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FTSE And JSE Launch Shariah Top 40 Index

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

24 July 2008


It was announced on Monday that the JSE in partnership with FTSE Group, the global index provider, launched the FTSE/JSE Shariah Top 40 Index.

The index will open up many opportunities for those interested in Shariah compliant investment, including the 850,000 strong South African Muslim community.

The FTSE/JSE Shariah Top 40 Index is a selection of Shariah compliant companies from the FTSE/JSE Shariah All-Share Index. The calculation of the index and the treatment of corporate actions are similar to the FTSE/JSE Top 40.

The FTSE/JSE Shariah Top 40 Index is suitable for the creation of financial products, such as index funds, warrants, certificates and Exchange Traded Funds.

“Internationally the market for Islamic investment products is growing exponentially, at an estimated 15-20% per annum,” explained Ana Forssman, Senior General Manager: Information Products Sales at the JSE, who went on to state:

“This index gives Muslim investors access to the top performing listed companies in South Africa without compromising religious beliefs."

Imogen Dillon Hatcher, Managing Director, EMEA - FTSE Group, added:

“With approximately 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, there is huge growth potential for investment vehicles with a faith-based mandate.

“Shariah compliant investment is one of the fastest growing new areas of finance globally. The FTSE/JSE Shariah Top 40 index will provide institutional investors with an accurate Shariah benchmark as well as help providers create structured investment products tailored to the Islamic market. Today's launch demonstrates FTSE Group's commitment to providing innovative solutions to investors both in South Africa and worldwide.”

The constituents of the FTSE/JSE Shariah Top 40 Index are screened by Yasaar Research Inc, a well-respected authority on Shariah law.

To qualify as a constituent of the index, companies undergo a detailed screening process, which filters out any organisations considered unacceptable or non-compliant according to Shariah-law, including businesses involved in conventional finance, alcohol, pork-related and non-halaal food, entertainment, tobacco and weapons.

The remaining companies are then further screened according to Shariah compliant financial criteria.

In order to remain in the index, the companies are reassessed by Yasaar quarterly.


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