Major global index provider Dow Jones Indexes said on Monday it had opened its first Middle East office in Dubai in a bid to boost its coverage of the region and Islamic finance sector.
The Middle East office will offer and promote all the major Dow Jones Indexes, including the Dow Jones Islamic Market, to its clients in the region, Dow Jones told ArabianBusiness.com at the International Islamic Finance Forum (IIFF) in Dubai.
"Dow Jones Indexes pioneered the Islamic index space by launching the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes (DJIM) in 1999," said Michael A. Petronella, president of Dow Jones on Monday.
"Dubai is the premier gateway to the Middle East and is well-recognised for its role in Islamic finance and our new office confirms our commitment to clients in the region."
Owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Dow Jones Indexes develop and license over 130,00 indexes across 58 countries, with its best known being the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Sumeet Nihalani, Dow Jones' senior director of sales for the region, said that the new office will be headed by Imran Vohra but will also come under the command of Rushdi Siddiqui, global director of Islamic market indexes.
"The Middle East office is our way of getting closer to our customers and to address their needs in an effective manner," said Nihalani to ArabianBusiness.com at IIFF.
"Our present clients in the region include all the major international banks and Islamic banks."
Dow Jones Indexes, which currently have total annual revenues of $80 million, launched the Dow Jones Islamic Market (DJIM) Indexes as the first ever index family to measure equities that pass industry and financial ratio screens for Sharia-compliance.
The index family includes more than 70 regional, country and industry indexes derived fromt the flagship Dow Jones Islamic Market World Index, and is supervised by a six-member Sharia-board.
Dow Jones' main index provider competitors FTSE and Standard & Poor's both have Islamic financ sector indexes, including the FTSE Shariah Global Equity Index Series launched in 2008 and Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) smaller suite of Islamic indexes launced in 2007.
"We've had first-move advantage in the Islamic finance sector and as a result don't have much competition," Nihalani told ArabianBusiness.com.
New Islamic indexes covering different asset classes and across different regions are currently being developed by Dow Jones, he added.
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