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Wed 16 May 2007 01:17 AM

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Islamic bank licences to be set by market

Market demand will control the number of Islamic banks in the UAE.

The number of Islamic banks in the UAE will be decided by market demand for Islamic banking products and services, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and minister of finance and industry told reporters yesterday.

Gulf News reports Shaikh Hamdan as saying Islamic and conventional banks will be treated equally in terms of regulations and issuing new licences. He was speaking on the sidelines of the fourth Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) summit.

A huge growth in Islamic banking in the UAE has corresponded with growth in demand for new Islamic banking licences, the newspaper reports. Several licence applications are currently pending before the Central Bank, including those from Islamic mortgage lenders Amlak and Tamweel who are hopeful of approval.

Speakers at the IFSB summit meanwhile called for an integrated approach to the regulation of Islamic financial services which incorporates best practice from conventional financial systems across the world.

Professor Rifaat Ahmad Abdul Karim, secretary general of IFSB said ‘ it is important to have a co-ordination of supervisory efforts in banking, the securities market and insurance to safeguard the stability of the global financial system.’

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