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Money managers under the microscope

GCC fund firms face structural flaws: Lipper

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By Dunny P. Moonesawmy, Head of Fund Research for Lipper in Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The views expressed are his own.

Spare a thought for the fund managers trying to make their business work in the Middle East and north Africa (MENA) this year.

Those investing in home markets have faced the uncertainty and drama of the Arab Spring and the wear and tear on affected markets. The Egyptian Stock Exchange was closed for several months while in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, all markets ended the first half in the red (even if the Abu Dhabi index and the Saudi Tadawul All Shares resisted well, down 0.57 percent and 0.67 percent respectively.)

Moreover, the fund industry in the region faces some deep structural flaws.

Taking the GCC alone, there are 101 fund management companies in the region managing $28.5 billion of assets between them, according to Lipper data. Those firms run a total of 337 funds with average assets under management at $84 million; taking a median figure to iron out the inflating effect of a few bigger funds that figure is just short of $20 million. To see a graphic showing AuM by asset class in the GCC, click here.

from Global Investing:

The best of both worlds?

Combined Shariah and ethical/SRI products could be the way forwards for Islamic finance investing, according to Dr Humayon Dar, CEO at BMB Islamic, the Shariah consultancy at BMG Group.

Speaking at the Reuters Islamic Finance Summit today, Dar highlighted the development of an upcoming F&C fund that will meet both ethical and Shariah investing criteria, and can be sold to both Muslims and non-Muslims. "I see this as the way forward in markets such as Malaysia, where a significant proportion of the population is non-Muslim," he said, adding that once such products have established a track record, it should appeal to a broader audience, and encourage other launches.

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