Global Islamic finance expert, Dr Sayd Farook has been appointed Head of Group Strategy of the Sydney-based Crescent Group, which has pioneered Islamic investing in Australia. Crescent Group includes Crescent Wealth, Crescent Finance, Crescent Foundation, Crescent Institute and Crescent Think Tank – further explored below.

The appointment comes as the group launches a five-year strategic plan to grow its assets under management to $5 billion by the end of 2026.  It plans to achieve this through the launch and issuance of Islamic-compliant mortgages by its subsidiary Crescent Finance from the second half of next year and through the strong growth of the well-established Crescent Wealth, Australia’s first APRA regulated, Shariah-compliant superannuation fund.

Dr Farook has acted as Strategy and Innovation Advisor to the Executive Office of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and has been involved with Crescent Wealth as a collaborator for a decade. Most recently, he was Executive Director of Crescent Foundation, a not-for-profit chaired by former NSW Premier the Hon. Bob Carr with a mission to raise funds to support refugees and the homeless.

Prior to this Dr Farook was Global Head of Islamic Capital Markets for Thomson Reuters (now Refinitiv) where he built the company’s global Islamic finance and capital markets business over a five-year period. He attended the University of Technology Sydney where he achieved a Doctorate in behavioural finance focused on Islamic banking and finance issues, a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business with first class honours. In addition, he has completed the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Crescent Group Founder Prof. Talal Yassine OAM said the group was firmly focused on its next phase of growth which would involve engaging Muslims with high-quality propositions that Crescent Wealth has come to be known for, built on best-in-class infrastructure.

“Dr Farook’s role will be to effectively and appropriately serve the needs of Crescent Wealth’s 11,000+ customers while supporting the growth and execution of the Crescent Finance proposition, harnessing data and analytics throughout the growth journey”. 

“Combining his experiences incubating and leading large strategic growth initiatives in global Islamic finance with our leadership position in the Australian market, we believe we can really improve access to financial services for Australia’s Muslim community, having almost reached 1 million” Mr Yassine said. 

Dr Farook said the growth of Crescent Finance and the issuing of Islamic-complaint mortgages would be significant because it would help address the financial services exclusions faced by Australian Muslims due to their beliefs. 

“Having served in global overseas roles over 14 years it was a travesty to learn that Muslims back home are excluded from being able to buy a house due to the lack of authentic Islamic options that avoid the paying of interest, which is forbidden in Islam”. 

“According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report by Dinar Standard 2021, the total addressable Australian market for Islamically compliant finance and investment is $250 billion. Yet, Muslims in Australia struggle with access to financial services”.

“Access to authentically compliant residential finance is a major pain point given that having a home provides a significant level of importance and security to every person. Islamic residential finance is limited in Australia and those that do offer it receive funds from conventional interest-bearing financial institutions”. 

“That is why I’m so excited to support the Crescent Group in opening up financial security for all Australians by leading the growth strategy of Crescent Wealth and Crescent Finance,” Dr Farook said.

Crescent Wealth is chaired by distinguished academic Emeritus Professor Dianne Yerbury while Crescent Finance is chaired Dr John Hewson, Founder of Macquarie Bank and former Liberal party leader.

 

Crescent Group consists of two ‘profit for purpose’ businesses:

 

Crescent Wealth crescentwealth.com.au

Crescent Wealth is Australia’s first APRA regulated, Islamically compliant super fund. Established in 2011, with a full public offer super fund and an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), Crescent Wealth is proud of serving its 11,000+ members who have collectively invested their retirement wealth with the fund for over 8 years. Crescent Wealth manages over $325 million dollars and is one of Australia’s fastest-growing funds. Islamic investments are conservative in nature and Crescent Wealth does not invest in banks, insurance companies, tobacco, weapons, pornography or alcohol. 

Crescent Finance www.crescentfinance.com.au

Established in 2020 and Chaired by Dr John Hewson, Founder of Macquarie Bank and former Liberal party leader, Crescent Finance will offer a number of innovative, authentic and Islamically compliant finance products, beginning with residential finance products targeting the $200 billion-dollar Muslim market. It will also offer unique and innovative investment products enabling institutional and qualified investors to gain access to fractionalised residential property as an asset class, alongside opening up flexible home ownership for many previously excluded segments of Australian society, including young individuals and migrants. 

 

Crescent Group also consists of three ‘not for profit’ organisations:

 

Crescent Institute crescentinstitute.com.au

Crescent Group’s heritage in financial services and community development started with its establishment of the Crescent Institute in 2000. The Institute is among Australia’s pre-eminent professional networking and thought leadership organisations and has volunteer chapters in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Canberra. 

Over twenty years, Crescent Institute has hosted some of Australia’s pre-eminent leadership across government, politics, business, and culture on topics of national importance. 

Crescent Foundation crescentfoundation.com.au

A sister entity of Crescent Wealth and Crescent Institute, Crescent Foundation was established in 2015 dedicated to open opportunity to everyone. Chaired by former NSW Premier the Hon. Bob Carr and hosting cultural icons and business leaders on its board such as Craig Foster and Penny Bingham-Hall, the Crescent Foundation focuses on catalytic interventions to address different segments in Australian society, including refugees, homelessness, preserving Islamic art and culture, and Australian youth civics and democracy. It does so by funding high impact initiatives that have a lasting impact on their target constituents, such as mentoring programs and university scholarships. 

Crescent Think Tank crescentthinktank.com.au

Crescent Think Tank is an independent, not-for-profit Australian policy think tank founded by academics in 2019 with a mandate to generate new ideas and dialogue on the issues of nation building, Australian infrastructure, socially responsible investment and Islamic finance.

Its mission is to identify value propositions that explore ideas, thinking and investment, as well as encourage and ferment support for equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic development of the nation and its infrastructure.

 

Neither Crescent Wealth nor any of its products is associated or affiliated with Crescent Capital Partners.

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Ethical Finance and Innovation

Dr. Sayd Farook is the Executive Director of Crescent Foundation. He is Group Chief Operating Officer of Crescent Wealth and Managing Director of Crescent Finance. He previously served as Advisor to the Executive Office of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In this capacity, he envisioned and executed strategic / transformation initiatives for Dubai and the UAE. Prior to that, he was the Global Head Islamic Capital Markets at Thomson Reuters, where he advised and served large corporates, multilaterals and governments in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.

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