Saudi investment company Sedco Capital has visited the UK to participate in the Global Ethical Finance Forum to discuss the interplay between Ethics, Faith, Finance and Impact.
The Ethical Finance conference, now in its second year, took place in Edinburgh and was hosted with the support of the UK government.
It aimed to bring together responsible investment participants from around the world, to discuss the issues around what subject matters such as ‘making a profit while having a purpose’.
Kamran Butt, managing director at Sedco Capital, participated in the panel discussion, pictured speaking on the far right, entitled ‘Incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance factors into Faith Based investing – Opportunities and Challenges’.
He was joined in the discussion with the global head of sustainability indices at S&P Dow Jones and the chief investment officer at Simply Ethical, among others.
He said: “Ethical strategies and Sharia are not mutually exclusive; we believe they go hand in hand. In fact, our research has shown that investors from all approaches can enhance their global portfolios by combining both to receive better risk adjusted returns.”
The panelists discussed the potential for Islamic finance to have an increasing demonstrable impact on society through the adoption of governance analysis towards investment.
The two-day conference included discussion on a wide variety of topics such as sustainable capitalism, scaling up impact investments, tracking the growth of responsible investment and putting sustainability at the heart of banking practices.
Butt, who heads one of the largest asset managers in Saudi Arabia, pointed that Islamic finance is the “oldest form of codified ethical investment”.
“We have been investing this way from the very beginning,” he said. “We have started to see a growing number of ESG investors incorporate Sharia principles because there is huge overlap between the two”
Sedco Capital was the first Saudi asset manager and the first fully sharia compliant asset manager to become a signatory of the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investing (UNPRI), an initiative started by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. This principle-based framework called for the incorporation of environmental, social and governance variables when analysing risk for any investment.
It said that it has seen a “sharp rise” in the number of investors seeking out its PEI investment products recently. International investors can choose from over 14 Sedco Sharia-compliant investment strategies in Luxembourg with total AUMs of US$1.8bn.