Revisiting the Halal screening investments: the case of GCC stock markets

October 4, 2020
Revisiting the Halal screening investments: the case of GCC stock markets
Khaled O. Alotaibi and Mohammad M. Hariri



This study provides a critical review of the issues associated with the screening of Islamic funds in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and questions the concept of Shariah-compliant (Halal) equity investment. Unlike prior relevant studies, the paper attempts to provide evidence as whether there is a necessity to invest in commingled Halal (CH) for a Halal diversified portfolio post the global financial crisis (GFC). This paper aims to explore how participants define and screen Shariah-compliant (Halal) investment, it particularly investigates whether pure Halal (PH) and commingled Halal (CH) equity investments are distinct or similar type of investments. The paper reports the findings of the semi-structured interviews with key participants in the Islamic funds industry mainly in Kuwait and other GCC countries. The findings from the interviews reveals that the Shariah-compliance equity investments are split into two different categories, namely: pure Halal (PH) and commingled Halal (CH) investments not as reported in the literature when measuring their screens or performance. Some interviewees seriously questioned the Shariah-compliance of CH stocks and thought that the fatwa that allows CH stocks should be revisited. The interviews findings highlight the need for harmonizing the Shariah screening criteria, and the development of accounting standards based on Islamic values rather than western ones to reflect the unique characteristics of Halal investments. Keywords: Islamic investment funds, Halal Investments, Shariah screening, Shariah-compliance investment, pure Halal stocks (PH), commingled Halal stocks (CH)

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