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Dubai Islamic Bank and HSBC are nominated to receive Islamic fund awards

Bahrain: Tuesday, February 28 - 2006 @ 10:25

The event will honor the best performing Islamic funds for 2005. More than 50 funds are nominated for an award but only 10 are going to stand out. HSBC Amanah Finance and Dubai Islamic Bank are nominated for Best Islamic fund in Real Estate, Capital protected, Family, Manager, and contribution to the growth & development of the industry.

Islamic funds are a relatively new industry that did not exist before the 1990s. This industry has quickly gained in popularity as total assets grew from $800 million in the mid-1990s, to over $15 billion today. Much of this growth has come in the past two years as a result of the demand for GCC equity funds. In 2000, the largest funds were international equity funds dominated by National Commercial Bank’s Global Trading Equity Fund, with assets approaching $1 billion. However, investors soon began to favor GCC equities. As a result, assets of GCC-focused funds have risen from under $200 million in 2000 to over $10 billion as of January this year.

The recent market climate has matured along with investor demand. National Commercial Bank remains the dominant player in Islamic funds. Furthermore, the largest funds are no longer international equities, US equities, or European equities. Today’s largest Islamic funds are all in the GCC. National Commercial Bank still maintains its Global Trading Equity Fund, but its largest fund today is the Saudi Trading Equity Fund, with assets approaching $4 billion.

The largest funds are managed by Saudi banks, which are actively investing in the local Saudi stock market, followed by Kuwaiti institutions. Dubai-based HSBC Amanah Finance and Dubai Islamic Bank have all successfully launched new funds in the past two years, as investor demand for these funds shows no sign of slowing down in the near term. The trend toward investing in funds is only expected to grow as investors in the GCC and beyond recognize the long-term benefits of fund investments. This may be especially true as investors realize the volatility of regional stock markets and begin looking for less volatile investment solutions.

As a result of the new demand for Islamic funds, some of the world’s top banks, indexes and fund managers entered this field to serve the growing demand for new and innovative Islamic investment solutions. HSBC Bank has been active in this area since 1997, and the Dow Jones Islamic Market (DJIM) Indexes were introduced in 1999. Others such as ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, Pictet & Cie and UBS have been instrumental in developing the latest investment products for investors in the GCC.

Failaka International will be giving recognition to the top performing Islamic funds at its upcoming award ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain on 5th March 2006.

The event is sponsored by National Commercial Bank, Al Madar Finance & Investment and Dow Jones Indexes. The Deputy Governor of the Bahrain Monetary Authority, Mr. Anwar Khalifa Al Sadah, will be participating in the Failaka Islamic Fund Awards as keynote speaker and will be presenting the awards to the winners.

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Tuesday, February 28- 2006 @ 10:25 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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