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IFN Lawyers

IFN UK Report 2021

On the 12th October, IFN was delighted to return to the stage with our first physical event in over a year. The triumphant 13th edition of the IFN UK Forum, the industry’s longest-running and most prestigious European event, was held once again at Mansion House under the patronage of the Lord Mayor of London. Supported by the UK government, the event attracted the very best of the region’s leaders, practitioners, regulators and observers for an engaging, enthusiastic and very much in-person event.

With the UK’s second Sukuk offering launched in March 2021, and attracting a strong orderbook of over GBP625 million (US$859.03 million) from around the world, the UK has certainly not let its departure from Europe impact its standing as the region’s leading center for Islamic finance. The recent challenges of both Brexit and the global COVID-19 pandemic may have created challenges for the financial industry as a whole, but with a renewed and rigorous commitment to Islamic finance from the UK government, the sector has seen limited impact. The UK’s domestic Islamic banks, many of whom focus their business on real estate and savings, have continued to thrive over the past year, with total assets now exceeding GBP5 billion (US$6.87 billion); and with inward investor interest into the UK barely diminished by the coronavirus, Shariah compliant funds have continued to flow steadily into the country’s coffers. The landmark Alternative Liquidity Facility by the Bank of England is also nearing completion, designed to help Islamic banks manage their short-term liquidity requirements, and marking a long-awaited development (in consultation since 2015) that should help to make Islamic banks even more competitive with their conventional peers.