Government seeks to attract Islamic finance to Island

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Government announced it planned to continue working to establish Bermuda as a centre for Shariah-complaint finance, and said efforts are paying off.

Islamic finance has expanded rapidly over the past few years and global assets are estimated to soon be in the trillions.

Business Bermuda members have over the last few years been marketing Bermuda as a jurisdiction that can handle and manage Shariah-compliant funds, re/insurance and other types of financial/investment products. Shariah law frowns on alcohol, tobacco and gambling-related businesses and bans interest.

Bermuda’s regulatory structure can already handle the requirements of Shariah-compliant finance such as takaful and retakaful structures and mutual fund structures.

“Plans are in development to actively market Bermuda as a jurisdiction for Islamic Finance,” Governor Sir Richard Gozney said in Friday’s Throne Speech. “Interest has been expressed already at the recent Business Bermuda briefing in New York, where details of the work being done by the Islamic Finance Task Force were shared.”

Business Bermuda CEO Cheryl Packwood said: “We are very pleased that the Government is in complete support of our initiatives in this region and look forward to a strong partnership in our continued efforts.”

Belaid Jheenghoor, asset management director at PwC, has been heading up Business Bermuda’s Islamic finance campaign.

He worked on the GE Capital Sukuk (Bermuda) in 2009. It was the first Sukuk (the Islamic equivalent of bonds) issued by a US corporation ranking in the top ten Fortune 500 companies. It was based on ownership interests in aircraft and rights under the aircraft assets leases.

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Published Nov 7, 2011 at 8:16 am (Updated Nov 7, 2011 at 8:16 am)

Government seeks to attract Islamic finance to Island

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