Dubai: Global sukuk issuance may reach $145 billion in 2015, an expert panel, which included officials from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) concluded.

NBAD and CNBC, the leading business and financial news network, hosted an international panel of leading Islamic finance experts to discuss the future of sukuk in London.

The expert panel discussed the marked global growth of the Islamic finance industry, with 2014 having been a particularly notable year, and the increasing demand for Sharia-compliant bonds. They agreed that the demand for sukuk significantly outweighs the supply, with growing investor appetite for more diverse investment opportunities.

During the event, which was attended by over 70 industry professionals, the panellists highlighted the importance of innovation and a greater diversity of issuers in order to satisfy demand and create a deeper market. Ultimately, the debate centred on the potential for sukuk to become a major financing tool and mainstream asset class.

The panellists recognised that much has been done in recent years to standardise the sukuk structuring process and make it more efficient but they agreed that Western institutions need to work closer with Sharia Boards to encourage more traditionally conventional issuers to tap the Islamic market.