March 5, 2018 / 12:23 PM / a year ago

Bank of England to offer Islamic liquidity tool more widely

FILE PHOTO - City workers walk past the Bank of England in central London November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico (BRITAIN)

(Reuters) - The Bank of England plans to offer a proposed sharia-compliant liquidity tool to a wider range of financial institutions beyond Islamic banks to boost demand, a senior official said on Monday.

London has long sought to position itself as a global hub for Islamic finance, aiming to attract business from core centres in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

The central bank has been working on a fund-based deposit model that would help Islamic lenders meet regulatory requirements for liquid asset buffers.

But the tool will also be available to institutions whose articles of association incorporate sharia compliance, Arshadur Rahman, manager in the bank’s sterling markets division, said during an industry conference at the London Stock Exchange, which was webcast.

Such institutions may include Islamic mortgage firms, Islamic insurance firms and Islamic leasing firms, although the Bank did not specify whether these would be eligible for the new tool.

Offering the product more widely would allow the Bank to “future proof” the facility by ensuring there is adequate demand, said Rahman, who is also the Bank’s Islamic finance specialist.

While there is no fixed date for the launch of the facility, the bank will work on its legal documentation and risk hedging aspects this year, he added.

The facility will be based on an agency contract known as wakala and would be backed by high quality liquid assets.

Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino in Sydney; Editing by Susan Fenton

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