DUBAI (Reuters) - Competition is escalating between global financial centers - particularly London, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur - to attract Islamic financial business, as the industry grows faster than conventional finance.
Following is a comparative summary of the Islamic finance sectors in the three centers.
Islamic banking assets: $19 billion.
Number of banks: over 20 institutions offer sharia-compliant financial services, including six full-fledged Islamic banks.
Sukuk issuance: over $34 billion raised through 49 issues on London Stock Exchange since 2009.
Scholarship: 60 institutions offer Islamic finance courses and 22 universities have similar degrees.
Strategic strengths: Huge and liquid conventional markets; widely respected legal system.
Strategic weakness: Lack of natural Islamic hinterland.
Islamic banking assets: $75 billion in retail banking assets across United Arab Emirates in 2011.
Number of banks: seven Islamic retail banks in UAE.
Sukuk issuance: $12.1 billion now listed on Dubai exchanges.
Scholarship: The UAE has 31 institutes and 9 universities offering Islamic finance education; the government has also launched the Dubai Centre For Islamic Banking and Finance.
Strategic strengths: Top banking center for Gulf Arab region; entrepreneurial culture; state-run firms which are regular sukuk issuers.
Strategic weakness: Relatively untested as regulatory center.
Islamic banking assets: $135 billion.
Number of banks: 16 Islamic banks.
Sukuk issuance: Outstanding sukuk totaled $148 billion in 2012.
Scholarship: 50 institutions offering industry courses and 18 universities offering degrees.
Strategic strengths: Islamic hinterland in southeast Asia; reputation for strong regulation.
Strategic weakness: Financial markets more focused on domestic business than Dubai and London.
Sources: Islamic Finance Development Indicator; Ernst & Young; local stock exchanges and central banks.
(Compiled by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Peter Graff)