On Tuesday 19 March, international law firm CMS held an interactive breakfast seminar at its London offices on the topic of innovation in Islamic Finance and the opportunities and challenges facing the industry. The event was the first in a series of biannual events hosted by the Young Professionals in Islamic Finance Forum (YPIFF), an initiative launched by CMS and designed to educate and encourage professionals who are currently involved in, or who are looking to become involved in, the Islamic Finance industry.
The inaugural event brought together over 50 young professionals, who heard from a range of expert panellists on the progress made by the Islamic Finance industry in the UK, and the opportunities presented by Fintech and Real Estate Investment Trust structures (REITS) in the context of Islamic financing. Among discussions, panellists talked about the parallels between Islamic Finance and Ethical Finance, sharing the view that the values underpinned by Islamic Finance are not exclusive to the Muslim community and there is significant opportunity to attract ethically conscious investors looking for sustainable forms of finance.
Panellists concurred that education and awareness remain critical factors to achieving growth, and the industry still needs to find its purpose and identity to move forward.
CMS' Global Head of Islamic Finance, Shakeel Adli, comments: "Through the YPIFF, we want to give the next generation of professionals a unique platform to develop meaningful networks and discuss pertinent issues affecting the Islamic Finance industry. In this first session, we explored a number of important areas including innovation and applying Shariah principles to the evolving technological landscape. These areas will be critical to capturing interest in the market and fuelling growth for the future."
Panellists included Samina Akram, founder of the Women in Islamic & Ethical Finance Forum; Omar Shaikh, advisory board member for the UK Islamic Finance Council; Marc Norden, Director - Head of Investment Solutions at BLME; Benjamin Clarehugh, Director at Amanie Advisors; and Shakeel Adli, Global Head of Islamic Finance at CMS.