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Complinet Back Steady Shariah Values

Will Robins

10 December 2009

Banks under pressure to reform should look to the values of Islamic banking, says financial solutions provider Complinet, despite the modest performance of Shariah-compliant products.

Shariah banking does not allow speculation and the non-payment of interest. According to Complinet, this has insulated the world of Islamic banking from the worst of the financial crisis, especially tumbling financial stocks, which Shariah-compliant investing avoids.

“The lessons of Shariah banking have a lot to teach financial institutions. Pressure is definitely mounting for them to learn from their mistakes and embrace at least some of its principles,” said Paul Johns, Complinet’s vice president of Global Markets.

Yet Shariah investors missed the rally as well as the crash. Limited exposure to financial stocks left Shariah-compliant stocks trailing the wider market this summer as a nascent global economic recovery buoyed confidence in the banking sector.

It has also been argued the recent default on $60 billion worth of outstanding loans by Dubai World proves Islamic finance is not impervious to its own credit problems. However, Complinet argue Dubai is not typical of the way Islamic financiers do business.

“The problem in Dubai is not one of Islamic finance. The Shariah system allows stability through transparency and cooperation between regulators,” said professor Mahmood Faruqui, senior advisor at the Bank of London and the Middle East.