The Lord Mayor of London has called on the insurance industry to play its part in enhancing the city’s role as the leading global market for Islamic financial services outside of the Islamic nations.
Alderman Vincent Keaveny, who took up the role of Lord Mayor four weeks ago, made his call during a speech during the London conference of the Islamic Insurance Association of London (IIAL) from the Mansion House.
He said: “The UK has been a major market for the provision of Islamic financial services for over 30 years, and we are looking to deliver further strong growth in the area in the coming years.”
At the event which was held virtually with attendees from the London market and over a dozen Islamic nations Keaveny highlighted the strength of the UK’s Islamic banks, the Shariah compliant investments on the London Stock Exchange and the strength of the UK’s transparent legal sector which have combined to put London in a position of leadership amongst western economies.
“At the heart of our aims for the future of Islamic financial services in the UK insurance has an important part to play,” he said.
Keavney added that London was the home of the modern insurance industry and had built a reputation of innovation and expertise.
“London has long been seen as the home of innovation and we have a history of innovating products and services that are required by companies and clients across the world,” he said. “The insurance sector has the opportunity to produce commercial products that are transparent and trusted that will meet the needs of the Islamic economy.
“That economy is growing both in size and opportunity.”
He added: “I have no doubt London will lead the way in the design of these products but will have to do more than simply the design of these products.”
The requirements of Shariah investment and financial products were such said Keavney that they lent themselves to social and corporate responsibility and the creation of products which met the requirements of Islamic finance would have a role to play in the fight to deliver sustainability in financial services.
“The various parts of London’s financial services sector were all started in coffee houses,” he explained. “Lloyd’s coffee shop is most probably the most famous.
“However, I want London to become the globe’s coffee house and insurance has to be at its heart.”
He added that his term in office would, if COVID restrictions allow, be defined by a determination to travel the world to highlight what the City can provide to companies across the world.
“I very much hope that London’s insurers and reinsurers will be with me on these journeys some of which will be to Islamic nations where I hope we can highlight why London occupies is world-leading position in Islamic financial services.”
He added that he will host a major social impact summit in London next year where he hoped delegates from around the world would attend to examine how financial services companies can play their role on tackling poverty and social inequality.