From the Gulf to Europe: Exporting Islamic Finance

Cinzia Bianco and Antonio Occhuito

From its roots in the Gulf Islamic finance has blossomed into a US$2.1 trillion industry with assets expected to expand to some US$3.4 trillion by the end of 2018. Europe’s share in global Islamic finance assets remains marginal, but Islamic funds domiciled in European jurisdictions held some US$14.4 billion in assets (2014) accounting for 20% of Shari’a-compliant assets worldwide. Europe’s share will rise quickly, as financial regulators in a number of European states have issued frameworks facilitating the registration of Shari’a-compliant investment schemes. In Italy the 2018 decision by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Salwiya firm to direct and coordinate all of its Europe-bases initiatives from Milan further signals the growing importance of the practice in more conventional European economies.