Funds

Australian Islamic Fund Manager Crescent Wealth hits $100million milestone

Australia-based Islamic fund manager Crescent Wealth is now managing over $100 Million in Islamic Super and Investments. This makes Crescent Wealth not only one of Australia’s fastest growing Super funds, but also one of the best performing with many of their funds market leaders in their respective sectors. This is a remarkable achievement for a company that launched the world’s first private Islamic pension fund a little over 2 years ago. Crescent Wealth’s International Equity Fund was ranked as the #1 Top Performing Ethical Fund returning 27.9% after fees (ranking by Financial Express for the 2015 financial year). Since its launch on 22 February 2013 to 30 June 15, the same fund has achieved a great total return of 60.65%.

Quantum Investment Bank and Palma launch a new Shari’ah compliant aircraft leasing fund with Airbus

Quantum Investment Bank Limited and Palma Capital Limited, both based in the Dubai International Financial Centre have been retained as the exclusive placement agents for the launch of a Shari’ah compliant aircraft leasing fund (ALIF Fund) to be managed by the International Airfinance Corporation (IAFC) with Airbus and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) as anchor investors and strategic partners. With a targeted size of $5 billion from a combination of equity and debt, the fund will focus exclusively on Airbus aircraft. The objective of the Fund is to achieve a risk adjusted medium to long-term capital appreciation while generating a quarterly cash dividend to investors.

First Islamic property fund of subcontinent: over Rs 22.23 billion Dolmen City REIT launched

The first Rs 22.237 billion Islamic rental property fund of the subcontinent was launched at Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) Monday. The two-day book building process for the country's first Rental Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), Dolmen City REIT (DCR), was initiated by Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah here at KSE trading hall. The initial public offering (IPO) envisages a total of 555.92 million units, 75 percent or 416.94 million shares would be offered to institutions and high net worth individuals (HNWIs) through book building on June 8-9. The balance 138.98 million or 25 percent units would go to retail subscribers on June 12.

Islamic mutual funds fall short of global demand -study

Islamic mutual funds are growing again after a slump that lasted years, but the sector still falls short of meeting demand for sharia-compliant investment products, a study by Thomson Reuters and its subsidiary Lipper showed. Many firms pulled out of the sector around 2008 because of the global financial crisis and as sliding equity markets reduced investor interest. Islamic mutual funds globally now hold $53.2 billion of assets under management, recovering from a low of $25.7 billion in 2008, the study found. The total number of Islamic mutual funds reached 943 in 2014, up from 828 a year earlier. Further growth is expected, with the study projecting the funds will grow 8 percent annually to reach $76.7 billion by 2019.

RHB Adds Shariah Funds in Hong Kong Seeking Greater China Access

A year after debuting an Islamic investment fund in Hong Kong, RHB Asset Management Sdn. plans two more as it seeks to develop awareness in the Chinese market. The first of the new funds, which will target Shariah-compliant stocks and bonds, is due to start this month and the second by the end of September, Ho Seng Yee, chief executive officer of the Kuala Lumpur-based company, said. The existing RHB-OSK Islamic Regional Balanced Fund, which invests in Islamic equities and fixed income, has 15.5 million ringgit ($4.3 million) of assets. While China presents significant opportunities for Islamic financial institutions, there are challenges including the need for changes to the tax laws.

Ahli Bank’s ‘Al Hilal MENA Fund’ posts 12 per cent return

Al Hilal MENA Fund (AHMF); Sharia Compliant, open-ended fund, managed by ahlibank asset management has posted commendable returns of 12 per cent year to date, as on April 30, 2015. Al Hilal MENA Fund is the first and only Sharia Compliant fund sponsored and managed by a bank in Oman. The fund invests across listed equities and sukuks issued and tradable within the GCC region. The current investments represent geographical coverage spanning Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. The diversified sector exposure constitutes investments into petrochemicals, fertilizer producers, industrial chemicals, oil and gas exploration, Islamic banking, takaful, real estate, telecom, consumer discretionary and industrial manufacturing.

