- Islamic financial services — Bonds — Funds
This chapter describes Islamic capital markets. Led by Malaysia and its distinct Islamic Market, Bursa Malaysia-I, Islamic finance has entered the mainstream of international capital markets, primarily in the form of ‘Islamic bonds’ (sukuk) and fund products. Saudi Arabia, with its well-publicized Saudi Aramco initial public offering (IPO) in 2019, raised, less successfully, a different flag in the international markets. Islamic finance has infiltrated conventional markets too. Non-Islamic issuers, sovereigns, corporates and international institutions, have issued sukuk, attracted by the wash of liquidity and investors in the Gulf region. Indeed, Islamic finance has been rubbing shoulders with modern conventional finance for several decades now. As ‘conventional’ finance has become less ‘conventional’, shari'a compliant finance has become more accepted. Impediments to growth persist; the imperviousness to standardization and the artificiality of the structures underlying the financial products increase costs and possibly risk, making the products uncompetitive. However, cost is not the only consideration in the marketplace. With greater interest in ethical and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, Islamic finance may be the path or the way to future markets.
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