Today we take a look at the story of Naushad Virji, the founder, and CEO of Sharia Portfolio, and learn more about Islamic finance in the U.S.
Virji specializes in Sharia-compliant investments, and although he started off slowly, his business has seen great success for both him and his clients.
Shortly after graduating and obtaining his degree in Business Administration, Virji began his set up of a small hedge fund. He focused only on companies which he knew were halal. In doing so, he could invest and not have to bother about areas that did not conform to his Islamic values, and he was still able to run a profitable business. His initial return in the first year was 20%, which suited his clients, and he was content with that.
As time went on Virji took on more clients within the Muslim society. His wife started her organization, United Muslim Foundation, an NGO, which focuses on “establishing unity through community service.” As a result, he met more Muslims in the community, who expressed an interest in his work. So, Muslims were requesting that he invest their money, and he eventually switched from a hedge fund and set up his investment advisory firm, Sharia portfolio, which he launched in 2005.
He selected the name Sharia Portfolio, as he felt that it pretty much summed up what his company is all about. Despite anti-Muslim groups having spoken out against Sharia-compliant investments, it did not affect his company at all. He started off with only three staff members, but the company was in constant demand, and they often struggled to keep up with the workload.
Currently, he has 10 staff members, all of whom are financial professionals, and are working with an asset management of $40 million. Virji hopes to be at about $10 million at the end of the year, as his average return rate in his last ten years has been 11%, which has increased over the last three years.
Hence, Virgi has a positive outlook on the future of halal investment in the U.S. and feels that there is a huge market for him. In his company, staff consider themselves to be financial advisors and consultants who focus on the individual stocks of their clients and not mutual funds like their competitors do. The astonishing success if his company, has led four other financial firms to attempt to buy out Sharia Portfolio. He is not intent on selling his company at all, though.
Virgi’s company provides a good example to up and coming entrepreneurs who looking to start their own business. His advice to them is to “have a clear vision of where you want to be” and ensure to take every step which is necessary to get to that point. Starting off slowly, and doing business effectively, with a reasonable income, is better than rushing into making your first million. He only made a small profit when he started his hedge fund, but he worked consistently and look where he is today.