Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hong Kong enters Islamic finance, new U.S. investment from Bahraini Islamic investment bank, profile of founder of Amana Funds

Hong Kong is beginning to work to enter the Islamic financial markets, despite being several years behind nearby Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in the market. The first move the city is taking is to establish an Islamic bond (sukuk) market to challenge Malaysia, which has been leading the way, particularly within the Asian market.

Sukuk issuance worth $10 billion will likely be relaunched in 2008 including issues by Tamweel and Amlak Finance, two UAE finance companies who delayed their sukuk issuance because of the global credit crisis that began in August 2007.

A Bahraini-based Islamic investment bank Unicorn Investment Bank has purchased a U.S. microchip firm, Open-Silicon, Inc.

The San Jose Mercury News has a good profile of Nicolas Kaiser, the founder of the Amana Funds, the largest Shari'ah-compliant mutual funds in the U.S. by total assets under management.

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