Gulf Finance House plans to launch a GBP 50 mn UK commercial property fund and a USD 50 mn Sukuk fund in the GCC. The USD 50 mn sukuk fund, to launch in the next two weeks pending regulatory approval, would focus on government, quasi-government, or very stable GCC issues, reported Ulf Laessing and Raissa Kasolowsky on Reuters.
Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), has delayed one global equity tracker and one emerging markets equities fund as the financial crisis constrains clients in the Middle East according to the CEO, reported Cecilia Valente and Daryl Loo on Reuters. One fund which has been delayed but is now poised to launch later this year with $70 million will aim to exploit a niche market for office space for doctors in the United States. BLME has also raised GBP 50 mn from an institutional investor for a UK property fund and plans to raise GBP 20 mn by June for a pooled UK property fund.
Algebra Capital sees the Mideast asset management sector to grow by 15 % from USD 80-100 bn to USD 300 bn by 2014. Fixed-income, which contributes less than 2-3 % of regional assets compared with a majority in equity investments, could provide a "tremendous growth" opportunity if regulators and governments focus on creating the domestic demand for new issues, Managing Director Mohieddine Kronfol said.
Franklin Rersouces Inc. holds a 40 % stake in Algebra Capital and have jointly launched 5 products on the equity side and now looking at fixed-income products and Islamic.
Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the region in terms of assets, announces the appointment of Robbert Jan Voogt as the General Manager of Private Banking.
The new General Manager of Private Banking, Robbert Jan Voogt brings financial expertise from his previous positions at Merrill Lynch and FortisMeesPierson to Emirates NBD. He joins the team after heading the Private Bank South Asia at the Fortis Private Bank in Singapore.
Bank of London and the Middle East plans to focus on its wealth-management business this year and then aim for listing on the London Stock Exchange next year.
Shashank Shekhar reported in Emirates Business 24/7 on 11 March that regional fund managers expect the emergence of several new Shariah-compliant funds focused on infrastructure projects, which offer returns in the range of 15 to 18 per cent. Infrastructure projects in sectors like health, agriculture and green energy are expected to attract the bulk of investments.
Cecilia Valente reported on 9 March on Reuters that Amiri Capital, the Islamic asset manager backed by investment firm Olivant, has teamed up with broker Newedge to launch an Islamic fund of long/short hedge funds to be marketed in the Middle East. The Amiri Equity Alternative Strategies Fund (AEAS) will operate under the same Sharia-compliant structure agreed with original prime broker Lehman Brothers to replicate short selling, which involves profiting as a stock price falls.
Amiri co-founder Richard Ellis told Reuters that Gulf-based investors have pledged assets to the fund of funds but investments will be made when the market shows signs of improvement. Philippe Teilhard de Chardin, global head of prime brokerage at Newedge, told Reuters that the market segment is small but developing.
James Rutter wrote on 9 March in Wealth Bulletin that the crisis creates opportunity for Islamic wealth management as conventional wealth management and its brands looking less attractive. Current market conditions favour more simple products. Ironically, the trend in Islamic finance in recent years has been towards trying to mimic complex and risky western financial products.
By giving money to a counterparty which separately invests in underlying hedge funds or derivatives, an Islamic investor is able to receive a payout that tracks the performance of assets to which he would not otherwise be able to gain exposure. Islamic investors who bought such products have seen hefty losses, prompting a backlash against financial institutions adopting more flexible interpretations of sharia law.
Humayon Dar, CEO BMB Islamic sees ongoing demand for such products in a so-called Sharia wrapper, because of the limited choice of Islamic products.
The International Zakat Organisation ('IZO'), an important new charitable body of the Organisation of The Islamic Conference ('OIC'), announced its selection of The BMB Group to lead a new global charitable initiative which promises to be the largest in the Islamic world.
The proposed Global Zakat & Charity Fund would be over USD 3 bn in size and will manage charitable funds to address needy causes in the world.
The Fund will invest in community development projects with an emphasis on sustainability. The four major areas to be targeted are: (1) income generation through the provision of private equity investments to small and medium enterprises, (2) development of social enterprise through the establishment of hospitals, educational institutions and housing developments (3) development of agricultural and other vital infrastructure and (4) the provision of relief and emergency funding.
Mat Hassan Esa is the CEO of International Zakat Organisation.
Dr Humayon Dar is the CEO of BMB Islamic.
BMB appoints David Gibson-Moore as Managing Partner.
A sharia-compliant tradeable security backed by gold will be launched in Dubai next week, Reuters has reported.
The Hedge Fund Review reported on 24 February that the Coffee trading advisor Eiger Trading Advisors has targeted a March launch for four coffee related funds. The funds aim to give investors exposure to the coffee markets through the choice of a hedge fund, a Shariah-compliant fund and two tracker funds. The funds will be domiciled in the Cayman Islands and will launch with approximately $150 million collectively.
