Malaysia fund house Maybank Asset Management has chosen Standard Chartered as its trustee for the first sharia-compliant fund that has been approved for Asean passporting.

The Maybank Bosera Greater China Asean Equity I-Fund was approved by the Securities Commission of Malaysia for distribution under the Asean Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) in March. The fund was subsequently launched for sale in the Malaysian market in April.

Under the Asean CIS scheme launched in 2013, fund managers operating in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand can distribute their fund products in the three markets through a more streamlined process.

Asked when the fund would be passported, a Maybank AM spokeswoman said the firm was still gauging market demand and had not yet applied to Singapore and Thailand regulators. The fund could be made available later this year or in 2016, she noted.

Maybank AM has two funds from its Singapore office that are also waiting to be passported in Malaysia and Thailand. But the contract with StanChart only covers Maybank AM Malaysia.

Under the terms of the contract with StanChart, the latter will provide fund servicing solutions that include global trustee services and Islamic banking solutions.

This is StanChart’s first trustee mandate under the Asean passporting scheme.

In a statement, Margaret Harwood-Jones, head of investors and intermediaries for transaction banking at StanChart, said:  “With a global Muslim population of over 2 billion and conventional investors looking for safe alternative investment schemes, the growth opportunities for this market versus the conventional banking fund market are tremendous.”

StanChart said the Islamic wealth management market is currently valued at more than $60 billion in AUM and expected to reach $77 billion by 2019.

“Our relationship with Maybank AM will allow both parties to fully benefit from the Asean funds passport scheme’s strong cross-border inflows and, ultimately, offer a more diversified portfolio of investment options to Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai investors,” Harwood-Jones said.

She added that the fund is expected to be widely distributed across retail markets in not just Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, but also across the vast StanChart footprint.

Additionally, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bank Trustee Berhad (SCBMB Trustee Berhad) and Standard Chartered Bank Singapore will be working together with several of Maybank AM’s subsidiaries to provide custody and fund services out of Singapore, and a trustee for their new feeder fund in Malaysia.