UK’s Gatehouse Bank is urging the Government to capitalise on this week's summit on Islamic finance and make it more than just a bid for a single oil giant to list in London.
The Shari'ah-compliant bank has calculated that the value of Sukuk assets listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) would double to GBP57.8 billion in the next decade if issues continue at their current rate of growth.
Sukuk (Islamic bonds) offer investments that are structured to adhere to Islamic law, providing shares of tangible assets and returns that are not derived from interest.
“The woes in the oil market have weighed on the growth of Sukuk over the past few years but as the price of oil improves, long-awaited expansion in Sukuk is bound to follow. Sukuk only began life in the UK in 2007 but their numbers have been swelling at an annual rate of around five per cent in the past few years even though they are still little understood. To date the LSE's 66 Sukuk have raised £35.5bn so even based on just their current rate of growth, you would expect UK Sukuk assets to be worth £57.8bn in ten years’ time. As interest grows this could be beaten by some margin so this is a huge opportunity for Britain,” said Charles Haresnape, CEO, Gatehouse Bank.
He added that the level of interest in the Sukuk conference this week is testament to the potential the bank has always said was there. This week must not be just a one-off diplomatic effort by the government to entice one large oil company to list on the LSE, it should be an on-going trade mission designed to make London the world centre for all Islamic finance.