Return on empathy


Reviewing my morning IFN Alerts, I was interested to read of Olive Investments’s launch of their Shariah compliant fund to invest in Australian medical properties. It is great to see more Islamic investment focus on Australia and in this case in the healthcare sector, one that Islamic investors have been drawn to frequently over the years.

While the investment rationale of investing in social infrastructure can often be made around performance being unrelated to the direction of the economy overall, I also believe that just as Islamic investors wish not to invest in real estate that directly or indirectly damages society, they see great benefit from going to the other end of the spectrum and partaking in some positive impact investing, as it can be characterized.

Our own 90 North invested in a portfolio of care homes a few years ago. Touring the properties with our Kuwaiti investment partners was very humbling, with all of us awestruck by the patience and genuine care offered by the teams at these properties and making a request that the care providers travel to Kuwait to see whether similar dementia care facilities could be established there. It was more a case of ‘return on empathy’ than ‘return on equity’.

There are plenty of other cases, including Tadhamon Capital developing new care homes for dementia, nursing and residential care in the UK, as well as previously investing into a special needs school.

Another Islamic solution has recently been proposed for a EUR100 million (US$122.97 million) Sukuk facility, to be issued by the Maltese government in order for multiple health centers to be provided across the islands.

Meanwhile, Tabung Haji announced at the end of December its plan to expand its investment into new hospitals across Malaysia.

Adding numerous senior living investments in the US, frequent hospital acquisitions in the UK and multiple healthcare investments across the Middle East and you have a convincing case to support such social impetus, truly across the globe.

Never underestimate the positive Shariah motivations. We are an industry that cares.

Original article appeared in Islamic Finance News.