Funds

Australian Islamic Fund Manager Now in Singapore

Usman Siddiqui, the Managing Director of Equitable Financial Solutions (EFSOL), a Australian Islamic finance company announced the establishment of the company’s office in Singapore. The Singapore branch, which is registered as EFSOL Asset Management, will play a key role in the company’s regional strategy. EFSOL also announced the offering of its investment scheme, the EFSOL Income Fund, registered under the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a restricted Collective Investment Scheme.

Sovereign wealth funds uplift Muslim world with Fajr Capital

Backed by sovereign funds Iqbal Khan and his private equity firm Fajr Capital invests for financial and social returns ins Muslim countries. Fajr is a union of institutions that have high credibility and share the same values. CEO Iqbal Khan sees it as his mission to broaden the educated Muslim middle class.

Singapore: EthisCrowd targets $740k for real estate crowdfunding project in Jakarta

EthisCrowd.com, a Shariah compliant crowdfunding platform, is looking to raise up to S$1 million ($740,000) for a real estate crowdfunding initiative from senior executives and delegates present at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 5.0 in Kuala Lumpur next month. The funds will be raised for the Depok Dream Village in Jakarta. Founder Umar Munshi said he expects the projected returns to be 48 to 55 per cent over three to 3.5 years from a share of the development profits.

Malaysian Pension Fund to Start $26 Billion Islamic Saving Plan

CEO Shahril Ridza Ridzuan announced that the Employees Provident Fund aims to open the Shariah-compliant plan in January 2017 and is targeting an initial size of as much as 100 billion ringgit ($26 billion). There’s strong demand and 1.5 million of its 6.7 million members should switch in the first year. EPF has a minimum guaranteed annual payout of 2.5 percent. The Islamic fund won’t have a minimum dividend as they can’t be guaranteed under Koranic rules.

SEC Approves Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund

Following the approval of the Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund offer by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lotus Capital Limited held the signing ceremony in respect of the Offer on April 14, 2016. The offer has an initial subscription size of N1,000,000,000.00 consisting of 1,000,000 units at N1,000 per unit. The Fund will be launched upon receipt of final approval from SEC. The primary objective of the fund is to generate returns from investments in Shari’ah compliant fixed income securities and contracts, while ensuring capital preservation. A minimum investment of N5,000 is required.

Dubai, Chinese firms to launch Islamic fund to invest in China

Shariah-compliant firm Mawarid Finance and Fullgoal Asset Management from Hong Kong will launch an Islamic fund later this year in order to tap opportunities in China. Michael Chow, Managing Director and Head of International Business at Fullgoal Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited, said his company tied up with the Dubai-based firm, hence opening door for the investors here to capitalise on the business opportunities offered by the world’s second largest economy. Chow expects Mawarid to design Shariah-compliant products for the investors over the next couple of months and the two entities will launch an Islamic fund later this year.

Indian banks have capacity to launch South Asian Shariah Fund

The leading Indian banks have the capacity to launch a South Asian Shariah Fund to capitalize the region's untapped market for Islamic finance which requires multi-billion dollars of financing annually. Indian banks are in a position to lead the Shariah fund for the region, given their global network which includes facilitating Islamic banking and financing in one way or another, observed Ariff Sultan, regional director for Asia Pacific at the US-based global Shariah compliance product screening group, IdealRatings. Sultan said IdealRatings has been approached by a number of Islamic Banking-linked investors to screen opportunities for placing their funds in the Indian market. But there are regulatory restrictions.

SECP amended investment parameters for Islamic mutual fund industry

In order to foster the growth of Islamic mutual fund industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has revised the investment parameters for Shariah Compliant open end collective investment schemes. The Commission allowed the Islamic mutual funds to include the Government of Pakistan Ijarah Sukuk not exceeding 90 days remaining maturity in cash and near cash instruments requirement. Shariah Compliant open end collective investments schemes has not seen the issuance of short term Islamic Government papers like T-Bills, therefore, Government Ijarah Sukuk having remaining maturity of 90 days or less is the only viable and available avenue for investment in cash and near cash equivalent.

Islamic mutual fund increases social impact with trade finance investments

Azzad Asset Management today announced that it has further magnified the social impact of its flagship mutual fund by adding investments in ethical trade finance deals. These investments may provide returns for investors while helping underserved populations in Asia and Africa obtain reasonable financing to grow businesses and cooperatives. The Azzad Wise Capital Fund (WISEX) invests primarily in sukuk and community development banks. Through WISEX, the Virginia-based investment firm is participating in a group of syndicated ethical trade finance deals arranged by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). The ITFC is charged with advancing trade and improving the economic conditions of people around the world.

Indonesia sees rush of Islamic mutual fund products that can invest in offshore instruments

Indonesia fund management companies are readying to market Islamic/shariah-based mutual funds that will invest in offshore instruments. This follows Indonesia’s regulation, announced late last year, that allows shariah mutual funds to use at least 51 per cent of their investment components in offshore instruments such as bonds and stocks. The move is seen to allow investors an option to diversify their investments and deepen the country’s shariah mutual funds market. In addition to this, the government also allowed these funds to invest up to 100 per cent of their shariah mutual funds units in overseas bonds. With the change in regulations, a host of fund management firms have announced their plans to launch products that will invest in offshore instruments.

Alkhabeer Capital unveils IPO Fund

Alkhabeer Capital, an asset management and investment firm in Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of Alkhabeer IPO Fund. The Alkhabeer IPO Fund is a Sharia Compliant, Open-Ended Investment Fund targeting IPOs and newly listed companies in Saudi Arabia during their first three years on the market. The fund may also invests part of its assets in the same at other GCC capital markets. Ahmed Saud Ghouth, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Alkhabeer Capital, commented that year-on-year the firm has reported increases in assets under management and has assessed the IPO performance of securities in the GCC, which have seen improvements in the money raised over 2015.

