The online investment platform Wahed Invest launched in the UK today, offering an ethical investment platform for British Muslims. By creating a diversified portfolio of halal-approved investments in stocks, Islamic bonds and gold, it aims to offer low-cost, convenient investing similar to discretionary investment managers, such as Nutmeg or Wealthify, but compliant with the ethical guidelines of Islam.
Islamic rules around finance mean that a large financial services industry has been built up serving specifically Muslim needs. For example, Islamic banks do not charge or accrue interest, based on the concept that money is only a form of exchange, and holds no intrinsic value.
However, financial rules within Islam can create barriers to financial inclusion in the Muslim community. A recent survey of over 500 UK Muslims found that more than half felt excluded from mainstream financial services. Wahed Invest, which started out in the USA in 2015, aims to bring these untapped investors in from the cold.
“Our mission is to make halal investing an accessible and affordable means of long-term saving for the millions of UK Muslims who currently feel excluded from mainstream financial services,” said head of UK at Wahed Invest, Mohammed Ibrahim Morshed. “For too long, the needs of the community have been overlooked, with many Muslims finding it impossible to build nest-eggs that are in line with their faith.”
To ensure the portfolios are halal, the company does not invest in institutions which accrue excessive interest on overall revenue. A full-time Ethical Review Board reviews all securities, screening out haram investment areas such as excess debt, tobacco, firearms, adult entertainment and non-halal foods.
Customers can open an account with a minimum investment of £100 and withdraw requests at any time. Wahed Invest is also offering a £50 “Eid Gift” to new customers, in time for the Islamic holiday which begins tomorrow.