After taking a battering from the global credit crisis, London has a potential ace up its sleeve as it seeks to restore its reputation as a global financial center — its premier position in the Islamic banking industry.
The British government will decide next week if it will issue a sovereign Islamic bond, or sukuk, a new avenue into a market that's estimated to eventually reach $4 trillion by Standard & Poor's.
"It will further underline London as an international Islamic financial center," said Humphrey Percy, the chief executive of the Bank of London and the Middle East, one of four Islamic banks in the British capital.
"It will be the first hard currency, highly rated, government sukuk to be issued. These are all milestones," Percy said at BLME's headquarters in the capital's financial district, where the bank opened for business just six months ago.