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Reuters launches a gateway to Islamic finance
Published in Daily News Egypt on 30 - 03 - 2010

CAIRO: Thomson Reuters launched earlier this month a new service that caters to the Islamic finance industry, a gateway that provides up-to-date information on the market, services and sharia-compliant companies.
“Despite its image as an emerging industry, Islamic finance has now grown to be worth around $1 trillion and the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway opens up this world of opportunities for [the] financial market,” said Rushdi Siddiqui, global head of Islamic finance at Thomson Reuters.
The Islamic Finance Gateway offers detailed information about and links to Islamic finance professionals, rating agencies, industry standards bodies, Islamic finance hubs, index providers, consulting firms, 400 sharia scholars and Islamic subsidiaries from over 25 countries.
Market professionals can access comprehensive, multi-asset class information on a wide range of Islamic finance instruments such as sukuks, Islamic leveraged loans, funds, the Islamic money market, takaful and currencies.
Embedded in the Gateway are real-time news stories from Reuters and correlation analytics for Islamic versus conventional market views. The Gateway also includes news of related industries to Islamic finance, such as the $641 billion halal food sector.
Publicly listed sharia-based and screened companies and Islamic or commodity ETFs can be traded over the Thomson Reuters Trading for Exchanges (TRTex) platform, which has been integrated within the Gateway.
Partnering with Thomson Reuters, Egyptian company IdealRatings is providing a unique heat map of sharia-compliant and sharia-based companies, which are screened according to global index providers' methodologies as well as those of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and Malaysia's Securities Commission.
They are complimented by more than 100 publicly listed sharia-based companies in regions and countries like GCC, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and the UK. The Gateway also provides a link to IdealRatings sharia-compliant equity screening service.
“The Gateway is really a one-stop shop for Islamic finance. It covers all the asset matters including public equities,” Yussri Helmy, CEO of IdealRatings, told Daily News Egypt.
His company launched in Egypt three years ago backed by the Technology Development Fund, and advised by Ideavelopers. It already services a number of banks, index providers and brokers in the Islamic finance industry in the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Ideavelopers, a subsidiary of EFG-Hermes, and fund advisor for the Technology Development Fund I and II, partners with technology entrepreneurs and supports SMEs by providing venture development services.
Helmy said that Islamic finance has a bright future globally. “The financial crisis put a spotlight on Islamic finance as the possible alternative or a new methodology even without the religious aspect of it. The sharia-compliant equities outperformed the conventional ones, especially during the meltdown,” he said.
The Islamic finance industry slowed down during the crisis but not as much as conventional finances because it does not have the borrowing and debt structures which suffered the most and were the cause of the crisis.
Although IdealRatings is currently providing only Islamic finance market services, it is looking to expand into other sectors, following global trends.


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