Manulife Asset Management has launched the Manulife Investment Shariah Progress Plus fund, designed for investors seeking diversified Shariah-compliant equity opportunities.

Manulife said the fund can invest up to 30% of its net asset value (NAV) in Shariah-compliant equities in regional markets, including but not limited to Malaysia, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.

It has a similar investment strategy to the Manulife Investment Shariah Progress fund which taps into increasing growth opportunities of Shariah-compliant companies.

‘The new fund is designed to provide investors access to the vast Islamic equity investment opportunities in the region’s small to medium sized companies,’ said Jason Chong, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of MAMSB.

Shariah-compliant investment first became popular among high-net-worth individuals, but now the sector is driven by institutional investors. In Southeast Asia, Malaysian investors dominate the market.

Some of the top Islamic equity funds in Malaysia include PMB Shariah Aggressive, PMB Shariah Growth, Eastspring Investment Dana Al-Ilham, CIMB Islamic Dali Equity, and Affin Hwang Aiiman PRS Shariah Growth, data from Lipper showed.