Islamic finance awards 2014: NCB Capital
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Islamic finance awards 2014: NCB Capital

Best Islamic fund manager

NCB Capital’s Al Ahli fund range has long made it the biggest Islamic fund manager in the world, but this award has tended to go elsewhere because we have always felt it could do more – chiefly, by creating a mechanism for non-Saudis to access its funds.

Now, however, it has done so, becoming the first Saudi institution to establish a non-Saudi-registered range of funds under the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (Ucits) framework, registered in Ireland. In putting its first two funds on this new platform – a Saudi Arabian equity fund and a GCC equity fund – it has taken the first steps to making Saudi’s Islamic fund management industry, the biggest in the world, accessible to investors globally.

This is an important step. At the time of writing, the Saudi equity market had a market cap of $373 billion, equivalent to half of the Gulf, and nine-tenths of its turnover. But because of restrictions on investment, foreigners tend to have very little exposure to it. This has always seemed something of a waste, and not something that can last indefinitely; the NCB Capital move will be seen as a pivotal moment in years to come.

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