Crescent Group appoints Dr Sayd Farook as Head of Strategy to lead $5 billion in 5-years growth plan


Sayd Farook

Global Islamic Finance expert, Dr Sayd Farook has been appointed Group Head of Strategy of the Sydney-based Crescent Group, which has pioneered Islamic investing in Australia.

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 subsidiary Crescent Finance from the second half of next year and through the strong growth of the well-established Crescent Wealth, Australia’s only Islamic-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 the 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 had 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 and 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 Muslims, which have 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 the importance and security of having a home 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 Finance is chaired Dr. John Hewson, founder of Macquarie Bank and former Liberal party leader, while Crescent Wealth is chaired by distinguished academic Emeritus Professor Dianne Yerbury. 

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