Funds

Parsoli directors resigned

Parsoli Corporation Ltd has informed Bombay Stock Exchange that Mr. Uto Baader, and Ms. Christine Schiedermaier, have resigned as directors of the Company and accordingly they ceased to be directors w.e.f. March 25, 2009.

Source: 

http://www.bseindia.com/qresann/news.asp?newsid={D28277E5-E5E5-482A-BD51-46090B16FD23}&param1=1

European Finance House USD 200 mn Sukuk fund

Esteban Duarte and Neil Unmack reported on Bloomberg on 30 March that European Finance House Ltd. in London, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank seeks is planning the EFH Global Sukuk Plus Fund, managed by Aleksandar Devic, a former Lehman Brothers credi analyst. The Fund targets USD 200 mn.

EFH’s Luxembourg-based fund is targeting this year a yield of 6 % points more than the 3-m USD LIBOR. The fund will buy sukuk with an average credit rating of A, the sixth-highest investment grade ranking in Standard & Poor’s scale.

Mark Watts is head of asset management at European Finance House an he expects a strong rising Sukuk issuance once capital markets are free again.

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Sustainability, Islamic Finance and Managing Risk While Seizing Opportunities

I just published an article with the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes Newsletter, giving an overview about the lines of arguments regarding performance and ethical screens, be it Islamic or Sustainability and what empiricial findings have been published.

It is claimed by critics that the reduction of the universe through ethical screens shall reduce the performance, likewise corporate social responsiblity comes against a cost. Similar counterarguments have been raised regarding Islamic screening criteria.

Bank Sarasin published a study doing own research with partners and reviewing published empirical analyses in the literature. It shows that there is no negative impact on performance. My review of empirical analyses in regard to Islamic finance concluded the same and all publications let conclude that ethical screens add value by way of risk management. An example is the debt limitation of the Sharia tolerance criteria.

Ethical screens may therefore improve the investment decision process and more research shall determine, which factors add value to the portfolio and therefore form part of a professional process.

Inovest offers water technology investment

Inovest (previously Al Khaleej Development Company – Tameer), a Bahrain-based shariah compliant investment company, has launched a new water technology venture in partnership with a US company.

The project size is USD 32 mn, from which USD 24 mn will be the net equity, and USD 7.2 mn is being subscribed by Inovest and its technology partner.

The product launch is subject to approval from Central Bank of Bahrain and other statutory approvals, the company added

Inovest CEO is Dr. Khalid Abdulla.

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CIMB Islamic has USD 2.5 bn Sukuk in pipeline / plans infrastructure fund

B.K. SIDHU reported in The Star Malaysia on 30 Marcht that it has won 19 mandeates to raise nearly USD 2.5 bn from the Islamic capital markets and that it is planned to launch a USD 500 mn infrastructure fund. The issuers of the Sukuk are partially situated in the Gulf including a sovereign.

Badlisyah Abdul Ghani is the CIMB Islamic chief executive officer.

Unicorn Malaysia aims to service demand among SMEs

Unicorn International Islamic Bank Malaysia Bhd, aims to achieve transactions totalling USD 400 mn to USD 500 mn this year as the demand for medium-sized issuance, especially sukuk and cross-border transactions from small and medium enterprises, continued to be strong with a ticket size of USD 50 to 100. A focus would be on bridging and construction financing, as well as placement of equities and funds.

Unicorn has four business lines – treasury, corporate banking, investment banking, and strategic acquisitions/direct investment.

i-VCAP Receives Securities Commission approval to be a full-fledged Islamic Fund Management Company

i-VCAP Management Sdn Bhd announced it has received approval from the Securities Commission to operate as an Islamic fund management company. The firm is doing Islamic fund management under the general licence for some time.

Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin is the CEO.

Amanie Business Solutions LLC. launches its Shariah compliant stocks screening service

Amanie Business Solutions LLC. officially launched its web integrated Shariah stock screening service, the service will target new entrants into the Islamic fund management industry.

The web delivery platform of Amanie Screening can be accessed through http://www.amaniescreening.com . Investors and fund managers will be able to view the details and features of the Shariah Stock Screening service.

Amanie is a Shariah advisory and education company seeking to serve the global Islamic finance community.

Abu Dhabi Investment House Strategic Direction

Abu Dhabi Investment House shifted its direction in 2008 towards the 'real economy', which includes health, agriculture, communications and clean energy sectors. The company increasingly changed its strategy in 2005, 2006 and 2007 from traditional investment, real estate and financial markets methods included the 'Vision 3' alliance between Abu Dhabi Investment House, Gulf Finance House and Ithmaar Bank.

