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Bursa Malaysia enhances main market listing for REITs, ETFs to include waqf feature

Publish date: Mon, 27 Mar 2023, 02:05 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia has enhanced its main market listing requirements to facilitate real estate investment trusts (REITs) and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listing to include the waqf feature.

These amendments will take effect on April 3, 2023.

Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift said the expansion of the WQ Framework is a welcome development in the listed fund space of the Islamic capital market.

"Investors will soon have more opportunities to access a diversified suite of Shariah-compliant listed products.

"Bursa Malaysia is particularly pleased to be part of the ecosystem providing an effective instrument to support our nation's socio-economic development.

"The enhancements will also promote the growth of waqf and sustainable and responsible investment assets, further cementing the exchange's position as a leading global Islamic finance marketplace," he said in a statement today.

The waqf amendments, which complement the guidelines on Islamic Capital Market Products and Services (ICMPS), issued by the Securities Commission (SC) on November 28 2022, is part of the initiative to expand the Waqf-Featured Fund Framework (WQ Framework) to listed Islamic funds such as REITs and ETFs.

The WQ Framework was introduced in November 2020, initially applicable only for unit trusts and wholesale funds, to enable the growth of the Islamic social finance segment and to develop waqf.

Under the Waqf Amendments, Bursa Malaysia has enhanced the post-listing disclosure framework of Islamic REITs and ETFs to provide transparency on the waqf arrangement.

Among others, an Islamic REIT or ETF must immediately announce any changes to the waqf arrangement disclosed earlier in the prospectus, information memorandum or product highlight sheet, together with reasons for the changes, and provide interim updates on the income distributions channelled for waqf purposes, in the quarterly report of the Islamic REIT or the semi-annual report of the Islamic ETF.

The Islamic REIT or ETF must also disclose how investors can obtain more information on the waqf recipients and the progress of the waqf initiatives in the annual report.

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