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Tue 29 Apr 2008 10:48 AM

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Bahrain's IIFM to host review of landmark contract

Islamic financial regulator to host review of first standardised Islamic contract.

Bahrain-based financial regulator the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) will host a strategic review of the world's first standardised Islamic finance contract on May 8, the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) said late on Monday.

The IIFM, which focuses on developing global Islamic capital and money markets, has developed the Master Agreement for Treasury Placement (MATP) to significantly facilitate worldwide commodity murabaha transactions - a market worth around $100 billion - and will be reviewed by leading industry figures at the session in Bahrain.

"We are delighted to be working with the IIFM on this important and exciting initiative," said Qudeer Latif, head of Islamic finance at lawyers Clifford Chance, who are legal counsel for the project.

"Together with the market participants the objective is to work towards standardised documents that can be adopted by all financial institutions, both Islamic and conventional, thereby enhancing the cost, time and operational efficiencies of sharia compliant deposit arrangements being effected."

The IIFM said on April 7 the MATP was currently awaiting final review by prominent sharia scholars, and is expected to gain wide acceptability because commodity murabaha transactions are the most commonly used Islamic money market product.

RELATED: Bahrain's IIFM drawing up Islamic finance contract

The review of MATP will be the highlight of the IIFM's strategic review of the sector, which will be attended by senior executives of Islamic financial institutions in Manama.

"The upcoming session is aimed at the industry's key market participants, who are either involved in IIFM projects through its working groups or those institutions with business activities relating to IIFM initiatives," said IIFM Chief Executive Ijlal Alvi.

Institutions represented at the session, patronised by the Central Bank of Bahrain, include Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia), UBS, Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Standard Chartered, Al Salam Bank, Al Baraka Banking Group, United International Bank, Ernst & Young, JP Morgan and the ABC Islamic Bank.

The IIFM, founded in 2002, was set up by the central banks and monetary agencies of Bahrain, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Sudan, as well as the Islamic Development Bank to facilitate the development of international Islamic capital and money markets.

The IIFM also said it was working on several other market development initiatives, which are aimed at the development of a globalised Islamic finance industry and Islamic capital markets.

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