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Mon 18 Feb 2008 02:05 PM

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Islamic equity funds see rapid growth

Market has tripled to US$20 billion in past five years, research shows.

The Islamic equity funds industry has grown to around US$20 billion in assets under management, according to research released on Monday.

Failaka Advisors, a fund monitoring company, said that Islamic equity funds had grown rapidly in recent years, driven by GCC investors.

Tariq Al-Rifai, chairman of Failaka, said: "The size of this market has tripled over the past five years."

Funds investing in the GCC market represent more than half of the entire Islamic equity fund industry.

Saudi Arabian funds and fund managers dominate the industry, accounting for nearly 75 funds out of around 300 Islamic equity funds worldwide.

Bahrain has become the favoured centre for fund registrations in the Gulf, with institutions such as Kuwait's Global Investment House and Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank having established fund management operations there recently.

Failaka reported that in 2007 the best performing Islamic equity fund managed in the GCC was Saudi British Bank's Amanah GCC Equity fund, which delivered a return of 83.2%.

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