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London will become new centre of Islamic finance, says PM

Prime Minster David Cameron said he wants to make London a centre for Islamic finance. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images Prime Minster David Cameron said he wants to make London a centre for Islamic finance. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
12:06 PM

David Cameron has announced plans for a new Islamic index on the London Stock Exchange as he tries to establish the City as one of the world’s leading centres of Islamic finance.

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The Prime Minister also told the World Islamic Economic Forum, which met in the capital, Britain will become the first non-Muslim country to issue its own Islamic bonds, known as sukuk.

Today’s plans are part of the government’s strategy to tap in to this fast-growing global market, which is expected to be worth £1.3trillion next year.

Mr Cameron told the forum: “Already London is the biggest centre for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world.

“And today our ambition is to go further still.

“Because I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.”

The aim of the new stock exchange index listing Islamic compliant companies is to attract investors to London, and the new bonds, worth around £200million, could be launched as early as next year.

Jodie Ginsberg, deputy director of financial research unit Demos Finance, said: “David Cameron is right to throw Britain’s doors open to the Muslim world to showcase our trading wares.

“But we should also use this forum as an opportunity to consider how the principles of Islamic finance itself, not just the money generated in the Muslim world, might be applied in the UK.

“Islamic finance is one of the few models successfully to have weathered the 2008 credit crunch and its aftermath.”

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