The UAE’s ILegacy Global has acquired Kuwat’s Bayt Al Mal Investment Company in a contract signed last week by members from both companies. Khalid Bin Ahmad Al-Sowaidi, Chairman and Managing Director of ILegacy Global, commented: “The Company has obtained the Kuwait CMA’s (Capital Market Authority’s) approval for the acquisition, which is consistent with the ILegacy Group’s strategy to expand in the region. Bayt Al Mal Investment Company owns a majority stake in the Investor for Securities Company (INVESCO) of Saudi Arabia.”
He continued, “The aim of the Bayt Al Mal acquisition is to provide a solid foundation from which to develop an international group specializing providing integrated financial services to help unlock the hidden potential of the awqaf sector. As well as financing and managing waqf projects, services will include the provision of custodian and trustee services and promoting investment funds.”
Waqf is ordinarily defined as a charitable donation for religious purposes and usually refers to property, for example the donation of a house for use as a mosque or religious school. Once an asset is donated to a waqf cause it ceases to belong to the individual who once owned it.
Bayt Al Mal is a strictly sharia-compliant firm, and through its acquisition ILegacy adds religious credence to its purpose. Additionally, by managing waqf donations, the firm widely expands its scope to include religious purposes.
While ILegacy had already planned to enter the awqaf market, its management decided that acquiring a fully-functioning company would be more beneficial to the firm than developing a new entity from the ground up.
Al-Sowaidi explained, “The Group is the world’s first commercial entity established to allow governments and individuals to benefit from developing unutilized Awqaf assets. The implementation of this plan is in line with the State of Kuwait’s strategy to execute the Amiri vision of transforming Kuwait into a global financial and commercial center, as well as supporting the development plan projects.”
Al-Sowaidi also took care to assure that his group was not seeking competition with any other functioning groups in the field: “The role of the Group is complementary to, and does not conflict with that of Awqaf Ministries, the Company will seek to support and upgrade Waqf assets, which have not been utilized over past years.”