The Prime Minister unveiled ground-breaking plans for a new Islamic index on the London Stock Exchange today as he declared Britain is open for business at the opening of the World Islamic Economic Forum.
The Prime Minister delivered his message to more than 1,800 political and business leaders from over 115 countries who have travelled to London for the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum – and the first held outside a Muslim country.
Global Islamic investments have soared by 150% since 2006 and are expected to be worth £1.3 trillion next year.
In a speech today, the Prime Minister announced that:
- the government would like the UK to become the first country outside of the Islamic world to issue an Islamic bond; the Treasury is working on the practicalities of issuing a bond-like Sukuk worth around £200 million, which we hope to launch as early as next year
- London Stock Exchange is creating a new way of identifying Islamic finance opportunities by launching a world-leading Islamic Market Index; strengthening FTSE’s leading position as a developer of innovative, alternatively-weighted indices, this index will be another global first for the City of London
- the UK government is partnering with the Shell Foundation to create a new £4.5 million grant to boost the work of the Nomou initiative - a growth fund that provides skills and finance to small businesses across the Middle East and the Gulf, which will provide opportunities for British companies in the longer-term
The World Islamic Economic Forum coming to London underlines how the UK, and London in particular, has become the leading Western hub for Islamic finance. For example:
- there are already more than 20 banks in the UK that offer Islamic financial products and services, more than in any other Western country
- the London Stock Exchange is an attractive draw for Islamic finance listing with over 49 Sukuk (an Islamic bond which pays investors a fixed return based on the profit generated by an underlying asset) listings valued at US$ 34 billion over the last 5 years
- 25 law firms in the UK operating substantial Islamic finance departments for the global and domestic markets
- Islamic finance has also helped transform London’s skyline by financing in whole or in part developments such as The Shard, Chelsea Barracks and the Olympic Village
Islamic finance is an important and growing feature of our financial services industry and the government is getting behind this sector because we are open for business and want to attract inward investment and strengthen our economy.