The UK-based PFM Group was due to launch its Islamic equity fund at the start of November, with subscription for its initial $25 million of equity capital open for six weeks.

The fund, called Ibn Khaldun, will be marketed by PFM in the UK and through affiliates in Egypt and Qatar. It will also be sold in Abu Dhabi and Jordan once it gets approvals from regulators, Peter Hall of PFM says (MEED 13:9:96).

The fund would be the fourth Sharia-compatible investment vehicle to be launched this year, following earlier launches by UK-based merchant banks Flemings and Kleinwort Benson – whose fund will target commodities rather than equities – and France’s Banque Nationale de Paris. ‘The total market for funds of this nature is in the order of $1,000 million-2,000 million,’ Hall estimates.

Two members of the PFM fund’s three-man Sharia advisory board are also advisers to the Flemings fund. Hall says PFM hopes that the fact it is employing them as board members with life tenure, as opposed to fixed- term contracts with Flemings, will give its fund additional credibility. ‘The qualification of Islamic acceptability is the main differentiator in this market,’ he says.