harris Irfan is an insider on two fronts. He is a Muslim and also an expert in finance and commerce. He has worked as an investment banker in Europe and the Middle East and been head of Islamic finance at Barclays; he also founded Cordoba Capital, an Islamic finance advisory firm. Mr Irfan wants to show that Islamic finance might be able to make a real contribution to our economic woes. He asks the reader to consider whether the Islamic world can bring something of benefit to the Western world, and vice versa. While this book isn't full of jargon, it helps to know something about how the investment industry works. The last chapter ponders the future of Islamic banking after some sharia-compliant finances were unfairly equated with funding terrorism, Worth reading.

UK Islamic banks disappointed over plans for sukuk

The UK government's decision not to choose a local Islamic bank as an arranger for its sukuk is a lost opportunity to promote the homegrown Islamic finance industry, according to Harris Irfan, of European Islamic Investment Bank. Malaysia’s CIMB, Qatar’s Barwa, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Standard Chartered and HSBC have been chosen to lead the sale.

Islamic derivatives struggle for traction in Gulf

Islamic derivatives are still struggling to gain traction in the Gulf, six months after the launch of a much-touted over-the-counter contract aimed at creating a standard legal framework for hedging products. Experts said the contract, known as the Tahawwut Master Agreement, in theory provides Islamic institutions with a simpler template for risk management that has been approved by sharia scholars. But the contract has been slow to catch on among Islamic institutions in the region as many are put off by the dense language of the document and still question the sharia compliance of hedging products, which are often associated with speculation. Harris Irfan, head of Islamic products at Barclays Capital, said the tahawwut agreement was an important first-step in creating much-needed derivatives products in the Islamic finance industry, but the fear of the unknown was hindering growth.

Private equity boom seen for Islamic finance

Private equity will be a key growth engine for the Islamic finance industry, but fund managers need to better understand Sharia concepts before a market can develop, a top banker told Reuters on Wednesday. Like most parts of the world, the private equity market in the Middle East came to a standstill in 2009 as liquidity conditions and deal opportunities dried up.

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