Funds

Nest, UK considers Islamic pension fund offering

National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), UK considers to create a fund based sharia compliant solution, according to the CIO of the firm, Mark Fawcett along with different other mandates, such as: high risk/return, low risk/return and socially/ethically responsible.

`Untapped' $105 Billion Endowment May Boost Shariah Funds

Managers of Islamic endowments with $105 billion in assets want to provide Shariah-compliant funds with the chance to capture new business by seeking to diversify out of bank deposits
Ernst&Young state that assets held by Islamic funds have stagnated at around $52 billion since 2008.
Nida Raza has the strong oppionion that islamic endowment institutions should diversify their real- estate holdings into government sukuk and other products.

‘Untapped’ Endowments May Boost Shariah Funds

Managers of Islamic endowments with $105 billion in assets are seeking to diversify out of bank deposits, providing Shariah-compliant funds with the chance to capture new business.
Assets held by Islamic funds have stagnated at around $52 billion since 2008.
Islamic endowment institutions should diversify their real- estate holdings into government sukuk and other products.

Public Mutual To Launch Two Islamic Funds Tomorrow

There will be launched two Islamic funds from Public Mutual Bhd, Public Islamic Alpha-40 Growth Fund (PIA40GF) and Public Islamic Infrastructure Bond Fund (PIINFBF).
The equity exposure of PIA40GF will range between 75 per cent and 98 per cent of its net asset value (NAV).
The initial issue price of PIA40GF and PIINFBF is RM0.2500 per unit and RM1.00 per unit, respectively, during the 21-day initial offer period from Nov 16 to Dec 6 2010.
The minimum initial investment for both funds is RM1,000 and the minimum additional investment is RM100.

Distressed Deals Alluring for Shariah Funds: Islamic Finance

Islamic private equity funds in the Persian Gulf plan to take advantage of lower asset prices after the property market in Dubai tumbled as much as 50 percent from its peak in 2008.
The National and Kipco Asset Management Co., a Kuwaiti investment bank, started a $200 million Shariah-compliant fund this month.

Shariah funds do well in mildly bearish times

Shariah-compliant mutual funds give decent returns in a slightly bearish market.
In India, Taurus Mutual Fund has Taurus Ethical Fund, Benchmark Mutual Fund has Shariah Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme and Tata Mutual Fund has the Tata Select Equity Fund.

GCC equity funds bounce back along with market

In a recently published quarterly report by Kuwait Financial Centre "Markaz", which aims to analyze the performance of over 150 equity funds across the region, GCC markets were positive in the third quarter as all markets saw gains following a lackluster summer and slow Ramadan month. The Dubai World debt issue was resolved with creditors coming on board for the restructuring.
Fund managers continue to favor Saudi Arabia, with an allocation of 42% though down from 45% in June 2010.

Tata Targets Gulf in India Shariah Stock Fund: Islamic Finance

Tata Group’s investment unit is seeking to attract about $100 million within three years to India’s first Shariah-compliant fund aimed at global investors, targeting equities in a country that lacks regulations for establishing an Islamic debt market.
The Tata Indian Shariah Equity Fund has $3 million after being set up in June to tap investment mainly from the Middle East.
India has no Islamic finance policies, restricting sales of Shariah-compliant bonds in a nation with 157 million Muslims, according to Paris-based BNP Paribas SA and Standard Chartered Plc.

End to Sukuk Freeze Spurs Pakistan Fund Buying: Islamic Finance

Pakistan’s largest Shariah funds plan to bid for the 80 billion rupees of Islamic debt the government will offer in coming weeks after a 14-month suspension of sales.
Pakistan is selling the debt as the nation’s Islamic banking assets increased an average 30 percent in the past four years. Investors might prefer securities due in a year or less after record floods in August pushed up prices of goods and forced the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate to the highest level in 17 months, according to Al Meezan and NBP Fullerton.

