LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will conduct a feasibility study into issuing Islamic bonds in a bid to bolster London’s standing as a centre for Islamic finance, Treasury minister Ed Balls will say in a speech on Monday.
In a step towards issuing the first sharia-compliant UK government bond, the Treasury and the Debt Management Office will look into the cost and potential benefits of the government issuing Islamic financial instruments in the sterling market, Balls will tell a Financial Services Authority conference.
The results of the study will be published in the Autumn of this year.
“I believe there are great potential advantages for the UK government issuing sharia-compliant government debt,” Balls will say, according to excerpts of his speech seen by Reuters.
“The feasibility study will also be assessing the opportunity for issuing such instruments, taking into account the government’s debt management objectives.”
The latest announcement follows measures introduced in this year’s budget enabling Islamic bonds, or sukuk, to be issued, held and traded in the same way as corporate bonds.
“The measures this government has taken make it possible for issuers to seriously consider the merits of issuing Islamic finance instruments,” Balls will say.
The government-backed National Savings and Investments has also been asked to look into making such products available to the public.