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.
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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
BTV Visits Thriving Companies to Invest In – Investing News Network
On national TV Sat. Feb 27 & Sun. Feb 28, 2021 – From mining to cryptocurrency this episode of BTV-Business Television visits exciting companies for your investment portfolio including:Cannot view this video? Visit: Preview: YouTube BTV Live Premiere 1pm PST today + Meet the Hosts of BTVClick here to set a reminder! Discover Companies to Invest InBIGG Digital Assets Inc. – As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, BTV …
On national TV Sat. Feb 27 & Sun. Feb 28, 2021 – From mining to cryptocurrency this episode of BTV-Business Television visits exciting companies for your investment portfolio including:
Cannot view this video? Visit:
Sneak Preview: YouTube BTV Live Premiere 1pm PST today
+ Meet the Hosts of BTV
Click here to set a reminder!
Discover Companies to Invest In
BIGG Digital Assets Inc. (CSE: BIGG) (OTCQB: BBKCF) – As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, BTV finds a company dedicated to creating a safer, more accessible crypto environment. Adelaide Capital’s Victoria Rutherford weighs in.
Talisker Resources Ltd. (TSX: TSK) (OTCQX: TSKFF) – BTV discovers how this junior resource company is fast tracking its historic gold mine in B.C. towards production.
Blockchain Foundry Inc. (CSE: BCFN) – A company at the forefront of blockchain technology development. BTV learns about Syscoin, their blockchain protocol.
Moneta Porcupine Mines Inc. (TSX: ME) – Their recent acquisition increased their land position to create one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in North America.
Sernova Corp. (TSXV: SVA) (OTCQB: SEOVF) – A regenerative medicine therapeutics company with a new approach to treating chronic diseases including Type 1 Diabetes.
Monarch Mining Corporation (TSX: GBAR) – BTV visits this gold focused company with plans to restart the Beaufor Mine in Quebec’s prolific Abitibi Greenstone Belt.
On air for over 20 years, BTV – Business Television, a half-hour investment TV show, features analysts and emerging companies on location. With Hosts, Taylor Thoen and Jessica Katrichak, BTV brings viewers investment opportunities.
TV BROADCAST NETWORKS and TIMES:
BNN Bloomberg – Saturday Feb 27 @ 8:00pm EST, Sunday Feb 28 @ 4:30pm EST
Bell Express Vu – Saturday Feb 27 @ 8:00pm EST, Sunday Feb 28 @ 4:30pm EST
US National TV:
Biz Television Network – Sun Mar 7 @ 8:30am EST
To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/75445
News Provided by Newsfile via QuoteMedia
Temasek Makes Rare Seed Investment in Plant-Based Chicken Maker – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Plant-based chicken maker Next Gen Foods has closed a $10 million seed round co-led by Temasek International, a rare early-stage bet by Singapore’s state-owned investor.
The funding round was also backed by family office K3 Ventures, the Economic Development Board of Singapore’s New Ventures unit and NX-Food, a startup hub owned by Germany’s Metro AG. The investors will help fund a regional expansion as Next Gen prepares to start selling to Singapore restaurants from March 18.
The deal is a sign that Temasek, which manages S$306 billion ($232 billion) and also backs plant-based beef rival Impossible Foods, is ramping up deals in the alternative protein space as Singapore attempts to secure 30% of its food locally by 2030. While the firm’s subsidiaries like Vertex Venture Holdings have previously invested in seed funding rounds, the parent company has traditionally backed more mature businesses at the Series A level and beyond.
Next Gen was co-founded by Timo Recker, whose family has long worked in pork production. He wanted to move away from meats and in 2013 used his industrial know-how and some family capital to launch LikeMeat, which sells currywursts, schnitzels and other products made of soy and peas.
Recker sold control of that business last year and launched Next Gen in Singapore. It uses suppliers in the Netherlands to produce soy-based chicken pieces with “lipi,” a trademarked mix of plant-based ingredients it says imparts a chicken-like taste in the same way heme boosts the realism of Impossible Foods’ fake-beef burgers. The product will be sold under the brand name Tindle.
But where Impossible Foods’ heme features genetically engineered soy – forcing it to gain regulatory approval before entering some markets – Next Gen uses natural ingredients. For K3 Ventures Chief Executive Officer Meng Xiong Kuok, that was an important factor in making the investment.
“Building up their capabilities based on non-GMO soybeans helps guarantee and set the foundations for their potential entry into the China market,” he said.