Sisi's fund to establish $13 million leasing firm

Tahya Masr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, originally initiated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to support national economy, is planning to launch a leasing firm, its executive chairman Mohamed Ashmawy said. The anticipated firm will be with a capital up to 100 million Egyptian pounds (US$13 million). The firm will help provide job opportunities for the youth. Since the fund was initiated in 2014, individuals and businessmen have contributed billions of Egyptian pounds to the fund. The fund's executive committee encompasses leading businessmen like Naguib Sawiris, former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and a representative from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Kuwait Finance House says to set up Islamic Turkish funds firm

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will set up a sharia-compliant asset management unit under its Turkish bank branch, the lender said on Monday. Kuwait Finance House Turk will establish five sharia-compliant investment funds and offer other investment services under KT Portfoy, the new unit, KFH said in a bourse statement. The establishment of the new firm is conditional on approval from Turkey's capital market authority. KFH's chief executive in January said it would issue Islamic bonds to boost capital reserves at its subsidiary bank in Turkey, even as it looks to restructure its global assets.

EPF to launch fully shariah-compliant fund in January 2017

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) plans to launch its first fully syariah-compliant fund by January 2017 with an initial fund size of up to RM120bil. Those who are interested in converting their savings to full shariah compliance status can do so on a first come first serve basis, EPF deputy chief executive officer of investments Datuk Mohamad Nasir Ab Latif said. The pension fund’s total investment assets grew to RM667.56bil as at September last year. Its total income for the first nine months of last year amounted to RM31.58bil. 51% of the EPF’s portfolio mix comprise of fixed income investments, while 43% is from equities. The remainder is for real estate and infrastructure as well as other investments.

Singapore Seizes Accounts Linked To 1MDB Malaysian Fund Controversy

Authorities in Singapore say they have seized a "large number" of bank accounts that various media have linked to a Malaysian government-run fund that stirred controversy around Prime Minister Najib Razak. While Singaporean authorities didn't confirm the link, the move comes days after Switzerland said it would submit evidence of illegal transactions to Malaysian authorities, asking them to help pursue the investigation. The developments come just before Najib and other Southeast Asian leaders hold a special summit with U.S. President Barack Obama in California this month. Obama is strengthening ties with the region to help counter China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea and to tap the region's large and fast-growing economies.

Oil dive drags sharia-compliant funds down

Sharia-compliant funds have suffered their worst sales in four years as the price of oil plummets and tensions in the Middle East spook investors. Sales of the products fell more than 75 per cent last year compared with 2014. The slowdown is a big setback for the fledgling $60bn Islamic fund industry, which only began finding its feet in recent years, and raises questions about the products’ prospects. As recently as 2013, the Islamic fund industry was growing at a rate of 10 per cent a year. However, because a large number of investors in Islamic funds are based in countries dependent on oil or commodities for their wealth, the fall in the price of oil has had a large impact on sales.

Inside Bahrain's Sovereign Wealth Fund Mumtalakat

Tasked with managing the kingdom's non-oil and gas investments, Mumtalakat seeks to turn around state-owned enterprises by promoting private sector-style transparency and sound corporate governance. The $11.2 billion fund holds stakes in 38 enterprises, including many of the country's largest employers, with a total value of about $8 billion. It has undertaken major restructurings at several of these companies, including two of the most critical: Aluminum Bahrain and Gulf Air. Mumtalakat is also beginning to flex its muscles as a portfolio investor, taking significant minority stakes in three foreign companies over the past two years in a bid to diversify its holdings and provide knock-on benefits to the Bahraini economy.

Griffon Starts $108 Million Fund to Invest in Iranian Stocks

Griffon Capital, a Tehran-based firm set up by a group of international and Iranian investors in anticipation of Iran’s nuclear deal, is seeking to raise 100 million euros ($108.2 million) by the end of the year for a new offshore fund specializing in the country’s stocks. Griffon’s Iran Flagship Fund, domiciled in the Cayman Islands, is an open-ended vehicle investing mainly in the Tehran Stock Exchange and Iran Fara Bourse, the company said. Griffon will start pitching the fund in the U.K. next month. Iran is opening up to foreign investors after the lifting of international sanctions earlier this month ended a decade of isolation. Last week Charlemagne Capital Ltd. and Turquoise Partners started an institutional fund to buy Iranian securities.

Saudi Arabia plans sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Arabia plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund to manage part of its oil fortune and diversify its investments. The nation is seeking proposals from investment banks and consultants. The sovereign wealth fund is said to be focusing on businesses outside the energy industry and may be active within one to two years with an office in New York. Saudi Arabia is trying to manage declining oil prices and rising tensions among countries in the Middle East including Iran. Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets dropped to US$640 billion (RM1.97 trillion) in October, the lowest level in three years, as the oil rout strains government finances in the biggest Arab economy.

Sovereign wealth fund pullback pull-back hits Aberdeen Asset Management

The collapse in the price of oil has compounded the problems for Aberdeen Asset Management, with Europe’s third-largest listed fund house reporting its 10th consecutive quarter of net fund outflows. The Scottish-based asset manager has been battling with investor nervousness over the continued turmoil in its core regions, but net redemptions have been exacerbated by oil-producing countries pulling money from their wealth funds to make up for a loss of export earnings. Aberdeen suffered net outflows of almost £13bn during the three months to the end of September. So far this year, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency — the world’s third-largest sovereign fund with $661bn invested — has withdrawn about $70bn from external asset managers to support its economy.

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