Late last year Crescent Wealth, an Australian Islamic wealth manager, launched what they say is Australia’s first Islamic superannuation option. The launch was the culmination of over two years work and is poised to give the almost half a million Australian Muslim community a Shariah compliant alternative for their superannuation and savings.
MuslimVillage.com was granted an interview with Talal Yassine, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Crescent Wealth to tell us more about Crescent Wealth and the launch of the new fund.
How long has it taken to get the fund established?
Crescent Wealth has worked tirelessly over the last two years to develop high quality investment products that offer a superannuation and pension choice to the Islamic community. These products have been developed not only for the Australian Muslim Community but also to enrich the Australian economy as a whole.
We have taken the time to perfect our offerings so that they meet and reflect what our community have requested. Crescent Wealth received its Australian Financial Services Licence in November 2010, launching the Crescent Australian Equity Fund in July 2011. In 2012 we have launched the Crescent Islamic Cash Management Fund, the International Equities Fund and a Property Fund.
What was the most challenging aspect you confronted?
Crescent Wealth has gone to great lengths to ensure our products accurately reflect Islamic investment principles. There have been no shortcuts in this regard. Recognition as a trusted and respected brand is absolutely vital to us as a company and in a community that values integrity, strong relationships and trustworthiness in the same regard as strong performance.
Why this is such a significant achievement for the Australian Muslim community?
This represents a significant milestone as Crescent Wealth has finally broken through the Australian wealth management frontier by providing alternative Islamic compliant investment options. To me this represents a testament to the mindset of our community to harness our collective energy in order to capture the amazing opportunity Islamic finance provides. We want to give everyone the opportunity to benefit from one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors in the global wealth management industry today.
I see these funds as a gateway to the prosperity of our community. Crescent Wealth has developed initiatives which cover key strategic areas, beliefs and are long term, sustainable and enduring – in that they are designed to enrich the community now and in the future. This includes establishing partnerships with like-minded organisations with the aim to developing new approaches and meaningful investment initiatives. Ideas that will drive lasting social impact, can be sustained, and may be replicated across regions to benefit the savings and future retirement needs of our community.
How will this affect the day to day life of the average Australian Muslim?
Muslims in Australia can now invest in a manner that reflects their personal ethical values. This means that their funds are no longer invested in non-compliant activities such as alcohol, gambling, weapons, pornography or in banks which engage in usury (interest). Interestingly you also find that when investors’ funds follow Islamic investment principles, then the investment approach is more focused on solid business fundamentals and ethical practice – reflecting a conservative and value based investment strategy we may now all take part in.
What happens to people’s super funds at present in Australia?
Your average Australian super fund does not follow the same ultra-ethical investment principles that Crescent Wealth employs. This means people’s super funds are likely to be invested in non-permissible activities mentioned. Interest based returns from fixed income/cash based instruments tend to represent about 25% of your asset allocation in an average super fund. Crescent Wealth also differentiates from conventional investing in that our investment principles ensure we absolutely must avoid the uncertainty, speculation and unsustainable debt accumulation that has led to recent economic woes as we saw during the Global Financial Crisis and are seeing in the European debt crisis.
Crescent Wealth is subject to the same regulatory requirements as other Australian Funds. Financial institutions in Australia are highly regulated and Crescent Wealth has met the regulatory requirements in order to provide our products to the community. We hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (No. 365260).
Who and what is the calibre of your Shariah advisors?
To ensure compliance with Islamic investment principles, we approached the leading Sharia supervisory board in international Islamic Finance and appointed the International Sharia Supervisory Board of Amanie Islamic Finance Consultancy and Education LLC. All products we offer also follow a strict set of quantitative and qualitative filters and principles as set by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOFI).
These organisations represent the international gold standard for compliance in Islamic finance supervisory. This means our investors can be confident our products will always be highly accurate and reliable in their adherence to Islamic investment principles.
What different investment options do you have?
Our Islamic compliant superannuation options allow investors to cover all asset classes – cash/income, property, Australian and international shares – for a balanced and diversified superannuation solution.
However people can also invest individually in any of our ultra-ethical managed funds, all adhering to Islamic investment principles. These include a Cash Management Fund, an Australian Equity Fund, an International Equity Fund and a Diversified Property Fund.
Can you accept self managed super funds or self managed retirees’ funds?
If an investor or retiree have a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) – Yes, Crescent Wealth provides four Sharia compliant investment funds into which an SMSF can invest as I stated in the previous answer.
Can you give us some information on the Crescent Foundation Fund?
If a certain level of income is deemed to have come from non-ethical products or services, it must be “cleansed”. The cleansing process accepted under Sharia is to use the income to provide benefit to the community. Crescent Wealth is managing this via the Crescent Foundation Fund which donates to registered Australian based charities.
How can people transfer their super to Crescent?
You can contact Crescent Wealth Investor Services on 1300 926 262 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch with an AIOFP member nearest to you. You may also visit www.crescentwealth.com.au for further information.
Crescent Wealth launch Australia’s first Islamic superannuation option
Source: Crescent Wealth
The 17th of December 2012 marked a milestone in the history of the Australian Muslim community as Crescent Wealth – Australia’s first Islamic wealth manager – launched Australia’s first Islamic superannuation option.
The guest list to the event included 200+ attendees, the majority of whom were official representatives from a dynamic number of businesses, political parties, news and media companies, Islamic societies, mosques, government departments and community organizations.
As guests arrived, they were welcomed by the Directors of Crescent Wealth and proceeded to enter the LMA Grand Hall filled with the soft ambience of Islamic nasheeds. Guests mingled in a cocktail style fashion with waiters serving a delightful array of halal finger food and beverages as they waited for the commencement of the evening.
The launch was opened after the maghrib (sundown) prayer with the exquisite recitation of the Holy Quran by Zaher Naboulsi. The audience was silenced and moved by the power behind the words, with translation to follow projected for all to see.
Talal Yassine, Managing Director of Crescent Wealth, then took the stage as MC and speaker. He spoke on the reason Crescent Wealth was founded, the significance of this achievement of Islamic Superannuation and what it means for all Australians and in particular the Australian Muslim Community.
Talal was then followed by Peter Johnston, the Executive Director of the Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners and special guest speaker who spoke briefly of the process involved in coming aboard this new and exciting option.
Following him was Samier Dandan, the President of the Lebanese Muslim Association and Non-Executive Director of Crescent Wealth, who speak on how this achievement stands as a milestone in building an institution for the Australian Muslim Community and how Crescent Wealth will stand at the forefront of progress for the community and Australia as a whole.
The last of the speakers was the Hon. Chris Bowen, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (also the former Minister for Finance), who lent his official support to the grand initiative that is Crescent Wealth.
The final presentation was the display of a new introductory video called Crescent Wealth: Creating New Opportunities which can be viewed below.
The night was ended with a powerful supplication in English and then Arabic by Muhammad Khodr before guests returned to networking for a substantial time after the close of the event.
It was an incredible night enjoyed by all partaking in a new and significant chapter in the history of the Australian Muslim Community.
Disclaimer: Crescent Wealth has a commercial advertising arrangement with MuslimVillage.com.