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Feb 5 2008 | 12:12pm ET
Islamic hedge funds are set to take off in the second half of the year, according to Deutsche Bank’s head of Middle East structuring.
“There is demand for Islamic hedge funds, mainly from high net-worth individuals who already look at conventional hedge funds and would have a preference for Islamic,” Geert Bossuyt said at the Reuters Islamic Finance Summit. “In my opinion, people are getting more used to Islamic finance and are making their prime brokerage ready… and some actively promoting, and 2008 could be the new birth of Islamic hedge funds.”
According to Bossuyt, major institutions, including his own firm, are beginning to respond to the demand for Shariah-compliant hedge fund offerings. In addition, structures for such funds are becoming more defined, though there remain thorny issues to work out.
“You have to sort out the shorting issue,” he said. “You can’t sell what you don’t have in Islamic finance.”
Even synthetic shorts may be a problem, Bossuyt said, with Islamic scholars divided on whether they could be permissible.