The largely-fragmented Islamic fund management industry will welcome more global players as demand for sharia-compliant asset management products rise, a fund manager at Algebra Capital said on Wednesday.
The asset management portion of Islamic finance has been at a virtual standstill in the $1 trillion industry, in part, due to its perception of yielding poorer returns than conventional funds.
"We think the type of players in Islamic funds is going to change and more established global managers will play a direct role," Mohieddine Kronfol, managing director at Algebra Capital told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.
"The environment is better and people have begun to appreciate the need for such products," he said.
The Dubai-based asset management firm was in the process of developing additional funds along with its partners, including a global sukuk fund to tap into rising demand, Kronfol said.
"These don't necessarily have to be in our names. It will be someone else launching it and advising the work to us. It most probably will not be an Algebra Capital fund," he said.
The executive also said he expected the wave of debt issues in the region to continue as the need for additional sources of funding and demand for emerging market debt instruments among global investors increase.
"People generally are not really aware of how quickly the MENA bond market is developing," Kronfol said.
"You have several companies in the region that are well managed, that can access capital markets and that can think about diversifying their means of funding."
Global asset manager Franklin Templeton holds a 40 percent stake in Algebra and the Dubai-based firm runs the Middle East North Africa equity fund for the global asset manager.