Birmingham hosts conference on tapping into Islamic finance market

Birmingham will today play host to a conference looking at how the West Midlands can tap into the potential offered by the emerging multi-billion-pound Islamic finance market. The half-day event, entitled Islamic Business: The Way Forward, brings together a range of speakers from the sector and will look at the potential for positioning Birmingham as an Islamic finance hub.

Aston Business School lecturer Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, who has organised and will chair the event, said one of the key themes was to look at ways to rebrand Birmingham as a centre for international Islamic businesses. She said: “The West Midlands has real experience in managing investment funds, so there is great potential for areas like the West Midlands to attract Sharia-compliant funds to invest here or provide project finance for projects.”

Dr Abdelsalam said there was a shortage of skills in Islamic finance, particularly in the development of innovative new Sharia-compliant products, a gap which Aston University hopes to fill with the planned launch of a new Masters degree in Islamic Finance next year. She believes Islamic financial products could be targeted to the wider market, not just the Muslim community.