Launch Partners

Launch Partners

Azzad sees vast US potential for Halal investment

Azzad Asset Management prefers a hybrid approach to Islamic investments, combining both fund offerings and providing direct financial advisories to its clients from its Washington, DC headquarters.

“Our business is service-oriented first and secondarily, product-focused. We are at US$1.5 billion in assets under management but are interested in sustainable, methodical growth with a focus on client service,” Investment Communications Director Joshua Brockwell told IFN Investor.

He said that founder and CEO Bashar Qasem, having arrived in the US at age 23 as a computer engineer, has seen the Halal investment landscape within the US growing from strength to strength ever since Bashar started Azzad Asset Management in 1997.

With the launched of its first Halal mutual fund, the Azzad Ethical Fund, in 2000, Azzad’s approach is governed by a computer program created by Bashar with a colleague to apply Islamic ethical restrictions to potential investments. That proprietary screening tool is still used today at Azzad to filter out Islamically unethical investments.

Joshua said this tool is especially useful in estate planning for clients, including a new Waqf donor advised fund that allows charitably inclined Muslims to invest money in a tax-advantaged way for the benefit of a charitable organization.

“The Waqf fund is designed to invest in a Halal manner and fund a specific project in perpetuity, working off earnings and allowing the principal to grow.”

As Azzad operates in US equities almost exclusively, Joshua said current regulations in the US are sufficient to support the development of Islamic investment products such as investment funds, REITs and ETFs.

Riding on the success of its Azzad Wise Capital Fund, which invests primarily in Halal fixed-income securities with relatively short maturities of one year to three years, Joshua said: “Within fixed income, we are excited about the new Sukuk issuance in the second half of 2024.”

Joshua noted that there is room for better awareness, particularly among US Muslims about their investment options and to better inform them about the availability of authentically Halal investments. In the near future, Joshua said the outlook for the Islamic investment sector within the US looks promising due to the prospect of a dovish US Federal Reserve possibly being a tailwind for equities.

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