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Funding lines offered to UK’s first Sharia-compliant bridge finance company

30th Sep 2022
Funding lines offered to UK’s first Sharia-compliant bridge finance company

Sagheer Malik, Partner, Chief Commercial Officer, OFFA and Sunny Araf, Managing Director, ISA Support Services (Photo Courtesy Pricky Pear)

Hamed Chapman

Two prominent businessmen from the West Midlands, Sunny Araf and Janed Karim, are backing a pioneering Birmingham start-up, OFFA, with a seven-figure funding line for their bridging products.

The self-made millionaires, who made their fortune in security, believe the opportunity to invest in the UK’s first Sharia-compliant bridging company is an important “win-win-win” for them as ethical Muslim investors, for OFFA’s expansion plans, and by enabling more choice for diverse customers in the bridging market.

“We are always looking for innovative investments that deliver market-beating returns and whose ethics align with our values. OFFA does just that. Their management team have outstanding credentials in Islamic finance and are heavily involved in charitable works, so funding their Sharia-compliant bridge financing product ticked all the boxes for us,” said Araf, ISA Managing Director.

“It’s a win-win-win that helps OFFA realise its potential, allows British Muslims to access finance in line with their beliefs, and generates an excellent all-round investment for us,” he said.

The Birmingham entrepreneurs are the first known British Muslim high-net-worth individuals to offer a credit line to a Sharia-compliant bridging company. A decade ago, the pair co-founded ISA Support Services, one of the largest security firms in the Midlands.

Sagheer Malik, Chief Commercial Officer at OFFA, said it was “fantastic to have the backing of such successful, like-minded entrepreneurs who are keen to support bridge finance for the Muslim community and beyond.

“First the UAE’s Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), and now ISA’s investment in OFFA, reflects growing awareness about the huge potential of the Sharia-compliant short-term real estate financing market, and the attractive returns that can be secured from a property over 12 to 24 months,” he said.

Solihull-based OFFA was launched in 2019 by property mogul Bilal Ahmed to meet the unfulfilled demand from British Muslims, who seek finance for their property purchases in accordance with their faith.

Ahmed has assembled some of the most notable names in British Islamic finance.

This, coupled with the firm’s successful entry into the UK’s £6 billion bridge finance market, has attracted strong local and international investor interest. In June, the company announced that GII had acquired a 51 per cent stake in the business in a multi-million pound deal. The UK’s Islamic bridge finance market is estimated to be worth, £500 million annually. OFFA has garnered opportunities in excess of £178 million.

The firm’s new credit lines and the introduction of new bridging products in 2023 are projected to help OFFA’s asset portfolio grow to $1 billion over the next five years. Araf and Karim have diversified into other ventures in the region, including as angel investors, assisting start-ups and scaling up businesses that align with their values.

Both men are also renowned for their philanthropy, setting up a charitable foundation and supporting an array of causes, from the Birmingham Children’s Hospital to Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon.

 

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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