Denmark's Saxo Bank is working with a leading Islamic scholar on the development of a Sharia compliant version of its trading platform that will be launched in 2008.
The bank hopes to launch its Sharia compliant platform at the same time that it announces its opening in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
Talks regarding a licence application are underway. Lars Seier Christensen, chief executive officer of Saxo, says: “We will be in the DIFC next year, the real discussion now is whether we start up an office from scratch or look for a local firm we can partner with or take over.”
When the platform is launched it will offer investors all the usual currency trading options, including swaps and forwards, which Christensen says are becoming more important to the Middle East.
“There is a lot of speculation about currency risk in this region and so we are seeing a lot more interest in setting up currency hedging strategies,” says Christensen. “If the GCC countries do break the peg to the dollar then we will see a lot more volatility and a lot more interest in currency investment.”