By Alex Wright
Business Bermuda promoted the Island’s commitment to growing its Islamic finance sector at the inaugural Islamic Financial News European Forum held in London.
At the event, which was held last week and endorsed by the London Stock Exchange, investors discussed Bermuda’s offering of an attractive, politically neutral and familiar platform to Western investors and managers, access for conventional finance and fund structures seeking alternative asset classes in emerging markets, such as Islamic finance, geographic and product diversification; and access a wider asset class and global investor base.
More than 650 people attended the event, which included a presentation by Peter Hughes, group director of Apex Fund Services, on Bermuda’s role in the growth of the Islamic finance industry. Mr Hughes also hosted a panel discussion on Bermuda as an Islamic finance hub. Bermuda recently signed its 25th Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the Republic of Indonesia, providing for a full exchange of information on criminal and civil tax matters between the two countries. In recent years Bermuda has been strengthening its position as the jurisdiction of choice for the Shariah-compliant international financial services industry.
Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, is a key member of the Asia-Pacific Group of 20 and home to the world’s largest Muslim population, who will now have improved access to Bermuda’s blue chip, international finance centre.
Bermuda companies and trusts are now regularly used by financiers in Bermuda for Islamic finance transactions as institutions have developed a wide range of techniques using offshore vehicles which allow them to uphold religious and legal principles whilst enabling them to offer viable financial products. Bermuda’s regulatory structure already provides mechanisms, which cater to the specific requirements of Shariah-compliant services such as takaful and retakaful structures and mutual fund structures.
Cheryl Packwood, CEO of Business Bermuda, said: “I am delighted that Bermuda has signed this TIEA with the Republic of Indonesia. This treaty is a significant step forward in cementing political and economic ties between the two countries. Business Bermuda continues to actively market Bermuda as a financial centre for international business and as the offshore jurisdiction of choice for Islamic finance.”
Mr Hughes said: “Bermuda is in an excellent position to support firms seeking to invest in Shariah compliant products, especially since regulations and laws form the foundation of our world-class financial services industry, making Bermuda well regulated, transparent and fully compliant. The global market for Islamic finance and insurance will continue to grow, opening exciting possibilities for Bermuda-based companies.”
(Courtesy: The Royal Gazette Online)