U.S. And Australian Firms Partner To Issue New Islamic Equity Fund


Regional media is reporting that Saturna Capital, a U.S. Islamic investment firm with strong ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, has entered into an agreement with an Australian “Islamic wealth manager” with its own ties to the Australian Muslim Brotherhood in a connection with a new Islamic equity fund to be launched in Australia later this year. According to the report:

Crescent Wealth, Australia’s first Islamic wealth manager, announced on Thursday that it has entered into an agreement with Saturna Sdn Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of US based Saturna Capital) to act as the portfolio manager to the Crescent International Equity Fund to be launched later this year. Saturna’s strong fund performance in the U.S. underscored the potential of what he believes can be achieved in the Australian market, Managing Director of Crescent Wealth, Talal Yassine, said. “Our collaboration with Saturna Capital deepens our expertise in global Islamic finance and will give Australian investors the confidence to invest in our Crescent International Equity Fund,” Mr Yassine said. “Saturna has had tremendous success adhering to the principles of Islamic-based investing,” said Mr Yassine, “favouring companies with low debt-to-equity ratios and avoiding those with high price-to-earnings ratios.”  Saturna Capital, founded in 1989, manages funds and private accounts with total assets of more than $3.8 billion, including US-based Amana Income and Amana Growth Funds, the world’s largest Islamic equity funds open to the public. Saturna has been recognized as a premier Islamic fund manager with multiple US and international awards. Saturna Sdn. Bhd. is licensed as an Islamic fund manager in Malaysia under the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre (MIFC) scheme……..Saturna Capital has pioneered Islamic investing in the U.S. mutual fund industry with the launch of the Amana Income Fund 25 years ago. The firm developed its Islamic investment process with guidance from the Fiqh Council of North America to ensure that its Islamic portfolios Funds meet the requirements of the Islamic faith. Refined over two decades, Saturna’s process includes a proprietary Islamic grading system applied to over 12,000 equities in its research database and integrated into its ongoing management and Islamic compliance monitoring of the Amana portfolios. Mr. Yassine said Australia is emerging as an attractive market for global Islamic investment funds, which continue to grow at an exceptional rate despite the current global economic uncertainty. “There is enormous potential to grow Islamic-compliant investment in Australia from investors here and in Asia and the Middle East. Crescent Wealth estimates that the potential pool of funds seeking Islamic-compliant investments within Australia today is between $4 -$8 billion. We think this potential pool will grow to as much as $13 billion by 2019.” Crescent Wealth launched its first fund, the Crescent Australian Equity Fund (CAEF) in October last year and an Islamic index in partnership with Thomson Reuters on 1st February 2012 – Thomson Reuters Crescent Wealth Islamic Australia Index. This year, it will launch a further three funds – international equities, property, and income funds – which together will form Australia’s first Islamic superannuation option.

The Crescent Wealth Web site describes itself as “Established in 2007, Crescent Wealth is the only Australian wealth manager with a specialist focus on Islamic investing.” However, the Economic Warfare Institute blog links the Crescent CEO to the Australian Muslim Brotherhood:

Crescent Wealth ,Thomson’s partner in this project has some interesting history with regards to the Muslim initiative in Australia. Chaaban Omran, its CEO[4]  and Director, Investments & Superannuation [5] is a past  national president of the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth Inc (FAMSY). FAMSY’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood have are detailed by Sharon Lapkin in her 2006  article, “The Uni Cycle-The Muslim Brotherhood infiltrates Australian universities [6].

The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) is an organization comprised of Islamic scholars, most if not all of whom are associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. As FCNA itself acknowledges, the organization grew out of the activities of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and later became affiliated with ISNA, itself an outgrowth of MSA. FCNA maintains a relationship with other similar bodies in the global Muslim Brotherhood including the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) as well as the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia. The ECFR, headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, is a component of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella group in Europe and its membership is also comprised of many individuals associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Two individuals known to be ECFR members, Jamal Badawi and Solah Soltan, are also known to have been associated with the FCNA. As noted in an earlier post, as recently as August 2005 FCNA had been receiving fees from Saturna Capital in connection with its advisory role on matters related to Islamic mutual funds (i.e. the Amana Growth Fund and the Amana Income Funds). A 1985 economics journal reported that Amana was established by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Barzinji. Material available on the Amana website and early media reports indicate that prior to its arrangement with FCNA, the funds were being advised on Islamic matters by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), associated with Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and another part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. A 2001 Amana webpage lists NAIT chairman Basam Osman as one of the Amana trustees, and states “ISNA provides advice and other services to Saturna Capital Corporation regarding investments by ISNA members in the Funds.”

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