Islamic Banking and Finance

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As scholars quibble, sharia banks eye convergence

KUALA LUMPUR/LONDON Jurists may never fully agree on how to interpret the sharia but controversial Islamic finance structures are likely to be dropped eventually as the industry strives to reach wider markets.

Malaysia eyes law change to help sharia banks

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian courts hearing Islamic finance disputes must refer to national sharia advisors under a proposed change, the central bank chief said on Friday, as the country seeks to boost its image as an Islamic finance hub.


Islamic banks see Iran opportunities

MANAMA Several foreign banks see huge untapped opportunities in Iran for Islamic finance, spurred on by hopes U.S. President Barack Obama's new approach toward the Islamic Republic will end years of sanctions hampering business. | Video

Hedge funds seen unsuitable for Islamic finance

GENEVA Hedge funds basing their investment strategy on sharia, or Islamic legal principles would face significant disadvantages compared with non-sharia hedge funds, some exponents of Islamic finance say.


Islamic banks start positioning in Iraq

DUBAI Islamic banks in the Gulf and Asia are starting to position themselves in Iraq to enable them to penetrate the relatively untouched market once the security situation improves, Boston Consulting Group said on Thursday.

Islamic finance faces tough choices: law firm

LONDON Developing common standards for Islamic finance products too soon could damage the fledgling sector's long-term growth, according to Andrew Metcalf, an Islamic finance specialist with law firm King & Spalding.

Gulf Arab Islamic bank mergers needed but far-off

MANAMA/DUBAI Consolidation in the Gulf Arab Islamic banking industry is becoming more urgent due to the downturn, but bankers say financial institutions are still wary of teaming up.

Virtual Islamic banks to target clients in West

DUBAI Islamic banks, which previously focused on their home markets, are looking to set up virtual branches in a bid to break into Western countries, as they seek to serve scattered Muslim communities there, consultants said.

Bankers eye Islamic finance jobs as crisis hits

MANAMA A growing number of investment bankers whose jobs have been axed due to the global financial crisis are leaving conventional banking to move into Islamic finance, banking executives say.

Qatar Islamic eyes acquisitions, plans $1 billion fund

DOHA Qatar Islamic Bank is eyeing acquisitions in the Gulf Arab region and plans to launch a $1 billion fund to tap appetite for Islamic products, the bank's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Sharia hedge funds seen boosting market liquidity

KUALA LUMPUR Islamic hedge funds can add to market liquidity, Malaysia's capital markets regulator said on Thursday, amid some scholars' criticism that such funds open the back door to gambling in Islam.

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