Islamic REITs slowly get traction in the Middle East

The Islamic version of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has to follow certain principles and rules in accordance with Shariah law. Malaysia was the first country that issued guidelines for Islamic REITS as early as in 2005, whereby a Shariah committee has to assess any property to be acquired by an Islamic REIT towards non-permissible activities of prospective tenants and sub-tenants. However, a certain quota of non-permissible activities is sometimes tolerated. The Middle East also started to adapt the new concept of Islamic REITs. However, the products have not developed as rapidly as in Southeast Asia and are still more or less handled as a regional collective investment scheme.

UPDATE 1-Malaysia's EPF to offer Islamic investment option by 2017 -PM Najib

Malaysia's $160 billion state pension fund will offer an Islamic investment option to its members by 2017 which would create the world's largest sharia-compliant fund of its kind, Prime Minister Najib Razak said. The move could funnel billions of dollars into sharia-compliant asset managers in Malaysia in a boon for the country's Islamic finance sector. Najib did not specify how big he thought the sharia-compliant standalone fund could be. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) already invests about a third of its portfolio in stocks and bonds that comply with Islamic principles. Najib said the Securities Commission is also developing a blueprint for the country's Islamic fund and wealth management industry to help chart its strategic direction.

Islamic ETFs adding potential to portfolios

Triggered by rapidly growing demand for Islamic financial instruments, Shariah-compliant exchange-traded funds (Islamic ETFs, or iETFs) are beginning to add potential to the portfolios of Muslim and ethical investors. Malaysia last week came up with the first regional Islamic ETF that will include Shariah-compliant stocks from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. It is being launched by investment firm i-VCAP Management. The region is joining the growing number of Islamic ETFs provided by large investment companies. The latest addition to the Islamic ETF family was an iETF launched by Seattle-based investment firm Falah Capital in October last year.

World’s first Islamic Asean ETF launched

The world’s first Islamic Asean Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is enroute for listing on Bursa Malaysia on May 7. Investment management provider, i-VCAP Management Sdn Bhd (i-VCAP), today launched the prospectus for the Shariah-compliant ETF, which will be known as MyETF MSCI SEA Islamic Dividend (MyETF-MSEAD). Chief executive officer Mahdzir Othman explained that MyETF-MSEAD was an open-ended fund with an approved fund size of 500 million units. Investors can subscribe to the fund until April 22, at RM1 per unit with a minimum subscription size of 100 units.

Saturna Capital Launches Two Funds Emphasizing Sustainability

Saturna Capital Corporation (Saturna) has announced the launch of the Saturna Sustainable Equity Fund (SEEFX) and the Saturna Sustainable Bond Fund (SEBFX), two mutual funds that will invest globally in securities of issuers rated by Saturna as low risk in the areas of the environment, social responsibility, and governance (ESG). Saturna expects the funds will appeal to the growing number of investors who seek to incorporate sustainability and social responsibility into their investments, particularly retirement portfolios. The Saturna Sustainable Equity and Bond Funds will be available on major platforms such as National Financial Services (Fidelity), Charles Schwab, Pershing LLC, and TD Ameritrade.

Saudi's Sidra Capital opening Islamic trade fund to GCC investors

Saudi Arabia-based investment bank Sidra Capital is changing its Islamic trade finance fund, initially established as closed-ended, to an open-ended format as it sees growing appetite from regional investors in the Gulf, its chief executive Hani Baothman said. The first tranche of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) investors came with $50 million, and the firm expects more and more interest to come through. The fund, launched in 2012 with an initial $15 million in assets, has received approval from the Luxembourg regulator to become open-ended and it expects the Saudi regulator's approval as early as April, Baothman said.

UK’s only Shari’ah-compliant fund investing in Prime London Residential Property, to close shortly

London Central Portfolio (LCP) announces today that they will be closing their latest GBP 100 million quoted property fund on April 17th. London Central Apartments II (LCA II) is the only regulated vehicle exclusively targeting Prime Central London’s (PCL’s) Private Rented Sector. It will acquire one and two bedroom units as these are the most highly demanded and offer the highest returns. The properties will be renovated and interior designed to maximise capital uplift and rental returns. It is a five year fund, projecting an IRR of 12 per cent p.a. and shares are to be quoted on the Channel Islands Securities Exchange Authority.

Did this letter to PM Modi result in SBI deferring its Shariah fund?

