Islamic Finance for Corporate UK

On Thursday 16 June, over 70 delegates from across the UK came together at Aston Business School to discuss the business opportunities that Islamic finance can potentially create for the British and European corporate.

The full day conference, organised by the El Shaarani Research Centre for Islamic Business & Finance (EIBF) at Aston Business School, in partnership with Advantage West Midlands, Business Birmingham, Islamic Finance Advisory and Assurance Services (IFAAS) and Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) aimed to demystify Islamic finance for corporate decision makers. 

Guests at Islamic Finance Event

The opening session of the conference saw welcome addresses from the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Julia King and the Executive Dean of Aston Business School, Professor John Edwards before Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, Centre Director for the El Shaarani Research Centre for Islamic Business and Finance (EIBF), outlined the work that is currently being undertaken within the centre.

Over the course of the day, delegates heard from several speakers, all experts in this field. The first key note speaker was Michael McMillen, a renowned Islamic finance lawyer who has practiced in the sector since 1996. Michael’s presentation was entitled ‘Islamic finance and the financial needs of the European corporate – a misfit or a strategic fit?’.  In his presentation, Michael gave an overview of the history of Islamic finance, before highlighting some of the differences, similarities and overlaps with the conventional system.

Delegates then heard from Nick Sanderson from Martineau Solicitors who presented a session entitled ‘Working Capital Solutions’. Nick explained the different solutions available within the ‘Islamic Finance toolkit’ before giving some case studies based on transactions he has been involved with.

The morning session came to a close with a showcase of Birmingham as a hub for Islamic business and finance and a table discussion. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anita Ward, addressed delegates before Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Director for Business Birmingham discussed how they are establishing Birmingham as a place to do business. Table discussions then enabled delegates to discuss their specific business needs and how Islamic finance might be a solution.

Following lunch, the second key note speaker gave his address. Emad Yousuf Al Monayea, Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Chief Executive Office of Liquidity Management House in Kuwait, is a prominent figure within the sector with more than 25 years of experience in investments and corporate finance in the public and private sectors. Emad’s presentation entitled ‘Islamic financial instruments – a real alternative’ focused on the Sukuk market and the history, prospects and challenges of sukuk issuance.

The second case study of the conference was delivered by Mohamed Amin and discussed ‘Islamic Securitisation’. In the case study, Mohamed addressed the practicalities of issuing sukuk in relation to tax laws and regulations.

Discussion at Islamic Finance for Corporate UK

A main objective for the event was to enable delegates to discuss the needs of their business with experts. The second table discussion of the event saw a ‘Finance Exchange’ take place. Delegates made their way around the room discussing their business finance issues with a range of industry representatives. Many delegates found this interaction extremely beneficial.

The final part of the conference was a panel discussion chaired by Sultan Choudhury from the Islamic Bank of Britain. The discussion entitled ‘Islamic Finance and the European corporate – the way forward’ drew conclusions from the day and delegates heard views on current issues facing the sector and how it might develop in the future.

Julia King - Islamic Finance Conference
Table discussions at Islamic Finance Event
Discussions at Islamic Finance Event
John Edwards

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