An international combination of ethics, culture and long-term vision for the future is what makes COCOA Invest, the halal personalized wealth management app, so unique in its essence that it stands out from your traditional world of wealth management.
Between Europe and Bahrain, the Founder and CEO Omar Shaikh, is on a mission to reshape every aspect of product development, and to completely rid any lingering uncertainty and confusion regarding halal investments.
Wondering how he’s going to do all of that? Continue reading to find out.
The Idea Man.
Omar was frustrated by the absence of transparency in dealing with investments; be it the large minimum funds required or the lack of Islamic compliant options. As a result, having worked in the investment industry for many years, he set out to create his own faith-based investment company. “I was confident I wasn’t the only one looking for a better solution. While the financial industry is bloated with hidden tactics and fees, we value and operate with complete transparency.”
The COCOA team draws from their collective experience of working within private banking, portfolio management and technology companies to bring about their own sophisticated approach for investors. The trustworthy asset managers and reliable technology developers (who created their product from scratch, by the way, talk about dedicated!) are always working hard to evolve and provide the best personalized investment service.
While it takes five years for a cocoa tree to produce its first cocoa bean, COCOA built the first online and fully Islamic-compliant investment company in four. (Cue an impressed gasp and a standing ovation!)
Pure in essence, and rich in ingredients, cocoa has always been regarded as an exclusive and expensive treat, but it has become affordable and accessible. For this reason, Omar regards the name of their brand as reflective of their identity. They offer the highest quality, cost effective sharia-compliant solutions in a friendly environment for both newbies and seasoned investors alike. They serve with inclusivity, just like chocolate!
So how does this COCOA sprout its beans?
Without using fancy technical jargon, COCOA is championing ethical investing by simply helping investors (that could be you!) start Islamic-compliant investment plans that suit your risk profile (the level of risk you’re willing to accept).
Based on your answers to their carefully crafted questionnaire, COCOA will recommend a personalised investment plan including a variety of global equities, Islamic bonds (or sukuks), real estate and commodities. You’re in safe hands with COCOA, as their team of professionals take care of the fund selection, monitoring and rebalancing so you can rest easy knowing they are always putting in the work that’s aligned with your principles.
“We knew the wealth management industry needed a complete rethink by looking at how the products are delivered and most importantly, what the customers were charged.” Omar shared. As someone whose ethos revolves around transparency, he certainly knows how to implement it! COCOA doesn’t charge a premium fee under the guise of getting better service, nor do they hide any information they have about your investments. (All their cards are on the table, a real King move tbh!)
You know what else is really cool about them? COCOA is bringing down barriers by securing portfolio diversification for small investors which has usually been reserved for people with a high net worth status, and they’re doing so by allocating a percentage of investment plans to some of the hottest sectors! (They’re pulling out all the stops to care for their investors, just as sweet as actual cocoa).
Bahrain’s favorite Cocoa.
It’s no surprise that Omar’s brainchild caught the attention of several regulators, and of course, the Central Bank of Bahrain – the single regulator of Bahrain’s financial industry, as well as being one of the world’s most important Islamic finance hubs, which has an open banking framework that best suits their product.
By choosing to base their headquarters in Bahrain, COCOA joined the CBB’s Sandbox and were extremely impressed with the Kingdom’s progressive mindset. “The institution’s equal structure and inclusivity of women in high positions, as well as the relationship between FinTech and regulators that is built on mutual trust and respect paired with their incredible energy, were quite refreshing and motivating for us.” Omar stated.
CBB’s positive regulatory environment and leading position in Open Banking played an important role for COCOA to thrive as much as they have. He added, “In a competitive market, Bahrain is taking good steps in curating a safe space for startups to grow, and they have both the ambition and knowledge that we were looking for in a hub, which is why we will continue to invest in the country as we ramp up our operations.”
What’s the future like for COCOA?
With a name like that, you could only imagine it would be fruitful and delicious. COCOA is aiming to become the go-to global player in its field, as they shoulder the “responsibility to develop the next generation of financial and technology professionals with ethics as their core defining value”.
Currently, they’re on-boarding new clients from every corner of the world, and even though they are expecting to graduate from the CBB sandbox in 2022, they haven’t ceased planning for their future. They’re in the planning stage of launching a new range of Sharia ETFs accessible to both retail and institutional investors! Also, they’re developing new features to incorporate Open Banking in their solutions so investing gets even easier and more transparent for retail investors.
Bahrain is the base of COCOA’s operations but their ambition is to add regional offices in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America, as to be closer to their customers and offer a 24 hour, seven days a week service. Omar stated: “We are here for the long-term so the future is very exciting to us, full of new markets and bars to raise.” (We’re excited to see you pave the way!)
We were so excited to learn of COCOA, and we hope you only felt so too! Let us know what you think of Cocoa on our social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram – and our new TikTok.