Prestige Funds launches dedicated Islamic impact fund for UK agri and renewables financing

Prestige Funds, a UK-based specialist private debt investment manager, has launched the ‘Premium Alziraea Fund’, a Shariah-compliant real assets and project financing fund targeted at the renewables and agriculture sector in the UK.

The new Cayman Islands-domiciled Fund will invest in a diversified portfolio of secured asset and project-based finance projects many of which may be or are backed by the UK Government. The Fund’s strategy has a low correlation to equity, bond or commodity markets.

The Fund will be investing across a broad portfolio of projects and small businesses with a focus on UK agricultural, horticultural and rural small businesses which have historically operated with lower defaults than other sectors.

The Fund will operate as an open-ended vehicle although it will have a one year lock up and monthly liquidity on 90-180 days. The Fund will be aimed at Islamic institutional investors looking to diversify their investment portfolios and will be available in accumulation and distribution share classes in GBP/USD/EUR currencies. The target asset raise in year one will be USD50-75 million, although the current investible opportunity pipeline stands at GBP500-700m/USD685/960 million over the next one-three years.

The Premium Alziraea Fund will follow a similar project/financing investment strategy managed by Prestige Fund Management which has generated positive, consistent, uncorrelated returns for over 12 years and has approximately USD 750 million of asset under management.

The Premium Alziraea Fund leverages the combined expertise of both the Prestige group and the considerable team of rural infrastructure financing experts at Prestige’s dedicated, specialist Finance Arranger - Privilege Finance.

Based in Cambridge, England, Privilege draws on a team of almost 60 people with extensive commercial banking backgrounds and represents a considerable centre of expertise for agricultural/renewable energy and waste to energy financing.

Privilege already backs one of the largest portfolios of on-farm clean energy projects in the UK in what is a small and specialist financing market. It is recognised as an expert in the field of bringing biogas projects online and is an active member of the UK Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association.

“Premium Alziraea is our first Islamic - Impact financing product and is targeting an exceptionally important part of the UK economy at a critical time in its ongoing development,” says Craig Reeves, founder of the Prestige group. “Our portfolios often finance landowners who are taking food, farm and animal waste and turning it into bio-gas and electricity, projects in turn supported by the UK government.”

Prestige Funds has now raised over USD2 billion internationally for its range of alternative finance funds: it is active in the SME market in the UK and the US and has developed a huge amount of in-house expertise in terms of managing financing for the important UK smaller companies market. The SME sector in the UK accounts for over 99 per cent of the jobs in the UK economy.

The Fund’s Shariah advisor is Sheikh Dr Mohamed Ali Elgari, former Professor of Islamic Economics and a former Director of the Center for Research in Islamic Economics at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is a member of numerous Shariah Boards of Islamic banks and Takaful companies worldwide.

Prestige has retained Dubai based, Kroma Capital Partners as its Middle East Distribution Partner.

The Premium Alziraea Fund will target capital appreciation of 5-7 per cent per annum (net) with target annualised volatility of 1 per cent and will operates without using leverage or performance fees.