London: The British government is looking into issuing its first Sharia-compliant bond in a bid to boost London's position as a centre for Islamic finance, Treasury minister Ed Balls said yesterday.
The Treasury estimates Islamic finance assets are worth over $250 billion, and the market is growing rapidly, as financiers angle for cash-rich investors from the Middle East.
Balls said the Treasury and Debt Management Office would look into the cost and benefits of the government issuing Islamic financial products in the sterling market, and publish the results of the study by the end of the year.
"I believe there are great potential advantages for the UK government issuing Sharia-compliant government debt," Balls said.
"The feasibility study will also be assessing the opportunity for issuing such instruments, taking into account the government's debt management objectives," the minister said.
The government-backed National Savings and Investments has also been asked to look into making such products available to the public, Balls added