Aramco Backs New York Fintech Firm Offering Islamic Investments

(Bloomberg) -- A New York-based online Islamic investment platform has secured backing from Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest company, to expand into the Middle East and make Riyadh its hub for the region.

Wahed Invest LLC got the financing from the oil giant’s Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures unit as part of a $25 million funding round, founder Junaid Wahedna said in an interview. Dubai-based BECO Capital and Boston-based Cue Ball Group LLC also invested in the firm, he said.

The three-year-old company has already received a license to operate in Saudi Arabia, and aims to get regulatory approval in 20 countries, compared with nine at the moment, he said. Wahed in October started Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant digital investment platform as it seeks to tap into rising demand for Islamic finance.

“Having Aramco as an investor is really important for us, as clients get a lot of reassurance from investing through a company backed by strong and familiar names,” Wahedna said.

The firm is also considering listing its Islamic ETF on the Saudi stock exchange, he said. The ETF, which holds investments in firms including Apple Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Intel Corp., was listed on the Nasdaq last year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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