British asset manager Ethos Invest has raised $1.37bn fund to create the world’s largest Sharia-compliant, FinTech-focused private equity fund.
The Ethos Financial Services & Technologies Fund targets small and medium-sized firms in the financial services and tech sectors across the globe, including in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.
But the partners behind the concept say they want to be a catalyst for further capital investment into what in the past has been an underserved market.
“Yes, everybody likes to be the first, the biggest etc., but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. We need to do good things,” Quintan Wiktorowicz, a partner at Ethos Invest, told The National.
Wiktorowicz said he hopes the fund does not remain the largest for long because it will mean it has succeeded in having that “catalyzing influence” with more players operating in the space.
The $2.4 trillion Sharia-compliant finance industry, which prohibits interest payments and pure monetary speculation, is likely to register growth of 10 to 12 percent this year and next, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The industry grew by 10.6 percent last year on the back of higher-than-expected sukuk issuance, the rating agency said, with growth of 17.3 percent in 2019.
Partners at Ethos Invest say they have notices a growing appetite for Islamic finance during the pandemic as the world grappled with the economic hit from Covid-19.
“We started looking at the capital raising exercise almost 18 months ago, just before Covid and throughout the Covid era we have seen how people changed their views on where to invest and how to bring the capital,” said Abdullah Medallah from law firm Abdullah Medallah & Co, who acted as legal counsel for the new fund.