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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Best of 2013: Understanding SRI and Islamic Finance

Recent years have seen increasing interest in sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) and Islamic finance. In fact, growth in SRI assets has outpaced professionally managed assets as a whole, and more than 10% of the total assets under management in the United States are now invested following SRI practices. Similarly, according to a special report on Islamic finance in The Banker, a frequently cited resource in Islamic finance statistics, the compound annual growth rate in global Shari’a-complaint assets since 2006 remains in double digits at 16.02%. Nonetheless, many investment professionals still know little about SRI and Islamic finance.

Here are my top picks for content from the past year that help explain these topics.
Impact Investing Explained Simply and Clearly (Video): This was one of the most popular video interviews on our blog this year, and given how little investment professionals know about impact investing, it’s not surprising that readers were interested in this primer. Harry Hummels, an academic and a practitioner in impact investing, explains how impact investing is similar to and different from traditional investing.
Why Isn’t There More Collaboration between Islamic Finance and SRI?: Islamic finance and the forms of finance generally referred to as SRI have yet to actively collaborate with each other. It’s an opportunity that is waiting to be seized upon by industry leaders.
The Church of England as an Institutional Investor (Video): Did you know that the Church of England has a portfolio as large as GBP 8 billion? With so much money comes a lot of responsibility. The ethical expectations from the Church are much higher than for regular institutional investors. Edward Mason, secretary of the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group, shares his views on how the Church of England reflects its moral values in its investments.
Enhanced ESG Disclosure and Long-Term Investing in Europe (Video): Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, explains the European Commission’s adoption of a proposal to enhance transparency of environmental and social issues, and the implications for long-term investing.
Recommended Reading: The Best Books on Islamic Finance: A frequent question on the minds of those interested in learning about Islamic finance is, “What’s the best book that I should read?” To answer this question, I spoke with Rodney Wilson, a professor at the University of Durham and a well-known commentator on Islamic finance. His office seemed to have every known title on Islamic finance nicely stacked into his book shelves.
The Best Learning Resources on Corporate Governance: Robert A. G. Monks Shares His Picks: For whom is a corporation run? Is corporate governance a legal topic? An economic one? Or does it just boil down to ethics? CFA Institute interviewed Robert A. G. Monks, a pioneer of corporate governance, to get his picks for the best learning resources to help answer these important questions.
(Enterprising Invester / 25 Dec 2013)
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