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Contemporary Islamic Finance: Innovations, Applications and Best Practices by Karen Hunt-Ahmed

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CHAPTER 11

The Evolution of Shari'ah-Compliant Indexes and Why They Outperform Conventional Indexes over the Long Term

TARIQ AL-RIFAI

Director Islamic Market Indexes, Dow Jones Indexes

INTRODUCTION

The global market for Islamic financial services, as measured by Shari'ah-compliant assets, was estimated to be $1 trillion at the end of 2010, up 32 percent from 2007's $758 billion. Meanwhile, the Islamic fund market was reported to be $58 billion in 2010, up 7.6 percent from 2009. Clearly, the growth of Islamic banking has been one of the most important developments in global finance over the past decade.

Key centers of Islamic finance are concentrated in Malaysia and the Middle East, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Islamic finance is also expanding rapidly in Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Western nations looking to attract Islamic finance are attempting to make it easy for practitioners to establish operations. Countries such as Australia, France, and the United Kingdom are among the countries looking to develop opportunities for Shari'ah-compliant investors.

Interestingly, the rise in demand for Shari'ah-compliant products is coming from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Though Islamic banking institutions were bruised during the financial crisis, they were affected far less than those in the conventional banking system, which saw high-profile institutions collapse and suffer massive outflows of assets. Because Islam prohibits ...

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