Jersey, which is already a leading provider of specialist financial services in the Middle East, has approved its first Shari'a-compliant total returns fund.

A Government led delegation from Jersey is currently in the Gulf visiting Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the Island's specialist skills in developing Islamic financial instruments which comply with Shari'a law, will be one of the main topics on the agenda during the various meetings in each location.

The Algo Al-Qayyim Fund Limited, which was approved by the Jersey Financial Services Commission at the end of February 2006, breaks new ground in Jersey's expanding hedge fund sector. The fund will be administered in Jersey by Volaw Trust & Corporate Services Limited, who spent two years working on the project. It required input from the Scholars provided by the Shari'a Supervisory Board of Yasaar Ltd, the skills of Algo Capital Management in devising appropriate screening techniques and the support of Citibank, acting as prime broker. The fund was approved by the Commission as an Expert Fund in less than a week and will be launched shortly.

'Even for a technically complex fund, the approval process was made easier because of Jersey's Expert Fund regime where the emphasis is on investor protection and the quality of the service providers involved in the promotion and administration of the fund,' says Trevor Norman, Director of Volaw Trust & Corporate Services.

Pierre Horsfall CBE, Chairman of Jersey Finance, adds: 'Jersey not only has the fiscal, regulatory and legislative environment that will support global investment strategies for international investors and their advisers, it has also the range of banks, finance houses and law firms with specialist skills that can help create Shari'a-compliant fund and trust vehicles.'

Leading the delegation, the fourth to the region in as many years, is the Island's Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker. In addition, the delegation includes Senator Philip Ozouf, Minister for Economic Development; David Carse OBE, Director General of the Jersey Financial Services Commission; John Harris from the States of Jersey; and Pierre Horsfall CBE, Phil Austin and Beverley Le Cuirot from Jersey Finance, as well as senior Finance Industry practitioners.

'The Middle East remains one of the most important regions in the world in which Jersey does business and the commercial links between the Island and the region are expanding at a significant rate,' adds Horsfall. 'This is most evident in the financial services industry with an increasing number of Jersey firms establishing a presence in the Middle East and Middle Eastern businesses creating a platform in Jersey to boost their links with the Island.

'We are delighted to once again return to the region to highlight Jersey's long standing track record in the Gulf and to meet colleagues and contacts old and new.'

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