Holborn launches shariah service with Salama

Dubai-based wealth management firm Holborn Assets has signed a deal with Salama Islamic Arab Insurance Co. to provide what it calls a “bespoke shariah wealth and financial planning service”.

Holborn, which focuses on the Middle East and African markets, said the new service was developed in response to adviser demand. The firm said it hopes its foray into shariah-compliant investment will make it “the financial services company of choice for Muslims and ethical investors in the UAE.”.

Salama claims to be the world’s largest Takaful (Islamic life assurance) provider. It avoids investing in companies exposed to what shariah law considers unethical activities, such as pornography, gambling, alcohol and tobacco production, as well as pork production. It also follows strict rules against charging fixed interest on loans – still known in the Islamic finance world as “usury”.

Holborn’s head of Islamic wealth Patrick Mahdi O’Neill said: “Holborn will be expanding its team of shariah focused advisers to take advantage of this exciting opportunity, growing Islamic financial awareness and a favourable environment.”

He said the firm would consider strategic partnerships with other advisory firms wanting to offer a specialised shariah wealth service to their clients.

The Islamic finance sector has seen double-digit annual growth over the past decade, and currently stands at around US$2tr globally, according to Standard & Poor’s. However, S&P predicted in October 2015 that the sector would grow at a slower rate in 2016, thanks to “the fall in the oil price, rapid regulatory changes, and lack of integration”.

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