South African asset management company, the Oasis Group, a leading provider of Islamic and socially responsible investment products, is aggressively expanding its overseas operations and is set to open an office in London later this year as part of its expansion strategy.
“High level financial and business services in South Africa and London share a great deal and are on a fast track for much closer cooperation. I particularly welcome the move by firms such as Oasis Group Holdings to make such links concrete by opening London operations.
This move by the Oasis Group will benefit both South Africa and London,” emphasized Michael Bear, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, at a meeting last week at Mansion House with senior Oasis Group management officials including Chairman, Shaheen Ebrahim; vice chairman and legal counsel, Nazeem Ebrahim; and CEO Adam Ebrahim.
The City of London through it’s initiative by TheCityUK, the independent body promoting UK-wide financial and related professional services, is a keen proponent of promoting London as a top international center for Islamic investment, trade and finance. Earlier this year the Islamic finance sector in the UK received a major structural boost following the integration of the UK Islamic Finance Secretariat (UKIFS), into TheCityUK architecture. UKIFS, which was established in March 2010, is the leading cross-sectoral body assisting with the promotion and development of Islamic Finance, both domestically and to represent the UK industry internationally.
Oasis has been eyeing expansion outside its traditional heartland of southern Africa for some time. In the Middle East it opened an office at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and was in negotiations with potential partners in Saudi Arabia to distribute its pioneering Crescent suite of Islamic investment funds. In Malaysia it tied up with AmInvestment Bank Group.
But the crucial move came in 2003 when it opened an office in Dublin, Ireland followed the establishment of Oasis Global Management Company (Ireland) Ltd., and the approval of the company as an investment manager by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. Today it has six funds listed on the Irish stock exchange including its two flagship funds - the Oasis Global Equity Fund and the Oasis Crescent Global Equity Fund; the Oasis Crescent International Property Equity Feeder Fund; the Oasis Crescent Global Income Fund; the Oasis Crescent Global Low Equity Balanced Fund; and the Oasis Global Money Market Fund. It is these funds that the company plans to offer to the UK market.
“The Oasis Crescent Global Equity Fund, launched in December 2000, is already recognized as the best Islamic Global Equity fund in the world and we have a complete range of funds of a similar quality. We plan to make these funds available to the UK market, where there are at least 2.9 million Muslims,” explains Adam Ebrahim, the chief executive of Oasis.
He remains confident that the Oasis Group is well placed to enter the UK financial market and believes this will be a highly suitable distribution point for Oasis global investment funds. “The United Kingdom and London is currently the heart of global financial services and as such, it makes perfect sense for Oasis to have a direct presence there. Our investment products are already available in the United Kingdom through an investment facilities agent with all the required information,” he added.
Oasis has established itself as the leading provider of Islamic financial services products in the South African market, since opening its doors in July 1997. In fact, last month the group celebrated the 13th birthday of the Oasis Crescent Equity Fund which was launched on Aug. 1, 1998. The fund was originally launched to provide investors with the opportunity to invest in listed equities on both local and international stock exchanges, and as a result of its impressive growth and popularity, the fund has now grown to just under R4.5 billion in size.
Fund manager, Adam Ebrahim emphasizes that he fund is well diversified and as a result investors are not exposed to undue risk. The fund is also exposed to upside potential of equity markets which implies that those investors who are looking for medium to long term investments vehicles should consider investing in this fund.
To date the flagship domestic Oasis Crescent Equity Fund has produced a cumulative return of 1447 percent for its investors and an annualized return of 31.8 percent, which is well in excess of many top performing funds. This, says CEO Adam Ebrahim, is achieved through the disciplined application of Oasis’ investment philosophy of achieving superior returns at lower than market risk.
“We remain committed to creating real long-term wealth for all our clients. Our new and existing investors can rest assured in the knowledge that our products are managed according to a strong moral mandate. In the case of the Oasis Crescent range, this implies that we will maintain the strict Islamic principles which are applied in the management of these funds,” he added.
Since the launch of the Oasis Crescent Equity Fund, the group further launched a range of Shariah-Compliant funds that cater for the needs of Islamic investors. These funds include a range of retirement funds and saving products that give investors access to local equity, balance and property funds as well as global equity property and incomes funds that Oasis manages from their Dublin office
Another flagship fund, the Oasis Crescent Global Equity Fund, according to the Group, has given investors an annualized return of 7.7 percent and a cumulative return of 120.8 percent since it was launched in December 2000. This outperforms the average Shariah global equity peer group by far. For instance, the equivalent annualized return for the Shariah global equity peer group is - (minus) 0.8 percent. Similarly the cumulative return since inception for the peer group was - (minus) 8.3 percent. Today the Oasis Crescent Global Equity Fund has a respectable funds size of $142.1 million which is well above the average of about $50 million for Islamic equity funds.
source: arab news