Sharia finance strengthens its presence in Britain - 09 December 2010 - From Aamina Zafar

The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment has launched a forum to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the Islamic finance industry within the UK. Advertising According to a statement from the CISI, the Islamic Finance Professional Interest Forum is a collaboration with the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance to allow members to meet in London each quarter to network, listen to presentations and discuss issues affecting them.

The forum will start in 2011 and its formation coincides with strong growth in the global Islamic finance industry. It is currently worth $1 trillion (£643bn) and is expected to reach $2 trillion (£1.3 trillion) within the next five years.

Ibrahim Thompson, Islamic finance adviser for London-based Radcliffe & Newlands, said: "It is fantastic news because it is a great improvement from five years ago when there was hardly anything like this.

"The reality is that the demand for Islamic finance products has always been there but the supply has not. Hopefully more open discussions of this nature will help the industry to flourish even more."

Events will be free for all members of the CISI and IIBI, although students may only attend one Islamic finance forum each year.

Mohammad Ali Qayyum, director general of IIBI, said: "We are pleased to be part of this professional interest forum which will offer a unique platform for members to exchange views on issues vital for the continued development and growth of the Islamic financial services industry."

The news comes as the CISI's Islamic finance qualification and its Islamic finance qualification workbook edition four was approved as being compliant with sharia law. (...)