The goal of the alliance is to benefit from the combined expertise in the identification of investment opportunities within the hospitality, infrastructure and agricultural sectors, including InfraCapital, the GGC's first Islamic investment bank focused on infrastructure and AgriCap, a fund given over to the development of numerous agricultural projects. The AED 400 mn Al Joud fund, the new GCC listed equities fund, performed very well.

Until now, the company did not venture into America or European markets and is considering capitalising on distressed assets in these markets.

Bahrain Financial Exchange appoints Shape Financial as advisor

The Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX) has employed the consultancy services of the SHAPE™ Financial Corp. SHAPE is a leading specialist in the formation of solutions for Islamic finance markets and will assist the BFX in the development of Sharia compliant Islamic finance products for listing on the Exchange. The initial work will be conducted across Islamic capital markets, Sukuks, REITs, ETFs and Murabaha sectors.

India: Reliance Capital launches 'Imaan Investment Plan'

In order to attract Muslim investors to stock markets, Reliance Capital Services has launched in Kanpur the 'Imaan Investment Plan'.

KFAED, KFH intend to invest USD 100 mln in Morocco

Kuwait News Agency citing that the Moroccan newspaper "Al-Jareeda Al-Oula" reported that three Gulf investment groups have revealed their intention to invest USD 250 mn this year in Morocco, including the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED and the Kuwait Finance House Group (KFH).
In the same context, the newspaper quoted an official from the "ENOCENOC" group of the United Arab Emirates as saying that the group decided to invest USD 150 million to set up an investment project in the northern city of Tangier.

The Executive Director of the ENOCENOC Group Saeed Khoury said the investment will be to build the first phase of the plant in Tangier which is scheduled to enter service in the first quarter of next year.

India: Increasing number of Islamic mutual funds

India has an increasing number of Islamic mutual funds, most recently joined by Benchmark AMC, a fund house that specialises in index-based investing, has recently closed subscriptions for a Shariah-based fund. A similar offering from Taurus Mutual Fund, Taurus Ethical Fund, is currently open for subscription. The Taurus Mutual Fund notices that about 50 % applicants subscribers are non Muslims.

The Islamic funds have since inception outperformed the broader indexes. Nevertheless in current market conditions it is difficult to sell an equity scheme. Benchmark AMC is said to have placed somewhere between Rs 1-1.5 crore.

More Sharia compliant Infrastructure Funds expected

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.

Parsoli promoters barred from trading

Zafar and Uves Sareshwala, promoters of broking firm Parsoli Corporation, were debarred by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) after they were found to have fraudulently transferred shares of genuine investors to their own accounts.

Islamic gold security to launch in Dubai

A sharia-compliant tradeable security backed by gold will be launched in Dubai next week, Reuters has reported.

Eiger launches Sharia compliant coffee fund

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.

HSBC offers more funds for local UK Muslims

FT Adviser reported on 23 February that HSBC is making a number of Sharia-compliant funds available to UK investors for the first time by restructuring them into a single, Luxembourg-domiciled offering. The funds in the range include Global Equity Index, Global Equity, Europe Equity and Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity.

Andy Clark, managing director for UK and Mena wholesale at HSBC, recognises the demand in UK as growing and denounces the perception that Islamic finance is only applicable in the Middle East.

Conventional Middle East Investors reducing Hedge Fund exposure

According to a survey by Capintro Partners reported in the Hedge Fund Review a majority of conventional Middle East investors (55%) expect to decrease their allocation to hedge funds in 2009 while 14% expect to increase allocations and 31% plan no change in their allocation.

The top three regions investors favour in 2009 included emerging markets (25%), the US (24%) and Asia, excluding Japan (22%).

Over half (54%) said they use structured products regularly or periodically. Of those who use them, the majority (57%) said they made use of capital guarantee products while under a quarter (23%) said capital/risk management requirements were the main use with only 11% giving leverage as the main usage.

Text based on: http://www.hedgefundsreview.com/public/showPage.html?page=841318

Full study under linked under source.

Sukuk market and prospects, another Sukuk fund in the pipeline?

According to a report of Global Investment House more than 100 Sukuk equivalent to more than USD 38 bn are awaiting issuance if markets recover.

DIB Capital, a 100 % subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank, sees the long term prospect as strong for the Sukuk market according to Nadeem Lodhi, head of capital markets and syndications. Also they are planning to launch a Sukuk fund.

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