Absa SME and Business Forex

The rough guide to the Islamic Investment world (in South Africa)

So this is my rough guide to Islamic investments within the South African Universe (it can apply globally, except my examples is all South African based). Hope it is informative and encourages halal investing.
Suggestions welcome
Section 1: Investment Universe 
  1. Islamic Bank fixed deposits
About: Invest your money for a fixed period (1 month up to 5 years). Get profit when period is completed
Pros: Reliable profit , Low financial risk, low Islamic risk : covered by a board of Shariah scholars
Cons: Low profit rates.

  1. Unit trusts
About: Collective investment - managed by investment company, protected by SA law, typically invests in equities, sukuks and property
Pros: Plenty of choice, Provided by registered Financial Service Providers, Sharia Boards , diversification
Cons: Typically High fees, .

  1. ETF
About: Collective investment
Pros: low fees, Provided by registered Financial Service Providers, Sharia Boards , diversification
Cons: only one option in SA, heavily weighted on Resources

  1. Shares
About: Pick your own stocks off the exchange
Pros: High profit potential,
Cons: Very Risky, No Islamic oversight (hence need to do your own screening)

  1. Property
About: Tried and test property
Pros: Stable Asset, Tangible, Straightforward, Zakah benefits,
Cons: High capital outlay, expensive legal costs (transfebond registration) , Not very liquid,
  1. Custom Wealth Solutions
About: Customized Wealth management and investments
Pros: Professional advice, custom solution
Cons: Available exclusively to high net worth individuals, Investment advise appears to be fee based

Section 2: Definitely not halal 
  1. Margin based investing: Margin = interest = haram. Also very risky
  2. Futures contracts: Shorting, going long, all CFD's and futures contracts are impermissible. Because a condition for a halal investment is that the underlying asset must be owned
  3. Forex: Or at least forex based on CFD's and margins. Buying dollars to travel should be perfectly fine.
  4. Stocks/Equities that primarily deal in haram activities: Gambling, pork, etc

Section 3: Grey Areas 
  1. Crypto ( Bitcoin ,etc) : In theory these should be more "halal" than fiat currency (what all money in the world is) however there are differences of opinion.
  2. Shares : There are grey areas : Most companies has an element of haram income (interest, etc). Scholars have devised ratios to to filter out "islamic stocks" from haram stocks (30-33% max debt, max 5% haram income, liquid ratios, etc). It is for this reason these stocks requires dividend purification.
However you should be aware of this before venturing into to stocks as you might not be comfortable with that thought (This also affects EFTs, Unit trusts, etc).
3 Easy Equities: Easy equities makes it cheap and easy to own equities. However I would at all times buy/sell only whole shares and not fractional shares. Fractional shares are done as a CFD (a bit different from a forex CFD). You get all the benefits of ownership such as dividends and capital gains on a pro rate basis. But you do not actually own the CFD until you buy enough CFD to get a real whole share. That being said, it is still grey, best to avoid fractional shares entirely
4. Halal Forex Accounts: Somehow these are marketed that way. Here's a link to (Islamic Finance Guru) who has a bit more knowledge on this. (Note: I am not affiliated in any way or get any benefit)
Section 4: Conclusion 
I sincerely hope this helps , and encourages to invest in the Islamic world.
Any ideas, inputs and suggestions welcome.


Disclaimer 1 : Corrections welcome, I am not a learned scholar, this is not financial advice, you bear the responsibility & consequences of your own decisions/investments
Disclaimer 2 : At some point FNB Sharia board quit , they subsequently hired a new board. They don't however make it easy to find who is in the board from their website. However the information can be found in news websites.
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