FTSE Group (FTSE), the award-winning global index provider, and the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) have jointly created two Shariah-compliant, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country equity indices for domestic, GCC, and international investors.
The benchmark indices are intended to facilitate the creation of investor products such as tracker funds, index certificates, warrants and exchange-traded funds. A core component of the Islamic system of financial management is the requirement to invest in compliance with Shariah principles. Shariah is the Arabic term for Islamic law.
The real-time indices will be available from 7th August, 2006. The two Shariah-compliant indices are:
- FTSE DIFX Kuwait 15 Shariah Index: made up of 15 Shariah-compliant stocks in Kuwait
- FTSE DIFX Qatar 10 Shariah Index: made up of 10 Shariah-compliant stocks in Qatar
Both indices cover stocks that are open to all investors, whether domestic, GCC or international. The constituents in these indices are screened by a panel of Shariah scholars. This screening is undertaken by Yasaar Research.
Mark Makepeace, Chief Executive of FTSE said, "There is a growing appetite worldwide for Islamic financial products. And as a part of our continued commitment to providing solutions for investors globally, it is a natural step to launch the FTSE DIFX Kuwait 15 Shariah Index and FTSE DIFX Qatar 10 Shariah Index."
Nasser Alshaali, Chief Operating Officer of the DIFX said, "The US$ 300 billion Islamic banking industry grew at a rate of 15% in 2005. The creation of these unique indices positions the DIFX at the forefront of the development of Islamic finance. They are designed to create a liquid market in a range of attractive new products."
In June 2006 FTSE and the DIFX created the first GCC country tradable indices for domestic, GCC and international investors. Those three indices are based on stocks in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. FTSE and the DIFX intend to create further indices in future.