Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thai SET to launch Shariah 50 index

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is planning to launch a Shariah 50 index early next quarter before going on a roadshow to the Middle East in the second half, reports a Thai newspaper.
The index would combine 50 listed stocks, making up 47% of the SET's market capitalisation, that are compatible with Islamic law, reports The Nation.
It quoted Santi Kiranand, head of market development, as saying that SET and FTSE have jointly developed the Shariah index while the selection of the 50 firms was performed by the Yasaar Committee.
The roadshow would touch down in Qatar, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi, with the aim to attract petrodollars from the Middle East to the SET.
"Many countries in Asia have been active in launching Shariah indexes including Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan," Santi said. Just over two years ago, Bursa Malaysia Bhd (Bursa Malaysia), in collaboration with global index provider FTSE Group (FTSE) launched the FTSE Bursa Malaysia EMAS Shariah index on Jan 22, 2007.
The index was designed to provide investors with a broad benchmark for Shariah compliant investment for the Malaysian market. When launched two years ago, it took the constituents of the FTSE Bursa Malaysia EMAS Index, which has been free float weighted and liquidity screened, and overlays the Securities Commission's Shariah Advisory Council's (SAC) screening methodology to derive an 'investable and transparent' Shariah compliant index.
As at Nov 28, 2008, there were 855 Shariah compliant securities as determined by the Shariah Advisory Council (SAC) of the Securities Commission (SC). This represented 87% of the total listed securities or 64.3% of the market capitalisation on Bursa Malaysia.
In neighbouring Bangkok, the newspaper reported that at least two or three asset management companies have shown interest in launching funds investing in stocks in the Shariah index. One operation thought behind the launch of the fund is to position it as a product that asset management companies could use to draw funding from investors in the Middle East.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Feb 25, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

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