The Shariah-compliant Eiger Green Coffee Fund will provide Islamic investors with access to coffee as an asset class. It aims for returns of around 12% a year. The company decided to launch the funds based on its understanding of the coffee industry and the growers. This, the company said, will enable it to exploit trades and generate attractive risk adjusted returns for investors. The funds will target mainly Middle Eastern investors but will not limit itself to particular investors.
The share class will be in dollars. Newedge will act as prime broker for the Coffee Alpha Fund and BNP Paribas will be the prime broker for the Green Coffee Fund. All three funds have a 2% management fee with a 20% performance fee with a high watermark.
Ellina Badri reported in The Edge Daily about the memorandum of understanding between Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd and Bank Muamalat Indonesia Bhd for the distribution of Islamic trust products.
Islamic trusts involve investments made following syariah principles and asset distribution according to Islamic rules of succession. The range of Islamic trust products include will-writing and estate administration services, and waqf, or a gift of property for religious or charitable purposes.
Siriporn Chanjindamanee reported in The Nation on 3 February that the Stock Exchange of Thailand is planning to launch a Shariah 50 index early next quarter before going on a roadshow to the Middle East in the second half. The index would combine 50 listed stocks, making up 47 per cent of the SET's market capitalisation, that are Sharia tolerated.
According to Santi Kiranand, head of market development, have SET and FTSE jointly developed the Shariah index while the selection of the 50 firms was performed by the Yasaar.
The SET also plans to launch a social responsibility index. It is selecting foreign experts, including FTSE, to help develop the index by the third quarter.
Emirates NBD has launched a fund to take advantage of the high yields currently available in Sukuk following the steep price declines in Q4 2008 caused by the wider turmoil in global financial markets. The Shari’a-compliant Fund targets annualized returns of c.12% over the next four years.
Jamal Bin Ghalaita, General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates NBD, sees Sukuk as undervalued after panic selling last year.
Minimum investment of USD 25,000 for individual investors and USD 1,000,000 for institutional investors. The secondary sukuk market is difficult to access but, by investing through the Fund, investors benefit from scale, diversification, and the skills of expert fund managers. Should the Fund meet certain return targets, the Fund will be called and gains will be locked in for investors.
BNP Paribas Investment Partners currently manages about half a billion USD in Sharia compliant assets and targets according to the chief executive MENA Tariq Al Samahiji to multiply this amount. The bank currently offers equity Sharia management and has recently started marketing its first Islamic bond or sukuk fund.
Al Samahiji expected the sukuk fund to attract investments from institutions and wealthy individuals, but stressed BNP would not market the fund to the retail market.
Caspionet reported on 28 January, that Darakhim Sukuk Basket have been presented in Kazakhstan. It is expected that insurance companies, unit investment funds and pension funds will become the chief buyers of the new investment offer. Basically, they represent the companies of the Middle Eastern states, so they are issues of the central bank of Bahrain, the government of the Arab emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the profitability will amount to 10 % at a minimum with a circulation period of 3 years.
The Scotsman reported on 29 January that SCOTTISH Widows Investment Partnership has launched a joint venture with Manar Financial Investment Company; Swip Saudi Asset Management. It will mainly focus on investment in the insurance sector, but will also manage shariah-compliant global emerging market equities.
TradeArabia reported on 27 January that the Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), will be extending its wealth management division with the launch of a private banking business. The new project will be headed by the newly appointed head of private banking Adrian Gayler, who joins BLME from Merrill Lynch International Bank Limited. Gayler will be based in BLME’s new private banking offices in Mayfair, London, along with the already established specialist wealth management team
Press Release - full text attached:
New York (January 27, 2009) — Based on the close of trading on January 26, the global Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index, which measures the performance of 100 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks globally, lost -5.55% month-to-date, closing at 1646.71. In comparison, the Dow Jones Global Titans 50 Index, which measures the 50 biggest companies worldwide, posted a loss of -9.00%, closing at 131.03.
- The Dow Jones Islamic Market Asia/Pacific Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in the Asia/Pacific region, decreased -9.90%, closing at 1252.00. The Dow Jones Asian Titans 50 Index, in comparison, posted a loss of -11.40%, closing at 90.89.
- Measuring Europe, the Dow Jones Islamic Market Europe Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of the 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in Europe, closed at 1596.39, a loss of -7.60%, while the pan-European blue chip Dow Jones STOXX 50 Index lost -10.97%, closing at 1926.07.
Mushtak Parker reported in Arab News on 26 January about the launch of Falcom Sharia Index licensed by Tadawul (the Saudi stock exchange). The promoters claim that this index is the first of its kind on the Tadawul, and comprises some 112 companies which in turn comprise nearly 78 percent of the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI).