Funds

NBAD plans first ETF

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.

NBK launched Leasing Fund

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.

Tariq Al Rifai new Director Islamic Indexes for Dow Jones Indexes

Tariq Al Rifai joined Dow Jones Indexes as Director for Islamic Indexes. He previously worked for Unicorn, a Bahraini investment bank. The former global director, Rushdi Siddiqui, moved on to ThomsonReuters as previously reported, spearheading the Islamic finance efforts.

Summary Report "Shariah Scholars in the GCC"

Funds at Work, a strategy consultant for the fund industry, analysed the Shariah scholars' engagement in financial service organisations in the GCC countries covering 131 companies with 498 Sharia Board positions and 121 scholars from 19 different countries.

The study shows that the Top 10 scholars (15 or more positions) share 253 positions leading to 25.3 positions per scholar. The numbers indicate taht about 54.18 % of all Sharia Board positions throughout the GCC are shared by only 11 of the active scholars if board positions of the Top 10 are summed up.

The detailed summary of the study is free for download.

AgriCap Invest established in Morocco

Vision3, conceived by Gulf Finance House, Abu Dhabi Investment House and Ithmaar Bank signed an MoU with Morocco's largest bank, Attijariwafa, signaling their intention to establish AgriCap Invest, a specialized food and agriculture focused investment institution in the Kingdom of Morocco. The new firm will offer intelligent financial solutions to agricultural initiatives in the Kingdom of Morocco and across North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean and the broader MENA region.

Amara Holdings partners with Chinese investment firm

Amara Holdings, a Dubai investment firm, and New China Trust Company’s subsidiary, Shanghai Ding Hai Investment Management Company, will identify and evaluate Islamic finance investment opportunities in China for themselves and co-investors and clients.

First Islamic real estate fund in Australia

The first onshore Shariah-compliant real estate fund in the Australian market, The LM Australian Alif Fund, was officially launched at end of May in Bahrain. The fund is managed by LM Investment Management Ltd., a specialist Australian income funds manager operating internationally and which is aimed at Islamic investors who are looking for opportunities in alternative investments and in new markets.

Mushtak Parker interviewed Ken Scott-Hamilton, general manager (Middle East), LM Investment Management Ltd., for Arab News about the rationale behind launching the fund and the opportunities and challenges for Islamic finance in Australia.

HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd HwangDBS AIIMAN Sukuk Fund (ASF)

HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd launched its first local sukuk fund, HwangDBS AIIMAN Sukuk Fund (ASF).

Sukuk fund series: HSBC Amanah starts sales

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.

Jovian to Partner with UM Financial to Launch Shariah-Compliant Product

Jovian Capital Corporation announced an agreement with UM Financial Inc. to explore the launch of a
co-branded, Shariah-compliant investment product. The product targets Canada's approximately 1 million strong Muslim population, as well as foreign investors looking for a uniquely Canadian, Shariah-compliant investment.

Salama appoints CAAM as investment manager

SALAMA, the world's largest Takaful and Re-Takaful Group ties up with Crédit Agricole Asset Management Group (CAAM Group), to offer 3 Islamic funds: BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) quantitative fund, an active Asian equities ex-Japan and a Global Equity fund of Islamic funds.

Thomas Weisel Asset Management LLC teams up With IdealRatings

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.

Qinvest set to launch USD 250 mn equity fund

QInvest will soon launch a USD 250 mn private equity fund and another sector-specific fund as well as two other funds by the third quarter of this year reported Santhosh V Perumal in Gulf Times

The Qatar Financial Centre-based firm, whose principal shareholders are Qatar Islamic Bank and Gulf Finance House, also said it would also embark on brokerage and wealth management services.

CEO is Shahzad Shahbaz.

Gatehouse and SAM launching Water Fund

Gatehouse Bank launches with Sustainable Assets Management (SAM) an Islamic compliant mutual fund focussing on sustainability-oriented companies that offer technologies, products and services throughout the entire value chain of the water industry.

SFS and Kuwait Finance House to launch shipping fund

Cyprus listed SFS Group and Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) aim to launch a USD 150 mn fund. Fund's objective is to invest directly in shipping assets and primarily in vessels to be chartered out on a long-term basis to top league charterers. The fund will be established through a limited partnership in the Cayman Islands before the end of 2009.

Ab Jabar Ab Rahman is the deputy chief executive officer of Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad.

Deyaar launches distressed debt funds

Dubai real estate developer Deyaar will launch a series of funds of up to AED 1 bn to buy distressed debt, including its own, as it looks to boost returns for shareholders, reports John Irish on Reuters.

Its first AED 500 million fund is about 60-70 % subscribed by a mix of local and overseas investors and would buy back properties on which investors have defaulted from Deyaar's own portfolio according to the CEO, Giebel.

Deyaar will rent out the units to provide cash flow for the company before selling them once the Dubai property market recovers.

Al Safi platform considers to launche private equity fund

The hedge fund platform Al Safi set up by Barclays Capital is planning Private Equity funds, reported Pratima Desai and Cecilia Valente on Reuters.

BMB Islamic adviced on the Sharia compliant SRI fund of F&C

BMB Islamic adviced on the Sharia compliant F&C fund observing social responsible investing rules as well.

GFH plans UK property fund and Sukuk fund

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.

BLME forced to delay fund launches

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.

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