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Malaysia's third robo-advisory licence goes to unit of US firm Wahed, sources say

By Goh Thean Eu  
September 4, 2019

Malaysia’s securities regulator has awarded the country's third robo-advisory licence to a unit of New York-based Wahed Inc., the first shariah-compliant robo adviser in the US, according to people familiar with the matter.

Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) gave approval to the unit, Wahed Technologies, in August, and the company is expected to officially launch its robo-advisory service in several months, one of these people says. It’s not clear whether the company will be able to kick off the service this year.

"SC has given the green light to Wahed Technologies around middle of last month. The service is not open to the public yet as the company is still in the midst of testing its system, making sure the operation runs smoothly when it’s officially launched," the source tells Asia Asset Management (AAM).

Junaid Wahedna, founder of the parent company in the US, is currently a non-executive director in Wahed Technologies, the person adds.

Spokespersons for the SC did not immediately respond to questions from AAM.

Wahed began operating in the US in 2015. The company’s website does not disclose details such as asset figures and number of customers.

Another person familiar with the details says the Malaysian unit is headed by Muhammad Syakir Hashim as country manager and chief executive.

Mr. Muhammad Syakir was a partner at Urbane Academy, a Singapore-based developer of education programmes. He did not immediately respond to questions from AAM.

The SC in October 2018 awarded Malaysia’s first robo-advisory licence to Singapore-based StashAway, which launched operations within a month.

This May, the regulator awarded the second licence to GAX MD, a joint venture between Japanese robo adviser Money Design Co. Ltd. and Malaysian technology company Silverlake Digital INX.

The joint venture officially launched its robo-advisory service in July.