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Franklin Templeton Investments launches Shariah-compliant funds

Franklin Templeton Investments has launched three Shariah-compliant, Luxembourg-domiciled SICAV funds aimed at investors seeking investments that follow Islamic investing principles.

"We've seen growing interest in Shariah compliant-investment products driven by the need for portfolio diversification as well as the economic appeal of Islamic investing principles," says Vijay Advani, executive vice president of global advisory services for Franklin Templeton. "With the launch of these new funds, Franklin Templeton brings to bear its specialised expertise and extensive global resources to offer a wide range of strategies aligned with Shariah principles."
The following three funds will be available to international investors from 25 March 2013.
The Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk Fund is managed by Mohieddine (Dino) Kronfol, Dubai-based chief investment officer for MENA Fixed Income and Global Sukuk, and Stephen Dover, international chief investment officer of Franklin Templeton Local Asset Management Group. The fund focuses on fixed and floating rate Shariah-compliant securities issued by government, government-related and corporate entities. The fund may include both investment-grade and non-investment grade securities and allocations to developed and emerging markets. The fund's portfolio team is one of the most experienced in the MENASIA region and has been managing Sukuk investment since 2008.
The Templeton Shariah Global Equity Fund, managed by Alan Chua, executive vice president, lead portfolio manager and research analyst with Templeton Global Equity Group, leverages the group's worldwide value expertise in a fund that seeks to invest in the most undervalued opportunities globally regardless of country, benchmark or style.
The Templeton Shariah Asia Growth Fund is managed by Mark Mobius, executive chairman, and supported by Dennis Lim and Allan Lam, senior managing directors and portfolio managers of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group. The fund is designed to uncover compelling opportunities in the largest emerging markets in the world by investing at least 80 per cent of its net assets in securities of companies located in the Asia region (excluding Australia, New Zealand and Japan).
As of 31 December 2012, Franklin Templeton managed over USD1bn in Shariah-compliant assets for a wide range of clients globally. The Sukuk mandates draw on the company's dedicated Shariah investing expertise in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, while equity mandates draw on the focused investment expertise of specialised teams that manage a wide range of strategies, including global, regional and local equities. Franklin Templeton is also one of the few foreign asset managers to have stand-alone Shariah operations in Malaysia, the world's largest issuer of Sukuk.
All three Franklin Templeton Shariah funds are independently reviewed and endorsed by the Amanie International Shariah Supervisory Board, highly regarded for its extensive Shariah and technical understanding. The Amanie Scholars provide initial approval on investment objectives and strategy, as well as on going supervisory and monitoring services to ensure continuous adherence to internationally accepted Shariah principles and standards.
Mohieddine (Dino) Kronfol, portfolio manager of the Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk Fund, says: "Islamic investors are seeking greater diversification, and exposure to Sukuk can reduce volatility while adding value to any Shariah-compliant equity or real estate portfolio. Franklin Templeton has been managing institutional Sukuk strategies for several years so we're excited to be offering this asset class to a broader audience through a new SICAV fund. Notably, our Global Sukuk fund is the first fund in this essential category ever launched in the UCITS space." 

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