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Halal investing gives Muslims opportunity to make money in line with religious values – BNN

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TORONTO — Ahmed Najar only started investing two years ago after discovering a way to do so that aligns with his Muslim values.

The 36-year-old lab researcher turned to Halal investing that screens out forbidden investments such as pork, alcohol, tobacco, weapons, adult entertainment and the biggest no-no of all: debt, bonds or interest.

Najar says the main driver for his investment decisions is religious.

“I cannot do the other way, it’s just impossible. Even if there is money to be made I cannot make it that way,” he said from Vancouver.

The money he invests must do no harm and be beneficial for society. Usaries are forbidden because the Qur’an says Muslims aren’t allowed to profit from lending money, so earning interest from an individual or bank is prohibited.

Socially responsible investing, including those based on religious beliefs, is a growing trend in Canada with assets under management surging to $3.2 trillion last year, up from $2.1 trillion in 2017, according to the Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report.

The rise of ESG investing

Paul Harris, partner and portfolio manager at Harris Douglas Asset Management, talks about the challenges ahead for companies and money managers as climate change and ESG investing move to the forefront of the investment world.

Responsible investing represents nearly 62 per cent of Canada’s investment industry, up from 50.6 per cent two years ago.

Investing based on religious values remains a small but growing subsection of this trend.

Like all investing, those who make decisions based on their faith should educate themselves and find a trusted financial adviser, said Najar.

That’s especially crucial for Halal investing because most financial advisers are not familiar with the detailed web of options and restrictions, said Jesse Reitberger, co-founder of Canadian Islamic Wealth, who guides Najar’s moves.

Reitberger has focused on helping the Muslim community to adhere to financial tenets of the Qur’an since converting to Islam in 2014.

He said many Muslims have sat on the sidelines or invested and just plead ignorance.

“They just keep their money either sitting in a chequing account or under their mattress at home,” he said from Winnipeg.

For many Muslims, especially older generations, that’s meant saving cash to make purchases of real estate, cars or gold.

Canada’s Muslim population exceeds one million and is expected to become the second-largest religion by 2030.

Finding investments that are Islamic compliant can be a challenge because Canada is an interest-based economy, said Reitberger.

The Dow Jones Islamic Index and S&P/TSX 60 Shariah contain several funds that hold permissible investments.

Other faiths have taken similar steps to investing, albeit without any prohibition on debt.

The Mennonite Savings and Credit Union was formed 56 years ago to allow members to “see mutual aid put into faithful practice.”

It created a family of socially responsible funds to help investors bridge the gap between their principles and the way they invest their money.

Renamed Kindred Credit Union in 2016 to broaden its reach, about 70 per cent of its 25,000 members have a faith-based affiliation.

“People have taken a really big interest in this simply because it allows them to align all aspects of their lives to reflect their beliefs including their finances,” said Tim Fox, director of wealth and investments.

Screens are put in place to exclude investments in alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, gambling, military and weapons, along with those that have negative impacts on human rights, employees and animal welfare.

“Those screens continue to evolve as a social awareness evolves. As a community, as a society we decide what is important and what we’re willing to invest in and not invest in.”

Kitchener, Ont.-based Meritas Financial was created early on because there were very few options available, added Kindred CEO Ian Thomas.

“Over the last two decades, with acceleration over the last 10 years, all of a sudden values or socially responsible investing or responsible investing has really come to the forefront and the outcome has become more mainstream.”

Other financial institutions that provide faith-inspired options include Khalsa Credit Union. It helps British Columbia’s Sikh community while Edmonton’s Christian Credit Union applies “Christian values to financial services.”

Companies such as Wealthsimple and Manzil have sprung up in recent years to fill in gaps for the Muslim community.

Online investment firm Wealthsimple said it is preparing to launch its Shariah-compliant ETF as early as next month to replace its current offering of 50 stocks.

It will contain more than 150 stocks and increased diversification.

“One of the problems that Shariah investors have is you end up screening out entire industries from how they can invest,” chief investment officer Ben Reeves said in an interview.

He said Shariah-compliant funds can generate similar returns to regular investment vehicles, noting that Its current offering launched in 2017 has returned about six per cent annually.

Mohamad Sawwaf, co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based Islamic finance company Manzil, created its own diversified portfolio offering — Manzil Halal Portfolios — in partnership with CI Direct Investing, the roboadviser arm of CI Financial Inc.

The portfolio includes alternatives to fixed income like Islamic mortgages that are based on real and hard assets, while Wahed Invest’s ETF invests in Shariah compliant stocks.

