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. Since prices slowly yet steadily go up, every dollar you save buys you a little less with each passing year.
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.
Asking people to trust you to invest their hard earned cash is a challenge in the best of times. Doing that in the wake of a major global financial crisis and asking them to invest in a brand new Shariah compliant mutual fund takes the challenge to a whole other level. But this is exactly how GlobalIman fund, Canada's longest running Shariah compliant mutual fund got started. And now, 8 years later, with in excess of 40 million dollars in assets under management, the Global Iman Fund is the investment of choice for many Canadian Muslims looking to invest and grow their wealth while adhering to the financial guidelines of their faith.
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).
From Ghana in the west, to Ethiopia in the east, to Mozambique in the south, Africa's economies are growing, and even faster than those in almost any other region of the world.
Although severe income disparities persist on the continent, a middle class is emerging. According to Standard Bank, which operates across Africa, 60 million African households have annual incomes greater than $3,000 at market exchange rates. African countries are shifting away from being aid-dependant to increasing trade and investment ties with the world. The Economist reports that trade between Africa and the world has increased by 200 per cent. China's trade with Africa reached $166.3 billion in 2011, according to Chinese statistics. The World Bank said in a report this year that “Africa could be on the brink of an economic take-off, much like China was 30 years ago and India 20 years ago”. With Africa's population set to double to 2 billion in 40 years, huge opportunity exists in Africa.
When Goldman Sachs announced last October that it planned to issue an Islamic bond, debate ignited over whether conventional banks in the West should be allowed to engage in Islamic finance.
The investment bank said it planned to issue a sukuk worth as much as $2 billion based on murabaha, a structure that instead of interest (which is banned by Islamic principles) uses a cost-plus-profit arrangement to pay investors. Some Islamic finance analysts however, questioned whether the underlying structure of the sukuk was really murabaha.
Islamic banking and financial services have been enjoying a major resurgence in recent years. A survey released in 2009 by The Banker magazine found that assets held by Sharia-compliant banks rose 28.6 per cent in 2009 to $822 billion, while assets held by conventional banks grew only 6.8 per cent. However, Islamic finance still accounts for only about 1 per cent of the global financial-services market, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Analysts predict that the Islamic mortgage market in the West will grow substantially over the next five years. In the United Kingdom, Islamic mortgages were identified as an important emerging niche sector. Two large multinational banks, United National Bank and HSBC, joined the Ahli United Bank in offering Islamic mortgage products.