Islamic bonds rescue James Bond’s favorite car

“Bond had been offered the Aston Martin or a Jaguar 3.4. He had taken the D.B.III. Either of the cars would have suited his cover – a well-to-do, rather adventurous young man with a taste for the good, the fast things of life. But the D.B.III had the advantage of an up-to-date triptyque, an inconspicuous colour – battleship grey – and certain extras which might or might not come in handy.” -- from “Goldfinger” by Ian Fleming

It was fitting that Ian Fleming created a cover for James Bond as a businessman working for Universal Export. Both Fleming’s books and the films they inspired are enjoyed throughout the world.

As today’s Financial Times points out (“Sharia funding with Bond link earns licence to thrill”), the UK has become the biggest importer of Islamic finance, and the only EU country to have licensed Islamic banks. Ford’s sale of Aston Martin in March 2007 to a UK-led consortium was backed by Kuwaiti companies Investment Dar and Adeem Investment.

The investment was funded by Sharia-compliant finance. Investors are paid profits or rent rather than interest. (Islam forbids charging interest on loans as it is seen as a form of usury.) With the spike in crude oil since Uranus (sharp price spikes) entered Pisces (oil) in 2003, Moody’s estimates Islamic banking assets to be $500 billion. Despite the geopolitical situation, financial companies at least on the other side of the pond are eager to profit from Islamic investment. With the profits of US financial institutions suffering under the weight of asset-backed security risks, there may be a sea change in attitude toward creating sharia-compliant finance here.

Bond will drive a DBS in “Quantum of Solace”*, the new 007 film scheduled to be released in the US on November 7, 2008. At this point in time, I would prefer that Bond drive a Tesla. I am sure it could be modified to suit his needs.

* “Quantum of Solace” is a short story that is part of Fleming’s Bond novel, “For Your Eyes Only.”

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