UAE Firm Set to Launch $650m Real Estate Funds

By: Propertiesmls

DUBAI - Dubai-based asset management firm, Signature Group, is on the verge of launching several real estate funds for investment in the UAE and India, totalling in excess of $650 million.

The two Islamic compliant real estate funds are to be launched on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) in the first quarter of 2007. Initially, these funds were to have been launched by the end of November.

The group is in the advanced stages of finalising several fund structures: development and rental closed end real estate funds for the Middle East and India and an open ended equities fund for a selected equities market in India. The two Middle East funds and the Indian equity fund will be listed on the DIFX.

The real estate development funds - funds that are invested in property under development - for the Middle East and India will be the first to be launched, said recently appointed board director, Rafat Rivzi. Singapore-based Rivzi said the funds, which will be distributed and marketed globally via banks, are primarily targeted at institutional investors.

'We are currently negotiating distribution agreements in the Gulf region and other parts of the world,' said Rizvi.

Interest from investors has been received from Korea, Japan and Singapore, and as well as from Australia. Demand for Islamic funds, although growing, is still slower however than in Europe, he said.

Executive director for Signature Group and the European representative based in Paris, Emmanuel Drujon, said significant demand for the funds was coming from the UK and Switzerland as well as from 'large pockets' in France and Germany. He said the funds offer the opportunity to invest in the Gulf and sub-continent, with the same security as similar European funds.

Drujon, who was recently appointed to Signature's board of directors, said that the interest marked by international investors was one of the reasons why he chose to join the group.

Rizvi added that Signature is very committed to the development of the fund industry in the UAE (it was a silver sponsor for this year's Fund's Summit 2006 in Dubai) and hopes to be a leading player in the region.

He also said that a large part of the added value derived from its selection of assets and the ability to source those opportunities. In the longer term the group intends to launch funds further afield. 'We also want to focus on Africa, sub-Saharan Africa in particular, but this is a long way off,' he added.

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Source:

Dubai Properties
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