Islamic finance & microfinance, law firms see need for Islamic finance expertise

John Foster comments regarding Ramadan touch on the idea that GCC-based Islamic financial institutions could make a huge difference in reducing poverty if they devoted a fraction of their resources to helping provide financial services to the poor in nearby countries in Asia and Africa.

The head of global strategy for Reed Smith L.L.P., a law firm based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, responds to a question about why they feel they need to have expertise in Islamic finance.

Q: Do you have an Islamic finance practice?
A: We do have some Islamic finance work out of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is increasingly important because that is where the money is. Let’s face it: Money is basically pouring into the Middle East and, to the extent that it is going to be invested in debt instruments, it will have to be in instruments that are sharia [the Islamic legal code] compliant, and you have to have expertise to do that.

DIFC Authority CEO Nasser Al Shaali says that Islamic finance is providing one of the driving forces attracting “new, more sophisticated investors”.

La Trobe University in Sydney, Australia launched the country’s first master’s degree in Islamic

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