Region may see more sukuk funds this year

The launch of sukuk funds is expected to pick up momentum this year as issuers realise the strong retail market potential for such funds in the UAE.

Emirates NBD has already launched its Global Sukuk Fund and Islamic finance experts expect more issuances this year. The trend is also considered a "good breakthrough development" as the funds give an opportunity to retail investors to participate in the asset class.

"More sukuk funds are likely to come up this year. It is a good breakthrough development because sukuk fund would provide opportunities for retail investor to participate in the sukuk asset class which was earlier only possible for big investors in the past.

"This would also ensure the participation of domestic and local investors, both retail and corporate," Dr Mohd Daud Bakar, Managing Director of Amanie Islamic Finance Learning Centre, told Emirates Business. "There is a huge appetite for sukuk funds in retail investors and the issuers are now keen on tapping the deep potential."

Dubai's Algebra Capital issued its sukuk fund in August 2008 and analysts expect more banks to offer sukuk funds this year. Moody's expects Islamic bond deals in 2010 to top last year's roughly $24 billion (Dh88.15bn).


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