Singapore is positioning itself as a global hub for alternative protein development and production. It recently became the first country to approve the sale of cell-based chicken via Eat Just Inc. and is home to Shiok Meats – a producer of lab-grown prawn meat.
The backing of institutional investors won’t guarantee success, with startups and conglomerates around the world working on plant-based meat products. The segment is expected by UBS Group AG to be worth more than $51 billion by 2025, or about 2.5% of the overall meat market.
Next Gen outsources the manufacturing of its products and will initially sell through restaurants instead of direct to consumers. To prevent partners from replicating their recipe, contractors produce different components before it’s assembled into the final product. Its Netherlands-based partner can produce 5,000 tons annually, enough for 9,000 restaurants, and Recker predicts this capacity will be enough to last two to three years.
“We’re building now our teams and will then scale the brand globally,” he said. “We want to become the undisputed leader for plant-based chicken.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Newfoundland and Labrador ranks top 10 globally in mining investment attractiveness, policy perception – TheChronicleHerald.ca
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —
Newfoundland and Labrador is good as gold, according to a global mining industry survey.
The Fraser Institute’s 2020 survey of mining and exploration companies placed Newfoundland and Labrador in the top 10 jurisdictions for both investment attractiveness and policy.
The survey ranked 77 places, including several North American states, provinces and territories. Newfoundland and Labrador placed eighth in both categories.
Saskatchewan was the only other province to make the top 10, placing third in investment attractiveness and ninth in policy perception. Nova Scotia meanwhile ranked among the bottom 10 in the investment category and 24th for mining-friendly policy.
Jairo Yunis, a policy analyst with the Fraser Institute who co-authored a report based on the survey results, said the most attractive jurisdictions for investment tend to match their mineral potential with a competitive policy environment.
“However, Newfoundland’s improvement from (2019), when it ranked 28th in terms of overall investment attractiveness, was largely driven by improved perceptions by investors on its mineral potential,” he said. “When considering mineral potential alone, the province went from ranking 50th in 2019 to 11th in 2020, with no changes in its policy ranking.”
Last year, the provincial Department of Industry, Energy and Technology processed 389 mineral exploration applications, more than in any of the previous five years. Expenditures for mineral exploration in 2020 were also up, climbing from $50 million in 2019 to $61 million last year.
Ed Moriarity, executive director of Mining Industry NL, said a combination of good people, solid infrastructure and strong geology and geoscience has placed the province in a position to succeed when it comes to this sector. He added the exploration and mining operations in Newfoundland and Labrador are quite diverse. In turn, this diversity helps attract further investment.
Saskatchewan 3rd most attractive jurisdiction worldwide for mining investment, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador also in global top 10.
— The Fraser Institute (@FraserInstitute) February 23, 2021
“You see (the survey) every year, and Newfoundland and Labrador will vary from year to year, but I was quite pleased to see it in the top 10 again,” Moriarity said. “We want to see us in the top three, or as we like to say, the best place in the world in which to explore and develop a mine.”
Moriarity said a favourable commodity market for gold has certainly helped Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The number of companies that are active in the province compared to year over year is also a factor in terms of that general awareness,” he added, noting there’s been a lot of work happening over the years to promote Newfoundland and Labrador’s mineral potential. In the last couple of years, he’s noticed an uptick in the frequency of news releases touting the achievements of projects in the province.
Moriarity sees another trend emerging that Newfoundland and Labrador is well-positioned to act on — green and low-carbon minerals are abundant in the province, including copper, nickel and cobalt.
“We have the potential here to realize that phase of development,” Moriarity said. “I think fundamentally as the world shifts in that direction, jurisdictions that are safe harbours, good legal and regulatory framework, that have a strong professional work force to avail of, that have the supply and service sector necessary to support it, all these factors are put into the risk equation for companies. And on the bottom line is the quality and quantity of the mineral occurrences and prospectivity you have in the province. That, I think, is always going to be a fundamental benefit for Newfoundland and Labrador as we move forward and capture these new opportunities and get our attention and direction focused there.”
Yunis cautioned the survey did identify some areas where the provincial sector could potentially improve in performance, noting 26 per cent of respondents indicated infrastructure was a factor deterring investment in Newfoundland and Labrador.
He said there is also a sense of uncertainty with respect to all Canadian provinces and territories when it comes to protected areas and land claim disputes.
Andrew Robinson is a business reporter in St. John’s. [email protected] | Twitter: @CBNAndrew
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