Dr Hardeep shares with us the services the Fyshe Group and Crestar Islamic Asset Management provide, particularly in addressing the islamic investment needs of the Muslim community.
- Could you briefly describe who Fyshe Crestar is and when you were established?
Crestar is an asset management venture of Fyshe Group Stockbrokers. Serving both institutional and private clients, it was established in July 2003 with the intention of pioneering a fresh approach to the Islamic investment market. Crestar employs proprietary quantitative and qualitative filters in order select equities and to offer a bespoke service for both its private and institutional clients.
- What services do you provide? Which markets do you cover?
For institutions we provide access to the UK markets and general equity trading.
For private clients we offer advisory and discretionary portfolio management services, with direct access to global stock markets along with tailored tax sheltering in PEPs, ISAs, and SIPPs (for UK residents).
Crestar also provides general financial advice and asset allocation strategies with regard to third party collective fund selection.
- What characteristics differentiate the Islamic investor from others?
The challenge for retail financial houses is getting across the concept that Islamic investments are about risk sharing rather than conventional risk transfer or alternatively about "an agreed and fair reward for fair effort". The constraints to popular participation in Islamic economics lie in the thesis that conventional economic doctrines make the temptation of risk transfer too great for many to resist. The challenge for Islamic parallel institutions is to illustrate that the desirable profitability is achievable on a stand alone basis. It is to illustrate that Islamic financial channels are about ethical filters of high esteem in the first place, but are then about hard-nosed results - which require conventional business sense.
So, what is being presented to investors who wish to invest within Islamic principles around the world? In essence, from the universe of investment choices available to conventional investors, a subset is filtered out using key accepted Islamic criteria. Beyond this, normal business sense must prevail.
- How are you different from the other service providers?
Whereas our competition can offer collective investments schemes offshore only, we differ in being properly FSA regulated and being an onshore entity in the UK. In addition, our transparency allows us to structure offshore investments where specific client needs arise. The advantage of providing bespoke services is that we can accommodate client specific needs that collective funds could never. Such tailoring of services means that our services become particularly suitable for high-net-worth clients and family funds.
- What do you see as the main trends in your sector?
The main trend in our sector is the recognition that Islamic investments for private clients goes beyond the simple set-up of such services, and much more towards the provision of tax efficient wraps etc. In the UK markets these include Self Invested Pension Schemes and PEP's & ISA's.
- What does the future hold for Islamic investors?
Historically many Muslim investors have in various ways sought to apply the wisdom of Shari'ah to the noise of conventional investment channels. These valiant individual efforts are finally being met with a genuine range of retail and institutional investments that they can participate in. Hand-in-hand with this, the key advice for all investors is to understand the risks, take good advice, know the exit and invest profitably! The hope and expectation remain that, with an increasing demand for Islamic investments at the consumer level, product innovation and choice will increase over time to parallel conventional institutions.
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