June 24th 2021 London UK: Wahed Inc. (‘Wahed’), the world’s leading Islamic fintech company, today announced the appointment of Umer Suleman as General Manager of UK operations. His responsibilities will include overseeing Wahed Invest’s nationwide growth strategy and solidifying the firm’s position as a leading provider of ethically focused investment services.
Umer comes with a wealth of experience and proven track record that includes over 15 years of regulatory, risk and strategy consultancy roles, as well as advisory positions across a variety of businesses and sectors including positions at HSBC, UKIFC, Daiwa Capital Management and Ernst & Young (EY).
During his seven years at HSBC, Umer was Head of KYC Risk globally within their Global Banking & Markets business, Head of Business & Conduct Risk for MENA within Retail Banking and headed up the CCO function for Digital (GLCM) within the UK with a global remit.
He has also advised a number of start-ups and fintechs across diverse sectors such as payments, real estate as well as the endowment space (waqf). Umer also serves as Economics and Business Advisor to the Islamic Council of Europe, a European wide fiqh council.
In his new role Suleman will be responsible for expanding Wahed’s services across the UK, one of the world’s fastest-growing – and most developed – Islamic finance sectors. Britain is home to 3 million Muslims and boasts the biggest market for Islamic finance outside of the traditional Muslim regions, with global population figures projected to double over the next forty years. Under his leadership, Wahed will aim to address the underbanked needs of the Muslim community while also serving the increasing number of retail investors currently seeking ethical alternatives to wealth creation.
Launched in 2017, Wahed has developed an easily accessible digital platform that balances ethical finance with modern investments, attracting over 200,000 active clients from around the world with features such as free portfolio recommendations and no hidden fees.
‘Mr. Suleman’s appointment reaffirms our commitment to providing innovative and outstanding ethically driven financial services to a market that, historically, has been underserved,’ Junaid Wahedna, CEO explained. ‘We’re delighted to welcome Umer to the team and firmly believe that with him at the helm, our operations in the UK will continue to go from strength to strength and provide customers seeking ethical investments with accessible, trustworthy and innovative solutions.’
The appointment of Suleman comes within six months of Wahed acquiring UK-based fintech Niyah and follows its most recent investment round. Combined, these milestones will help Wahed to achieve its ambition of creating an Islamic marketplace that meets growing demand for socially conscious investors – and not just those of Islamic faith. Indeed, Umer recently wrote an article that explored the growing popularity of Islamic finance outside of the Muslim population as more and more investors seek out financial services with a higher level of positive social impact.
The fintech firm also plans to utilise the UK’s position as a leading hub for Islamic finance as a springboard into other European cities, and believes it has a central role to play in providing Shariah-compliant services that address inclusion and inequality. The Islamic finance industry is currently valued at around $2.4 trillion and is expected to grow steadily by 10-12% over 2021 and 2022, having experienced rapid growth in recent years.