EIIB launches sukuk fund

European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB) plans to significantly expand the asset management business of Rasmala Investment Bank, said a press statement.

Earlier this year, EIIB completed a strategic controlling investment in Rasmala.

Rasmala manages approximately $650 million and has a regulated presence in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Egypt.

Zulfi Caar Hydari, Chief Executive of EIIB, said: "Rasmala has a strong asset management platform and we are fully committed to expanding this business across the Mena region. I am therefore delighted that we are launching the Rasmala Global Sukuk Fund (RGSF) as the first in a series of new products and services."

RGSF is structured for Sharia'a compliant investors who value capital preservation whilst benefitting from regular and sustainable dividend distributions. The Fund will be invested according to conservative investment guidelines, ensuring that the Fund remains low risk, well diversified and provides capital stability.

RGSF will be dynamically managed and expects to make semi-annual distributions of accumulated profit in July and January of each year, while at the same time providing investors with easy access to their money through a weekly redemption window. The Fund will be open-ended and denominated in US dollar. The Fund will be seeded with a $25 million cash investment by EIIB.

Commenting on the new launch of Rasmala Global Sukuk Fund, Eric Swats, Head of Rasmala Asset Management, said: "The market for conservative and well-managed Sharia'a compliant investment products remains underserved and underdeveloped. With the launch of this fund we hope to contribute to the development of this important market segment. The Fund is an attractive alternative to low-yielding cash deposits, providing a regular annual distribution and the potential for capital appreciation based on active portfolio management."

The outlook for the sukuk market remains positive, with an expanding investment universe, improved secondary market liquidity and strong institutional and retail investor demand. The supply-demand imbalance evident in the market continues to prevail, and issuance of well-priced, investment-grade paper is easily absorbed. There is growing recognition and acceptance by investors that sukuk play an important role within a diversified investment portfolio, and this bodes well for the future of the product.

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