Crescent Wealth, Australia's first Islamic wealth manager, announced on Thursday that it has entered into an agreement with Saturna Sdn Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S.-based Saturna Capital) to act as the portfolio manager to the Crescent International Equity Fund to be launched later this year.
Saturna's strong fund performance in the U.S. underscored the potential of what can be achieved in the Australian market, said Managing Director of Crescent Wealth Talal Yassine.
"Our collaboration with Saturna Capital deepens our expertise in global Islamic finance and will give Australian investors the confidence to invest in our Crescent International Equity Fund," Yassine said.
"Saturna has had tremendous success adhering to the principles of Islamic-based investing," he said, "favouring companies with low debt-to-equity ratios and avoiding those with high price-to-earnings ratios."
Saturna Capital, founded in 1989, manages funds and private accounts with total assets of more than $3.8 billion, including U.S.-based Amana Income and Amana Growth Funds, the world's largest Islamic equity funds open to the public. Saturna has been recognized as a premier Islamic fund manager with multiple US and international awards. Saturna Sdn. Bhd. is licensed as an Islamic fund manager in Malaysia under the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre scheme.
Jane Carten, Saturna Capital's President and CEO, said the company's conservative, risk-averse approach combined with a successful investment track record is increasingly resonating with investors around the world, particularly in the current environment of market volatility.
"Saturna's award-winning portfolio management has appealed to investors broadly in the U.S., where many if not most of our investors are non-Muslim," said Carten. "We look forward to working closely with the Crescent Wealth international fund team."
Islamic banking assets globally are estimated at over US$1 trillion today and there is an estimated US$50 billion or more in managed funds invested in equities according to Islamic principles. 
Saturna Capital has pioneered Islamic investing in the U.S. mutual fund industry with the launch of the Amana Income Fund 25 years ago. The firm developed its Islamic investment process with guidance from the Fiqh Council of North America to ensure that its Islamic portfolios Funds meet the requirements of the Islamic faith. Refined over two decades, Saturna's process includes a proprietary Islamic grading system applied to over 12,000 equities in its research database and integrated into its ongoing management and Islamic compliance monitoring of the Amana portfolios.
Yassine said Australia is emerging as an attractive market for global Islamic investment funds, which continue to grow at an exceptional rate despite the current global economic uncertainty.
"There is enormous potential to grow Islamic-compliant investment in Australia from investors here and in Asia and the Middle East. Crescent Wealth estimates that the potential pool of funds seeking Islamic-compliant investments within Australia today is between $4 -$8 billion. We think this potential pool will grow to as much as $13 billion by 2019."
Crescent Wealth launched its first fund, the Crescent Australian Equity Fund in October last year and an Islamic index in partnership with Thomson Reuters on Feb. 1 - Thomson Reuters Crescent Wealth Islamic Australia Index. This year, it will launch a further three funds - international equities, property, and income funds - which together will form Australia's first Islamic superannuation option.
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