NEW YORK, USA
Wahed, the world’s first automated investment service designed for Shariah-standard, ethical investing, has launched its new online platform and lowered the minimum investment required to $500 for clients in the United States. In addition, the company has raised $5 million in seed funding from individual and institutional investors including Khalid Al Jassim the Managing Partner of Afkar Holdings and founding member at Arcapita, one of the largest Islamic Private Equity firms, Nasr-Eddine Benaissa a former partner at McKinsey & Company who co-founded their Islamic Finance practice, Laurent Nordin a Director with McKinsey & Company who created and led their Financial Institutions practice in the Middle East, and John Elkhair a former advisor to the CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority and former Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase.
The Wahed approach to ethical investing in the digital age utilizes a human review panel to screen certain stocks, commodities and other investment types that are not socially responsible or Shariah compliant, before automating algorithm-based investments. Clients will receive a recommended optimised and diversified portfolio based on their own risk tolerance. Using Wahed, American Muslims can now digitally automate long-term, halal investments into securities such as Sukuks and gold, while managing their halal portfolios at a low cost.
“The American Muslim population, which is one of the most affluent demographics in the country, is increasingly seeking more sophisticated ethical investment solutions,” said Wahed CEO Junaid Wahedna. “We’re excited to be able to offer observant Islamic investors in the U.S. a new, value-driven way to invest their money, at a fraction of the cost they would pay traditional asset managers and advisors.”
The new Wahed platform helps clients choose an appropriate risk profile and then constructs a diversified portfolio that is automatically managed based on each individual’s unique profile. Wahed’s annual management fee ranges from 0.29% to 0.99%, compared to the 1%-2% annual fee typically charged by traditional advisors.
Wahed is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is continually monitored by its Ethical Review Board to ensure Shariah compliance. The board is made up of some of the most prestigious names in international ethical finance, including Sheikh Taha Abdul-Basser, former Islamic Chaplain at Harvard University and Shari’ah Board member of Fajr Capital.
“While online investing may seem unorthodox to some Muslims across the globe, Muslim millennials in the U.S. have been interested in digital investment services and computer-generated, wealth management advice for some time,” added Wahedna. “To date, they have been forced to use online investment platforms that don’t mirror their beliefs. Wahed offers them a solution to invest online in a way that is both sophisticated and true to their values.”
A closer look at Wahed features and services:
Sophisticated Technology for a Simple User Experience: Wahed uses state-of-the-art software that is fully automated, along with customized financial optimization algorithms. Clients can onboard themselves in minutes online.
Advanced Security and Insurances: Wahed offers online investors advanced encryption and security. All accounts are SIPC insured up to $500,000 to protect clients against failed brokerage firms.
Transparent Management & Easy Withdrawals: On Wahed there are no hidden fees or kickbacks. Clients can view their positions and transactions at any time, and funds can be deposited unlimitedly with no entry fee and withdrawn with no fee as well.
Use of an Ethical Review Board: Wahed has an Ethical Review Board to advise, review and monitor the design and implementation of investments to ensure they are compliant with Islamic financial ethics.
Annual Purification Report: To ensure that no money has been earned from unethical means, Wahed provides an annual Purification Report to clients. The report shows if any investment has achieved returns from non-Shari’ah compliant sources. The appropriate non-compliant income will be highlighted to clients, who can then donate it to charities to purify their returns.
Wahed is available now to retail investors in the United States and plans to expand to other global markets in 2017 as it aims to provide access to automated investment services and halal portfolio management to more than one billion potential ethical investors around the world.