It would be interesting to see just how large the actual appetite is for the Employees Provident Fund’s new shariah-compliant fund, EPF-i, which does not have the minimum 2.5% annual return guarantee and is relying only on the EPF’s track record.
The demand factor from the 6.8 million active and contributing EPF members could well determine just how big a mover EPF-i will have on the local market, experts say. According to a recent survey by the EPF, 71% of members surveyed agreed there should be a shariah-compliant option for their retirement savings. And among the 71% who agree, 46.1% say they would choose to switch to a shariah fund if given the choice, 33.2% have yet to decide and the remaining 21.7% would not switch out of the conventional savings.
It is not known how much EPF savings the 46.1% have but at parity, their asset base would be about RM224 billion — double the intended initial fund size of EPF-i, which is slated to be launched in January next year. The other wild card for actual demand are the fence-sitters (see accompanying story).
New #Islamic# fund a second wind for #shariah #stocks?
Baiza Bain had the opportunity to attend the recent World Islamic Economic Forum.
“It was a surreal experience as I had the opportunity to interact with a number of international delegates on areas that are outside my realm of Islamic finance. The various conversations I had certainly allowed me to have a different perspective on my area of practice. It made me realise that there are many ways in which Islamic finance could evolve to keep up with the rapidly changing times.
So, in what way has Islamic finance tried to keep up with the times? I remember having a conversation with an old friend who highlighted a unique initiative that is currently being worked on. This initiative was actually announced under Budget 2015. Called the Investment Account Platform (IAP), its aim is to diversify the roles that are currently being played by the Islamic financial institutions by way of adding on the responsibility of being an investment intermediary.