DAC Beachcroft | Islamic Insurance at the Crossroads
The Inland Revenue and Stamp Duty Legislation (Alternative Bond Schemes) (Amendment) Ordinance is a new piece of legislation, introduced in Hong Kong. This law, which puts the taxation of sukuk on a level footing with conventional bonds in Hong Kong, marks a significant effort by the Hong Kong Government to promote the development of a sukuk market in the territory. However, success in developing a market for Islamic finance is not just about regulation and tax. Most importantly, it is about ethics, in the form of Shariah compliance. Islamic finance continues to be dominated by banking. Insurance (takaful) has received much less attention and its development reflects a degree of neglect. The problem lies in the widespread use of takaful and retakaful contracts which are nothing more than conventional insurance and reinsurance contracts. A strong ethical framework needs to be created and enforced within which Islamic finance can thrive.