Franklin Templeton launches new Shariah retail funds in Singapore
Franklin Templeton Investments has launched three new Shariah-compliant funds in Singapore. The three Funds – Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk Fund, Templeton Shariah Global Equity Fund and Templeton Shariah Asian Growth Fund – are sub-funds of the recently-launched Franklin Templeton Shariah Funds umbrella domiciled in Luxembourg.
The portfolio team that manages the Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk Fund are led 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 Global Sukuk Fund focusses 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 developing markets.
Commenting on the Global Sukuk Fund, Kronfol said: “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.”
The Templeton Shariah Global Equity Fund, managed by Alan Chua, executive vice president, 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.
Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, manages the Templeton Shariah Asian Growth Fund, which is designed to uncover compelling opportunities in the world’s largest emerging markets by investing primarily in Shariah-compliant equity and equity-related securities listed on recognized exchanges in capital markets in the Asia region (excluding Australia, New Zealand and Japan). Mobius is supported by Dennis Lim and Allan Lam, senior managing directors and portfolio managers of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group.
Mobius said, “Shariah-compliant strategies are an important and growing market in many parts of the developing world, and Templeton is pleased to bring its emerging markets expertise to bear on this new offering for Shariah investors globally.”
As of 31 December 2012, Franklin Templeton managed over US$1 billion in Shariah-compliant assets for a wide range of clients globally, and ranked among the top 15 Islamic asset managers worldwide. The sukuk strategies draw on the company’s dedicated Shariah investing expertise in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, while equity strategies leverage the focused investment expertise of specialized teams that manage a wide range of strategies, including global, regional and local equities.
“For several years now, Franklin Templeton has built a growing capability and reputation in Southeast Asia managing Shariah assets for prestigious institutional clients,” said Stephen Grundlingh, co-CEO at Templeton Asset Management in Singapore and Regional Head, Southeast Asia. “The addition of these three new funds now brings that expertise and offering to retail investors in the region.” 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-compliant 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.