MMS backs ethical finance events

Commercial law firm Maclay Murray & Spens LLP (MMS) has become the new host partner of the Edinburgh Ethical Finance Roundtable series.

This comes following a year in which the firm acted on more than £200 million of Shariah-compliant real estate activity in the UK.

The roundtable series of events is organised by the Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC), which aims to promote better co-ordination and understanding of the shared values between Islamic finance and the broader ethical finance arena.

Barry McKeown, a property partner with MMS, said: “Ethical finance, and Shariah-compliant finance in particular, is a significant growth area that is increasingly helping to fulfil a number of funding needs in the UK as the economy returns to growth.

“MMS has become a leading UK practice in the Islamic and ethical finance sectors and is particularly experienced in the Shariah-compliant structuring of UK real estate transactions, having acted on over £200m of Shariah-compliant real estate activity in the UK in the last 12 months.

“By tailoring a property deal to comply with Islamic customs and financial rules, we can bring valuable foreign investment into the UK real estate market. This has been particularly evident in the PRS and social housing sectors, in line with government targets to boost housebuilding in order to meet the ever-growing need for high-quality new-build homes.”

Omar Shaikh, an advisory board member of the IFC, added: \"The ethical finance agenda continues to expand and attract considerable attention. The IFC Ethical Finance Roundtable series has been a great success in bringing together key stakeholders and facilitating meaningful discussion. We welcome MMS as new hosts and, as well as an excellent track record in Islamic finance, they share our passion and enthusiasm for driving forward the broader ethical finance agenda.\"

Among the most prominent deals it has brokered in recent years, MMS acted as UK legal adviser to Shariah compliant bank Gatehouse on its £600m PRS joint venture with Edinburgh-based urban regeneration specialist Sigma Capital. The JV could eventually build up to 6,600 private homes for rent in the UK, starting with an initial phase, which is already on site, of 1,000 new privately rented residential properties across 16 sites in North West England.

The Edinburgh Ethical Finance Roundtable series bring together stakeholders from within the ethical finance arena to facilitate networking, knowledge sharing and the identification of practical synergies within areas of shared values. Participants have included representatives from the asset management sector, credit unions, the church, monetary reformists, savings and ethical banks, academics and professional bodies. The latest event of the series was oversubscribed, as a growing number of those involved in all aspects of financing seek to explore this area of growing importance.

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