Rise of Islamic Finance Helps Muslim Family Offices Make Investments True To Faith

The Hajdari Group was recently mentioned in MarketCurrents article about Islamic finance. Hajdari Group President Zaim Hajdari was also quoted in the article.

Here is an excerpt:

However, the industry has yet to catch on in the United States, home to over 3.4 million Muslims. Muslim industry veterans such as The Hajdari Group’s Zaim Hajdari want to change that. The Hajdari group recently launched “InvestHalal” – a financial planning platform that screens financial assets to ensure shariah-compliance.

“Being a Muslim myself and having served many Muslim investors over my 25 years as an advisor, there has always been a high level of frustration with the lack of investment choices and guidance to Muslims in the U.S.,” says Hajdari.

According to his team’s research, a fifth of American Muslims earn more than $1 million, 81% of them are aged between 18 and 49, 65% have a college or post-graduation degree, and 69% pray at least once a day. “We feel that there is a high degree of probability that the same people who choose to live, eat and drink Halal (in compliance with shariah law)…would also choose to invest Halal given the opportunity to do so,” he said.

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Source: MarketCurrents

New York boutique wealth management firm targets Muslims with dedicated Shariah financial services

Despite rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US, a New York-based wealth management firm has begun offering Shariah compliant investment services; VINEETA TAN writes that this suggests that market players still see commercial opportunities in the niche Islamic finance industry.

Having served investors in the US over the last decade, boutique investment firm Hajdari Group has decided to cater to faith-conscious Muslim clients by launching a new financial planning platform, InvestHalal, which follows Shariah standards set by the Fiqh Council of North America and AAOIFI.

“Faith-based and socially responsible investing is very appealing for many investors. But access to faith-based investment strategies has generally been unavailable in the US to Islamic investors,” Zaim Hajdari, the president of Hajdari Group and former JPMorgan banker, explained. “We are proud to be a Muslim-owned, New York-based investment firm that has taken the time, effort and scholarship necessary to ensure Shariah compliant investment opportunities for those who wish to pursue them.”

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Source: Islamic Finance News

Hajdari Group President Zaim Hajdari was recently interviewed by WealthManagement.com to discuss the company’s new InvestHalal faith-based investment platform.

Here is an excerpt:

A new faith-based financial planning platform offers practicing Muslims the chance to invest in ways that adhere to their faith.

The Hajdari Group announced its new InvestHalal platform this week, ensuring Shariah-compliant asset management by working with financial planners who avoid heavily indebted companies, as well as companies that derive more than 5 percent of their income from products like alcohol, weapons or tobacco. Zaim Hajdari, the firm’s president, told WealthManagement.com that tools like InvestHalal were a sorely needed benefit for Western Muslim investors.

“While there was no shortage of faith-based investing, or for that matter ESG investing, there’s been a bit of frustration due to the lack of options available specifically as it relates to the Muslim community,” he said. “We work with a variety of Islamic scholars to ensure compliance, but it takes a bit of effort to screen these products to ensure they are meeting the prerequisites set by a lot of these organizations and Islamic scholars.”

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Source: WealthManagement.com

cnbc-logoNEW YORK, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Zaim Hajdari, a New York City-based wealth manager, has been named one of the “2012 Best Advisers for Doctors” according to industry publication Medical Economics. Only those meeting stringent standards in experience, educational background and noteworthy achievements made the list–Hajdari is one of only 10 in New York State so honored.

“Physicians are highly intelligent people,” Hajdari told the magazine. “But they need–and want–to devote their time and energy to keeping up with clinical advances and taking care of patients.” Hajdari makes it easy for them, working collaboratively with his physician clients’ attorneys and CPAs to help them achieve their financial and life goals, “If we can take that load off their shoulders, they’ll have more time for their family and patients.”

It’s a tough time for doctors, and Hajdari is glad he can be there for them. The Medical Economics article introducing the best advisers noted such problems as declining reimbursements and reams of regulations, as well as fallout from the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile doctors may be paying off medical school loans and hoping they’ll be able to save a few dollars to put their own children through college.

To maneuver around these problems and help doctors maintain their fiscal health, advisers have to know about the economics of a medical practice and be familiar with the investing vehicles each client needs. They also have to be able to manage risk, to guide their clients between the dangers of trying to avoid risk altogether–sacrificing portfolio performance–and taking too much risk, possibly destroying their portfolios beyond repair.

“I get a lot of satisfaction working with doctors,” said Hajdari. “Just as they must be pleased to diagnose an illness and prescribe a course of treatment that brings a patient back to optimum health, I enjoy taking care of doctors’ financial health, putting my skills to work helping to make sure their hard-earned money is not wasted and saving them from worry.”

Indeed, Hajdari has long been committed to healthcare professionals: Earlier in 2012, Dental Practice Report honored him as one of the best financial advisers for dentists, based on credentials, educational background and experience.

About The Hajdari Group The Hajdari Group ( www.thehajdarigroup.com ) is an independent firm in New York City. President and founder Zaim Hajdari is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor with 18 years experience. Our advisors provide financial planning and investment management services to high-net-worth individuals and families. Other services include 401(k) rollover advice, retirement planning, college planning and estate planning. Hajdari is also the Branch Manager offering securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/ SIPC. Hajdari was formerly an investment manager with JPMorgan Chase where he oversaw over $3 billion in client assets.

