Islamic banks launch investment account platform

A group of six Malaysian Islamic banks has launched a sharia-compliant investment platform that could shift the role of Islamic lenders to investment intermediaries from credit providers currently. The Investment Account Platform (IAP) will serve as a central marketplace to finance small and medium-sized businesses, with the Malaysian government backing the scheme with an initial RM150 million in funds. Chief executive Mohamed Izam Mohamed Yusof said they were looking at raising between RM200 million and RM300 million (US$47.53 million to US$71.29 million) through the IAP over the next two to three years. Its maiden project could be listed as early as next month, with future plans including listings in other currencies, he added.