Toronto is the financial services capital of Canada and one of
North America's premier financial centres. One of the most
rapidly growing segments of the international financial services
sector is Islamic finance. Recognizing this trend, a number of
other financial centres are positioning themselves as global
centres for Islamic Finance, including London, England, Dubai, UAE,
Bahrain and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The City of Toronto and its financial cluster developed a unique
public-private partnership called the Toronto Financial Services
Alliance (TFSA). The mandate of TFSA is to enhance and promote the
competitiveness of Toronto as a premier international financial
centre. One of the ways to do this is to build leading hubs of
expertise in defined areas. With a prominent and growing Canadian
Muslim community and strong and innovative financial sector, there
is every reason to believe that Toronto could emerge as a North
American centre for Islamic finance. Exploring the opportunities
that exist in this developing segment is consistent with the
TFSA's mandate and in 2009 the TFSA created an Islamic Finance
Working Group (IFWG).
Recently the IFWG delivered to the TFSA its initial report
entitled Making Toronto the North American Centre for Islamic
Finance: Challenges and Opportunities (See, www.TFSA.ca).
The report provides an overview of Islamic finance activity in
Toronto and Canada, identifies tax, regulatory and legal issues
that need to be addressed to ensure the growth of Islamic finance
in Toronto and Canada. In addition, the report proposes a series of
helping members of the Islamic community to network within the
conventional Canadian financial system;
clarifying the regulatory environment relevant to products and
services compliant with Islamic commercial law;
working with the new Centre of Excellence in Financial Services
Education to build linkages with other countries where Islamic
Finance is well established to facilitate in Toronto educational
and awareness building initiatives;
partnering with Canadian governments to increase the level of
foreign direct investment from the Gulf region;
a series of technical working papers are proposed on the
following topics: Education, Retail Markets and Sukuks (Corporate
The Canadian Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions ("OSFI") recently ruled that a bank cannot promote comprehensive credit insurance ("CCI") within its Canadian branches under the Insurance Business (Banks and Bank Holdings Companies) Regulations (the "Regulations").
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