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Monday, 26 April 2010

Islamic Finance Faces Hurdle, Lacks Expertise, U.K. Body Says

A shortage of skilled Islamic scholars and banking officials versed in Shariah-compliant finance is hampering the industry’s ability to develop global standards, said an official at the Islamic Finance Council U.K.

“People from conventional banks need to understand Islamic finance, but Shariah scholars also need to learn more about conventional finance,” Omar Shaikh, a board member of the Glasgow-based Islamic Finance Council, said in a telephone interview in Dubai. “The industry is growing fast globally and this creates challenges associated with standardization.”

Regulators around the world, including Bahrain and Malaysia, are looking for ways to better evaluate risks of the Islamic banking industry and make products suitable for investors globally. Malaysia’s central bank in March said it plans to standardize so-called Shariah-compliant contracts such as those used in real-estate and project financing.