Australia’s first Islamic principle-compliant superannuation fund has gained 30 to 50 members a week from industry and retail funds in its first few months of operation.
Crescent Wealth has focused its marketing on Muslims under the age of 40, with adverts on Facebook and Google with the messages “Is your super Halal? Ours is” and “Plan for this life and the next with Islamic superannuation”.
Since its launch in May it has gained members from AustralianSuper, HESTA, REST and BT, and has also become the default fund for three Islamic schools in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Talal Yassine, chief executive of Crescent Wealth, said that while the fund was making “excellent progress”, it was going to take some time to fully penetrate the market.
“Australian Muslims tend to act like other Australians: they take advice, they seek opinions and then they make up their own mind. Our pitch to them is this is an ultra-ethical fund that accords with your values, it is APRA-registered and insured, and also our costs are low and our returns aim to meet or beat markets. So far our track record is reasonably good.”
The ethical screen applied to the fund’s investment process leads it to exclude all but 142 of the ASX300. The screen prohibits investing in companies that sell or produce pork, armaments, pornography or gambling, as well as those that charge interest. The screens on pork and profit from interest exclude companies such as Westfarmers or Woolworths and all Australian banks.
The ethical nature of the fund has also seen it attract non-muslim investors, says Yassine.