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CMA sets sight on integration of Islamic Capital market products

07 March 2012, 13:41 Alfred Ng'ang'a

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Capital markets regulator, Capital Markets Authority (CMA), has outlined plans to facilitate the introduction of ethical funds as part of its efforts to deepen capital market products.

The CMA has licensed the first Ethical Fund, First Ethical Opportunities Fund, sponsored by FCB Capital, and has through engagement with Islamic Finance stakeholders, identified key focus areas touching on broad market education, tax harmonisation and formulation of policy and legal frameworks to help accelerate the growth of such new capital markets products.

Speaking during the launch of FCB Capital Limited, the first Shariah Compliant Investment bank in Kenya on Tuesday evening, CMA Chief Executive Officer Stella Kilonzo MBS, disclosed that the CMA  is keen to promote new capital market products such as Islamic Capital markets products.

Launched as a fully owned subsidiary of First Community Bank, FCB Capital becomes the first intermediary to tap into a Collective Investment Scheme geared towards ethical investing under  Islamic capital markets product range.

“As an Authority we are keen to promote new capital markets products which will help us achieve the objective of deepening our capital markets by facilitating growth of areas such as Islamic capital market products,” Kilonzo explained.

And added: “Kenya has ambitions of becoming the Islamic finance hub of East Africa as part of our wider aspiration to become an International Financial Centre.”

To accelerate growth, in the Islamic Financial Markets, Kilonzo challenged the Islamic finance institutions to work with CMA and the joint financial sector regulators in Kenya towards the  establishment of a full-fledged single Shariah Advisory Council/Board to enhance the consistent application of Shariah rulings. The proposed Council, Kilonzo explained will be mandated to provide guidance on product authenticity within the entire Islamic Finance Industry in Kenya.

As part of its market development role, CMA, Kilonzo, further stressed will continue to encourage stakeholders in Islamic finance to explore opportunities available for structuring, issuance and investment under Shariah compliance  of such conventional products such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and bonds among  other financial instruments.

“This is a solid testimony of the vast potential of Islamic finance in Kenya and confirms the viability of developing a vibrant Islamic capital markets segment aligned to Vision 2030 ideals,” Kilonzo affirmed.

During the launch, Kilonzo also challenged Islamic Finance stakeholders to ensure strong collaboration towards the development of  suitable professionals with expertise in Islamic financial advisory services and investment to facilitate knowledge transfer.

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