With Muslims comprising 25% of the world's population and 10,000 Muslim millionaires in Britain alone, the Islamic investment sector has become a financial powerhouse in the UK. The Government recently announced a £200m sovereign Sukuk (the Islamic equivalent of a bond), the London Stock Exchange is launching a dedicated Islamic Index and the Mayor of London is planning a Sharia compliant technology fund: a clear message that Sharia is here to stay.
London has taken in over £11.7bn worth of Islamic investment in the last 10 years, making it the largest Islamic financial centre in the western world. Alongside this, iconic buildings such as The Shard, Chelsea Barracks and Battersea PowerStation, have benefitted from investment from predominately Muslim countries.
However, the industry is also booming on a non-institutional level as Muslim investors review their portfolios and seek out Sharia compliant options.
Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP, the only company to offer a Sharia compliant residential fund in the UK, comments:
"We have seen a growing demand amongst consumers for Sharia compliant investment products in the UK as well as from the Middle East. However, these investors are still limited in their options and do not have access to the diverse range of products on offer to the conventional market. Our fund offers access to the strong performing Private Rented Sector in Prime Central London and has therefore proved a popular proposition with 1/3 of subscriptions coming from Muslim investors."
Faizal Karbani, CEO of Wealth Managers, Simply Sharia, adds:
"Funds such as those structured by LCP represent a pioneering step forward for the Islamic wealth management sector, which is still in its infancy despite its rapid growth globally from $1.45 billion to $1.3 trillion since 2002. There are still only 765 global Islamic mutual funds compared with 60,000 in the conventional finance sector. For the Islamic Finance industry to expand and progress in the West, it needs to offer more Sharia compliant investment products and financial planning opportunities. It is our mission to identify these and offer them to our Muslim clients."
LCP and Simply Sharia are joining forces to organise a number of roadshows which will bring together industry experts, issuers and investors for a lively panel discussion and Q&A session, looking at the best Islamic investment opportunities in the market today and how Muslim investors can manage their money most effectively.
The launch roadshow will take place in Manchester on 26th March, hosted by Specialist Tax Boutique, Signature Tax. These will then continue through Birmingham, Leicester and London.
Mohammed Kola of Senior Partner of Signature Tax, explains:
"Islamic finance is becoming more and more prevalent in modern society as individuals are making choices not just on the basis of financial gain, but in light of their religious beliefs and a desire for an ethical dimension. Manchester is a particular hot-spot at the moment, having seen its Muslim population increase 73.6% since the 2001 Census."
Topics for the event will cover tax breaks in the commercial property sector, LCP's new Sharia compliant residential property fund, raising competitive Sharia compliant finance for business enterprises, Sharia compliant pension schemes for employers and retirement and inheritance planning.
"This sector is beginning to make waves in the UK but needs to be nurtured from alternative investment to major league player. We are, therefore, delighted to be holding these Islamic finance seminars to inform Muslim investors of the broadening investment options on offer in the UK."
Date: 26 March 2014
Time: 6pm onwards
Venue: Signature Tax, Queens Court, 24 Queen Street, Manchester, M2 5HX