Mideast banks, funds seek to tap women’s wealth

Emirati housewife Sarah Alzarouni brushed past a group of women clad in traditional dress to enter through the frosted doors of one of Dubai Islamic Bank’s women-only branches.
Alzarouni greeted the female tellers and sat down to do business.
Many affluent Muslim women share Alzarouni’s sentiments and they are increasingly turning to Islamic banks to manage their money. These women are looking beyond basic banking services to sophisticated products to grow their wealth while complying with Islamic principals that include a ban on interest.
Financial institutions in the Gulf Arab region, where many women are reluctant to mix with men outside their families, are tapping into the niche, with women-only bank branches and investment funds mushrooming. Saudi Arabia is leading the charge.
Abu Dhabi-based Al Bashayer Investments, a conventional wealth management firm geared towards women investors, is also looking to launch Islamic products to address the needs of women in the region who prefer investments that are in keeping with their religious beliefs.

Distressed Deals Lure Shariah Funds Managing $10 Billion: Islamic Finance

Islamic private equity funds in the Persian Gulf plan to take advantage of lower asset prices after the property market in Dubai tumbled as much as 50 percent from its peak in 2008.
Middle East and North Africa investment groups have about $10 billion available after raising a record $5.4 billion in 2008 that they haven’t been able to spend, Gulf Venture Capital Association said in a July 20 statement. Mid-sized businesses in the Gulf may need as much as $1 billion from investors, Jalil said. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of regional stocks has declined 26 percent since the end of September 2008 after credit markets collapsed.

Distressed Deals Alluring for Shariah Funds: Islamic Finance

Islamic private equity funds in the Persian Gulf plan to take advantage of lower asset prices after the property market in Dubai tumbled as much as 50 percent from its peak in 2008.
The National and Kipco Asset Management Co., a Kuwaiti investment bank, started a $200 million Shariah-compliant fund this month, Yahya Jalil, director of private equity at Abu Dhabi-based investment and advisory company The National Investor, said. Bahrain’s Capital Management House plans to complete a transaction and buy stakes in companies specializing in aviation and energy, Chairman Khalid Al Bassam said.

Use sovereign funds to invest in syariah-compliant products: Regent

MUSLIM countries should allocate a fraction of their sovereign funds to financial institutions which have the expertise to invest in syariah-compliant investment funds and instruments.
Perak Regent Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said one of the driving forces for Islamic finance to prosper is for large investment organisations such as sovereign wealth funds of Muslim countries to take a developmental view when determining their asset allocations.
Initiatives such as the commodity trading paltform Bursa Suq Al-Sila can be utilised to facilitate liquidity management of Islamic financial instituions.
Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank and Cagamas Bhd also collaborated to issue an innovative sukuk which aims to meet the syariah demands of investors in the Middle East as well as in Asia.

Fitch affirms Qatar Islamic Bank's ratings

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Qatar Islamic Bank's Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A' with a Stable Outlook. Fitch has simultaneously affirmed QIB's Short-term IDR at 'F1', Individual rating at 'C', Support rating at '1' and Support Rating Floor at 'A'. At the same time, QIB Sukuk Funding Limited's $ 750m Sukuk issue of senior unsecured trust certificates has been affirmed at 'A'.
QIB's Individual Rating also considers the bank's well-established and strong domestic franchise, together with an environment reflecting high levels of economic activity. Fitch considers that the trend of rapid credit growth could negatively affect the bank's financial performance indicators as the loan book seasons or if there were further stresses in Qatar's real estate segment.

Agha & Co Inaugurates New Office in Dubai

Agha & Co (the Firm), a Shariah compliant legal consultancy established by Oliver Ali Agha, commenced operation in Dubai in May 2010 and is scheduled to have a formal office inauguration on October 25, 2010. Previously, Agha and Dr. Saeed Mohammed Al-Shamsi established Agha & Shamsi, an affiliated firm, in Abu Dhabi. The Firm and its affiliate are said to be the first Shariah compliant legal consultancies established globally.
Agha & Co’s strategic position in the UAE, fast becoming a major commercial hub for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), includes a network of affiliation arrangements with leading law firms both internationally.
Agha & Co’s partners have previously lead practice areas at top Am Law 50 and top tier English firms, and are well-respected in the fields of Islamic Finance, Islamic Law, Corporate (including cross-border M&A), Projects, Project Finance, Energy, Public-Private Placements (PPPs), Commercial Transactions, Capital Markets, Islamic Funds & Private Equity, Restructuring, Insurance (Takaful), Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.

