Islamic assets have been on the rise, driven by greater issuance of sukuk, or Islamic bonds. Last year saw a new record for Islamic debt issuance globally, 77% of which emanated from Malaysia.
But while the global bond market stands at $100 trillion, the sukuk market is still tiny by comparison, at just $100 billion. It is this room for growth that industry participants are eager to capitalise on.
In our March edition, AsianInvestor launches its first ever ranking of sharia-compliant investment managers. According to our findings, the top 50 by AUM have combined assets of $72.9 billion, split fairly evenly between equities and fixed income/money market/sukuk, with the remaining 10% or less in Islamic private equity and other alternatives.
Malaysia has become the global hub for Islamic debt issuance and unsurprisingly there are four Malaysian fund houses in our top 10 by assets, followed by Saudi Arabia with three. Perhaps more surprisingly, a South African firm figures in the list (in fact, there are three in the top 50).
Zainal Izlan, executive director for Islamic capital markets at Malaysia's Securities Commission, notes that beyond Malaysia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are important centres.
But he adds that corporates from France to Japan can participate in this market. "Even if your domestic market does not have a big Muslim population, you can issue sukuk and offer it globally and it will be taken up," Izlan says.
As a snapshot, here we list the top 10 Islamic fund houses by assets. For a more in-depth look at the industry and for the full list of the top 50, please see AsianInvestor magazine's March edition.