Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Islamic derivative contract seen by early 2010

The first template for over-the-counter Islamic derivative contract will be launched this year or early next, one of the institutions involved in its creation said. The contract is expected to pave the way for quicker and cheaper Islamic risk management and more frequent cross-currency transactions, reports Reuters (Nov 4, 2009).
The template had initially been expected to be launched early this year but Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, chief executive officer of the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM), said there were issues to be ironed out.
"It's a completely new instrument. That's why we have to go through the whole exercise," Alvi told Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference in Kuala Lumpur. "We have done the consultative work. Now what we are waiting for is the sharia meeting... some time in December," Alvi added.
Ijlal is attending the 6th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF) organised by CERT.
In the report, Reuters said Islamic scholars at the meeting have to sign off on the contract before it can be launched. Scholars are split on the legitimacy of derivatives; some see them as permissible instruments to hedge risks but others dismiss them as speculative transactions, which Islam forbids.
The IIFM, an industry body backed by the central banks of several Muslim countries, has been working with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) on the contract. Once in place, the new Islamic derivatives contract is expected to initially attract at least 150 players, it added.
"We have huge demand, at least 150 institutions and many more are basically silent prospects," Alvi said.

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