Islamic funds 'must explore new territories'
Dubai, March 3, 2010
The $35 billion international Islamic funds industry must offer more innovative areas of investment and expand into untapped geographical markets, said renowned Shariah scholar Dr Mohammed Daud Bakar.
Dr Bakar, who is also managing director of Dubai-based Amanie Islamic Finance Consultancy and Education, said 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 besides 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, while speaking at ceremony organised to announce the one-day symposium and the annual Failaka Islamic Fund Awards.
Amanie has partnered with Failaka Advisors to launch Symposium and Annual Islamic Fund Awards for industry managing $35 billion across 555 funds worldwide, Bakar stated.
The Failaka Islamic Funds Awards to be given on April 12 in Dubai, set the benchmark for the performance of the Shariah-compliant funds industry, said a top official.
'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,' said Mark Smyth, managing director of Failaka Advisors.
“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,” Smith explained.
“Though recent years have proved challenging for the sector, the awards highlight the achievements of top-performing managers and individual funds,” Smith added.
Amanie Dubai was established in 2008 at the DIFC and focuses on Shariah product development, advisory and endorsement, product and business conversion, 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 also 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.-TradeArabia News Service