May 10, 2018 / 2:36 AM / in 6 months

Australia's Crescent Wealth adds Asia tie-ups to grow Islamic business

SYDNEY, May 10 (Reuters) - Australian Islamic fund manager Crescent Wealth is building closer links with its Malaysian counterparts, aiming to attract investors from the established Islamic financial markets in Asia, its top executive said.

The Sydney-based firm has appointed Malaysia’s CIMB Principal Islamic to help run its cash fund, the only such sharia-compliant product currently available in the country.

This will help cater to Asian investors who are increasingly allocating funds to Australia’s property and equity markets, said Talal Yassine, managing director of Crescent Wealth.

“We have been building new strategic partnerships as we explore growth opportunities locally, in Southeast Asia and the Gulf region.”

CIMB Principal Islamic is a joint venture between CIMB Group , Malaysia’s second largest bank, and U.S.-based Principal Financial Group.

Crescent also plans to draw more business from institutional clients in the Gulf region through segregated mandates, which typically range in size between $25 million and $100 million, Yassine said.

The firm, which was launched in 2011, has seen steady growth of its business despite an unwelcoming tax environment in Australia for sharia-compliant financing deals.

Its cash fund now has more than A$60 million ($45 million) in assets and its property fund A$101 million, compared to the firm’s A$20 million in total assets under management back in 2013.

In 2016 Crescent also launched an Islamic property fund in Malaysia, alongside KAF Investment Funds Berhad. ($1 = 1.3389 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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