According to Forbes.com, at least $500 billion in assets around the world are managed in accordance with Sharia, or Islamic law, and the sector is growing at more than 10% per year.

Due to its proximity to the Muslims in Europe and North Africa and its reputation as a as a highly developed financial centre, Malta is in an ideal position to make the most out of this opportunity and become a European centre of Islamic finance.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has in fact issued a consultation process to analyse the changes that are required in Maltese legislation in order to facilitate the licensing of Islamic Financial Institutions and in June 2008, the MFSA issued a consultation document on the application of Islamic Finance to Banking & Securities in Malta.

In March 2010, the MFSA also issued a ‘Guidance Note for Shariah Compliant Funds’ setting out how the legal and regulatory framework established under the Investment Services Act would apply to Shariah-compliant funds established under Maltese law.

David Zahra, founding partner at David Zahra & Associates, has concentrated on Arab commercial laws in his post-graduate studies at the University of London and has participated and spoken at a number of Islamic Finance round tables and conferences in Dubai and in Malta. He lectures on Islamic Finance in the Comparative Frameworks in Business and Ethics module of the M.A. (Business Ethics) degree offered by the University of Malta and, in January 2013, delivered a lecture on ‘Islamic Finance’ at the Vatican during the 12° Corso biennale in Dottrina Sociale della Chiesa organised by the Fondazione Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice and the Pontificia Universita’ Lateranense.