Islamic International Arab Bank and AB Invest launch two Sharia’ah compliant funds focused on the MENA region

Published June 1st, 2008 - 10:34 GMT

Islamic International Arab Bank (IIAB) has sponsored & launched two new Sharia’a compliant funds, the IIAB Islamic Mena Fund and the IIAB Sukuk and Murbaha MENA Fund. The Investment Manager/ Investment Advisor to both these funds is Al Arabi Investment Group Co. Ltd (AB Invest).
The IIAB MENA Fund is an open ended investment vehicle, incorporated and registered in the Kingdom of Bahrain, subject to the rules and regulations of the Central Bank of Bahrain. IIAB has sponsored the Fund with US$5 Million. The Fund’s objective is to achieve long-term capital appreciation through investing predominantly in a diversified basket of listed and unlisted equities in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), whilst adhering at all times to the Sharia’a principles as monitored by the Fund’s Sharia’a Board. The Fund is also listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange as the IIAB MENA Feeder Fund which Arab Bank has seeded with a further USD 5Million.
IIAB has also launched the IIAB Sukuk & Murabaha MENA Fund which is a medium-term, low risk vehicle with particular focus on Sukuks, Murabahas & Sharia’a compliant cash transactions. The Fund is listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and was seeded by IIAB with USD 5 Million.
AB Private Banking, the wealth management arm of the Arab Bank Group will be distributing these funds to their clients thus increasing their investment product range in the conventional as well as Islamic Finance arena with innovative products with a regional focus .

Ghassan Bundakji, General Manger of AIIB said the launching of Islamic investment funds by AIIB is in line with growing demand by clients for Sharia’ah compliant investment tools.

Bundakji explained that the fund will be investing in activities and instruments that are sanctioned by the Islamic Sharia, in line with resolutions and recommendations set by the funds Sharia’ah board that monitors its activities.

IIAB, considered one of the prominent Islamic banking institutions in Jordan, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arab Bank Plc. They commenced their banking operations in accordance with the Islamic Sharia’ah in February 1998.
The Fund’s Investment Adviser, AB Invest, is another wholly -owned subsidiary of Arab Bank Plc - an investment firm based in Amman/ Jordan that has maintained a solid track-record in fund and asset management. AB Invest is currently considered the largest asset manager in Jordan with assets under management exceeding USD 350 Million. In addition to the IIAB Funds, AB Invest is also the Investment Manager of the Arab Bank Mena Fund, a USD 65 Million open-ended fund that invests predominantly in equities in the MENA region. The Arab Bank MENA Fund has returned in excess of 24% since its inception in October 2005, compared to a loss of over 11% for the MSCI Arabia (the Fund’s benchmark) for the same period. The Saraya Real Estate MENA Fund is another Fund managed by AB Invest. It is an 11 year closed-end fund that invests mainly directly in Saraya Holding’s real estate projects in the Middle East & North Africa. The Fund was closed in 2006 with total commitments of USD 250 Million, of which USD 100 Million has already been invested in projects such as Saraya Ras Al Khaima in the UAE.

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