“This is a very underserved community and this is about financial inclusion because they’re currently excluded within the Canadian marketplace,” he said.

Sawwaf said market research has indicated that more than 70 per cent of Muslim Canadians would adopt Halal investing if products are available.

That’s particularly true of younger Muslims who are more interested in investing than older generations.

Restrictions on fixed income end up helping investors to do well, added Sameer Azam, investment adviser at RBC Wealth Management.

“A lot of the criteria pushes you to companies with lower leverage so at the end of the day we see a lot of quality in our clients portfolio,” he said.
 

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What Is The Ownership Structure Like For Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:BEI.UN)? – Simply Wall St

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The big shareholder groups in Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:BEI.UN) have power over the company. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it’s not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust has a market capitalization of CA$1.9b, so we would expect some institutional investors to have noticed the stock. In the chart below, we can see that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust.

See our latest analysis for Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust

ownership-breakdown

TSX:BEI.UN Ownership Breakdown February 28th 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it’s included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

We can see that Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company’s stock. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It’s therefore worth looking at Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust’s earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

earnings-and-revenue-growth

TSX:BEI.UN Earnings and Revenue Growth February 28th 2021

Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust is not owned by hedge funds. The company’s largest shareholder is Boardwalk Properties Company Limited, with ownership of 19%. Cohen & Steers Capital Management, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 9.2% of common stock, and CIBC Asset Management Inc. holds about 4.5% of the company stock.

We also observed that the top 10 shareholders account for more than half of the share register, with a few smaller shareholders to balance the interests of the larger ones to a certain extent.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock’s expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust. We do note, however, it is possible insiders have an indirect interest through a private company or other corporate structure. Keep in mind that it’s a big company, and the insiders own CA$4.4m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 35% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Private Company Ownership

It seems that Private Companies own 19%, of the Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust stock. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from this fact alone, so its worth looking into who owns those private companies. Sometimes insiders or other related parties have an interest in shares in a public company through a separate private company.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we’ve spotted with Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (including 2 which are potentially serious) .

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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Financial Focus: A primer on different investment accounts – Airdrie Today

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There are so many different investment types that it can make investing seem overwhelming. Here’s a high-level overview of what you need to know. Don’t forget, your financial advisor is here to understand your financial goals and guide you on a path to financial success.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan

The Canadian government offers various options to people who want to achieve particular saving goals through registered accounts, such as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). An RRSP is the government’s way of encouraging you to save for retirement by giving a tax deduction on the money that you save in this type of account. When you’re ready to retire, the funds you’ve accumulated can be converted into a steady stream of retirement income.

There are two major benefits to RRSP contributions – paying less income tax and tax-sheltered growth. Your RRSP contributions are deductible from your taxable income, which means you receive either a larger tax refund or a smaller tax bill when you file your taxes. While you will have to pay tax when you eventually withdraw the money from your RRSP at retirement, it will likely be at a lower rate because of your reduced income.

The second benefit is that an RRSP means your savings and interest grow sheltered from tax. You can gain a lot of financial momentum by contributing to your retirement plan early, in your 20s or 30s.

If you want to know more, The Co-operators has put together a simple explanation of what RRSPs are all about at cooperators.ca.

Tax-Free Savings Account

A second registered account you should have is a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). Similar to an RRSP, a TFSA allows you to save money without incurring any taxes on gains you may receive through your investments or interest, up to the $6,000 annual contribution limit. Any Canadian aged 18 or over who has reached the age of majority in their province can open a TFSA.

Withdrawals from your TFSA are tax-free, your contribution room is restored the year after you make a withdrawal and income-tested credits and benefits, such as the GST credit, Employment Insurance and Old Age Security, are not affected by withdrawals from your TFSA.

Furthermore, Canadians aged 18 or older in 2019 who have not yet contributed have $69,500 of contribution room in 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency will advise you each year of your current TFSA contribution room.

Registered Education Savings Plan

If you have kids or are interested in pursuing post-secondary education, a third registered investment account to consider is a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). This type of plan allows you to save for your child’s post-secondary education tax-free, with added funds contributed by the government.

There are two types of RESP – a family plan for any of your children who are under 21 years old, and an individual plan for anyone of any age, including yourself. For the family plan, contributions can be made until the beneficiary is 31 years old.

The main benefit of an RESP is that the account allows you to access government grants. The government will match up to 20 per cent of the funds that you put into your child’s RESP if they are under 17 years old, and there are additional benefit programs based on your income level and province.

