National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) plans to launch the Middle East’s first exchange-traded fund to try to attract more international investors. The fund, known as an ETF, will be listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in two months, a senior NBAD official said. It will be licensed by a leading global index provider and will track some of the Gulf’s 50 biggest stocks, said Giyas Gokkent, NBAD’s co-head of asset management and chief economist.
National Bank of Kuwait announced the launch of its “Islamic KD Ijara Fund II”. This fund is the eighteenth edition of the Islamic Ijara funds and the second from the Kuwaiti Dinar series and is will offer Private Banking clients an investment product that generates monthly income of 6.25% throughout the Fund’s term.
The Fund is entirely compliant with the laws of Islamic Shariah as approved by the independent Shariah board for Islamic funds marketed by NBK in Kuwait, comprised of Sheikh Dr. Khalid Mathkor Al-Mathkor, Sheikh Dr. Essa Zaki Shakra and Sheikh Dr. Abdul Aziz Khalifa Al-Qassar.
HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd launched its first local sukuk fund, HwangDBS AIIMAN Sukuk Fund (ASF).
HSBC Amanah, the financial group's Islamic division, said it will start marketing its first Islamic Sukuk fund.
The HSBC Amanah Sukuk Fund, domiciled in Saudi Arabia, will comprise Sukuk, issued by 12 to 14 companies, mostly in the real estate, commercial banking and utilities sectors based in the Gulf Cooperation Council area. It would seek to raise USD 100 million for the fund, which has a 4-year maturity and will target mid- to high-single-digit annual returns.
Thomas Weisel Asset Management LLC partnered to form an alliance with IdealRatings, Inc. to create funds and separately managed accounts to invest in small and mid-cap U.S. companies.
Through an initial investment by Thomas Weisel Asset Management, IdealRatings, Inc. will manage the process of achieving individually tailored Shariah compliance for Thomas Weisel Asset Management clients, including supplying software, research tools and scholar support.
IdealRatings, Inc. and Thomas Weisel Asset Management will target Shariah focused investors, Islamic institutions and international family offices.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) will formally launch its first index tracking shariahcompliant Southeast Asian stocks on Monday, in a bid to attract Muslim investors. The FTSE SET Shariah Index, which has been available since April 23, comprises 55 stocks from the SET Index, representing 44 % of the SET's market capitalisation.
Chase bank in Kenya has launched Shariah compliant products writes Mwaniki Wahome in the Daily Nation.
Known as Imam Banking, products are tailored for corporate, small-and-medium enterprises, as well as individuals. The accounts will include current accounts, savings accounts and fixed period investments. Together with Genghis Capital Limited and Winton Investment Services Sharia compliant investment banking and wealth managements products are planned. Further the management studies to introduce Takaful.
Zafrullah Khan is the MD of Chase.
BMB Islamic adviced on the Sharia compliant F&C fund observing social responsible investing rules as well.
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.