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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ASM Invt in talks on REIT with developers

ASM Investment Services Bhd, the asset management arm of Amanah Saham Mara Bhd, is in talks with two property developers on setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT).

The company may manage the property trust, which is expected to be launched by the second quarter of next year.

This is part of its plans to double the size of funds under its management to RM1 billion in two years from about RM500 million at present.

ASM Investment is also in the midst of tying up with a foreign party to offer exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the third quarter of next year.

Chief executive officer Nik Mohamed Zaki Nik Yusoff said he hopes corporate product activities will command half of ASM Investment's fund size by 2010.

NIK MOHAMED: Firm hopes to attract larger investment with more corporate products

Currently, retail products make up 80 per cent of its fund size, while corporate products make up the rest.

"By having more corporate products, we will be able to attract larger investment, (hence) the reason we are interested to offer a REIT and ETF next year," he said in Kuala Lumpur.

Yesterday, ASM Investment launched its 17th investment fund called the ASM Syariah Dividend Fund which has a fund size of 500 million 25-sen units. A minimum of RM100 is required for the investment in the fund.

Despite the weak market, Nik Mohamed is optimistic that the fund will be fully taken up within six months.

"Yes, people are conservative to invest due to the uncertainty in the market today. But investors realise that this is in fact a good time to invest based on the low price offerings in the stock market," he said.

Furthermore, he added that a dividend fund is suitable for conservative investors like pensioners since it is low-risk and provides a consistent stream of returns.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Amanah Saham Mara Bhd, ASM Investment also has the licence to promote and distribute third-party funds.

By New Straits Times (by Zurinna Raja Adam)

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