There is no doubt that Islamic finance has grown substantially in recent decades across the world, becoming one of the fastest growing financial industries.
Today, it has global assets exceeding $2 trillion and expected to reach $3.8 trillion by 2023.
In order to encourage more Muslims to invest their money, two Canadian Muslims have launched an entity called Canadian Islamic Wealth to give Muslims a chance to invest in a way that corresponds with their religious values.
“The biggest challenge that Muslims face when it comes to investing, is investing in something that aligns with their religious values,” Jesse Reitberger, co-founder of Canadian Islamic Wealth, told Wealth Professional.
“The reason for that is, within Islam, we are not allowed to take on interest as a means of earning money.”
Sharia-compliant finance differs from conventional banking in key ways, the most notable being a prohibition on charging interest and investing in ethically compliant companies.
Islamic banks and finance institutions cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.
“When you look at your average portfolios across the board… generally speaking, unless you’re very diligent about sifting through each and every one of those funds, Muslims will have their money invested in something interest bearing – whether directly or indirectly,” he explained.
Reitberger joined finance industry in 2013, shortly before converting to Islam in 2014.
“After this happened, I started to investigate as to how we can service these clients while still respecting their religious values,” he said.
He teamed up with Sheraz Ali to start Canadian Islamic Wealth. Working to attract Muslim clients,
they actually looked at the social and environmental aspect of investing as well which attracted non-Muslim clients as well.
“We have non-Muslim clients as well that want to… really [look] into what they’re putting money into,” said Ali.
“We actually take very great pride in not only having the Muslim clients, but realizing that there is another clientele here that really want to invest in socially respected types of equities and companies out there.”
Following a large number of Muslims immigrating to Canada from Muslim-majority countries in the 80’s and 90’s, today Canadian Muslims comprise more than 3.2% of the country’s population.