Islamic banking is one of the fastest-growing segments in the world financial system due to large investments in the Halal, infrastructure and Sukuk sectors. Globally, Islamic finance is forecast to be worth more than US$3 trillion by 2023. The industry can generally be categorized into five subsectors, namely Islamic banking; Takaful; other Islamic financial institutions such as investment or microfinance companies; Sukuk; and Islamic funds.
Islamic finance as an emerging offering by Labuan IBFC
Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC), located in the center of Asia, offers global investors and businesses the benefits of being in a well-regulated and supervised jurisdiction, which adheres to international standards and best practices. The jurisdiction is regulated and supervised by Labuan Financial Services Authority, a statutory body under the Ministry of Finance of Malaysia. Labuan IBFC is home to the world’s only omnibus Islamic legislation — the Labuan Islamic Financial Services and Securities Act 2010 (LIFSSA).
The LIFSSA legislation has appointed its own Shariah Supervisory Council (SSC), which comprises renowned international and Malaysian Islamic finance scholars as the sole reference authority in matters of Islamic law to ensure Shariah compliant businesses, products and structures.
With the internationalization of Islamic finance and Malaysia’s position as a leading international hub for Islamic finance, Labuan IBFC is able to support and complement Malaysia’s development synergistically as a key player on the global Islamic finance stage.
In fact, Labuan IBFC is no stranger to the Sukuk market, having been home to various Sukuk issuances as well as listings of Sukuk on the Labuan International Financial Exchange originating from the year 2000. Labuan IBFC is also home to the world’s first US dollar-denominated exchangeable Sukuk, which reinforces Malaysia’s position as the global leader in Sukuk issuance.
Labuan IBFC Strategic Roadmap 2022–2026: A focus on Islamic finance
To maintain Labuan IBFC’s growth trajectory and provide better value to all stakeholders in the ecosystem, the expansion of the Labuan Islamic finance sector will focus on enabling technology-led business diversification. Notwithstanding this, Islamic financial solution providers will also offer a range of solutions that are sustainable, value-based and competitive to conventional consumers and investors.
For the next five years, it is envisaged that the existing ecosystem of Islamic finance in Labuan IBFC will be elevated through:
• embedding digital innovations within current regulations, players, Shariah compliant offerings and infrastructure
• bringing in social reforms in topical socioeconomic agendas which include financial inclusion, transparency and value-based intermediation, in line with the Maqasid Shariah (the objectives of Shariah), and
• amalgamating Islamic pillars with fintech solutions through the implementation of digital Shariah governance in Labuan IBFC in order to attract global players, innovative Shariah compliant products and their intermediation, as well as supporting infrastructures.