Malaysia's Maybank launches Islamic asset management unit

Reuters

By Bernardo Vizcaino

LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Malaysia's Malayan Banking Bhd, the country's largest lender, has launched an Islamicasset management unit to cater to growing investor appetite forsharia-compliant investment products.

The Islamic asset management sector is gradually making acomeback after years of stagnation, having seen a total of 88funds liquidated globally in the past two years as slumpingequity markets reduced investor interest.

Firms such as Britain's Threadneedle Investments, whichset-up in Malaysia this month, now plan Islamic funds thatscreen their portfolios following religious guidelines such asbans on tobacco, alcohol and gambling.

The new unit would leverage the Maybank group's network ofbusiness lines, which range from consumer banking to Islamicinsurance, as well as its geographical presence across Asia.

"The missing link within the Maybank group is Islamic assetmanagement," Nor Azamin Salleh, chief executive of Maybank assetmanagement said on Tuesday.

The new unit aims to launch Asian-themed investment fundsusing a bottom-up investment strategy, with products to bemarketed primarily in Malaysia and Indonesia, Salleh said.

"We are looking at trying to bring an ASEAN plus North Asiaproduct. Our approach is more on the ground, a bottom-upapproach," he said.

Earlier this month, Maybank acquired Indonesian assetmanagement firm PT GMT Aset Manajemen, and it would also exploreopportunities in the Middle East through Maybank InvestmentBank's stake in Saudi Arabia's Anfaal Capital, Salleh added.

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