Barclays Capital, Dubai to Back Shariah-Compliant Hedge Funds

Bloomberg- BlackRock Inc., the largest publicly traded U.S. money manager, and Ospraie Management LLC, are among five companies that will start Shariah-compliant hedge funds based in Dubai.

The funds will get $50 million each in so-called seed capital from the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, a government-backed agency. Barclays Capital, securities unit of Britain’s fourth-largest bank, will also back the funds which will start in the next two weeks, said Frank Gerhard, the bank’s head of fund-linked derivatives strategy in an interview.

Shariah forbids investment in companies judged by scholars to be highly indebted, and those involved in alcohol, gambling and weaponry. Financial information companies including Standard & Poor’s and Dow Jones & Co. have started Islamic indexes that show only Shariah-compliant companies. The world’s Muslim community has about $3.6 trillion of combined wealth, Standard & Poor’s estimated in 2006.

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