Yang Berbahagia Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Honourable Chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission, Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, Chairman of the Malaysian Employees Provident Fund, Datuk-datuk, Datin-datin, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Good morning and thank you for joining me today to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Nomura Islamic Asset Management, our global hub and platform for Islamic asset management business under the Nomura Asset Management Group internationally.
It is my honor and great pleasure to welcome you to join us on this special occasion.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for your continued support and for the trust and confidence you have placed in us.
Since establishing operations in January 2009, Nomura Islamic Asset Management has positioned ourselves as a leader in the provision of client-driven investment products both in Malaysia and overseas. To commemorate our 10th anniversary, and to demonstrate our continued commitment to Islamic asset management, we are honored and delighted to host a high-level investment forum today, bringing together our clients, partners and key industry stakeholders to highlight and discuss the issues we consider important in the industry currently — which are: sustainability, ethics, technology and innovation in investment management.
The Islamic fund management industry stands at an important crossroads, and the forum today hopes to address some of the latent issues in Shariah investments and identify new opportunities across similar domains in sustainable and responsible investment, and environmental, social, governance investment, and others such as green investment.
Looking back, for Nomura Asset Management, our first foray into Shariah investments had its important genesis in 1998 when we established a landmark arrangement with the Dallah Al Baraka Group in Saudi Arabia to sub-manage a Shariah equity fund for one of its asset management companies.
Since then, Nomura Islamic Asset Management was set up as a spin-off and two years after the establishment of our Nomura Asset Management Malaysia office in 2006. It has been our intention to establish a full-fledged Shariah business and operations across the full value chain, and to that extent, Nomura Islamic Asset Management has since become the global hub of our Islamic asset management business, where Shariah investments are sourced internationally through our 14 overseas offices and these investments are managed out of Malaysia in support of the aspirations of the Malaysia Islamic International Financial Centre initiative.
Today, Nomura Islamic Asset Management stands as one of the leading global Islamic fund managers with total assets under management of close to RM5 billion from investors in Malaysia and overseas, including in the Middle East; and with full-fledged global Shariah capabilities across the flagship strategies in equity and Sukuk for the global, regional and single-country portfolios.
For all these proud achievements, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the regulators in Malaysia, Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia. In particular, the Securities Commission has been instrumental and facilitative toward the growth and development in Islamic asset management through the introduction and issuance of a full-fledged Islamic fund management license in 2009.
The Securities Commission was also integral in the visionary push to propel Malaysia as a global hub for Islamic funds through the implementation of the five-year masterplan for Islamic fund and wealth management industry. In January 2017, the Securities Commission launched the ‘Islamic Fund and Wealth Management Blueprint’ which envisions Malaysia to be a leading international center for Islamic fund and wealth management.
We would like to applaud the Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia for the continued efforts and steadfast commitment in facilitating growth for the industry players. As of November 2018, Islamic funds total AUM in Malaysia has steadily grown to RM166.85 billion, an encouraging 21.7 percentage proportion of the total AUM of both Islamic and conventional portfolios, and quite importantly, showing an impressive 26 percentage growth based on a three-year comparison since 2015.
Looking forward, Nomura Asset Management and Nomura Islamic Asset Management are well-poised and positioned to respond to the emerging growth and developing global trend that shows the Asian region and a number of emerging Muslim economies as being among the fastest-growing regions for wealth.
In particular, we also seek to capitalize on the greater interests and growing narratives in establishing close links between the principles of Shariah investments and those of other similar domains, such as sustainable and responsible investment and environmental, social, governance investment and green investment.
The underlying principles and inherent guidelines of these two codes bear close similarities to the principles and values of Islamic finance and stewardship, which are centered and governed by the common tenets of fairness, transparency and risk sharing, among others.
Our expertise and experience in managing investment portfolios across these similar guidelines and requirements will certainly augur well for us to take advantage of the growing convergence and opportunities across those investment requirements, and more importantly, to also augment our value proposition internationally to investors in both the emerging and developed markets.
Finally, we aspire to be an industry thought leader for Islamic asset management and Shariah investments, and this forum demonstrates our efforts and commitment to help shape and develop the industry together with other stakeholders and like-minded partners.
I would like to wish you a productive and enriching time in our forum today.
I sincerely look forward to your continued support and guidance in the many good years to come.
Please enjoy the forum.
Thank you very much.
Mr Kunio Watanabe is the President and CEO at Nomura Asset Management Co.