Saudi's Alkhair Capital predicts 10 pct annual AUM growth

DUBAI Tue May 6, 2014 8:31am EDT

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DUBAI May 6 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian sharia-compliant investment bank Alkhair Capital expects to expand its $2 billion of assets under management by 10 percent annually as it attracts foreign investors to the kingdom, its chairman said.

Alkhair, which is 53 percent owned by Bahrain-based Islamic wholesale lender Bank Alkhair, has been operating in the Saudi market since 2009. It opened an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre last month.

"Dubai is a gateway for Gulf markets and international investors," Yousef al-Shelash told Reuters in Dubai. "We are based in Saudi Arabia but we want to attract a new range of investors and diversify our sources of funding."

Direct foreign investment in the Saudi stock market is still prohibited, but foreigners can invest indirectly via swaps and exchange-trade funds. The government has been preparing to permit direct investment but a date has not been set.

"We've realised that many people want to enter the Saudi market, which is the region's largest economy," said Shelash, who is also chairman of Dar Al Arkan, Saudi Arabia's largest listed real estate developer.

Alkhair Capital will offer brokerage services from its office in the DIFC as well as debt market advisory, private equity and asset management services.

The company currently has two funds, one investing in the Saudi equity market and the other in murabaha loans and debt instruments. (Reporting by Mirna Sleiman; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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