Robert Fleming & Company is planning to launch a global equity fund in the autumn which will be managed according to Islamic principles. The new product, to be called Oasis, will be based in Luxembourg and structured as an open-ended, umbrella fund to allow the development of offshoot products.
The launch date has yet to be announced, and will depend on the speed at which the bank can meet internal requirements to ensure a complete Islamic service and sound return to investors. These include establishing a sharia (Islamic law) supervisory board and developing a marketing network to tap Islamic investors around the world, including those in the Middle East.
The Oasis fund will invest in listed international equities and not only markets in Islamic countries. However, the structure will open the way for additional specialised funds which could have a regional bias.
Fleming has plans in place for an Arab countries equity fund, to be run on conventional lines. The original launch was delayed when the appetite for emerging market stocks was hit by the Mexico crisis at the end of 1994. However, the investment bank says it intends to go ahead with the product as market conditions improve (MEED 10:2:95).