GFH planning to raise $500m in fresh funds

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) plans to reduce its capital and raise up to $500 million in fresh funds to plug the holes a regional property crunch cut into its balance sheet.
The Islamic investment house said in August it would hold a shareholder's meeting in October to approve plans to raise up to $300m through a murabaha, an Islamic equity-linked money market instrument.
GFH is one of the Bahraini investment houses that relied on fees charged on investor money raised for private equity and property projects, a market that collapsed when the global financial crisis triggered a regional property crash in 2008.
It posted a $728m loss for 2009 and has since struggled to pay back its debt as it failed to sell down illiquid property assets and find a new business model.
It narrowly escaped default in February when it reached a last-minute deal with lender to roll over a $300m loan and now needs to find fresh fund to finish the property projects it started from Morocco to India.

Gulf Finance House in $500m bid for funds

Gulf Finance House (GFH), the troubled Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, wants to raise up to US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion) from investors after declines in Gulf property prices and the fracturing of its business model led to huge losses last year.
GFH was among the hardest hit in the region by the financial crisis and is one of many in Bahrain and Kuwait forced to restructure debts and rethink their methods for raising money, making investments and borrowing.
Shareholders are also to vote on a consolidation of shares through which four old shares would be exchanged for one new.
And the bank will seek a reduction in capital, which observers say will allow it to swallow accumulated losses and start paying dividends immediately after raising new capital. The consolidation would reduce the number of shares on the market but would not affect the company's market value.
Hit by a lack of revenues to finance its operations and pay debts, GFH was forced to reach new terms with creditors on hundreds of millions of dollars of debt.

Gulf asset managers looking for regional partners

Asset managers in the Gulf Arab region are looking to partner with regional players and third-party providers to break the bottleneck of distributing their offerings solely through banks.
The industry, still at its nascent stage, is heavily dependent on banks, but as the funds grow in size and get international focus, better distribution methods are in demand.
The challenge is even bigger for small regional players who do not have the ability to market their products effectively to international players or comply with global regulations like Ucits III, a European Union (EU) framework for funds that can be sold across borders.
For smaller players, the operational cost of complying with global regulations like Ucits III are too high, forcing them to set up partnerships with others in the region. Local fund managers are also looking to set up funds domiciled in off-shore locations to attract global clients.

Al Rajhi Capital launches Luxembourg Fund for investment in Saudi Arabia equity market

Al Rajhi Capital, the investment-banking subsidiary of Al Rajhi Bank and a leading asset manager in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced the launch of the Al Rajhi Saudi Equity Fund, a Specialized Investment Fund (SIF) established under Luxembourg law.
Al Rajhi Capital Company is the independent, wholly owned investment subsidiary of Al Rajhi Bank, the world's largest Islamic bank and the largest commercial bank in the GCC region in terms of market capitalization.

Saudi Arabia: JODC receives SR1.35b funding

Jabal Omar Development Company the leading planner and developer of the Jabal Omar mountain area, has received agreements for bridge funding collectively worth SR1.35 billion from five national banks, namely Al Rajhi Bank, National Commercial Bank, Bank Al Jazira, Saudi British Bank (SABB) and Saudi Hollandi Bank.
The bridge loan provides immediate cash flow that would serve as a working capital until the round of funding goes through and acts to bridge the gap between times when financing is needed.
The Jabal Omar development in Makkah project calls for construction of residential and commercial center in area close to the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The master plan of development covers 230,000 square meters.
The development consists of 39 commercial and residential towers, notable of which is the 50-storey Twin Tower.
The project has led other developers to follow our lead in improving and urbanizing the central area surrounding the Mosque.

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