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Friday, 15 February 2008

Shariah-compliant investments bode well for investors in the MENA region

Leading Islamic finance experts recently drew a positive outlook for the Islamic investments and capital markets in the region during a seminar held in Dubai by HSBC Amanah Wealth Management on the prospects and opportunities of Shariah-compliant investments.

Opening the seminar, Ishrat Kiyani, Regional Head of Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Middle East said: 'There is a growing need for Islamic investment products in our core markets. Working with best-in-class investment managers, HSBC Amanah customer groups and the HSBC Amanah Central Shariah Committee, we are well placed to deliver a wide and growing range of Shariah- compliant investment products and solutions to our clients in 13 countries and beyond.' 'To capture the growth in emerging markets and Asia Pacific we are currently developing new funds such as HSBC Global Emerging Market Fund and HSBC Amanah Hangseng Index Fund. We are also developing HSBC Amanah structured notes. Our ultimate goal is to offer our clients attractive investment opportunities and the assurance of uncompromising Shariah authenticity,' Kiyani added. Commenting on investments and Shariah, Sheikh Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari, member of HSBC Amanah Shariah Committee and Professor at King Abdul Aziz University, Riyadh said: 'Wealth creation and management lies at the heart of Islam's economic philosophy. Growing one's wealth in line with the tenets of Islam is not only permissible but desirable. Islam has a much wider vision for investments, which goes beyond simply returns to embrace the good of society and the community at large.' Rushdi Siddiqui, Global Director of Dow Jones Islamic Market Index Group said: 'Dow Jones Islamic Indexes have outperformed most of their conventional peers worldwide in 2007. New instruments are gaining ground such as Islamic exchange traded funds (ETFs), which allow investors to diversify investment opportunities and benefit from an interim alternative for short-term Islamic liquidity. The trend in Islamic finance is towards new asset classes and I see the Halal industry, including food, finance, medicine and cosmetics as very promising asset class for investors going forward.' Amin El-Kholy, Chief Investment Officer, Shuaa Asset Management said: 'The investment outlook for the GCC countries is promising. The recent strong growth has been structural and sustainable due mainly to increased consumer spending, economy diversification, structural reforms and sustained high oil prices. Compared to expected GDP growth, stock market price/earnings multiple for GCC is more attractive for investors compared to BRIC countries. Equally interesting, GCC equity market is uncorrelated with S&P 500, which provides investors with unique diversification benefits and protects them from global downturns.' HSBC Amanah Wealth Management is an integral component of HSBC Amanah's Islamic banking proposition. Its products and solutions are developed, structured and executed through a dedicated team of professionals in New York, London, Riyadh and Dubai. Clients include institutional investors, corporate bodies, family offices, high net worth individuals and retail investors. At present, HSBC Amanah Wealth Management has over $6bn under management.
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Alfalah Consulting-Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com 
Islamic Consultant & Trainer: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com 
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

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