Reaching the masses with sukuk
Issues like rating requirements, cost of issuance and complexity of documentation meant that capital raising through sukuk is predominantly by larger corporations and entities. This means that sukuk offer no opportunity for direct investments by retail investors. In order to facilitate greater direct retail participation in the corporate bonds and sukuk market, the Securities Commission Malaysia in 2012 developed the framework for retail bonds and sukuk as envisaged under the Capital Market Masterplan 2, enabling retail investors’ access to a wider range of investment products. However, there are several challenges. One area that requires considerable effort is investor education. Although the new approach may not achieve overnight success, it will help widening access to the capital market and ensuring that Islamic finance takes the path of inclusiveness.