Wahed obtains South Africa FSCA license to expand halal investment platform

Rick Steves

The authorisation for the South African license is the 9th regulatory license obtained so far.

Wahed has been granted a license from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa in a “huge achievement” for the halal financial investment platform.

The next step will be Wahed launching its app locally in that jurisdiction, a key market for fintech expansion in Africa due to the severe economic inequality which still exists in large parts of the continent.

Wahed intends to help emerging investors make informed decisions about their money through its focus on transparency, minimal transaction fees, and financial inclusion.

Rashaad Kalla, General Manager for Wahed in South Africa said: “We are delighted to provide financial products that put the customer first. South Africa has a thriving fintech ecosystem, an established banking sector and a population that is hungry to reap the benefits of a new and better way to invest.”

Wahed has been expanding its footprint across the globe. The authorisation for the South African license is the 9th regulatory license obtained so far. The firm is headquartered in New York and boasts more than 200,000 customers around the world.

Junaid Wahedna, Chief Executive Officer of Wahed said: “We are looking forward to making an impact in South Africa. We know we can help bridge the wealth divide in South Africa through our products. We combine fintech and values to create simple, accessible and halal products – we are honored to be trusted and to launch in South Africa.”

Founded in 2015, the Sharia-compliant platform is aimed at smaller investors looking for a globally diversified portfolio of ethically responsible stocks, Islamic bonds, and gold.

Wahed entered the UK with a license from the Financial Conduct Authority back in 2018, arguing the majority of surveyed British Muslims feel excluded from mainstream financial services because of their religious beliefs.

The halal investment platform fills that gap by providing access to products not traditionally available to retail investors, such as Sukuk, an Islamic financial certificate, similar to a bond in Western finance, that complies with Sharia law.

The platform found that 84% of its users are new to or only somewhat familiar with investing. Wahed automatically suggests a portfolio for each user based on their risk profile, taking into account liquidity needs, investment goals, and other criteria.

In order to ensure all returns are halal, Wahed has a full-time Ethical Review Board, which undertakes a rigorous screening process and produces annual purification reports.

Wahed has also successfully received associate membership with the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (“AAOIFI”), a not-for-profit organization that regulates and standardizes accounting, auditing, and governance practices for the Islamic finance industry in line with international standards that comply with Islamic rules.

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