Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB) has launched the first fund to give GCC citizens the opportunity to invest in stock markets in the Gulf, North Africa and the Levant. The initial closing for the NCB Arab Equity Fund is at the end of October, but the open-ended structure will allow investors to join at a later date.

The fund will start investing in listed securities and initial private offerings at the start of November, in eight markets that are open to GCC citizens. They are Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia. However, NCB plans to include other Arab League countries as the opportunities arise.

The minimum subscription is $5,000, and the subscription fee has been waived for initial investors. There is also no redemption fee. The main objective of the fund is to achieve annual returns above the average returns of the Arab stock markets indices, and will mainly attract the long-term investor.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (central bank) has given its approval, although the fund will be registered offshore. The custodian bank is State Street Bank, in the US.