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Mena's leading funds maintain top ranking in first quarter.

MUSCAT: Zawya, the leading online provider of business intelligence on the Middle East and North African (Mena) region, yesterday announced its new quarterly Funds Ranking results for the first quarter of 2011.

Zawya Funds Ranking is the first and only independent ranking system in the region, addressing the rising demand for accurate information, unbiased research and analysis, as well as increased transparency in the Mena funds industry.

Two new categories

This quarter, 11 funds succeeded in maintaining their leading positions on top of the ranking, while the 10 other categories all have new funds in first place.

The first quarter in 2011 ranking consists of 15 conventional and six Islamic categories, a total of 21, an increase from last quarter's 19 categories.

Two new categories have been added - Egypt Balanced Conventional and Egypt Equity Islamic.

Among the top-ranked funds in the first quarter of 2011, conventional categories include Al Mal UAE Equity Fund in the UAE Equity conventional category, Markaz Arabian Fund in the Mena Equity conventional category, Gulf Gate Fund in the GCC Equity conventional category, Al Arabi Saudi Equity Fund in the Saudi Arabia Equity conventional category, NBK Qatar Equity Fund in the Qatar Equity conventional category, and Arab African International Bank Investment Fund in the Egypt Equity conventional category.

Top-ranked funds in the Islamic categories include: Tharwa Islamic Fund in the Kuwait Equity Islamic category, Saudi Riyal Commodity Mudaraba Fund in the Saudi Arabia Trade Finance Islamic category, and Jadwa GCC Equity Fund in the GCC Equity Islamic category.

Josiane Assaad, product manager of mutual funds at Zawya, commented: "Zawya Funds Ranking is the only ranking of its kind in the region and has been a game-changer for the industry, where it benefits both fund managers and investment professionals.

Islamic funds

As the regional funds industry is now under more scrutiny, fund performance remains key but transparency is also a vital component."

In the first quarter, 13 funds - eight conventional and five Islamic - were launched in Mena. Interestingly, all GCC-focused new funds were Islamic, highlighting both the sustained growth of Islamic finance and the region's leadership and expertise in this sector. Equity funds have the largest share of new launches with four funds (two conventional, two Islamic), followed by balanced funds with three (all conventional).

The Mena funds industry registered $64.5 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of the first quarter of 2011 for funds domiciled in the region. With a total of 243 domiciled funds, Saudi Arabia continues to lead the way with $23.7 billion in AUM followed by Morocco with $13.2 billion and Kuwait with $8.9 billion.

Compared to the previous quarter, only two countries posted net funds inflow: Jordan ($1.6 million) and Oman ($1.3 million). All others showed net outflow. Of the 12 sampled asset types, five posted net inflow, while the rest showed net outflow. Fixed Income funds had the largest net inflow with $139 million, while Trade Finance funds were the bigger losers with net outflow of $1.52 billion.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2011

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Jul 12, 2011
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