UK-based Sharia-compliant investment firm Solum Asset Management will launch the first "investment sukuk" in the first quarter of next year, treating Islamic bonds as investment vehicles rather than debt instruments, its chief executive said.
Unlike traditional sukuk, which are akin to conventional debt products, the £200 million (Dh1.1 trillion) Student Accommodation Investment Sukuk will use equity to provide holders with an annual yield of four to six per cent, said chief executive Safdar Alam at the company's launch in Bahrain.
Alam, former head of Islamic finance at J.P. Morgan, said the company was seeking to delink Islamic finance products from debt-heavy conventional finance.
"Our stance is that sukuk in its purest sense is an investment vehicle," he said. "We could go to market with this as a fund, but we've made the deliberate choice to launch it as an investment sukuk."
Alam said the industry had too closely mimicked the conventional finance sector, especially in allowing sukuk to be used as debt instruments despite Islam's prohibition of interest.