Islamic Finance is the financial industry in which assets and capital operate in accordance with principles of sharia compliance to avoid transacting with or investing in haram—or harmful—activities, including opting for risk-sharing over charging interest, and steering clear of gambling and speculation. A massive growth sector that has averaged 10% to 12% annual growth for the past decade, with 17.6% annual growth over the last 4 years, this industry is already worth well over USD $2.3 trillion now — an incredible 9 times over the USD $250 billion the global consulting industry is worth. With the global Muslim population increasing over 25% per year, Islamic Finance is now on track to be worth USD $3.5 trillion in financial assets by 2021, with infrastructure investments constituting the majority of these assets due to stable capital returns.
It is no surprise then that this industry has become a key economic focus for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economies, since over 20% of all Islamic financial assets are already owned by ASEAN economies, with Malaysia itself holding 11%, and Indonesia 13%. Similarly, Singapore is particularly interested in Islamic Finance, with then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong highlighting as early as 2007 that this will make Singapore’s international financial centre more complete. In 2018, the FTSE ST Singapore Shariah Index was also launched to track Shariah-compliant companies listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).