The Islamic Finance Council UK (‘UKIFC’) and international law firm CMS today announce an innovative partnership to help develop, support and optimise Islamic finance frameworks across the world. The aim is to offer a single, cohesive legal, advisory and capacity building service tailored to help government agencies, regulatory bodies and financial institutions to respond creatively and develop capacity for Islamic finance.

The partnership launches at a time when global Islamic finance assets are expected to rise from $2 trillion in 2015 to $3.5 trillion by 2021 – representing a 12% compound annual growth rate. Islamic banks are likely to be the main driver of this growth, with assets expected to reach $2.7 trillion by 20211.

“With a growing Muslim population, the potential future demand for Islamic finance is huge,” says Shakeel Adli, Head of Islamic Finance at CMS. “By bringing together a unique blend of practitioners who are recognised leaders in the global Islamic finance market, we are able to draw on our collective knowledge and expertise to provide a one-stop shop offering a truly unique and holistic approach to Islamic finance.”

UKIFC and CMS have recognised that the availability and effectiveness of Islamic finance in any given jurisdiction depends on meeting a number of challenges; the two most significant of which are creating robust regulatory frameworks and developing human talent. To effectively engage in Islamic finance, investors, consumers and financial institutions require regulatory clarity. It is also of critical importance that human talent is developed to address the unique challenges which Islamic finance presents.

The UKIFC and CMS partnership will assist jurisdictions to meet these challenges.

“As leaders in our respective fields, we share a commitment to growing the Islamic finance industry,” says Omar Shaikh, Advisory Board Member at UKIFC. “By combining our capabilities, we have created a uniquely comprehensive, best in class Government advisory providing support and guidance for government agencies, regulatory bodies and financial institutions as they look to build their capacity and create enabling legal and regulatory frameworks for Islamic finance.”

The UKIFC was established in 2005 as a specialist advisory and developmental body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. Having contributed substantively to the development of the UK Government’s Islamic finance framework, the UKIFC has been appointed to advise several regulators and government ministries across Africa, Asia and Europe and has developed a proprietary methodology for government policy advisory within a secular context.

CMS meanwhile has extensive experience of successfully delivering Islamic finance regulatory advisory projects in multiple jurisdictions including Kazakhstan and Oman amongst others. Significantly, CMS has a geographic footprint which includes 65 offices spread across 38 jurisdictions. The firm has deep local roots with access to cross-border expertise and strong connections to Governments and associated agency bodies in each of the conventional, Islamic and ethical finance sectors.

“The new partnership between UKIFC and CMS offers a team of passionate and committed Islamic finance experts that genuinely combines legal, finance and capacity building ability that is unlike any other advisory firm,” Omar Shaikh concludes.

1Thomson Reuters State of the Global Islamic Economy 2016/17