Islamic Fintech Startup Wahed Opens Physical Office in UK

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Islamic Fintech Startup Wahed Opens Physical Office in UK
Photo: Wahed / Facebook

Wahed has a plan to help its customers grow their funds in the most Sharia-compliant way.

American financial technology and service provider, Wahed has extended its global reach with a newly opened office in the United Kingdom (UK). As reported by CNBC, the new office is like a storefront that looks like that of Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), and it will house staff members that will provide account opening services and investment counseling for prospective customers.

Wahed is touted as an Islamic finance banking firm that adheres to the tenets of Sharia investments to serve its users. The bank does not pay interest on savings, and it does not invest its customer’s money in a wide range of conventional investment options including lending businesses, alcohol, and tobacco amongst others.

The bank encourages its users to invest their money into Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that track the price of gold, an avenue to enable its users to hedge their capital against growing fiat inflation. The differential appreciation in the price of Gold per time is what the customer’s loss or gain will be.

With the evolution of digital banking, there are a lot of startups offering tailored services for users in the space today. While the ones operating in the UK, including Revolut and Klarna do not have storefronts, Wahed’s Chief Executive Officer, Junaid Wahedna said the company’s idea to open physical offices is to bolster the trust of the Muslim community in the UK.

“They have trust issues,” he added. “And so they want to see a physical presence before they trust you with money.”

With about 3.9 million Muslims in the United Kingdom, Wahed has a ready customer base, however, the firm said its services will not only target Muslims but also other Abrahamic faiths including Judaism and Christianity.

Wahed UK Office to Meet Investor’s Needs

There are many intricacies to digital banking, however, many investors, especially millennials and Gen Z have adapted to them as compared to banking in physical offices. Wahed has the plan to help its customers grow their funds in the most Sharia-compliant way.

Wahed is even optimistic that the company has a major role to play in serving Muslims that are largely considered generally underserved.

“I think it really fits with the Muslim community and what their needs are,” Wahedna said. “Because otherwise, what happens is the Muslim community, because they’re underserved, they keep their money in cash under their mattress, or in something that’s very unsafe, and they lose their money every few years because there’s a scam in the community or someone takes advantage of them. And that poverty cycle just continues.”

Wahedna criticized the usury model of most lending service providers today, adding that most fintech platforms are adding to the increasing cost of living for most people. The company is largely operating at a loss even though its outfit in Malaysia and the US had broken even.

Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Capital, professional footballer, Paul Pogba is amongst the backers of the firm which has raised $75 million to date.

Business News, FinTech News, News
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