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Meyer Capital launched a hedge fund compliant with Islamic Sharia law this week in the Gulf region.

The Shariah Equity Opportunity Fund will be managed by Connecticut-based Meyer Capital, a US investment management firm. It will target institutional investors and HNWIs in the Gulf states, where record world oil prices have led to a surge in liquidity.

The restrictions imposed on the new fund make it more defensive than its conventional equivalents.

Meyer's launch follows the launch of an Islamic hedge fund by Permal last year.

Islamic financial institutions are estimated to control more than USD 300 billion in assets and are looking for Sharia-compliant products to offer their clients.

The structure of this latest Islamic hedge fund is the result of cooperation between leading Islamic scholars and Meyer Capital.

Mohamad Toufic Kanafani, chief executive of Noriba, the Islamic banking arm of UBS Warburg, and an adviser to the project, said it had taken a team of Islamic scholars, legal experts and brokers more than two-and-a-half years to come up with the Sharia-compliant structure for the new fund.

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