Islamic Fund Managers to discuss industry challenges in Dubai

Published March 2nd, 2010 - 10:42 GMT

Amanie to partner in Symposium and Annual Islamic Fund Awards for industry managing $35 billion across 555 funds worldwide

The $35 billion international Islamic funds industry is being urged to offer more innovative areas of investment and to expand into hitherto untapped geographical markets by world-renowned Shariah scholar Dr Mohammed Daud Bakar.

Dr Bakar, Managing Director of Amanie Islamic Finance Consultancy and Education in Dubai, was speaking as Amanie today (Tuesday 2 March 2010) announced a partnership with Failaka Advisors, to jointly organise the one-day symposium and the annual Failaka Islamic Fund Awards. Investment companies and banks receive the highest accolades in fund management at the awards, which recognise the world's best performing Shariah compliant funds. 

Amanie Dubai was established in 2008 at the Dubai International Financial Centre and focuses on Shariah product development, Shariah advisory and endorsement, product and business conversion, Shariah compliance and IT system review, Islamic risk management, prudential standards and structuring new Islamic financial products. Amanie also offers a range of training and education programmes in Islamic finance.

According to Thomson Reuters data, Islamic assets under management currently amount to almost $35 billion across 555 worldwide funds. But most funds are dedicated to equities and “everybody’s doing that,” said Dr Bakar.

Dr Bakar is a Shariah board member of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the International Islamic Financial Market, the Securities Commission of Malaysia, Morgan Stanley and Bank of London and Middle East, among others. He believes Islamic fund managers should look at commodities such as gold and silver, metals and agriculture as well as relatively untouched markets for Islamic funds like Australia, Thailand and Vietnam, not to mention Africa and Latin America.

“They would provide interesting propositions for investors while other industries like shipping, technology and aviation could be fruitful areas for innovators to look at in the creation of new funds,” Dr Bakar said.

The Amanie international Shariah supervisory board also includes: Dr Mohamed Ali Elgari, Professor of Islamic Economics and the former Director of the Centre for Research in Islamic Economics at King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia; Dr Muhammad Amin Ali Qattan, Director of the Islamic Economics Unit, Centre of Excellence in Management, at Kuwait University; and Dr Osama Al Dereai, of Qatar, a Shariah board member of the First Leasing Company, Barwa Bank, and First Investment Company, among others.

The Amanie-Failaka Symposium will focus on the issues confronting the Shariah-compliant funds industry, specifically the challenges of finding productive distribution strategies. The forum will also explore obstacles to winning institutional investment. “The symposium is dedicated to Islamic finance stakeholders and will discuss the current state-of-affairs in the Islamic investment field, across asset classes and geographical locations with an aim to understanding the best practices and better sales strategies,” said Mark Smyth, Managing Director of Failaka Advisors.

The Failaka Islamic Funds Awards, which will take place on 12 April 2010 in Dubai, set the benchmark for the performance of the Shariah-compliant funds industry. “Though recent years have proved challenging for the sector, the awards highlight the achievements of top-performing managers and individual funds,” he added.

“Even in these challenging times, we remain confident about the future growth of Islamic finance and the funds sector. The range of asset classes continues to expand and investors are able to construct Shariah-compliant portfolios from the available funds,” said Smyth.

According to Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company, Saudi Arabia has147 Islamic funds managing more than $18 billion. Malaysia, with 194 funds, manages more than $8.6 billion. The United States is the domicile of just four funds but between them they manage more than $2.5 billion. A total of 36 funds in Kuwait manage $2.1 billion. South Africa with eight funds domiciled manages $644 million. Twenty funds in Bahrain manage $394 million; three in the UAE manage $78 million; and Qatar manages $16 million with one fund.

For more details about Amanie Islamic Finance Consultancy and Education and the upcoming Amanie-Failaka Symposium, please visit www.amaniedubai.com


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