The First Group is to launch a Shariah-compliant property fund to invest in Middle Eastern developments.

The Emirates Opportunity Fund, a five-year closed-end fund, will be listed on the Channel Island Stock Exchange next month.

As with other Islamic investment vehicles, it will require portfolio selection to comply with Shariah law, which forbids profiting from payment or receipt of interest as well as investing in certain activities, in this case properties with links to gambling or alcohol.

The company is seeking to raise $100m (£50m), mainly from UK private investors, to invest in development land for residential and commercial use.

The First Group believes there to be a chronic under-supply of housing as well as the need for further commercial developments in many parts of the region.

Part of the strategy of the fund will be land banking and development, focused on the northern Emirates region. The fund will be advised by Tabarak Partners.

Financial Times