Jul 20, 2020

Fair for You expands to provide credit during the COVID era

Fair for You
covid-19
Credit provider
William Girling
2 min
Loan
Fair for You, a UK-based non-profit credit provider, has received £7.5mn in investment to expand its operations and help transform the industry...

Fair for You, a UK-based non-profit credit provider, has received £7.5mn in investment to expand its operations and help transform the industry.

With money coming from a variety of the country’s most notable foundations and social investors, £5mn of the total figure was provided by the Government-backed entity Fair4All Finance.

The contributing investors include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn, Ignite and others. 

An organisation which is dedicated to reforming the credit sector with truly client-centric operations, Fair for You provides a straightforward service, optimal prices, seven-days-a-week availability, flexible repayments and a simple online process.

Credit during the COVID-19 era

The funds for expansion could have a dramatic impact on Fair for You’s capacity, with estimates predicting a 1,000% increase (25,000 to 250,000) in loans granted per year over the next five years.

Furthermore, the company states that this will ultimately lead to savings of £58mn through the negation of what it calls “high-cost short term credit”. 

Sarah Gardiner, Head of Growth Strategy at Fair to You and formerly of Nationwide, stated that she was glad to have joined the venture at such a critical time:

“By lending responsibly and sustainably to tens of thousands of lower-income households, Fair for You has demonstrated the huge opportunity to fill this much-needed gap in the market. We are growing and diversifying our investor base to further boost our rapid growth and broaden the proposition.”

The necessity for credit companies as COVID-19 continues to cause economic disruption is not lost on the company; it has lent almost double the amount in 2020 than over the same period last year.

“There are around 15mn people in the UK struggling to access affordable credit who are just one unexpected bill or bit of bad luck away from a crisis,” said Howard Bell, Chair of Fair to You. 

“The need for Fair for You to scale rapidly has never been clearer. We are delighted to be the first genuine not-for-profit to use the dormant assets funding and ongoing support from social investors to leverage commercial funding and push out firms that take advantage of financially vulnerable customers.”

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Jun 24, 2021

Islamic fintech Wahed plans UK expansion: Hires expert GM

wahed
islamicfinance
Fintech
Sharia
4 min
The world’s leading Islamic fintech company has hired top industry expert Umer Suleman to oversee Wahed Inc’s UK-wide expansion plans

Wahed Inc has hired a leading industry expert to take Islamic finance forward in the UK marketplace. 

Umer Suleman has been appointed as General Manager of UK operations for Wahed Inc.. His role will include overseeing Wahed Invest’s nationwide growth strategy and strengthening the firm’s position as a leading provider of ethically focused investment services. 

Suleman’s track record includes over 15 years of regulatory, risk, and strategy consultancy roles, as well as advisory positions across a variety of businesses and sectors including positions at UKIFC, Daiwa Capital Management, and Ernst & Young (EY).

He also spent seven years at HSBC as Head of KYC Risk globally within their Global Banking and Markets business, Head of Business and Conduct Risk for MENA within Retail Banking, and headed up the CCO function for Digital (GLCM) within the UK with a global remit.

Wahed and the growing role of Islamic finance

The startup fintech was founded in 2017 and is an American company based in New York City. Since its inception,  it has grown from strength to strength and in July 2019, launched the first exchange-traded fund in the US that was compliant with Sharia law. 

Islamic finance typically refers to the way businesses and individuals raise capital in accordance with Sharia, or Islamic law. It also refers to the types of investments that are permissible under Islam. 

Wahed currently operates in 130 countries and has offices in Washington D.C, New York, London and Dubai. It has also developed an easily accessible digital platform that balances ethical finance with modern investments, attracting over 200,000 active clients from around the world with features such as free portfolio recommendations and no hidden fees.

Wahed UK expansion plans

According to reports, the UK is highly receptive to services in the Islamic finance sector and is also one of the fastest-growing markets globally.  It has a three million-strong Muslim population and one of the most developed Islamic finance sectors outside of the traditional Muslim regions, with global population figures projected to double over the next forty years. 

It is hoped Suleman’s leadership of Wahed will address the underbanked needs of the Muslim community while also serving the increasing number of retail investors currently seeking ethical alternatives to wealth creation. 

Speaking about the new role, Wahed CEO, Junaid Wahedna, explained  “Mr. Suleman’s appointment reaffirms our commitment to providing innovative and outstanding ethically driven financial services to a market that, historically, has been underserved.

“We’re delighted to welcome Umer to the team and firmly believe that with him at the helm, our operations in the UK will continue to go from strength to strength and provide customers seeking ethical investments with accessible, trustworthy and innovative solutions.”

The appointment follows on from Wahed’s recent investment round and its acquisition of the UK-based fintech Niyah.

These events will support the company in its plans to build an Islamic marketplace that meets growing demand for socially conscious investors – and not just those of Islamic faith. 

The fintech firm also plans to utilise the UK’s position as a leading hub for Islamic finance as a springboard into other European cities, and believes it has a central role to play in providing Shariah-compliant services that address inclusion and inequality.

The Islamic finance industry is currently valued at around US$2.4trn and is expected to grow steadily by 10-12% over 2021 and 2022, having experienced rapid growth in recent years.

THREE reasons why Islamic finance is a growing sector

  1. The UK Muslim population is growing - and has been traditionally underserved by incumbent banks. The Muslim population is growing twice as fast the world’s non-Muslim population and Islamic finance address this group’s needfor  Shariah compliant financial products.
  2. It encourages financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, financial inclusion is defined as individuals and businesses having access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
  3. It supports Sharia compliant products. Transactions that work with industries forbidden in Islam (gambling, usury and speculation) are forbidden. Islamic banking only works with businesses that adhere to their ethical and moral standards.

 

Image credit: Wahed Inc team

 

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