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Opportunity for Islamic planning missed

The Australian Muslim community is an under-tapped client base for financial advisers due to a lack of tailored financial products, according to Frontier Wealth Advisers' director Sekou Seasay.

Speaking to ifa, Seasay said Islamic investors could potentially be a considerable market for financial service providers.

“The population of Muslims in Australia is about half a million, so the market is there but the products are not there,” he said. “There is currently only one Sharia-compliant superannuation fund and apart from that there is nothing,” he added, referring to the Islamic superannuation option launched by Crescent Wealth in late 2012.

Almost every type of investment offered in the mainstream market can be re-packaged and targeted to Muslim investors by highlighting compliance with principles of Islamic finance set out under Sharia law, including the prohibition of interest-based transactions and “ensuring a nexus between cash and assets,” said Seasay.

In particular, Seasay – who worked for an Islamic bank in Malaysia before migrating to Australia and qualifying as a financial planner in the early 2000s – sees potential demand for a Sharia-compliant managed fund, property securities fund and Islamic debt obligation and insurance products.

In addition to its corporate and investment advisory boards, Crescent Wealth maintains a separate supervisory board made up of religious scholars and experts who advise on appropriate investments, providing a potential model for financial planners to emulate.