Malaysian retail investors have committed $96 million to a range of eight Sharia funds managed by Prudential Fund Management Berhad (PFMB), a unit of Prudential Asset Management.

PFMB, which is among the largest foreign players in MalaysiaÆs fund management industry, is the newly established worldwide hub for all of PrudentialÆs Islamic investments. PFMB manages over $242 million in both domestic and offshore Sharia funds.

The eight Sharia funds include: Prudana al ilham, Prudana al-islah, Prudana dinamik, Prudana wafi, PruIslamic fixed income wholesale fund, PruIslamic income fund, PruShariah FX fund, and the PruAsia-Pacific Shariah fund.

The Prudana al ilham or Islamic equity fund invests in a diversified portfolio of Sharia-compliant equity and equity-related securities that are considered to be undervalued, with good growth potential.

The Prudana al-islah or Islamic fixed income fund invests in a portfolio of Islamic fixed income and Sharia-compliant equity securities, with more bonds than equities at all times.

The Prudana dinamik or Islamic asset allocation fund invests in a diversified portfolio of Sharia-compliant equity and equity-related securities. For defensive considerations, the fund invests in a mix of Sharia-compliant equities, Islamic debentures, and Islamic money market instruments depending on the short-term and long-term market outlook.

The Prudana wafi or Islamic bond fund invests in a portfolio of Islamic fixed income securities, primarily in a portfolio of Islamic debentures with a minimum credit rating of BBB or P3 by rating agency Malaysia or its equivalent.

The PruIslamic fixed income wholesale fund invests in a portfolio of Islamic fixed income securities, specifically for individual clients.

The PruIslamic income fund invests in a portfolio of Islamic money market instruments and other short-term Islamic debt instruments.

The PruShariah FX fund is a structured product that invests at least 90% of the capital raised during the offer period in a Malaysian ringgit-denominated Islamic structured product issued by OCBC Bank Malaysia. The balance of the capital raised during the offer period is held in the form of cash and other liquid assets to meet the fund's operating expenses. The structured product consists of two components û ringgit-denominated, Sharia-compliant financial instruments such as Islamic money market instruments or Islamic fixed income securities; and Arboon-based over the counter Islamic options on a set of Sharia-compliant stocks linked to the performance of three baskets of foreign currencies. Arboon refers to a sale agreement in which a security deposit is provided in advance as part payment towards the price of the commodity; the deposit is forfeited if the buyer does not meet his obligation.

The PruAsia-Pacific Shariah fund seeks medium- to long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in undervalued companies with potential for re-rating in the Asia-Pacific ex-Japan region. A company may be re-rated for example, when it secures a large/substantial contract or a likelihood of an expansion of price-earning ratio. The Fund has the flexibility to pick stocks across countries and industries that comply with the Sharia requirements and include, but are not limited to, Sharia-compliant Asia Pacific equities quoted on recognized Asia Pacific ex-Japan exchanges.

ôHaving fund management operations in 10 countries in Asia-Pacific allows us to leverage our network to obtain local market insight and select and invest
in companies with good fundamentals,ö says PFMB chief executive Mark Toh, referring to the PruAsia-Pacific Shariah fund.

Prudential Asset Management is the Asia fund management business of Prudential plc. It manages assets on behalf of retail and institutional investors across the region, as well as for life and pension products sold by Prudential plc and Prudential Corporation Asia. With $66 billion in assets under management, Prudential Asset Management operates in 10 markets in Asia: China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.