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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 23 February 2007

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Islamic finance in Singapore


Opening Remarks by Mr Ng Nam Sin, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

lslamic Finance Asia 2007, 13 Feb 2007, Singapore

An Excerpt

Singapore as an international financial centre is keen to play a role in the development of Islamic Finance through leveraging on its existing critical mass and capabilities in wealth management, project financing and trade financing.
To this end, MAS work with the industry to constantly review our tax and regulatory framework to ensure a level playing field between Islamic and conventional financing.
This is to support and facilitate financial institutions who wish to provide a range of Islamic products and services to meet the needs of their clients and investors.
We have reviewed our policies to ensure that Islamic finance is not disadvantaged vis-┐-vis conventional finance.
For example, we have waived the double imposition of stamp duties on real estate financing which have been structured under Shar'iah law. Concessionary tax treatment for Sukuks is also similar to what we have done for conventional bonds.
Regulatory wise, we have worked proactively with Financial Institutions in allowing Islamic Finance transaction under existing regulation.
For example, in 2005, the MAS announced that banks in Singapore will be able to offer Murabaha financing in Singapore.
This exemption is granted in recognition of the product's fundamental characteristics as a financial product, no different from conventional transactions.
MAS is also now a full member of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and we are currently part of the IFSB Supervisory Review Process Working Group as well as the IFSB Islamic Money Market Taskforce.
All these put together, along with Singapore's open markets, efficient infrastructure and transparent regulations allow Singapore to further develop itself as an international financial centre offering Islamic Finance possibilities.
Going forward, the growth of Islamic finance in Singapore hinges on the commercial viability of such products.
While understanding that there exist different interpretations of Shar'iah products in the industry, MAS will prefer to leave it to the internal Shar'iah boards of the various banks to make this decision. MAS will continue to work closely with industry players to allow the flourishing of Islamic Finance within our existing legislation...

Full Text of Speech

Source: News Release 13 Feb 2007

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