Contributed By Winston & Strawn London LLP
Islamic financial services have been provided in the UK since the 1980s and in June 2014 the UK became the first non-Muslim country to issue sukuk (Islamic bonds).
Currently, five standalone Islamic banks and more than 15 conventional banks offer Shari’a-compliant Islamic financial products and services in the UK, with the number expected to grow. The value of sukuk listed on the London market to date is over GBP40 billion, with more than 72 sukuk listed on the London Stock Exchange as of January 2019.
In recent years, Islamic finance has been increasingly used for financing major infrastructure projects in the UK, such as The Shard, the Olympic Village and the redevelopment of the Chelsea Barracks and Battersea Power Station. This is likely to grow following Brexit, as the UK takes a greater interest in Islamic finance as part of its goal to broaden its economic ties with non-EU countries.
The development of Islamic finance in the UK is a priority of the British government as highlighted by former Chancellor George Osborne's remarks that the development of the Islamic finance industry is essential to make Britain the “undisputed centre of the global financial system”.