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London based insurers bring sharia compliant products and services to market

Date: 25 Feb 2016

Bumblebee Design

Michael Williams, CEO of BLME, Bank of London and the Middle East says the UK says Middle Eastern investors increasingly invest in UK assets as a flight to safety.

Who is offering Islamic finance in London?

There are over twenty-two financial institutions offering Islamic finance in London, five of which are solely sharia-compliant. There are not only banks such as ours, BLME, which is the largest Islamic bank in Europe, but there are also insurance underwriters like Cobalt Underwriting who employ a Shariah Supervisory Board.

What are the terms of using Islamic finance?

Islamic finance functions in a very similar manner to conventional finance. However, there are certain criteria that each transaction must meet. For example, Islamic banks cannot invest in an overly-leveraged company, use capital to finance weapons or offer products that are not asset-based such as a credit default swap.

Will we see Islamic financial institutions taking a hit as economic difficulties bite?

It depends entirely on the strategy of each individual institution. For example, BLME’s geographic exposure is sixty percent UK-based with very limited exposure to emerging markets.

Will we see a rise in Islamic finance as oil revenues affect the Middle East?

We are seeing a rise in customers from the Middle East as they look to the UK as a safe haven and London in particular has always had its attractions for these customers.