Sonny Bill Williams could find his rugby career curtailed if he refuses to support any sponsorship that runs contrary to his Islamic religion. Williams covered the BNZ logo on his collar in his first game for the Blues. Williams has lodged a conscientious objection in his contract to finance companies, banks, alcohol companies, tobacco companies and gambling companies. According to Victoria University religious studies professor Paul Morris, the rugby player's conscientious objection was valid if cleared with the sponsor and the management of the team. Islamic Women's Council spokeswoman Anjum Rahman said Williams was making a statement and it was a valid choice. New Zealand Bankers' Association CEO Karen Scott-Howman said banks were constantly responding to customer preferences. However, the banks do not see the demand for Sharia-compliant banking in New Zealand.
The launch of MyETF-AGRI, the firm’s second Islamic ETF issued this year, brings the number of Shari’ah compliant ETFs in Malaysia to four and 18 in total in the world.
The global ETF market has closed in on the $3 trillion mark with Shari’ah-compliant ETFs only registering about $320 million of that total. In Malaysia, Shari’ah-compliant ETFs make up of over 30 % of the ETF market.
Malaysia does lead the pack, however, with the most Shari’ah-compliant ETF products in the world. Malaysia’s four Shari’ah-compliant ETFs account for some $75 million or 23 % of the global Shari’ah-Compliant ETF segment.
The launch of this landmark Fund represents many firsts for the industry including being the first agricultural-related Islamic ETF globally and the first sectoral Islamic ETF in the region while reinforcing Malaysia’s position as the global hub for Islamic finance and investment products.
MyETF-AGRI will look to invest in the 30 constituent companies that make up the Thomson Reuters Asia Pacific ex-Japan Islamic Agribusiness Index and in substantially the same weightings as they appear on the benchmark index.
Sara Jawadi, a Muslim woman who unsuccessfully lobbied New Zealand's big banks for interest-free mortgages, is turning her attention to other financial institutions. Jawadi said she had approached Kiwibank, ANZ, BNZ and Westpac but she was either met with no response or was told to send an email. The next step was to approach private investors and finance companies in the hope of a better response, she said. Jawadi and other Kiwi Muslims in similar situations could be in luck as New Zealand's first Islam-friendly KiwiSaver provider plans to offer interest-free mortgages to Muslims. Amanah Ethical launched the country's first Sharia-compliant KiwiSaver earlier this year.