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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 08:35 GMT
Islamic finance exam introduced
Bank customer in Kuwait
Islamic mortgages, loans and savings are now widely available
Financial advisers are to be offered a course to help them deal with the cash affairs of Muslim clients.

The Islamic Finance Qualification is designed to boost Sharia law know-how.

Islamic banking is a fast-growing area with analysts estimating that worldwide the industry is worth between 200bn and 300bn a year.

UK banks have been quick to cash in, offering mortgages, current accounts and student accounts which comply with Sharia law.

Under Sharia Islamic law, making money from money - such as charging interest - is usury and therefore not permitted.

Any organisation that is serious about catering for the growing Muslim market needs to understand the detail of Islamic finance
Lloyds TSB spokesman

Wealth should be generated only through legitimate trade and investment in assets.

Investment in companies involved with alcohol, gambling, tobacco and pornography is strictly off-limits.


The new Islamic Finance Qualification, offered by the UK Securities and Investment Institute, is the first of its type in the world.

People will be able to take the examination at a computer terminal and will be expected to demonstrate that they understand the practical implications of Sharia law on money matters.

The qualification is aimed at existing financial advisers, City workers, as well as individuals seeking a career in the sector.

Lloyds TSB which was the first UK High Street bank to offer Islamic financial products throughout its entire branch network welcomed the new qualification as "groundbreaking".

"Any organisation that is serious about catering for the growing Muslim market needs to understand the detail of Islamic finance," a Lloyds TSB spokesman told BBC News.

He added that developing a "deeper understanding" of Islamic finance was important in helping the City of London retain its role as a major financial hub.

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