Islamic Banking

First Islamic Exchange-Traded MENA Index Trackers

Nick Parmee, 28 September 2007

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The Swiss subsidiary of asset manager Liechtensteinische Landesbank and ABN Amro have teamed up to launch the first Islamic exchange-traded index trackers linked to the performance of the LLB Middle East and North Africa indexes. The Islamic Certificates have been listed on the SWX Swiss exchange; ABN Amro will provide intra-day liquidity subject to a bid-offer spread.

The indices provide a transparent benchmark for Shariah-compliant investors who wish to gain exposure to the MENA region, which has been largely unaffected by global market turmoil this year.

The underlying equity universe has passed a series of Islamic filters to ensure Shariah-compliance and was approved by the ABN Amro Sharia board. One of the main features of the stock screening process is that it selects companies with low leverage of debt. In a distressed credit environment, low gearing ratios would be expected to have a positive influence on overall share price performance.

Products linked to the LLB index family have attracted over $800 million in 2007 to date, primarily via capital protected notes purchased by risk-averse investors.

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