A new society tasked with fostering improved understanding of Shariah-compliant finance has held its first event, with participants discussing whether Islamic banking presents an opportunity for ‘ethical capitalism’.
The Oxford University Islamic Banking and Finance Society (IBFS) has been established to help finance professionals explore alternative approaches to investment and asset management. It will provide a platform for Islamic banking practitioners to network and forge links with students at Oxford University who aspire to a career in one of the fastest growing sectors of the financial services industry.
The IBFS is co-sponsored by London-based Gatehouse Bank, a Shariah-compliant investment bank who’s Vice President, Institutional Relationships Ms. Azeemeh Zaheer addressed the inaugural event alongside the Rt Hon Baronness Warsi, Senior Minister of State and Minister for Faith and Communities and co-Chairman of the UK Islamic Banking Task Force.
The government has frequently stated its commitment to making the UK a global centre for Islamic finance, including becoming the first country outside of the Islamic world to issue a sukuk or Islamic bond. According to government figures*, the UK is already the ninth-largest centre for Islamic finance globally with assets in excess of $19bn.
“Gatehouse Bank is promoting awareness of Islamic finance and banking through various initiatives with universities from the UK to the Middle East,” explained Ms Zaheer. “There is an acknowledgement across the industry that Shariah-compliant investment and banking needs to be better understood and our sponsorship of this society is the latest example of our determination to further that cause.”
Gatehouse Bank’s support for the Oxford University IBFS is a further illustration of its commitment to educating women in the Middle East on how they can develop their financial expertise in order to make good investment decisions.
Ms Zaheer refers to this group as ‘Generation F’ and they are the target audience for the Bank’s ‘Real Estate from an Investment Perspective’ education course which has had its second running this year at prestigious women’s only Dar Al Hekma College in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.