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Oman’s first Islamic Investment Fund launched

The first Islamic Investment Fund in the Sultanate of Oman, “Gheras Fund”, was launched here yesterday, November 20, 2023, under the auspices of Abdullah bin Salim al Salmi, Executive President of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).


The fund, launched by Imam Jabir bin Zaid Waqf Foundation, will be the first of its kind to list on the Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX), and the subscription for its IPO will run from December 17 – December 21, and will be open to private and public Waqf institutions and agents.


Speaking to the media, Younis al Souli, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, explained the idea behind the fund, “The general idea of the fund and its operational objective is to address the urgent need for investing Waqf assets and deviating from the conventional approach of investing solely in real estate and similar avenues within the endowment sector. This necessity was genuinely recognized during conferences and gatherings, emphasizing the crucial need to explore alternative methods for diversifying income sources.” According to Al Souli, the fund will be valued at around RO 50 million.


“We aim to reach RO 50 million, but the fund is ultimately open-ended, as the capital is substantial. I am not referring to a specific capital, as this fund is like an endowment investment portfolio. The goal we aspire to achieve is reaching RO 50 million,” he shared.


The investments of the fund will be managed by Ubhar Capital, while the collection of the funds will be done by Sohar Islamic Bank.


Chief Executive Officer of Ubhar Capital, Abdulaziz Khalifa al Saadi, shared that the fund will revolutionize the way Waqf institutions approach investments.


“This fund is expected to serve as a crucial catalyst in changing the investment approach of Waqf institutions,” he said. “I believe that the fund will be a significant addition, providing an investment platform for both private and public Waqf institutions, as well as Waqf shares. This fund will bring about a change in the perspective of investment, characterized by sustainability, continuity, governance, transparency, exit capability, and distribution.” Additionally, Al Saadi believes that the Fund will promote inclusivity. “The Waqf Fund targets all private and public Waqf institutions, in addition to Waqf agents, who are welcome to join the fund. The Waqf units are owned by Waqf institutions, allowing contributors to participate by allocating or purchasing units and designating them for specific Waqf institutions based on the contributor’s intention.” Assistant Portfolio Manager at Ubhar Capital, Mohammed Khalifa al Subhi, further highlighted the significance of the Gheras Fund. “The Gheras Fund will be the first of its kind as an endowment fund in the Sultanate diverging from traditional endowments. The main purpose of the Gheras Fund is to serve not only a specific type of endowment, like what we have in the region. “[Instead] the Gheras Fund will be very comprehensive, serving not only orphans and the ill but also aiding in the establishment of mosques and other types of endowments. The asset classes of the fund will include Sharia-compliant fixed income instruments along with Sharia-compliant stocks.” Furthermore, Al Subhi underscored what distinguishes the Fund from other endowment funds.


“What distinguishes the Gheras Fund as an endowment fund is its liquidity. It will be involved in the capital markets, unlike the traditional ways of endowments. As the asset manager of the Fund, Uhbar Capital, we will allocate those funds in fixed income instruments along with equities. All of these investments will be Sharia-compliant.” The Islamic finance sector in Oman has witnessed measurable growth over the past few years. In an earlier interview with the Observer last month, CMA Executive Vice-President Ahmed Ali al Maamari shared that Authority is in the process of finalizing the issuance of new regulatory frameworks for Islamic Bonds (Sukuk), and Islamic financial capital private equity funds.









Oman Daily Observer