Premier: Bermuda to become leading centre for Islamic finance
Bermuda can cash in on its existing experience in high finance to attract investment from the oil-rich Islamic world, Premier Craig Cannonier said at a conference in London.
Mr Cannonier said: “We are at the World Islamic Economic Forum to continue the talks and further the relationships that were established two years ago when we first announced our becoming a Sharia-compliant financial hub.
“We recognise that not only is the world around us changing, but that the economy is changing with it.
“Bermuda is well-recognised as the leading financial offshore centre for the insurance and reinsurance industries, with world-class support services such as legal and accounting, which makes extension to Islamic finance a logical development where we have a leading competitive edge.”
Islamic finance is one of the fastest-growing financial sectors in the world and amounted to a staggering $1.2 trillion in Islamic global banking assets at the end of last year.
Sharia law forbids the fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money.
And investing in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles is also regarded as against Sharia rules.
Bermuda has worked to build its capability and infrastructure for Islamic finance and has already established partnerships with the main financial centres in a range of Muslim countries.
The country has signed double taxation agreements with Qatar and Bahrain.
The annual World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) started yesterday at the Excel Centre in London and will run to Thursday.
The theme of this year’s event is “Changing World, New Relationships” underlining the increase in new economic links between nations.
Organisers plan to provide a top-level arena for government leaders, captains of industry, academic experts and regional specialists to come together to discuss opportunities for business partnerships between the Western and Muslim worlds.
The island’s reputation as a clean jurisdiction with political stability, as well as a good reputation for transparency in financial matters, is regarded as a major selling point in attracting new business from the Islamic world.
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