Emirates Investment Services was formed on 1 April as a merger between Emirates Bank’s asset management business and similar operations run by Emirates Financial Services, another subsidiary of Emirates Bank. It now has about $1bn in assets under management in six sharia-compliant funds and six conventional funds.

Emirates Investment Services operates from the Dubai International Financial Centre and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

In November it launched Emirates Islamic Equity Trading Fund, a $30m sharia-compliant equity fund and the first in-house global equity fund launched through Emirates Funds, the bank’s sharia-compliant fund company domiciled in Jersey. It is being run in strategic partnership with Old Mutual Asset Managers of the UK.

Emirates Investment Services will also soon launch the Emirates Islamic Global Real Estate Fund, its seventh sharia-compliant fund, which will raise about $20m. It is being run in partnership with New Star of the UK.

Deon Vernooy, head of asset management at Emirates Investment Services says he hopes to increase funds under management by at least 20 per cent in 2008 as part of its aim to be the largest GCC-based asset manager. “We may also add one or two more funds, especially on the regional side,” he says.

Vernooy says that GCC equity markets have reached a turning point. “We believe there are some strong fundamentals here,” he says. “We expect valuations to grow reasonably from now on.”

The merger of Emirates and NBD was approved by the shareholders of both banks in the summer of 2007.