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TheCityUK Islamic FinTech Working Group

Following on from DDCAP’s participation in the 2017 working group established by TheCityUK and Borsa Istanbul to develop FinTech co-operation between the two countries, DDCAP Executive Director David Testa has recently acted as the UK chairman on a further working group focusing on the role that Fintech could play in developing Islamic Finance, and in particular the potential for further co-operation between the UK and Turkey in promoting this area. Dr Recep Bildik, Director of Borsa Istanbul, led the Turkish team whilst the working group was made up of expert practitioners from both countries, with members including academics, lawyers, FinTech entrepreneurs, blockchain entrepreneurs, Turkish Participation Banks and Islamic finance intermediaries.

The group met three times between September 2018 and March 2019, in both Istanbul and London, and focussed on three areas in which the two countries could share helpful expertise and work together to develop the sector, namely regulation, education and training, and finance and funding, in particular the ways in which Islamic FinTech could assist with financial inclusion.  This is a particular concern in Turkey itself, where approximately 19% of the population opt out of the financial system for religious reasons whilst – overall – 43% of Turkish adults do not hold a bank account.

The group also considered how Islamic FinTech can help develop ESG investment, given the widely acknowledged and growing crossover of ethical and green investment with Sharia’a compliant investment, with common ground in particular on sustainable financing and responsible risk sharing.

The project resulted in a UK Turkey Fintech Working Group report published by TheCityUK (link: https://www.thecityuk.com/research/uk-turkey-islamic-fintech-working-group-case-studies-and-insights/) with papers reflecting the breadth of experience in the working group.  These include discussions on the current state of FinTech regulation in the UK and Turkey; how FinTech is increasingly enabling Islamic investors to structure cross-border Sharia’a compliant transactions quickly and efficiently; the role of accelerators in supporting Sharia’a compliant FinTech; the role of crowdfunding in broadening access to finance; how new technologies are assisting investment in international Sharia’a compliant funds; and the role of stock exchanges and capital markets in supporting the growth of Islamic Finance and FinTech.

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