Kuala Lumpur, 14 July 2008

Leading institutions to establish Islamic fund management operations in Malaysia-SC approves 3 new licences

The Securities Commission (SC) has approved the applications of three leading financial institutions to establish Islamic fund management companies (IFMCs) in Malaysia. The three are Kuwait Finance House ( Malaysia) Berhad, DBS Asset Management Ltd and CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd.

The establishment of the three new IFMCs follows on from the measures announced in Budget 2008 to strengthen Malaysia’s position as an international Islamic financial centre.

SC Chairman Dato’ Zarinah Anwar said, “We are pleased with the interest shown by international players to participate in Malaysia’s capital market. This reflects the global recognition of Malaysia’s position as a centre of Islamic finance and enhances Malaysia’s opportunity to be a leading Islamic fund and wealth management hub.”

In granting the approval, the SC had considered, amongst others, the scope of operations that will be established by these companies in Malaysia, their fund management and banking experience, brand value, expertise and geographical presence, as well as compliance and risk management capabilities.

“The approval of these three companies will play a catalytic role in the internationalisation of our Islamic capital market,” she added.

Dato’ K. Salman Younis, Managing Director of Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) said, “On behalf of the Chairman, Board of Directors and Management of Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Securities Commission for granting us this licence to establish an Islamic fund management company. We were impressed with the SC’s speed and efficiency in approving our licence. The KFH Group’s fund management activities in the region will be consolidated through this platform and we are excited by the growth prospects that the Malaysian capital market offers us.”

The Chief Executive Officer of DBS Asset Management, Deborah Ho said, ” We are pleased to leverage on our existing partnership with Hwang DBS ( Malaysia) to set up a dedicated Islamic fund management company. The new entity will structure and distribute Islamic asset management products across Asia via synergies with DBS and DBS’ Islamic Bank of Asia. We’re pleased to have obtained the go-ahead from the Securities Commission to set up this dedicated Islamic fund management company, and are awaiting the necessary regulatory approvals from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.”

The SC is currently evaluating proposals from other leading fund management companies to establish Islamic fund management operations in Malaysia.

About the fund management companies

Kuwait Finance House ( Malaysia), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House, i s one of the leading financial institutions in the world. Its IFMC is expected to draw on the key competitive strengths of the group’s market leadership in Islamic banking, innovative product development and the wide distribution network especially in the GCC countries.

DBS Asset Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of DBS Bank and has 25 years experience in investment management solutions. DBS Bank was rated by world rating agencies as one of Asia’s best in terms of asset quality and has interest in the Islamic Bank of Asia. DBS Asset Management and its associate companies currently manage RM65 billion in assets with distribution channels in South East Asia, Middle East, Greater China and the Indian sub-continent.

CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CIMB-Principal Asset Management, is a joint venture between Southeast Asia’s premier investment banking group, the CIMB Group and the Principal Financial Group, a leading Fortune 500 diversified global financial services group. Capitalising on the rapid expansion and strong growth potential of its Shariah unit trust funds and other Shariah-driven business, CIMB Principal will focus its Shariah fund management activities at CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management.