Also, contributions to an RESP may qualify you for the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) until the year your child turns 17. Through the CESG, the federal government will contribute an additional 20 per cent of your annual RESP contribution to a maximum of $500 a child, per year. In addition to the CESG, you may also qualify for the Canada Learning Bond.

Another benefit of an RESP is tax-deferred investment growth, as contributions made to an RESP can accumulate and grow tax-free over the life of the plan. When you withdraw money to pay education-related expenses, only the additional earnings and grant portions of the plan are taxable. Because the child will likely be reporting a low level of income while attending school, the amount of tax they can expect to pay should be minimal.

Registered Retirement Income Fund

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) are simply a continuation of your RRSPs. The only difference is that you must withdraw a minimum legislated amount of money each year.

The value of your retirement income fund and how long it will last depends on the investments you choose, how they perform and how much you withdraw each year.

The latest possible date to convert an RRSP to an RRIF is Dec. 31 of the year you turn 71. At The Co-operators, the minimum opening deposit for an income account is $10,000. You’ll enjoy drawing a steady income while continuing to accumulate interest and investment gains while deferring taxes on the invested portion.

Locked-in retirement income funds can differ by province, plan type, and withdrawal limits. Along with potential estate value in the event of premature death, the flexibility of withdrawal amounts and investment options have made retirement income funds a popular choice.

While RRIFs are by far the most popular, we also offer other options for retirement income funds if you have specific needs that a RRIF can’t fulfill. Ask your financial advisor for more details.

Life Income Fund

A Life Income Fund (LIF) is similar to a RRIF, except it’s specifically designed for locked-in pension funds. LIFs are only available in certain provinces for those with locked-In RRSPs, Locked-in Retirement Accounts (LIRAs), Registered Pension Plans (RPPs) and Locked-in Retirement Income Funds (LRIFs).

Non-registered Investments

A non-registered plan is an account that holds investments, which are taxable to you on an annual basis. If you’re saving for a vacation, a wedding or any other short-term goal, a non-registered plan is an excellent choice. It’s also a great way to increase your retirement savings if you’ve reached your RRSP contribution limit.

Although a non-registered plan does not offer the same tax advantages as an RRSP or TFSA, many benefits make a non-registered plan worth considering, such as fewer restrictions, more flexible age limits, contribution amounts and withdrawals.

Annuities

An annuity is an alternative for those who want guaranteed payments for their lifetime. An annuity will pay you a set amount per month based on a plan that we design together. We offer various types of annuities to fit your lifestyle.

While there is a lot to consider when it comes to investments and your financial future, The Co-operators’ financial advisors are able to help with every step of the way.

—Submitted by The Co-operators

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Chinese Investment in Australia Plummets Amid Tensions – VOA Asia

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SYDNEY – Chinese investment in Australia fell by 61% in 2020 to the lowest level recorded by the Australian National University in six years, coinciding with a worsening diplomatic dispute.    

The annual tracking study from the university’s East Asian Bureau of Economic Research recorded A$1 billion ($783 million) of Chinese investment in 2020, consisting of real estate (45%), mining (40%) and manufacturing (15%) deals.  

The fall was larger than the 42% decrease in foreign direct investment globally measured by the United Nations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Shiro Armstrong, the bureau director. 
  
“It reflects the effects of COVID but also more scrutiny of foreign investment by the Australian government, particularly that from China,” he said.  

Australia announced a shakeup of its foreign investment laws in 2020 to give the government the power to veto, or force the sale of a business if it creates a national security risk.  

Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said in June the national security test would be applied to telecommunications, energy and utilities firms, and businesses that collect data.  

Chinese company Mengniu abandoned a deal to buy the Australia dairy firm Lion Dairy and Drinks from Japanese company Kirin in August, after the Australian government indicated it would block the sale.  
 
The Chinese Embassy said in November that 10 Chinese investments had been blocked in Australia on national security grounds, among a list of 14 grievances Beijing had about Australian government policy.    

China has since imposed dumping tariffs on Australian wine and barley, and restricted the unloading of Australian coal at Chinese ports.  

FILE – A staffer and visitor speak near a display of Australian wines at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2020. China raised import taxes on Australian wine, stepping up pressure on Australia over several disputes.

 Chinese investment in Australia peaked at A$16.5 billion in 2016, spanning agriculture, transport, energy utilities, healthcare, mining and property, the ANU study showed.  

By 2020, 86% of Chinese investment in Australia came from the Australian subsidiaries of Chinese companies. 

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