The decision of State Bank of India (SBI) to put off the launch of a Shariah-compliant equity mutual fund has once again sparked debates on whether India should open doors to the concept of Islamic finance and facilitate a market for Shariah compliant financial products. The fund was designed to invest in Shariah compliant companies. Dinesh Kumar Khara, managing director and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund, said that SBI’s decision to defer the fund launch, originally planned in December, was a commercial call. On the other hand, Congress' member K Rahman Khan said in Parliament that the decision was due to political intervention.

IdealRatings launches the first Shari’ah compliant Asia pacific REITS index.

IdealRatings has launched of a Shari’ah compliant Asia-Pacific REITs Index, called the IdealRatings Asia-Pacific REITs Index, for the use of Fund Managers who are benchmarking REITs funds. For a start, the REITs Index will cover Asia-Pacific REITs and it will subsequently widen the coverage to include the entire global REITs universe. The market cap-weighted, free-float Index has a methodology to review the universe eligibility annually. The Shari’ah screening of the eligible universe takes place quarterly and the index is also re-balanced on quarterly basis. The IdealRatings Asia-Pacific REITs Index is calculated in US Dollars with REITs listed in Australia, Japan, Singapore and other countries.

RHB Islamic, MTDC team up in Bumiputera tech-based SME financing

RHB Islamic Bank Bhd has teamed up with Malaysian Technology Development Corp (MTDC) to provide financing for Bumiputera technology-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the Bumiputera Expansion Fund (BEF) scheme. MTDC currently manages RM150 million fund for the BEF scheme via Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju). Under the pact, RHB Islamic will be the custodian of the fund, which will be placed in the bank’s commodity murabahah deposit-i account. The fund is expected to raise financing of at least RM300 million for eligible Bumiputera companies involved in biotechnology, green technology, nanotecnology and food technology.

Islamic funds register modest growth to $91 bn in 2014

Global assets under management by Islamic funds grew slightly last year and are likely set for rapid growth in coming years as the relatively young Muslim population of the world ages, hedge fund analysis firm Eurekahedge says. Assets under management peaked at about $91 bn in the second half of 2012, but are still up sharply from less than $50 bn at the beginning of 2007, Eurekahedge data shows. The firm says the Islamic finance industry globally now measures about $2 tn, including Islamic banking, sukuk (financial certificates), takaful (insurance) and Islamic funds. Islamic banking accounts for about 80 percent of the sector, while sukuk issuances account for about 15 percent.

QE to list first of four investment funds soon

The Qatari bourse is all set to list one of the four planned investment funds soon. CEO of Qatar Exchange (QE) Rashid Al Mansoori said they were just waiting for the necessary approval to list the fund, while the approval process for listing the second fund is also ongoing. The remaining two proposed funds are under study, he added. One of the four funds is Al Rayan Islamic, while another one will be bonds-based. Details of the four funds are yet to emerge. Al Mansoori said several new companies would be listed on the QE this year. A number of companies have applied for listing and their requests are being looked into by the regulator.

Qatar's ETF to help pace of foreign fund inflow

Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan announced it will be launching two debut funds. Of these, the Shariah-compliant Qatari equity ETF, to be listed on the Qatari bourse , is targeting foreign investors. A sukuk fund will be focused on sukuk in the GCC. Both funds will be managed by Masraf Al Rayan 's wholly-owned subsidiary, Al Rayan Investment. Al Rayan Investment manages the Sharia-compliant Al Rayan GCC Fund which invests in select companies across the GCC based on a 24-month investment horizon. The fund has two classes, 'Q' and 'F'. The Q-Fund is denominated in Qatari Riyal and is open to Qatari individual and institutional investors, while the F-Fund is denominated in US Dollars and is open to all investors, resident in any part of the world.

Dubai-Luxembourg firm launches Islamic factoring for SMEs

Tawreeq Holdings, an investment group based in Dubai and Luxembourg, has launched an Islamic trade receivables financing platform catering to the Gulf region's small businesses, with plans to tap the capital markets to fund the venture. The firm's CEO Haitham Al Refaie said the concept aims to give smaller firms a funding alternative to bank loans. Besides start-up capital from regional investors, the firm plans to raise additional funds, he added without giving monetary figures. Tawreeq's platform provides sharia-compliant factoring by connecting corporates, suppliers and investors to securitise trade receivables.

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