When he founded ShariaPortfolio in 2003, CEO Naushad Virji received many well-intentioned suggestions to choose a different name. Being in the United States, just a couple of years after 9/11, the wariness about the word "Sharia" was understandable. But Virji had no qualms about it. "Anyone who had an issue with the name wasn't a client that we're looking to serve," he says simply.
One of the biggest challenges in halal investing is mitigating risk. In conventional (non Shariah-compliant investing), investors use bonds or GICs (Guaranteed Income Certificates) to lower their risk and exposure to the stock market. However, since these investments are interest-based, they can't be part of a halal portfolio.
A halal portfolio needs to be composed of equities, or shared ownership in real assets, such as companies which produce goods and services. Since businesses may make profits as well as suffer losses, this is where the risk comes in. While the fates and fortunes of individual businesses may go up and down, most businesses still need to occupy some real estate. One way to mitigate risk and diversify a halal portfolio is to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
In this time of global economic uncertainty, being an investor is stressful. If you have a halal portfolio, you may even feel the ups and downs of the stock market even more than conventional investors. This is because a Shariah compliant portfolio would exclude interest-based investments like GICs (Guaranteed Income Certificates) and bonds. These investments provide predictable incomes and don't change in value the same way stocks do. Without such fixed income investments to mitigate risk, investors with halal portfolios are particularly sensitive to stock market volatility.
When Mihami Shash started a new job, one of the benefits she was offered was the opportunity to participate in the company’s matched-RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) program. The company had set up a number of investment options that the employees could use to save for retirement and as an incentive to invest in these, the company would match each employee's contributions.
Whether or not you invest in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), with the March 1 RRSP deadline around the corner, February tends to be the month Canadians talk about investments.
Investments don’t only help your money grow, they are also a good way to keep your money from losing value. Whether we realize it or not, money kept in a chequing account loses value over time due to inflation.
For Canadian Muslims who want to invest in the stock market but don't have the confidence to pick halal stock investments on their own, the choices have always been limited. If you're looking to invest more than a few hundred thousand dollars, you can hire a financial advisor knowledgeable in Shariah compliant investments. If you're investing less than that, you can invest in a halal mutual fund, which charges management fees of 2.5% or more. That's it. So when Wealthsimple announced their Canadian Halal Investing portfolio in August of this year, it was reason to celebrate.
With the RRSP deadline on March 2nd, many Canadians are wondering and worrying about where to invest their hard-earned money. For Muslim Canadians, the challenge is two-fold, as not only are they looking for investments that are financially sound, they also need to ensure that their investments are religiously sound, or Shari’ah compliant or halal (Islamically permissible).