KUALA LUMPUR Oct 11 Britain's fourth largest
retail fund manager, Threadneedle Investments, plans to offer a
range of sharia compliant funds in Malaysia, as the Islamic fund
sector gradually revives after years of stagnant growth.
Threadneedle, which manages $126.6 billion in assets, has
appointed a Malaysia-based team that will be supported by its
Singapore and London offices, the company said in a statement.
The last few years have been difficult for Islamic funds as
a whole, with Western firms pulling out as they were hurt by the
global financial crisis and as slumping equity markets reduced
investor interest. In total, 88 Islamic funds have been
liquidated globally in the last two years.
Malaysia has fared better even though the number of new fund
launches has slowed in recent years, but Islamic wholesale funds
have bucked the trend with 13 launches last year.
Threadneedle, owned by U.S. Ameriprise Financial,
will target institutional investors such as pension funds,
insurance companies, and government-linked entities.
"With the presence of these new capabilities, we aim to make
Threadneedle a centre of excellence for Islamic finance in
Malaysia," said Raymundo Yu, the firm's Asia Pacific chairman.
"This is an important strategic milestone for Threadneedle
and further demonstrates our commitment to building a truly
client-focused business for investors across Asia."
Total Islamic assets under management in Malaysia reached
79.6 billion ringgit ($24.9 billion) in 2012, from 64.2 billion
ringgit a year earlier, a 24 percent increase.
Islamic fund managers screen their portfolios according to
religious guidelines such as bans on tobacco, alcohol and
gambling, in much the same way as socially responsible funds.