Chairman, Amanah Ethical KiwiSaver Fund (INL Photo)
When former Race Relations Commissioner and Honorary Consul General of South Africa Gregory Fortuin was approached in 2013 by the Founder and shareholders of Amanah to chair the Fund, he hesitated, since felt that he had already taken on many other commitments with community organisations.
It was his good friend and former FIANZ President Dr Anwar Ghani who convinced him of the merits of the only ‘pure’ KiwiSaver Fund with a halal approach for Muslims in New Zealand.
Dr Ghani said that Mr Fortuin is a man of faith and his empathy and relationship with all ethnic groups have been admirable over the past few decades.
Empathetic and transparent
“He represents the feelings of people and is transparent in dealings. He supported Muslims during a very difficult time when we were at Christchurch dealing with a terrible tragedy. I am pleased to see him chairing the Amanah KiwiSaver Scheme,” he said.
Mr Fortuin said that complying with the terms of New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority Licence is critical, and that having a robust process in place is important.
Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (INL Photo)
“Everyone wants top performance, but the lifeblood of the Fund is a total commitment to our Ethical Mandate,” he said.
Auckland based Sheikh Mohammad Amir chairs the Islamic Advisory Board of Scholars to hold Amanah accountable.
Stringent code of conduct
Not only is there a prohibition in stock where the company derives income from weapons of destruction, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, adult entertainment, pork and interest-producing products, but all stocks must have an Islamic Certificate provided by IdealRatings® (a provider of Islamic finance solutions).
The Ethical Mandate complies with the investment standards set by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).
“I pray to God that I will one day be counted amongst those who have acted justly, loved mercy, walked humbly with my God and most of all Kept the Faith,” he said.
Amanah is one of the best performers in the market today.
Amanah KiwiSaver offers one Fund, a growth-focused and high-fee option that invests over 90% of its current assets in foreign share markets. It is the only scheme in New Zealand that is only ethical and Sharia-compliant unit trust.
About Gregory Fortuin
Almost 20 years ago, following the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, Mr Fortuin was one of very few public servants who stood with the Muslim community in New Zealand.
He said that it was not fashionable at that time to wear a keffiyeh or hijab (headdress worn by Muslim men and women) and be counted as a friend of Muslims. Many in the media were unfairly calling on Muslims to denounce violence and judge them guilty by association.
Mr Fortuin and his Office Director travelled throughout New Zealand calling out abusive behaviours and denigration of Muslims which they compiled into a report.
“I grew up in Apartheid South Africa with Muslim family, friends, classmates and others. There was never any judgment, we were all equal and celebrated each other’s holy days” he said.
Follower of Christ
Mr Fortuin describes himself as a committed follower of the teachings of Christ.
“However, like all of humanity, I am flawed. Loving God and my neighbour equally, means amongst other things, following the great commission of bringing good news to the poor, healing the brokenhearted and setting the prisoners free, without discrimination because of my faith,” he said.
Two years ago, following a tense situation concerning the removal of Holy Books from a Sikh Temple, Mr Fortuin worked with two opposing groups and conducted mediation meetings over a period of 12 weeks. His successful efforts were praised by the Police Commissioner and District Commander.
Association with Finance sector
He has worked in the financial services industry in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (as the Managing Director of National Mutual Corporate Superannuation Services) for more than 30 years.
Describing himself as ‘A Capitalist with a conscience,’ Mr Fortuin said that his objective is to make a difference to his neighbours as demanded by his Faith.
“My simple dream is to use all my business acumen and resources to make a difference in the lives of others,” he said.
He served as the National Director for Education and Employment at the Salvation Army for six years. He was also the first Resident Diplomat of the new South Africa in New Zealand. He was appointed as the Honorary Consul General by former President, the late Nelson Mandela. He served in that post in Wellington for 12 years.
Mr Fortuin has over 20 years of governance experience serving on the boards of New Zealand Post, KiwiBank, ACC and Transpower, to name but a few. He has been praised by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and other directors for his unique combination of ‘technical and soft skills.’
He is currently the Chairman of Quotable Value New Zealand.
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