As we come to the end of the year, the UK government continues to follow through on its desire to support the growth and development of Islamic finance in the country demonstrated by its support of the IFN Islamic forum in London in September.
Lord Sheikh, Baron of Cornhill co-chaired by Baroness Uddin, led the inaugural All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic finance meeting in London last month. The meeting was attended by key stakeholders from the Islamic finance sector, including practitioners, academics, local financial institutions, law firms, Shariah scholars as well representatives from the UK Department for International Development.
According to the UK Islamic Finance Council which facilitated the event, the meeting raised a number of key discussion points and highlighted some of the challenges facing the industry. Lord Sheikh was keen to capture the issues and propose solutions, which can then be evaluated with the appropriate UK government departments.
In Scotland, Youngberry Properties successfully refinanced two of the largest commercial properties in the city of Aberdeen (159,170 sq ft) by way of a Shariah compliant commodity murabaha facility from an established international bank.Gatehouse Bank, a wholesale Shariah-compliant investment bank based in London, and the law firm of Shepherd and Wedderburn advised Youngberry on the investment and financing of the deal.
Ummah finance, an Islamic fintech planning UK’s first digital Islamic challenger bank with a suite of retail products in the first half of the 2018, has selected Gateway Islamic Advisory LLP to provide a wide range of legal and professional services relating to Islamic finance, banking, and finance sector in general.
Another London based fintech or regtech Capnovum, is working on developing a Shariah compliant offering becoming one of the ten finalists of the inaugural SuperCharger Malaysia program. The company is undergoing a 12-week program with finishing this month and considering a base in Kuala Lumpur to serve the Islamic financial markets.