London-based Royal Bank of Canada Investment Management will launch a $25 million Lebanese investment fund with the Beirut finance house Capital Investment Services (CIS) in mid-December. The fund, called International Lebanese Investment Account, will give international investors the opportunity to tap the Lebanese market.

It will initially invest up to 15 per cent in the Lebanese fixed income and equities market, including treasury-linked securities and shares in the property company Solidere. The rest will be placed in securities in the US, Europe, Japan, the Far East and Latin America. The Lebanese portion will increase once the Beirut Stock Exchange starts trading.

The fund will target mainly Lebanese and other Arab investors, who will be offered a growth portfolio, a balanced portfolio and an income portfolio. It is the first structured product to include Lebanese paper and international fixed income securities. All assets within each account will be held in custody by the Lebanese clearing house MIDCLEAR.

CIS has been active in the Beirut market for two years. It has worked on several issues of Lebanese paper with Credit Lyonnais, Paribas Capital Markets and Banque Indosuez. CIS chairman Khalil Kikano was formerly vice- president of Royal Bank of Canada in London.