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March 18, 2013, 12:00 P.M. ET
Managing Wealth As You Age
By Carrie Coolidge.

A study by Harvard University entitled The Age of Reason found that about half of the population in their eighties suffers from significant cognitive impairment, effectively rendering them incapable of making important financial decisions. Approximately one-fifth of people between 70 and 80 are likely to suffer from either cognitive impairment or dementia severe enough that it is medically diagnosable. The study further found that the ability to make effective financial decisions peaks during middle age, then declines substantially over time. As a result, older investors can become vulnerable to fraud or just seriously mismanage their wealth. So it is wise that high net worth investors implement a wealth management strategy while they still have agile minds.

There are three phenomena related to cognitive function and how it is impacted by aging, according to Gautam Mukunda of Harvard Business School. The first is the difference between crystallized and fluid intelligence. “Crystallized intelligence is what we use for routine tasks, and it actually increases into people’s sixties,” he explains. Fluid intelligence, on the other hand, is the ability to handle novel tasks. “Unfortunately, on average this starts to decrease when people are in their twenties,” Mukunda adds. “Because most tasks are routine, declines in fluid intelligence can often go undetected for prolonged periods.”

The second issue, and in some ways the most important, is a decline in metacognitive abilities— essentially a person’s ability to assess their own capabilities. “So as people age, their own assessments of their ability to keep performing at a high level can become less reliable,” says Mukunda, an associate professor in the Organizational Behavior Unit.

The third phenomenon is the impact on personality. “Contrary to the normal idea that people mellow with age, in fact what aging seems to do most often is exaggerate people’s personality traits, almost turning them into caricatures of themselves,” says Mukunda. “It is important to note, however, that all of these are just general tendencies. There will always be particular individuals who can maintain extraordinarily high functioning into their eighties or even their nineties, and any judgments you make always have to take that possibility into account.”

Still, even though there are exceptions to the rule, it is prudent to plan for the possibility of being mentally out of it. Investors should arrange their affairs so that someone they trust has a fiduciary duty—the requirement to put a client’s financial interest first and foremost—and the power to handle their finances should they become incapacitated, recommends John M. Olivieri, a partner in the Private Clients Interest Group at White & Case.

The simplest tool is the power of attorney, allowing someone else to act as the investor’s agent and make financial decisions. It can be made to be effective immediately, or it can come into play in the event the investor loses their critical faculties. “The latter type, known as a springing power because it springs into effect in the event of incapacity, can be more cumbersome to use, because the agent will have to prove that the investor is incapacitated before using it,” Olivieri warns.

It’s also wise to have one or more replacements lined up in the event that the original surrogate is unable to perform their duties. The estate and trust lawyer further recommends all investors consider putting in a durable power of attorney in place at an early age. “I am 44 and I have one,” he says. “Old age is not the only thing that leads to incapacity— one can be incapacitated by a car accident, for example.”

Another way to manage mental decline is through a revocable trust, which is basically a vehicle for holding title to assets. “As long as the investor is alive and competent, he or she can put assets in the trust, remove assets from the trust, and as the name implies, amend or revoke the trust,” says Olivieri. Typically, the investor is the sole beneficiary of his or her trust during his or her lifetime, but he can also be the sole trustee, which means he also retains full control over investing the trust’s assets.

But, should he start losing his ability to make wise decisions, the investor can hand over the management of his or her affairs to a trustee. “If this is done, the investor still retains ultimate control, because by exercising the power to amend or revoke, he can change the trustee at any point,” adds Olivieri. That should provide someone who is declining gradually a degree of comfort that they aren’t being totally sidelined from their own financial affairs.

The trouble arises if you don’t recognize that you are deteriorating, but have an inflated sense of your abilities. As with the power of attorney, you can write in a trust provision that allows a trustee to “spring in” if you can no longer make sound calls.

Again, it’s a good idea to line up one or two alternative trustees, in the event that the original trustee is unable to perform his or her duties. Also note that the successor trustee will only have power over those assets that the investor has actually transferred to the trust prior to becoming incapacitated. A power of attorney can authorize an agent to add assets to a pre-existing revocable trust. So it’s always smart to have both a revocable trust and a power of attorney in place, says Olivieri.

Making someone else a co-owner of his or her investment account, in lieu of the above, “creates many traps for the unwary,” warns Olivieri. “There are both tax and non-tax problems with making someone a co-owner.” Consider this option only after a competent tax advisor has explained the tax implications.

While a financial adviser should be consulted, “he or she should not act as agent or as trustee of a revocable trust in the case of incapacity,” says Olivieri. “Someone who is more aware of the investor’s personal needs, such as nursing care, household expenses, etc., is in a better position to manage the investor’s finances. That person, in turn, can hire an advisor to assist with asset management.”

IRAs present special difficulties. All other assets can be transferred to a revocable trust, so the trustee can manage them; IRAs cannot be transferred to anyone or any entity. Olivieri says that “a power of attorney is the only way to arrange for someone else to manage an investor’s IRA.”

Incapacity is also, it turns out, not the only reason to have a revocable trust. “They also save on the time and expense associated with probate at death, and can provide privacy,” says Olivieri.

The Hajdari Group’s Zaim Hajdari Selected to Join Crain’s New York’s Influential Business Finance Advisory Panel