Sharia compliant investment service widens options for retirement planning

06 December 2012

Muslim employees considering how to plan for their retirement, prompted by new UK pension auto-enrolment legislation, are being offered a Sharia compliant investment service, called the Discretionary Portfolio Service (DPS), accredited by the Islamic Bank of Britain plc (IBB, www.islamic-bank.com). 

The DPS, provided by SMARTfund Administration Limited, provides access to a series of investment portfolios which aim to generate a Sharia compliant and ethical profit. The DPS is available to individual investors following guidance from an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Employees choosing pensions as part of auto-enrolment regulations can also invest in a DPS portfolio and hold it within a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), if offered by the company. As a qualifying scheme, the IBB accredited Sharia compliant SIPP, administered by Pointon York SIPP Solutions Limited, is available to employers as a group personal pension (GPP) or as an alternative choice to the auto-enrolment schemes currently available. 

Commenting on the challenges of long-term financial planning, Sultan Choudhury, Managing Director, IBB said, “Retirement planning has become an important issue for all UK employees; new auto-enrolment legislation has highlighted that a large proportion of the population is not planning and saving enough for their future. The problem is compounded for Muslim investors, who have so far been limited to a small range of products that meet the criteria of their faith. The DPS, accredited by IBB, offers a comprehensive investment service with a wide range of Sharia compliant portfolios. It has made retirement planning more accessible for investors who wish to manage their wealth in line with their faith and ethical beliefs.”

The portfolios available via the DPS have been designed to meet the varying needs of the client in terms of their risk profile, how long they wish to invest for and other individual circumstances.  Portfolios are invested in a range of assets including cash, property, Sharia compliant bonds known as Sukuks, equities and commodities. The investment portfolios can be held within a SIPP or Stocks and Shares Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), providing investors with a tax efficient way to save for their medium to long-term future.

The DPS has been accredited as Sharia compliant by IBB. To ensure that all of the Bank’s products and services are Sharia compliant, IBB has in place an independent panel of respected Sharia Scholars, the Sharia Supervisory Committee (SSC), and a Sharia Compliance Officer. IBB’s SSC has approved the portfolios in the DPS and acts as the Sharia authority for the investment manager, SMARTfund Administration Ltd, to ensure that the service remains Sharia compliant.  IBB also audits the investments in the DPS to ensure no income or investment growth is obtained through the payment of interest or other activities prohibited in Islam.

Sharia compliant investments operate in a similar way to socially responsible investment products. They are based on ethical and equitable principles, derived from Islamic law (Sharia). The most recognisable principle of Islamic finance is that products and services operate without interest. Investments must exclude all interest-bearing transactions and should also exclude unethical business activities such as pornography, gambling, speculation and tobacco.

IBB was formed in 2004 and has attracted over 50,000 customers. The Bank offers the largest range of Sharia compliant retail financial products in the UK and these include current, savings and business banking accounts, Home Purchase Plans and Buy to Let Purchase Plans. IBB also works with carefully selected partners to offer Sharia compliant wealth management products and services.

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About SMARTfund Administration Ltd.

SMARTfund Administration Limited is a member of the Præmium Group and has experience as investment manager to a range of multi-manager funds. SMARTfund specialises in managing investment portfolios for a range of clients including individuals, companies pension schemes and trusts. SMARTfund also acts as custodian of the assets and provides the administration of investment portfolios.

About Pointon York Group

Pointon York was established in 1971 by Geoffrey Pointon and Syd York - Geoffrey Pointon is still the majority shareholder and runs the group of companies to this day. The Group is an independent financial services company which has a number of subsidiaries, including Pointon York SIPP Solutions Limited, a leading provider of self-invested personal pensions.   Pointon York SIPP Solutions Limited launched one the first SIPPs to the market in 1990 and excels in providing investors, primarily through intermediaries, with a full range of solutions. Since launching their first e-SIPP, Pointon York SIPP Solutions Limited has seen a positive uplift of 237% in account openings over the last 18 months. Pointon York SIPP Solutions Limited is proud to host a strong team of technical experts who are available to aid intermediaries and investors in all parts of their SIPP.   For more information about Pointon York SIPP Solutions Limited please visit www.pointonyork.co.uk

About Islamic Bank of Britain

Islamic Bank of Britain plc (the Bank, IBB) has pioneered Sharia compliant retail banking in the UK and now offers the largest range of Sharia compliant retail financial products in the UK. These include Sharia compliant mortgage alternatives, the Home Purchase Plan (HPP) and Buy to Let Purchase Plan (BTLPP), current accounts and savings accounts. The Bank was also the first to introduce Sharia compliant business banking to the UK, and now offers a wide range of institutional and business banking products and services, including Commercial Property Finance. Several of the Bank’s products remain unique in the UK retail financial market.

The Bank is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and is a member of Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Sharia compliant banking operates without the use of interest and is founded on Islamic finance principles derived from trade, entrepreneurship and risk-sharing. IBB has a dedicated a Sharia Compliance Officer (SCO) and a panel of respected Sharia Scholars, called the Sharia Supervisory Committee (SSC), which acts as an independent body to guarantee that its products and activities are Sharia compliant.   Whilst IBB offers products and services that are designed in accordance with Sharia principles, it is an inclusive, ethical organisation and welcomes customers of all faiths looking for a bank with a transparent, prudent and community-focused approach.

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