Sep 06, 2005, 08.25 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

How to invest within Sharia principles?

You want to stay within the Islamic guidelines and still make money? That guilt-free association with stocks has just become possible. Zafar Sareshwala has come up with a proprietary ‘Parsoli Islamic Equity Index’, PIEI, that conforms to the dos and donts of Islamic jurisprudence and Sharia.

You want to stay within the Islamic guidelines and still make money? That guilt-free association with stocks has just become possible. Ahmedabad-based Zafar Sareshwala has come up with a proprietary ‘Parsoli Islamic Equity Index’, PIEI, that conforms to the dos and donts of Islamic jurisprudence and Sharia. Interestingly, 10% of his total client base of 750 are mostly non-Muslims. Sareshwala, a former broker, who lost his business in the Godhra riots and has now started afresh.

Sareshwala explains the rationale for PIEI. He told Moneycontrol, "PIEI was conceived and thought on the premise that Muslims in India is a huge market. While the Muslim population in India is 150-200 million strong, their average wealth profile does not lag behind non-muslims in India. Though, there are no Ambanis and Birlas yet from the community, this huge chunk of Muslims has a higher savings rate than the national average."

It is to tap investments from the Muslim community and make them feel a part of the national mainstream, that Sareshwala came out with the unique PIEI. Ofcourse, the more important issue here is how the Muslims chose to invest their money. They could always go the 'secular' route but that's not PIEI's unique selling point, USP. This index, will give Muslims an avenue to make 15%-20% through a 'purification' process, that forms a part of the overall investment strategy.

Then there is always the charity angle that will appeal to the community. For instance, somebody started her/his trading account with Rs one lakh and it has increased to say about Rs two lakhs, then they could be advised to donate at least 10% of the profit as charity.

According to Sareshwala, PIEI is a benchmark index for Islamic investment. However, "Our main aim is to not only benefit Parsoli Corporation or Muslims in India but the whole country. There is a lot of Gulf money that can be brought to India using the PIEI benchmark. Euromoney last year reported that Islamic money that can be tapped for investments is to the tune of USD 200 billion, which is increasing at the rate of 15%-20% per annum. The companies that comprise PIEI compare with the best companies in the world, and I see no reason why this money should not come to India."

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