LONDON, April 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over the past decade, the Islamic finance sector has erupted into a vibrant and growing industry. Although it remains just a small portion of the total global financial sector, its influence is expanding.

Sharia-compliant financial assets are forecast to reach $3.8trn by 2023, up from $200bn in 2003. As the industry matures, the 2019 World Finance Islamic Finance Awards shine a light on the companies that are pushing its boundaries.

The majority of Islamic finance focuses on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, plus Iran and Malaysia, but the sector is increasingly assuming a global presence. Research by Thomson Reuters found that Cyprus, Nigeria and Australia were among the sector’s fastest growing locations in 2017.

Africa looks to be a particularly lucrative market going forward; the Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is set to explode in the decades to come. According to the Islamic Financial Services Board, the market was already worth $30bn in 2017.

Fintech has been a big enabler of the sector’s growth both in and outside of the GCC. According to the latest estimates from IFN Fintech, there are now 114 Islamic fintech companies in operation. These digital financial service providers help boost financial inclusion, a problem in many of the countries where Islamic finance is most popular.

As the sector grows, regulation is becoming a more pressing concern. Business practices vary from market to market across the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, leading to some controversies over regulatory uncertainties. To soothe investors’ concerns about the market, more clarity and structure is needed.

While the initial surge of growth in Islamic finance may begin tapering off, the sector has plenty of room to thrive in the years ahead. The 2019 World Finance Islamic Finance Awards recognise the institutions that are setting the agenda on the international stage.

To find out which companies made the cut, pick up the latest issue of World Finance, available online, on mobile and in print now.

www.worldfinance.com

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Elizabeth Matsangou
Editorial Department
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elizabeth.matsangou@wnmedia.com