Bilal Khan

#Britain plans new #sukuk deal; Brexit may boost Islamic finance

Britain plans to reissue Islamic bonds in 2019 in a sign the country’s exit from the European Union may accelerate plans to develop the Islamic finance industry. In 2014, Britain became the first Western country to issue sukuk, raising £200mil (RM1.125bil). A spokesperson of the Treasury assured that the UK was committed to ensuring the future success of the sector. Brexit could threaten London’s dominance as a financial centre. A Reuters survey showed around 10,000 finance jobs may shift out of Britain or be created overseas in the next few years because of Brexit, with Frankfurt and Paris benefiting most. According to Bilal Khan, partner at Islamic finance consultancy Dome Advisory, Brexit has increased the government’s interest in Islamic finance. Because of Brexit, the UK is keen to build economic links with non-EU countries. He said a second sovereign sukuk issue by Britain might be expanded to raise as much as £1bil.

Takaful: The Islamic state

Takaful insurance has struggled to find traction in the UK. Despite this, this year has seen several Shariah?compliant products launch in the UK. Faithsure and in May, XL Group began providing Shariah-compliant products for large corporates on a global basis. However, the lack of takaful players could be due to the industry’s youth and stiff competition in personal lines of insurance business according to analysts. Sheikh Bilal Khan, sharia scholar at law firm Linklaters, believes there is potential for Takaful products if they are branded and marketed correctly. But the lack of state regulation on sharia-compliant products creates a real lack of trust in the market, he adds. Yet perhaps the demand among Muslim?run SMEs is where the true potential lies. Faithsure's Asif Khan certainly seems to think so. He's confident that Muslim businesses would not only be aware of Takaful insurance but also actively opt for it.

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