Endeavor with ARK Investment Management to offer thematic investing strategy through public markets
Falls Church, Virginia, Feb. 2, 2021 — Registered investment advisor Azzad Asset Management announced today a new investment portfolio aimed at capitalizing on macro trends in disruptive technology. Giving clients “venture capital-like” exposure to innovative investments, the strategy, a first in the United States, is an ethically screened separately managed account constructed in cooperation with New York-based ARK Investment Management LLC (“ARK”).
“Azzad is committed to the idea that the Muslim community deserves access to quality investment managers and their unique industry insights without compromising deeply held values,” said Azzad Asset Management President and CEO Bashar Qasem, CSAA. “We do our part by identifying, recruiting, and persuading these professionals to work within our Shariah investing guidelines. Being able to access ARK’s strategy through a halal portfolio is an exciting new opportunity we are happy to make available to clients.”
ARK has identified five major innovation platforms-blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, energy storage, and genetic sequencing–that it believes will transform the way the world works, enabling potential long-term investment opportunities for discerning investors. ARK believes that companies benefitting from one or more of these five platforms are positioned to outperform a broad based market index over the long term.
Qasem noted that because the innovation portfolio invests in macro-level trends (also known as thematic investing) via the public rather than private markets, Azzad clients should have more transparency and liquidity than with a traditional venture capital fund.
Said ARK CEO Catherine Wood: “I founded ARK six years ago to focus solely on disruptive innovation, primarily in the public equity markets, with the belief that innovation is key to long-term growth but is severely undervalued in the public markets. I believe all investors from around the globe should have access to investment opportunities in disruptive innovation. Therefore, ARK is pleased to offer the ARK Disruptive Innovation strategy, customized by Azzad Asset Management to maintain Shariah compliance.”
Azzad oversees ten model portfolios and two mutual funds. The disruptive innovation portfolio, while managed with input from ARK, will still adhere to Azzad’s halal, socially responsible criteria, which screen out potential investments that may cause social harm. Companies with high debt ratios are also excluded.
Azzad also engages in shareholder advocacy on behalf of clients in accordance with the company’s ethical proxy voting guidelines. Those efforts will extend to the new strategy.
Azzad Asset Management is a socially responsible registered investment advisor committed to providing investment services designed to help people enjoy optimum performance without compromising their values. Azzad believes that companies operating in ethical lines of business offer relatively less business risk and are in a better position to thrive in the long term. Azzad is affiliated with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions. The firm is based in Falls Church, Virginia.