Canadian fintech unicorn Wealthsimple has launched an Islamic exchange-traded fund (ETF), its first, underscoring the digital wealth manager’s commitment to Islamic finance.
The Toronto-based robo-advisor, which began offering a Halal portfolio back in 2017, has bolstered its Islamic offerings with the Wealthsimple Shariah World Equity Index ETF (ticker: WSHR) which seeks to replicate the performance of the Dow Jones Islamic Market Developed Markets Quality and Low Volatility Index, which primarily includes Shariah compliant equity securities in developed markets.
The ETF is managed by Mackenzie Investment and listed on NEO Exchange, a stock exchange domiciled in Canada. NEO represents about 20% of all volume traded in Canadian ETFs and close to 15% of all trading in Canada-listed companies.
“We are very excited to launch the Wealthsimple Shariah World Equity Index ETF on NEO’s innovative exchange,” commented Ben Reeves, chief investment officer of Wealthsimple. “Our mission is to make financial products more affordable and accessible for everyone and we are thrilled to do just that with the launch of Canada’s first Shariah compliant ETF. Muslim investors in Canada will now have access to an affordable investment product that is in line with their values.”
“Today, Wealthsimple makes its mark on the NEO Exchange, not only as a first-time issuer, but as a trailblazer within the burgeoning Islamic finance space,” said Jos Schmitt, the president and CEO of NEO. “We applaud Wealthsimple for providing an investment product that addresses the under-serviced but important Islamic community here in Canada, and are honored to be their exchange of choice to bring this ETF to market. As an advocate of innovation and the Canadian ETF space in general, NEO looks forward to expanding our relationship with Wealthsimple and providing them with exceptional service and support over the years to come.”
Wealthsimple is not the first fintech start-up to offer an Islamic ETF. In 2019, Islamic digital investment manager Wahed Invest, which started in the US, listed the Wahed FTSE USA Shariah ETF. In non-Muslim-majority nations such as Canada and the US, fintech start-ups are increasingly meeting the demand for Shariah compliant financial services. Apart from Wealthsimple, another Toronto-based start-up, Manzil, is also closing the demand gap with its range of Shariah compliant financing products. Manzil also introduced Canada’s first Halal mortgage fund.