Muscat: Vision Investment Services has set a new trend by introducing the first Sharia-compliant fund in Oman. The Vision Al Khair GCC Fund (Sharia-compliant) is an investment vehicle, wherein all financial instruments of the fund are in compliance with acceptable Sharia principles and policies. It is an investment programme, wherein the fund seeks investments in financial instruments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies to earn profits that are in conformity with the precepts of Sharia.
The initial subscription period of the fund is from January 10, 2013 to February 10, 2013 and the subscription is open to all nationalities. Elaborating about the fund, Ali Mohammed Juma, chief executive said, "We are pleased to announce the launch of the first Sharia-compliant fund in Oman. This Fund is coming in response to the increasing demand in Sharia-compliant options in different markets for investments and savings, for government and semi government organisations, corporates, institutions and individuals."
"In addition, GCC economies have been enjoying strong factors qualifying these as promising investment markets. Vision Real Economy GCC Fund that was launched in April 2010 has achieved more than 20 per cent returns since inception, which is a clear reflection of the potential of GCC economies in the region," he added.
Mustafa Ahmed Jaffer, executive director, said, "In the past, Sharia-compliant equities and asset classes were perceived as an investment vehicle only for the growing class of people who practice Islam in specific countries. However, this opinion is fast changing, as securities that are in compliance with Sharia principles have outperformed the broader markets consistently over a period of time with lower volatility."
"A rapid growth of Shariah compliant assets in the world, particularly during the global economic crisis in 2008, stands testimony to the confidence among investors and stakeholders on the positive aspects of investing on the principles of Islamic finance," he added.
The global Shariah-compliant Asset Under Management (AUM) grew by 7.6 per cent to $58 billion in 2010, up from $53.9 billion in 2009, according to Ernst & Young Islamic Funds & Investments Report.
The nature of business and control obliged under the aegis of Sharia principles has paved way to shield the investors' capital better than that of the global and regional conventional investments.
"This makes an attractive investment case not only for investors focused on Islamic products but also conventional investors (both institutions & individuals) who are seeking capital appreciation with lower risk," he added.
Commenting on the initial response to the Fund, Rajesh Venkiteswaran, fund manager stated that as the first Fund exclusively investing in Sharia-compliant assets of GCC; Vision Al Khair GCC Fund has generated a "good appetite" among institutions, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. He also mentioned that the Fund will aim to distribute dividends based on the yearly performance.