| LONDON, April 10
LONDON, April 10 A London-based Islamic
financial technology start-up has become the first company of
its kind to be given regulatory approval in the UK, as Britain
seeks to position itself as a hub for both fintech and Islamic
Yielders, a firm that allows retail investors to get
exposure to the property market with as little as 100 pounds
($124), became the first Islamic fintech firm to be given full
authorisation by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority earlier
Its approval comes at a time when Britain is trying to hold
onto its status as a global centre for finance and innovation as
it severs ties with its biggest trading partner, the European
London has long sought to position itself as a global hub
for Islamic finance, going as far as issuing a sovereign Islamic
bond in 2014. Last week the Bank of England said it would
develop a sharia-compliant liquidity tool for use by Islamic
banks, underscoring efforts to attract business from the Middle
East and South East Asia.
Britain has also in recent years pushed itself as a centre
for fintech, and was ranked as the global number one fintech hub
by consultancy EY in a report last year.
Yielders founding director Irfan Khan said that in
conversations over the past two years with the FCA and the
Department for International Trade, it had become clear that the
UK government wanted to make Britain a premier destination for
"They (the UK government) believe that outside the Middle
East, the UK is the capital of fintech for Islamic finance," he
said. "There’s certainly movement in the UK to try to promote
Islamic fintech, and for fintech firms in the UK to show the
route forward for a lot of the Middle Eastern market."
Yielders also had to get approval from Britain's Islamic
Finance Council, which asked a sheikh, Abu Eesa, to certify that
the company's business practices were compliant with sharia law.
That included certifying that there was no borrowing or nothing
that could be construed as gambling involved.
Those restrictons, Khan said, often made Islamic finance
uncompetitive in a country like Britain where Islam is a
"That’s why we decided to start on this fintech journey,
because we could mitigate against all of that by driving down
the costs and removing all the back-office stuff by having a
fintech solution," he said.
($1 = 0.8083 pounds)
(Reporting by Jemima Kelly; editing by Susan Thomas)