Practical analysis for investment professionals
11 June 2013

Islamic Finance is Growing Fast but Faces the Form-Versus-Substance Debate (Video)

Speaking at the Middle East Investment Conference in Dubai, Ibrahim Warde, adjunct professor at Tufts University in the United States and a noted author on Islamic finance, argued that since the 1990s Islamic finance has gained much more international acceptability but that it continues to grapple with the fundamental form-versus-substance debate.

With the current size of the Islamic finance market at over $1.3 trillion, Warde believes “it is not an exaggeration to say that in the world of finance, the fastest growing segment is Islamic finance.” The data he shared showed that assets of the Islamic financial sector grew by 21% in 2006, 29% in 2007, 16% in 2008, 18% in 2009, 22% in 2010, 20% in 2011, and an estimated 24% in 2012.

Here is a video recording of Warde’s presentation.

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About the Author(s)
Usman Hayat, CFA

Usman Hayat writes about sustainable, responsible, and impact investing and Islamic finance. He is the lead author of "Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues in Investing: A Guide for Investment Professionals," and the literature review, "Islamic Finance: Ethics, Concepts, Practice." He is interested in online learning and has directed three e-courses for CFA Institute: "ESG-100," "Islamic Finance Quiz," and "Residual Income Equity Valuation." The other topics he writes about are macroeconomics and behavioral finance. Previously, he was a content director at CFA Institute. He is a former executive director at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). He has experience working in securities regulation and as an independent consultant. His qualifications include the CFA charter, the FRM designation, an MBA, and an MA in Development Economics. His personal interests are reading and hiking.

2 thoughts on “Islamic Finance is Growing Fast but Faces the Form-Versus-Substance Debate (Video)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The debate is indeed there. As expert Ajaz Khan says: “Islamic finance is, generally speaking, approaching a crossroads and we have to ask ourselves which direction we will now take. It has been developed for a number of years now and it has become more and more widespread but a lot of the institutions that have adopted Islamic finance are now essentially doing an exercise in financial engineering. They look at which exact religious rules they have to obey and think that, within these rules, they can come up with anything. So they’re not really changing their philosophy and way of doing business, they’re just changing the instruments.” In a nice conversation with the Halal Monk he talks more about Islamic finance and the contemporary questions surrounding it.

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