Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I started in the Islamic investing industry back in 1995 as it was just getting off the ground. I was working for a small outfit for about four years and then I joined Morgan Stanley managing money for Muslim clients in the US.
I joined Saturna Capital in 2003 with the intention of helping more Muslims in the US to adhere to Islamic principles while investing their hard-earned assets.
What does your role involve?
My role is split between a few things. I am a portfolio manager for Islamic private accounts at the firm. I also travel the US to speak on topics regarding Islamic investing to the Muslim community. Furthermore, I am also the liaison point between our Shariah advisors and the Islamic products that we have.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement to date is seeing the Amana Mutual Funds grow from 30 million three years ago to well over 400 million currently. This is a great achievement because assets are not only coming from American Muslims, not only from those interested in faith-based or issue-based investing, but also from investors just looking for superior returns on their investment.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Both of our Islamic funds – the Amana Growth Fund (US multi-cap core) and the Amana Income Fund (US large cap value) – are at the top of their class. Out of the two, the Amana Growth has a 10-year record of around 13% average growth per year.
What are the strengths of your business?
Two major strengths: we understand the American Muslim market when it comes to their investment needs; and we have a portfolio management team that understands the global investment landscape and how to create arbitrage from it.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
The employees at Saturna Capital are all sincere about their specific roles and each is willing to do what it takes to make and maintain the company as a premiere investment advisor.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
The first obstacle we face is to not to grow faster than we can handle. This would happen if we were forced to hire individuals onto our team who were not sincere about maintaining the standards of a well-run company, as well as not sincere about helping Muslims in the US invest according to Shariah. When a company becomes successful, everybody wants to join. Screening out for quality people is always a challenge.
The second obstacle is to constantly stay ahead of the curve when it comes to investment ideas.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see a point where major companies and governments are offering products according to Islamic principles not because they see an opportunity to raise money there, but because they genuinely feel and know that Islamic finance is a better product. For example, in the Islamic investing space, more money managers will adopt the Islamic criteria because they offer superior returns. This process will only happen, however, if Muslim companies and governments adopt this strategy first.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
The number one thing that needs to change in my view is that we need to go beyond “reverse-engineering” to true product innovation.
Currently, the mind set is such that when conventional finance comes up with a new product, practitioners in the Islamic finance industry look for ways of making it halal. Rather, the industry needs to spend time and resources on “financial engineering,” where new products are being introduced that conventional finance wants to adopt.
Saturna Capital Corporation uses years of investment experience to aid investors in navigating today’s volatile markets. Founded in 1989 by professionals with extensive experience, Saturna has helped individuals and institutions to build wealth, earn income and preserve capital.
Saturna’s deep-rooted belief in value investing shines through in the quality of our investments. Years of experience have given Saturna financial strength and stability. Most important to Saturna’s success, however, is our clients’ success. We believe that our clients’ interests always come first.