London The City
With all signs now indicating exciting growth potential for Islamic finance in Europe, the 1st Annual World Islamic Banking Conference European Summit (Euro WIBC) to be launched in London on 8th July 2008 could not come at a more opportune time as the industry stands on the threshold of significant expansion.
Speaking after chairing a meeting of the UK’s Islamic Finance Experts Group, UK Economic Secretary and City Minister Kitty Ussher MP emphasised the importance of the Islamic Finance sector to the city and the government’s commitment to its growth: »The Government is determined to maintain its momentum on work on Islamic finance and to make clear to stakeholders its commitment to this industry. As such, we want to reiterate our aim to publish a paper detailing the UK strategy on Islamic finance by the end of 2008. This paper would clarify the role of the Government in the development of this sector and importantly, the steps that industry will need to take to ensure that Islamic finance becomes one of the UK’s success stories.
Britain has already licensed 5 Islamic banks, with Gatehouse Bank being the most recent; while other key European financial centres continue to develop opportunities for Islamic finance, including exciting initiatives in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.
Mainstream acceptance of Islamic finance will increase as consumer desire for ethical product options increases: Islamic Finance within Europe set to being marketed almost exclusively on its ethical merits.