By Bernardo Vizcaino/Reuters
Florida-based Islamic wealth manager ShariaPortfolio Inc aims to expand into Canada this year, as the firm taps into a growing number of Muslim clients seeking to invest according to their religious beliefs, its chief executive told Reuters last month.
The plans by the independent investment adviser highlight how Islamic finance is gradually developing in some Western markets, beyond its core centres in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The 15-year-old firm has clients across 26 states and it hopes to open a Vancouver office in the second quarter of this year to fuel growth, chief executive officer Naushad Virji said.
The company has also started to offer institutional-level services, aiming to partner with conventional financial firms that want to add Islamic finance to their product offerings, Virji said.
“We are currently raising capital in Canada to launch our services and there are also banks in Canada that are interested, so we might launch institutional relationships as well.”
The company has received enquiries from financial firms in Britain and a Gulf Country, but in the short term the focus is on building its Canadian business, Virji added.
Islamic finance follows religious guidelines that exclude certain business sectors such as tobacco, alcohol and gambling as well as shunning excessive leverage.
Such an approach fits into the company’s value-investing methodology, focusing on well-capitalised stocks rather than debt-burdened ones, said Virji.
The firm now oversees over $85mn in assets under management, with services that include a robo-adviser and 401(k) retirement plans.
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