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Thursday November 11, 2010

All eyes on Islamic finance

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic financing is gaining popularity in many non-Muslim countries such as Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore in recent years, Gatehouse Bank PLC chief executive officer Richard Thomas said.

“We are seeing greater interest in Islamic financing, especially by corporations in non-Muslim countries,” he said at the World Congress of Accountants yesterday.

Thomas was one of the guest speakers at the second plenary session of the congress titled Islamic Finance: Strengthening the Global Market.

He said Islamic financing, which currently is operating under banking and non-banking institutions, were growing at different rates depending on the region.

“For example, Islamic financing in the banking sector in Britain is now growing at 15% to 20% annually, while in certain places in the Gulf it can be as high as 50% per annum,” he noted.

According to an International Monetary Fund report, Islamic financing was growing at about 8% globally.

However, Thomas said there were a host of factors impeding the growth of Islamic financing.

“Islamic financing can grow faster but the current taxation laws and conventional accounting practices have not kept pace with the global expansion of Islamic financing,” he noted.

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