Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain (FIBB) is finalising plans to launch an Islamic global equity fund, which will be the first in a range of vehicles initiated under an offshore umbrella investment company.

The open-ended fund will be marketed worldwide, with a particular focus on the Gulf.

The global equity fund will invest in equities in developed markets, such as the US, Europe and Japan, as well as in some emerging markets. FIBB is in negotiations with several fund managers to provide investment advice. However, overall management of the fund will remain the responsibility of FIBB’s in-house fund management team. To ensure all investments comply with Islamic law, the fund will be supervised by FIBB’s sharia council.

FIBB has recently launched two other Islamic funds. The closed-end Faysal Saudi Real Estate Fund was oversubscribed when the SR 100 million ($27 million) issue was opened to investors in December. The bank has also launched the GCC Trading Fund, which will target trade and trade-related investments within the Gulf. The openended fund raised about $10 million at the initial closing, but expects to raise up to $50 million. The banks says that both funds will seek a listing, probably in Bahrain, in the future.

FIBB is 60 per cent owned by Genevabased Dar al-Maal al-Islami, and 40 per cent owned by mainly Saudi Arabian interests.