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Islamic Financial Institutions get Standard for Gold Products

Islamic Institutions, which follow guidelines issued by a Bahrain based group, now have a new sharia standard for gold-based products so as to incorporate bullion into Islamic finance.

Gold has long been seen as currency in Islamic finance. Investors, however, have yet to speculate on its future value since no clear policy on how to trade gold.

The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) pushed through the final version of its new standard on gold and trading controls last week and it will soon be launched.

The new gold standard for Islamic Finance encompasses outlines for collateral, set-off, screening and the exchange of gold in spot and deferred transactions. The Sharia compliant products that can be supported by gold will include exchange-traded funds and savings accounts.

The AAOIFI issues guidelines for Islamic institutions around the world.

London-based ETF Securities introduced a Sharia-compliant exchange-traded commodity product for gold, silver, platinum and palladium

“There is such a lack of understanding of what sharia law would mean in terms of gold investing and this standard would at least provide a common ground,” ETF Securities director of commodity research Nitesh Shah said.

Proponents foresee the new guidelines as increasing appetite for gold in the Middle East.

Islamic financial assets are at $2 trillion, and just a one percent allocation to gold would increase demand by $20 billion or about 500 tonnes.

“I am a bit sceptical as even in the developed world, where access to gold investing has been there for many decades, you don’t see a one or two percent of anyone’s aggregate portfolio allocated to gold, so it is highly unlikely in a new emerging market,” Shah at ETF Securities said.

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