Demand for Islamic pension funds valued at USD190bn

The global demand for Islamic pension funds is currently between $160 billion and $190 billion, according to estimates by Ernst & Young's (E&Y) Global Islamic Banking Center. At present, most of these funds are parked under conventional sovereign pension funds due to lack of investment options. Several fast-growth emerging markets including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and UAE are seeing strong demand for Shariah-compliant retirement plans. A key decision is whether to allow members of the fund to transfer their existing account balance to the Sharia-compliant fund, or if only the future contributions should be segregated as conventional or Islamic. Additionally, timing for the desired transfer is important. The fund would model the outcomes based on several factors.