WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Cesar Tordesillas, Singapore

BNP Paribas sets up Islamic fund group in Malaysia

After BNP Paribas Investment Partners (BNPP IP) was recently granted approval by the Securities Commission to set up an Islamic Fund Management company, it wasted no time in solidifying its presence in the Islamic market by launching its Islamic asset management group in Malaysia.

The launch of BNP Paribas Islamic Asset Management Malaysia Sdn Bhd strengthens BNPP IP's development of its Islamic offer, especially in the Middle East and Asia through: partnerships, like SAIB BNP Paribas Asset Management, in Saudi Arabia; the launch of dedicated Islamic products, like the BNP Paribas Islamic Equity Optimiser Funds, EasyETF DJ Islamic Market Titans 100; advising i-VCap Sdn Bhd on the listing of MyETF Dow Jones Islamic market Malaysia Titans 25, Asia's first Islamic ETF; and developing expertise in Sukuk and Murabaha, recently launching a private placement fund combining both.

"We are always eager to respond to our clients' needs and we noticed that many investors were looking for products to invest in that would fit their beliefs," said Vincent Trouillard-Perrot, Chief Executive Officer at BNP Paribas Investment Partners – Asia. "We thus aim to give access to a full pallet of Sharia-compliant asset management products and this licence will enable us to do so, especially as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia are two major markets regarding Islamic investments. Together these countries comprise 48 percent of Islamic funds and 61 percent of their assets."

Malaysia, in particular, was promoted by the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) as a major hub for international Islamic finance as early as August 2006. Meanwhile, BNPP IP has been successfully developing a significant presence in asset management in Malaysia since January 2007, when BNPP AM Malaysia Sdn Bhd was set up. This was eased by the MIFC, which established supportive measures enabling foreign financial institutions to use Malaysia as a platform for Islamic finance activities.

Angelia Chin, head of the Malaysian business and head of Islamic Business Development, Asia, noted, "BNP Paribas Islamic Asset Management Malaysia will be the regional Islamic hub for BNP Paribas Investment Partners in Asia. We are very happy to welcome its newly appointed Executive Director, Hisham Abdul Rahim. The entity will greatly benefit from his 12 years of experience in the financial services industry, including Islamic Finance and Asset Management. This is a unique opportunity to complement our existing business model and strengthen the promotion of our Islamic capabilities."

Vincent Camerlynck, global head of business development at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, concluded: "We are very pleased to be awarded a license for Islamic fund management in Malaysia, as Islamic investments as well as the South East Asia region both represent strategic priorities not only for us at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, but indeed for the BNP Paribas Group. We remain fully committed to accompanying Malaysia and, more broadly, the Islamic finance industry, as they grow. It is a privilege for us to be in a position to help build bridges between Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia, leveraging our global experience in the Islamic investment space."

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