Yielders has claimed to be the first UK Fintech company gaining a Sharia Compliance Certification. The equity-based property crowdfunding platform, founded by Irfan Khan, successfully completed the independent sharia certification conducted by IFC. Achieving the certification means that Yielders may significantly expand its market presence by operating across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Being compliant with FCA regulation, Yielders offers the opportunity for the public to invest as little as £100 towards buying a share of a crowdfunded property. Yielders explains that the UK Islamic market is one of the largest, most vibrant and dynamic outside the Middle East. Ethical Islamic investment is described as being crucial to the Yielders’ philosophy. Yielders only offer pre-funded investments to the retail crowd, meaning the assets are already generating an income.
The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has released a commissioned study on the economics of the peer to peer lending market in the UK. The study focused specifically on the eight-member platforms of the P2PFA which collectively comprise over 75% of the UK market. Reinder van Dijk, Partner at Oxera consulting, called peer to peer lending a 'real innovation' bringing benefits to both borrowers and investors. According to the report, P2P lending has created additional competition and choice in the market for loans and investment. P2P lending provides new options for retail investors, opening up access to risk-and-return from an asset class of consumer and business loans with net returns of between 4% & 8%. P2P lending does not create systemic risk, P2PFA member platforms provide a level of transparency which empowers investors.
EthisCrowd has been recognized as the Best Islamic Crowdfunding Platform for its social impact real estate campaigns in Indonesia. The Singapore-based platform received the award at the 6th Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2016 in Jakarta. EthisCrowd said the inclusion of the crowdfunding category symbolized the growth and adoption of Islamic Crowdfunding. The platform’s community now claims 17,000 registered members who have invested in projects to build 5,000 houses for the needy in Indonesia. Ronald Yusuf Wijaya, EthisCrowd’s head of Indonesian operations, stated that affordable housing projects are commercially viable and can provide excellent returns for the crowd. EthisCrowd uses Mudarabah contracts to formalize rights to profit or revenue sharing for investors, directly with real estate developers and contractors. There is no capital guarantee or fixed interest rates for investors.
Tun Abdullah Badawi, the former Prime Minister of #Malaysia, has launched the Waqf (Islamic Endowment) crowdfunding platform or WaqfWorld. The new platform was announced at the 12th World Islamic Economic Foundation Forum (WIEF) held in Jakarta last week. The platform was developed in partnership with EthisVentures.com. Founding patron, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saw the potential of Waqf Crowdfunding to develop the whole community of Muslims. WaqfWorld.org does not charge beneficiaries or users any fees. The platform is completely free during the initial phase. Operational costs will be partially borne by voluntary contributions, and other resources provided by Ethis Ventures.
The current use of Islamic Finance has mainly benefited large corporations. Despite the Shariah focus on community support and involvement, the sector’s contribution to SMEs and social projects is minimal. Combining Islamic Finance with crowdfunding has the potential to address financing issues faced by SMEs. One factor which may boost the growth of the sector is the increased introduction of Islamic finance structures. Most crowdfunding platforms currently use Murabaha and Mudharabah contracts. Other structures which may be considered includes Salam, Ijara and Diminishing Musharaka.
A group of several prominent entrants in the crowdfunding sector will announce the formation of a new Islamic Crowdfunding Alliance or ICF Alliance on April 1st. Umar Munshi, founder of eThis Crowd (Singapore), M. Raafi Hossain founder of Narwi (Qatar), Erly Witoyo, founder of Kapital Boost (Singapore), Matthew Martin founder of Blossom Finance (Indonesia) and Rachid Ouaich partner of EasiUp (France) will participate in the launch event and press conference being held in Malaysia. The founding platforms number nine in total. The event will discuss upcoming plans of the ICF Alliance to address the needs of the growing industry of crowdfunding platforms that cater to Muslim needs.
Islamic Crowdfunding has the potential to help us change our world for the better. There is an immense variety and scope of applications for crowdfunding. Crowdfunding continues to evolve and in recent years made strides into the investment world. Real Estate Crowdfunding is one of the fastest-growing segments of this booming industry worldwide. The low-entry capital makes it especially accessible to the middle income and small-medium business owners. Islamic Crowdfunding has the unique ability to empower the masses to create and re-create products, lifestyles and communities independent of capitalist corporations or bureaucratic governments.