Britain’s endeavor to cement itself as the global Fintech hub is extending to Islamic finance as a London-based Sharia-compliant FinTech startup gains regulatory approval.
London-based Yielders, a Fintech startup that has developed a platform that creates pre-funded investment opportunities with pre-defined rental incomes for retail investors to start earning immediate returns, has become the first Islamic financial firm to gain UK’s regulatory stamp.
Essentially, the platform enables the public to invest as little as £100 toward buying a share of a crowdfunded property. The properties are pre-funded investments, allowing the public to invest in an asset that is generating an income already.
Yielders underlines the UK Islamic market as the ‘largest and the most dynamic’ outside the Middle East.
Details from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, the financial regulator, reveals that the now-regulated startup is ‘given permission to provide regulated products and services’, effective 31st March 2017.
In February, the equity-based property crowdfunding platform became the first UK company to gain a Shariah compliance certification by the UK Islamic Finance Council (UKIFC). The startup gained certification from sheik and UK scholar Abu Eesa. Prior to the certification, a review looked into the firm’s investment governance, monthly processes, client money handling, post-investment treatment of investors, information transparency and more. Sharia-compliant finance excludes any gambling related activities, as well as no borrowing on investors’ money.
Speaking to Reuters, Yielders founding director Irfan Khan revealed that the firm was in conversations with UK regulatory authorities over the past two years. The executive adds that over the course of discussions, it became evident that the UK government is pushing toward establishing Britain as a hub for Islamic Fintech.
They (the UK government) believe that outside the Middle East, the UK is the capital of Fintech for Islamic finance. There’s certainly movement in the UK to try to promote Islamic fintech, and for fintech firms in the UK to show the route forward for a lot of the Middle Eastern market.
Shariah-compliant Fintech products are also being welcomed in Malaysia, a country with an Islam-majority population. In March, the Malaysian government opened its doors for Fintech startups and companies to “test and launch” Shariah-compliant products for the region and the global Islamic finance market by using Malaysia as a test-bed.
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