Date of release: Wednesday, February 3, 2016

wilson.JPGFinancial experts believe an Islamic led model to financial services would not only benefit the global market but have prevented the financial crisis of 2007-08. The problem is not many people are aware of the benefits of Islamic finance.

Islamic Finance refers to the means by which firms including banks and other lending institutions, nurture capital in accordance with Sharia, also known as Islamic law. Finance is considered Islamic when it complies with sharia, a set of moral laws laid out in the Qur'an and the prophet. In a very ethical way, sharia -compliant mortgages means that the bank and the borrower share the risks involved in the repayment of a loan. There is no form of interest charges.

Islamic banks can be profitable by helping customers to purchase a property using an ijara (leasing contract) or murabaha (profit or loss-sharing) scheme. With an ijara scheme, the bank makes money by charging the customer rent; with a murabaha scheme, a price is agreed at the outset that is more than the current market value at the time. Islamic banks see profit as a reward for the risk they take.

Dr Jonathan A. J Wilson of the University of Greenwich argues that branding should be put in the driving seat to increase the popularity of Islamic Finance conventions. He says "Islamic Finance and banking are not only the powerhouse of an Islamic economy, but this fraternity too needs to focus its attention on developing human capital and excellence in branding, PR and marketing, as essential core business functions." Dr Wilson discusses this topic in great length in a recent Journal of Islamic Marketing issue.

The stats behind the growing Islamic Finance (Source: 2016 Guardian):
275: The number of Islamic financial institutions in the world.
75: The number of countries where they have a presence.
US $1.357 trillion: The value of the global Islamic finance services industry by the end of 2011.
US $4 trillion: The projected value of the global Islamic finance services industry by 2020.

Islamic Finance presents a very different strategy and process compared to existing banks or financial institutions formed in western society. The next step for Islamic Banking is to advocate the brand itself. This is no doubt a great challenge for marketers who must target audiences outside of Islam, highlighting the religious benefits at the core of the strategy. Yet, the lesson to be learned is that Islamic finance is not inextricably linked with the religion, it follows the principles and concepts. In conclusion, you do not need to be religious to be a supporter of Islamic Finance.

Real life case studies such as Islamic Finance and global challenges are presented in the industry led programmes - MA Strategic Marketing and MA Strategy Marketing Communications, based at the University of Greenwich. Students get the opportunity to discover and debate how global influences such as Islamic practices can be communicated with businesses and communities.

Find out more about our Master programmes at www.gre.ac.uk/business