How IFG is Financed
IslamicFinanceGuru (IFG) is a hub that helps Muslims with their investment and personal finance journeys.
We do this for one reason: to make our community better-off. We want to take Muslims from being among the poorest in society to the wealthiest. We think that this is one of the most effective ways to deal with problems like discrimination, under-representation and poverty.
IFG was started by Mohsin and Ibrahim in 2015 as a labour of love alongside their corporate law careers. They were both on their own journey of researching into Islamic finance and investing and shared their findings for everyone on IFG. For four years IFG did not make any money and was run purely from their savings.
Alhamdulilah IFG is now visited by over 100k people monthly and reaches an audience of several million every year.
Our content forms the heart of our work. Our authors are experts in their field and always neutral. We aim to bridge the gap between classical Islamic scholarship and modern-day commercial awareness when tackling all the knotty Islamic finance problems of today.
How do we make money?
A very good question that had us scratching our heads for many years too 😅.
Initially, we made no money, as from 2015 to 2019 this was a side hobby.
Since 2019 we have made revenue. Currently our revenue sources are a mixture of:
What is advertising finance?
We allow only advertising within specific segments or slots around our content. This includes, for example, our partner spotlight within our emails, or our podcast sponsors, or a sponsor’s message in our videos.
That way, we can write whatever we like from our perspective, without having any particular concern about shouting out a particular product.
Historically we’ve done a few paid app video reviews (always clearly labelled as such). For these reviews, we agreed with the partners at the time that we would be entirely neutral and say critical stuff about the company if we want to. However, we no longer do this because we’ve realised that some partners don’t like us saying critical stuff 😅, and we’d rather speak our mind 100% of the time.
For some products, we also have referral links (these are links where if someone clicks on them and signs up to the product, we may get a small fixed referral fee). This is common across comparison and guidance websites and you will often see this on social media and Youtube as well.
Where such a link exists, we clearly mark it with an asterisk (*). We also never prioritise paid links over non-paid links.
As of mid-2022 we have ended all advertising partnerships.
What is deeper partnership revenue?
We sometimes work closely with certain partners to bring a product to market that wasn’t previously available. An example of this would be our ongoing consultancy work with the Logic Sharia AIM portfolio. For the first time Muslims have access to an inheritance tax-efficient strategy that was commonplace in the mainstream market.
Where such a partnership exists, it is very obvious as the product is co-branded or clearly flags our involvement. We will also always flag it from our end.
Doesn’t this compromise our positions?
We don’t think so, and alhamdulilah it would seem that many of our users agree that we provide a very impartial analysis.
Our content team produce according to our editorial calendar and what we think Muslims will most benefit from in the world of investment and personal finance.
Practically this means that
- Many companies get covered who are not our partners and never have been.
- If someone doesn’t pay us, we still cover them if we think our audience needs to know about their offering.
- We extensively cover companies that compete with our revenue-generating arms (Wills, courses, Cur8 Capital)
Also, because we deal with investments, for regulatory reasons we cannot and do not give financial advice. That means we aren’t in the business of giving “top picks”. We simply review and compare, consider the sharia points and provide factual commentary. So there’s not as much room for recommendations.
Finally, the other very important reason why we don’t have to compromise our position is that the vast majority of our income comes from our own products - the courses, Islamic wills, and Cur8 Capital. So in short, commercially, the advertising revenue isn’t material and we aren’t beholden to third party companies financially.
How do we compare with other sites?
We are not a simple news website. We give proper guidance, and we only cover what’s relevant for our audience. We’re in the business of commenting and guiding our audience on what is happening, not just reporting it.
We are unlike other comparison sites as we have our own products. This allows us to chart our own course and never be beholden to third parties.
We have been doing this for 7 years - the first four years as a side hustle. We care deeply about what we do.
What costs IFG money?
Alhamdulilah, we are now a team of around 18 full-time content writers, software engineers, product managers, and various other personnel. This costs a significant amount of money to run and IFG needs to be a sustainable and profitable organisation if we are to continue serving our community and delivering on our mission.
Developing tech products is an expensive business. There are infrastructure, software, security, testing, regulatory and various other costs involved. Great products like our Zakat Calculator, or the buy-rent calculator, or our Youtube channel would simply not be possible without this investment.
Campaigning & Legal Fees
We have campaigned hard on a number of issues over the years - and this too takes money.
We also paid £10,000 to get a legal opinion issued by a leading barrister so that Muslim employees can use it, free of charge, to make sure they secure a halal pension.
We have also campaigned extensively on alternative student finance and received widespread coverage of the campaign in the publications below.
Ultimately, we can say all the nice things we want, but the proof is in the pudding and your view on this matters.
We will of course work hard to maintain our neutrality and the brand we’ve built over the years, but no one is perfect and we are sure we’re going to make mistakes here or there. Please forgive those, and give us your advice and feedback on this via our contact page.