The Amana funds are guided by Islamic investment principles and have impressed both Muslim and non-Muslim investors because of noteworthy long-term results.
Amanas strict investment strategy centers on the avoidance of investment in financial services industries or securities that earn haram, or prohibited revenue. For example, an otherwise respectable airline company subsidized by a casino would be off-limits for the mutual fund to invest in. However, by adhering to these firm guidelines, the Amana Income Fund (AMANX) has far outperformed other failing funds and grown about 2.6% in the past year.
Even more impressive, the Amana Income Fund has a three-year, 15% annualized return, which more than doubles the 6.6% average gain for its category. With its continual success, Lipper named it as the best three- to five-year fund through 2007.
Similarly, the Amana Growth Fund (AMAGX) has been outperforming its peers in the multi-cap growth category by producing a 2.1% return over the past year while others have lost 1.7% on average. The Amana Growth Fund invests in many of the same sectors as its sister-fund, except with more of an emphasis on technology and health care.
Collectively, both mutual funds hold more than $1 billion in total assets and are under the management of the Saturna Capital Corp.The companys founder, Nicholas Kaiser, is an Episcopalian who started the fund in 1994 after a group of Muslim investors interested in traditional Sharia principles approached him with the idea.