Islamic finance awards 2013: CIMB-Principal
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Islamic finance awards 2013: CIMB-Principal

Best Islamic fund manager

CIMB-Principal is not the biggest fund manager in Islamic finance; that’s the Al Ahli business within Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank. It’s not even the biggest Islamic mutual fund manager in Malaysia, a title held by Public Mutual. But it stands out for being at the forefront of efforts to make Islamic asset management international.

This stands to reason: it was the first licensee under the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre, which exists specifically to make Malaysia a hub of international Islamic capital, and it combines the smartest bank in Malaysia with the global reach of Principal Financial Group. Launched only in 2008 in the middle of the financial crisis, it had $1.13 billion under management as of October 31 2012, having grown 45.6% in the previous 12 months alone.

It is most visible on the mutual fund and product development side. Through the broader CIMB-Principal venture, 21 products are offered to individual investors; through CIMB-Principal Islamic itself, there is a focus on global equity, regional Asian equity, global sukuk and regional Asian sukuk.

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