Research released by BLME, the London-based Islamic asset manager, has shown that 61 per cent of UK investment advisers surveyed admitted their limited knowledge of Islamic fund providers has prevented them from recommending their products. This is despite the fact that nearly a fifth of respondents believed their clients would be interested in learning about Islamic funds.

The independent survey of 200 UK advisers was conducted by Core Data and commissioned by BLME to explore advisor attitudes to non-traditional investments. The key findings included:
• A general lack of understanding exists about Islamic products, with just seven per cent of those surveyed saying they are familiar with them.
• Advisers are unsure how to classify Islamic investment products, with 40 per cent stating that they were not sure whether such products were ‘alternative’ or not.
• Almost 60 per cent of the advisers who recommend alternatives put forward ethical investments which Islamic investments share many characteristics with.
• However, 76 per cent of advisers surveyed were not aware of the similarities between Islamic and ethical investing.
“The results of this research reaffirm our belief that Islamic funds have been largely overlooked to date. Advisers appear to have retreated into the products they are most familiar with in response to the market tumult of recent years,” comments Nigel Denison, Head of Asset Management at BLME. “This highlights the importance of Islamic fund providers helping to educate investors; particularly as in this case, a significant number of respondents said clients would be interested in learning more.”
BLME’s US dollar income fund, which recently passed its third anniversary, was ranked 6 out of 763 funds over 3 years in the US $ Global Money Markets sector, according to Reuters fund ranking service Lipper Hindsight.
Denison concludes, “One of the most interesting findings from this research was that the opportunity for greater take-up of Islamic products among advisers lies in their endorsement of ethical products. Focussing on the parallels between ethical and Islamic investing may help to bridge the knowledge gap that currently exists and overcome some of the common misconceptions about Islamic investments.”

Published: 20, August 2012
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