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11 March 2013

Government launches first Islamic Finance Task Force

Today, the Government launched the UK’s first Islamic Finance Task Force. The Task Force will help to cement London’s status as the western hub for Islamic finance by showcasing the UK as the preferred choice for the Muslim world to invest in and do business with.

From day one, the Task Force will support development of the UK’s Islamic finance sector, increasing inward investment and strengthening the economy. The Task Force will include major industry figures to ensure that the UK’s offer is promoted at home and abroad by both the public and private sector.

The Task Force will have three key objectives:

The Islamic Finance Task Force will be co-chaired by Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Clark and Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  Minister of Trade and Investment, Lord Green and Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan will provide additional ministerial support. Key industry figures have agreed to support the Task Force and assist in its work.

The World Islamic Economic Forum, hosted in London in October, will be the Task Force’s first key milestone.

Greg Clark said:

“This Government’s priority is to make sure that Britain is open for business. The Islamic Finance Task Force is a perfect example of our ambition to promote London as a leading financial centre and attract inward investment for the wider economy.

“The Task Force has an important role to play. Our focus now is to ensure that the UK and London is well placed to showcase what we have to offer at the World Islamic Economic Forum in October.”

Baroness Warsi said:

“We expect the global market for Islamic financial services to experience significant growth over the coming years, but feedback from decision makers in the Middle East and South East Asia suggests there is a lack of awareness of the UK industry and that we should be doing more to promote the sector.

“There are also major opportunities to attract investment into the UK as demand for Islamic finance increases from private investors and Sovereign Wealth Funds.

“For that reason we are announcing today the formation of a Ministerial Task Force for Islamic Finance.”

Notes for Editors

1. The full objectives of the Islamic Finance Task Force are as follows:

a. To act as Ministerial Champions for the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF):

The WIEF will be held in London from 29-31 October 2013 offering an excellent opportunity to showcase London and the UK to 1,500 key Islamic decision makers and to increase awareness  here of key economic issues affecting the Islamic world.  This will be the first time that the Forum has ever been held outside of an Islamic city or Asia.

Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, and the Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning at the Greater London Authority, Sir Edward Lister were present at last year’s Forum in Malaysia (4-6 December) to welcome London’s role as the next host city.

b. Engage with the United Kingdom Islamic Finance Secretariat (UKIFS) and others to promote and raise the international profile of the industry:

A key UK objective is to defend the advantage we have as the leading non-Islamic hub for Islamic Finance. The UK Islamic Finance industry has not yet reached its full potential, and there is an opportunity now to re-energise the industry and raise its profile.

c. Use Islamic Finance to facilitate inward investment and strengthen the UK economy, including through our ongoing support for Sovereign Wealth Funds looking to invest in UK infrastructure:

  1. infrastructure investment; and
  2. credit for business start-ups and SMEs.

The key issue to explore will be the opportunities to encourage inward investment via Islamic finance and associated services, to feed into existing high-level and Ministerial engagement with institutional investors across the Islamic world.

2. The non-Ministerial members of the Task Force are:

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