Monday, February 04, 2008

European Finance House wins UK Islamic banking licence

INTERNATIONAL. European Finance House, a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank, was granted an investment banking licence from the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) as the British government seeks to lure Islamic financiers to London.

European Finance will target corporate and high net worth clients in the UK, in continental Europe and the Persian Gulf with services that comply with Shariah principles, the venture said today in a statement.

"London is now widely regarded as the principal financial hub for Islamic banking outside the Middle East and we intend to meet this expanding market,'' Chief Executive Officer Michael Clark said in the statement.

European Finance will join banks including European Islamic Investment Bank, HSBC Holdings and Lloyds TSB Group competing to win business from the UK's 1.8 million Muslims. Assets held by the global Islamic finance industry are worth US$500 billion and are increasing by more than 10% a year on rising oil wealth in the Middle East, Standard & Poor's estimates.

The UK may sell its first Islamic bonds, known as Sukuk, to attract oil funds from the Middle East, the British Treasury Minister Ed Balls said in April. In March the government introduced tax concessions for Sukuk in its annual budget.

BusinessIntelligence-Middle East.

Death by a thousand cuts......

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