UK Minister Reiterates Government’s Commitment to Islamic Finance

The UK Government remains committed to Islamic finance and will continue to work with the other authorities and with industry to establish and maintain the UK as a global gateway to Islamic finance, stressed Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Exchequer Secretary to the UK Treasury in London on Thursday.

Mrs. McCarthy-Fry, who is the minister responsible for leading Islamic finance policy at the UK Treasury, was giving the keynote address at the inaugural session of the 2009 London Sukuk Summit held on 2nd-3rd July at the Radisson Hotel in London and organized by ICG Events. The Summit, the third annual one to date organized under the theme ”Innovating for the Future: The Next Generation of Post Credit Crunch Sukuk Structures/Preparing for the Next Wave of ICM Offerings’, once again attracted a good attendance from a wide variety of regulators and market players.

The Summit was preceded by a Sukuk Masterclass titled ‘Understanding Sukuk – Issues, Structuring, Innovation’ which was held at the offices of City law firm, Ashurst LLP and which once again was well attended. Similarly, the 2009 London Sukuk Summit Islamic Finance Awards was held on the evening of 2nd July at a Gala Dinner and which recognized the achievements and progress of institutions and individuals in the Islamic finance industry.

The Exchequer Secretary, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, speaking in the presence of Professor Rifaat Abdel Karim, Secretary- General of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and Mohammed Tariq, Head of Treasury at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)Islamic Development Bank (IDB), maintained that in these difficult times for international financial markets, “new opportunities for growth and development become increasingly important. The Islamic finance market presents huge long-term opportunities for London and for the UK….Islamic finance is an opportunity that we want to see realized for the benefit of pitain as a whole – strengthening London’s position as – not just one of the world’s leading financial centres – but as the world centre.”

Indeed the Exchequer Secretary commended the London Sukuk Summit initiative stressing that “events like these are crucially important. They forge networks where conversations can be continued and where relationships and business can be built.”

Perhaps equally important is the reassurance from Mrs. McCarthy-Fry that the decision not to issue a sovereign Sukuk by the UK Treasury at this time, “in no way reflects a diminished Government commitment to Islamic finance in the UK. I hope that other progress, including the measures announced in the recent Finance Bill (2009), will pave the way for the Islamic finance industry to grow, and that corporate Sukuk products will thrive as alternative source of funding for UK and overseas firms.”

Bankers in the UK and those from apoad attending the Summit were encouraged by the minister’s remarks and by the fact that the UK Treasury is soon publishing details of a consultation on the measures to facilitate corporate Sukuk issuances out of the UK.

source : qatarmp

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