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Friday, 22 June 2007

'Barriers remain' in expansion of Islamic finance

(GAAP, 21 June 07) There are still some barriers to the expansion of the Islamic finance industry, a new survey from the Big 4 firm KPMG has found.

A lack of qualified Islamic bankers, weaknesses in transparency and financial reporting and the ongoing matter of regulatory capital are all obstacles to the growth of the sector, the KPMG report, titled Growth and Diversification in Islamic Finance, stated.

The survey contains case studies of HSBC Amanah and Unicorn Investment Bank.

Paul Furneaux, financial services partner with KPMG in the UK, explains: "Respondents were aware that they would have to be more creative in product innovation in areas such as derivatives, swaps and options, but recognised that the market is currently at the bottom of a steep learning curve."

It will be important to involve Islamic scholars to help determine the level of "sophistication" of the products, added Mr Furneaux.

Respondents to KPMG's survey said that the market must solidify and define itself.

Islamic law prohibits the collection and payment of interest.

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