Kuala Lumpur, 18 November 2008

Global financial institutions pick Malaysia as Islamic fund management hub

The Securities Commission (SC) has approved two applications from leading financial institutions to establish their Islamic fund management operations in Malaysia, reaffirming the growing interest among international players to make Malaysia the global hub for their Islamic fund management activities.

The two, Reliance Asset Management and Global Investment House, join three other international Islamic fund managers already licensed by the SC. They are Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia), DBS Asset Management and CIMB Principal Islamic Asset Management.

In addition, the SC is reviewing applications by other international financial institutions keen to make Malaysia their regional and global centre for Islamic fund management activities.

“The SC has been actively involved in establishing the framework as well as engaging with international fund managers and leading financial institutions to establish their Islamic fund management operations in Malaysia. We are confident that these efforts will see positive growth in Shariah compliant funds being managed in Malaysia, in tandem with the overall initiative to make Malaysia a global centre for Islamic fund management,” said SC Chairman Dato’ Sri Zarinah Anwar.

In granting the approval, the SC had considered, among other things, the scope of operations that will be established by the two Islamic fund management companies (IFMCs) in Malaysia, their fund management and banking experience, brand value, expertise in various markets, geographical presence, and compliance and risk management capabilities.

Reliance Capital Asset Management is India’s largest asset management company in terms of assets under management and manages funds launched by Reliance Mutual Fund, the largest mutual fund house in India.

Kuwait-based Global Investment House is a leading asset management and investment banking company with a wide distribution network encompassing 16 countries across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and other emerging markets.

The Government had during Budget 2008 announced that IFMCs are allowed to have 100% foreign ownership. The announcement was part of the on-going liberalisation measures in the capital market as well as to complement the broader MIFC initiatives of positioning Malaysia as an international Islamic financial centre.