Kuala Lumpur, 29 January 2009

SC approves three new foreign Islamic fund management companies

The Securities Commission (SC) has given its approval for three new foreign Islamic fund management companies (IFMCs) to start operations in Malaysia. The three are Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd, BNP Paribas Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd and Nomura Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd.

The three companies already have a presence in the conventional asset management industry in Malaysia, as part of the five licences issued under a special scheme announced in 2005 to broaden the international participation in the Malaysian capital market.

Their interest to further expand their fund management business indicates their confidence in the Malaysian fund management industry, and reaffirms the growing interest among international players to make Malaysia the global hub for Islamic fund and wealth management activities.

“Despite the global slowdown, the coming on board of these three international players reflects the strong growth potential in niche areas like Islamic fund management,” said Dato’ Sri Zarinah Anwar, Chairman of the Securities Commission. “This will help add depth and breadth to the Islamic finance industry, of which Malaysia commands a leadership role.”

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

Mr Atsushi Yoshikawa, President & CEO of Tokyo-based Nomura Asset Management Co Ltd commented, “Nomura Asset plans to position Islamic fund management as one of our most important strategies. With the establishment of Nomura Islamic Asset Management, we plan to provide a wide range of products and services to Asia and the Middle East regions”.

“We are very pleased to be awarded a licence for Islamic fund management in Malaysia. BNP Paribas Investment Partners is firmly committed to further developing its existing Islamic investment capabilities,” said Mr Vincent Camerlynck, Global Head of Business Development and Member of the Executive Committee, BNP Paribas Investment Partners in Paris. “Malaysia is a strategic hub for our Islamic business and complements our Europe and Middle East centres to create a powerful global platform.”

“We’re delighted that our application for an Islamic fund management licence has been approved as this enables us to expand into an important new area. The domestic Islamic finance sector has been growing rapidly,” said Mr Gerald Ambrose, Managing Director of Aberdeen Asset Management Sdn Bhd. “Malaysia has also promoted itself successfully as a regional centre, and this is helping to develop a local pool of expertise as well as recognition for Shariah funds.”

The three new entities join a growing list of leading players keen on establishing their global and regional Islamic fund management operations in Malaysia. The others who have been approved to establish operations are Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia), DBS Asset Management, CIMB-Principal Asset Management, Global Investment House and Reliance Asset Management.