Islamic Finance

Saudi gives ‘experimental permits’ for two robo-advisors, including Shariah-compliant Wahed

Saudi Arabia’s capital market regulator has allowed two firms to test their robo-advisory services as part of efforts to encourage the use of financial technology in the kingdom.

Haseed Investing Company and Wahed Capital have been granted “experimental permits” under the Capital Market Authority's FinTech ExPermit scheme.

The two firms will be allowed to test their robo-advisory services through their online platforms, the regulator said in a statement on the Saudi stock exchange on Tuesday.

Haseed is the newer platform that has not started rolling out.

Wahed Capital is behind New-York based Shariah-compliant Wahed Invest that said in May it had rolled out operations in "over 130 countries”.

A spokesperson for Wahed told Salaam Gateway on Wednesday the company “localises” its efforts in some countries.

“Localisation in certain markets means that we are able to serve the local needs a lot better in the form of the investment products offered, client support services and also the user experience within the Wahed mobile app,” said the spokesperson.

Wahed started providing its services via its app in the United States in 2017 and the UK in 2018 before opening up its robo service globally this year.

Saudi’s FinTech ExPermit scheme started in 2018 with permits granted to two equity crowdfunders Scopeer and Manafa Capital.

The scheme “aims to promote FinTech innovation in a controlled environment which the consequences of failure can be contained”, according to the capital markets regulator.

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