Encore Management S.A. Assigns Michael Gassner Consultancy Ltd as Marketing, PR and Sales Strategy Advisor for the 1st GCC Open-ended Sukuk Fund

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Michael Gassner Consultancy Ltd, a leading Islamic finance consultancy in the City of London, is assigned to advise on Marketing, Public Relations and Sales Strategy for the 1st GCC open ended Sukuk fund

Michael Gassner Consultancy Ltd. has been retained as the Marketing, Public Relation and Sales Strategy Advisor for the first GCC open-ended Sukuk fund, Sanad Sukuk Fund, by Encore Management S.A., the fund’s sponsor.

Michael Saleh Gassner, Managing Director of Michael Gassner Consultancy Ltd., comments on the assignment, “For too long Muslims could not achieve a proper diversified investment strategy, income was associated with illiquidity, and proper goal-based asset allocation could not be achieved. This has now changed”, Gassner concludes, “We will do our best to explain and communicate this important development to the Islamic finance industry.”

The Sanad Sukuk Fund will be launched before year end and targets both individual and institutional investors. The fund seeks to partner with retail banks—in particular those dedicated to serving Muslim customers—as well as other investing institutions.

Encore Management S.A., Geneva, is setting up the fund management company as wholly owned subsidiary in the Cayman Islands. John A. Sandwick, CEO of Encore Management S.A., says about the assignment: “We wanted to have a substitute for bond investments for our own Saudi clients, as none was available. The decision was taken to create the vehicle we needed ourselves. With Michael Gassner we found the right support to communicate our product to the Islamic finance industry.”

An important effect of the fund’s launch will be the impact on Sukuk market activity. In all of 2005 there were only about $60 million in GCC-style Sukuk secondary market trades, a tiny fraction of the estimated $15 billion of Sukuk that were outstanding at the end of last year. With the introduction of the Sanad Sukuk Fund—targeted to reach at least in the $100 million or more in size—secondary market trading should substantially increase. Economists the world over point out that increased market trading and liquidity of all securities is a core component of economic development, fostering increased issuance of securities and thereby contributing to economic growth.

Note to Editors:

Sukuk , the plural of the Arabic word Sakk, means “certificate” or sometimes “credit note.” It is also the root for the English word “cheque.” Sukuk replace interest income with rent or profits; they are therefore the alternative for Muslims seeking a stable income complying with their faith. Sukuk finance real economic activities and, depending on the underlying structure, they are tradable at market value from the Islamic perspective. Secondary market trading is still weak in the GCC region, as Sukuk are relatively new. Significant new Sukuk issuance has only recently increased, while near-term expected new issuance is expected to increase dramatically. Japan, China and Indonesia are among many market entrants expected to enter the Sukuk market in 2007, while at least 100 or more companies based in the Arab world are believed to be readying new Sukuk issues.

  • Sanad is the Islamic Income Fund for the GCC investor seeking stable returns with liquidity
  • Sanad closes a major gap for all Muslim investors by allowing them to finally own a diversified, managed pool of sharia-approved sukuk, equivalent to a bond fund in conventional investing
  • Investments are undertaken in sharia compliant Sukuk and Islamic debt syndications predominantly in the GCC countries—which adds liquidity to the Sukuk sector and promotes economic growth in all Muslim countries, but particularly in the GCC region

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