If you do not speak Urdu, note that the word “Aghaz” means “The Beginning”. It insinuates the start of something new, a journey to look forward to. Aghaz’ founder, Khurram Agha, thought about this word because, for many years, working for Microsoft in various engineering roles and making investments on his own as a Wharton MBA, he needed extra work to pick Halal stocks in his portfolio and remove any interest (riba) added to his investments. This extra work was worth it for him to achieve his peace of mind as a practicing Muslim.
That was the story of one Muslim person, but it is the story of billions of Muslims around the world. At Aghaz, we believe that Muslims have long been inadequately served not only in the US where Aghaz is registered with the SEC, but in all countries, including those with a majority Muslim population. For too long, investments have embedded non-compliant components such as riba, gharar, and non-permissible products, including pork, gambling, indecency, and alcohol.
We also believe that many Muslims require Halal investing but do not have the time or the expertise to do it themselves. There are others yet who would prefer Halal investments if all else were equal. In other terms, if Aghaz provides returns comparable to those from non-sharia compliant investments, then Muslims would prefer Aghaz because the Halal feature is an added plus. With that conviction, we are working to make Aghaz as good as any other Robo-advisor in the market.
We know investing in increasingly turning digital. We believe that Muslims deserve modern and high-quality portable investment solutions. They deserve an app that reflects their beliefs, suits their daily needs, empowers them financially, and enables them to lead healthy and Halal financial lives. Hence, Aghaz’ team of investment professionals and technologists are leveraging technology and finance to provide a FinTech platform that personalizes investments based on life goals and risk tolerance of each individual investor.
Aghaz takes the work, the time, and the worry away from inexperienced, novice, or simply busy investors. Such people might be deprived from the benefits of investing because they have abstained from that for various reasons. They are scared they might lose money or be invested in non-Halal businesses. Aghaz performs research and selects high performing Halal stocks, Halal ETFs, Sukuk and precious metals for its clients and balances their investments regularly.
We are aware that Muslim millennials and Generation Z are digitally native. They are also the future of the Muslim community. Thus, we designed an app that suits their daily habits, lives in the palm of their hands, cheap, and easy to use. Our fees are among the lowest in the industry. We know these young people flock to great financial apps but we think that if they are offered a great app that is also Halal, they would prefer it over others who did not make that consideration.
Aghaz app is anchored around goal-based investing and its founders are Muslims. It is designed for Muslims by Muslims. They know that Muslims have financial goals that are common to any other group such as buying a car, buying a home, saving for college education, making special trips on vacation, or building emergency funds. Yet, unlike the other groups, they have unique goals stemming from their Islamic faith, such as saving to go to Umrah or Hajj, or saving for their annual Zakat. In the Aghaz app, Muslims will find Urmah, Hajj, and Zakat as standard goals because these goals are standard in the lives of Muslims.
All the above highlights the difference between an app designed by Muslims for Muslims and the other apps that make Islamic features an add-on. At Aghaz, we do champion diversity and inclusion, but we take it one level up to diversity by design status. We designed the Aghaz app with the vision that, progressively, it will mould around Muslims’ financial lives. We also believe in making a positive impact in Muslim communities across the country by making a donation to fight the hunger crisis for every funded account opened at Aghaz. Please check us out, download our app and tell us how we can make this vision of diversity by design even better.