CFA institute identifies ethical bridge between Islamic Finance and sustainable, responsible and impact investing

The research offers a timely interpretation of these separate, yet related financial approaches which have a common concern for society and stewardship

William Tohme

William Tohme

United Arab Emirates: CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, today released [new research] examining the commonalities, differences and shared challenges of Islamic finance and SRI (Sustainable, Responsible and Impact) investing. Released at the 10th Middle East Investment Conference taking place in Riyadh, [Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing and Islamic Finance], traces the origins of both schools of finance, and identifies their historial connections and primary concepts.

The research offers a timely interpretation of these separate, yet related financial approaches which have a common concern for society and stewardship. The focus of these issues reflects the interests of a global investment profession increasingly active in integrating ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors into the investment decision-making process.

William Tohmé, CFA, Senior Regional Head of Middle East and North Africa for CFA Institute said: “Sustainable, responsible, and impact investing shares similar origins and aspirations to Islamic finance, and yet for the most part, these two modes of finance have existed in parallel worlds. Today, both approaches are attempting to address societal issues such as economic instability, worsening inequality, and more. Through this new research, we hope to broaden the horizons of investment practitioners by providing a lens through which to explore the potential of both. In doing so, we aim to build institutional awareness, knowledge, and professional expertise in our MENA markets and beyond.”

Analysis includes:

  • SRI Investing and ESG methods, from exclusionary screening, to best-in-class selection, active ownership, thematic investing, impact investing, and ESG integration
  • The principles of Islamic finance and its historical connection with SRI investing
  • Conceptual differences between the two schools of thought
  • The shared challenges of authenticity, the prevailing economic narrative, rising levels of debt and the dominance of debt-favoured taxation and regulatory systems
  • Examples of financial services products and firms which meet the criteria of both
  • A consideration of studies into whether financial performance is compromised by use of SRI investing or Islamic finance principles
  • The outlook for greater convergence of ESG issues in Islamic finance

Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing and Islamic Finance has drawn on the contributions of the CFA Institute Islamic Finance Working Group whose members comprise CFA charterholders across the MENA region including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, as well as Pakistan. 


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CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organisation is a champion of ethical behaviour in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Our aim is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 168,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in 164 markets. CFA Institute has nine offices worldwide and there are 154 local member societies. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @CFAInstitute and on 

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