SECP advises people against investing through real estate start-up

Says regulatory frame work for such initiatives does not exist in country

Our Correspondent March 18, 2017
Bahria Town in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has announced that at present no regulatory framework exists in the country for permitting crowd funding - an initiative taken by a company a couple of days ago - as it fears that people could lose money by investing in such ventures.

This real estate start-up will help you invest with as little as Rs50,000

“Arazi Ventures (the company behind the crowd funding initiative - NEST) has not approached the SECP for approval of any such scheme,” the SECP categorically said in a statement issued on Friday.

The corporate sector regulator sprang into action after Arazi Ventures unveiled that NEST start-up, one of the finalists at the Fintech Disrupt Challenge 2016, would offer an entry-level ticket at as low as Rs50,000 ($477) to own a small stake in a managed commercial or residential property.

On the occasion, Arazi Ventures CEO Umair Sheikh agreed that the company had not yet got approval of the SECP. “We plan to turn NEST into a robust crowd funding platform for real estate as soon as we have green signal from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan,” he said.

“For now, we are only accepting offers from accredited and seasoned investors, who understand the risks involved in private investments.”

Taking precaution, the SECP in its statement asked the public not to invest in any company unless its credentials had been verified from the regulator. For the purpose, it said, investors could visit the <> portal as well as get information by calling at 051-111-11-7327.

Talking to The Express Tribune on Friday, Sheikh said: “NEST is a real estate matchmaking service that aims to connect, facilitate and enable like-minded individuals to pool their resources and acquire properties that otherwise would have been out of their reach. The properties will then be owned by the individuals or the vehicle of their choice.”

He insisted that, as stated in the earlier press release, the company would not engage in offering investment advisory services or facilitating crowd funding until the SECP regulations allowed it.

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“We are hoping that the SECP and other authorities concerned will facilitate and implement the development of a legal framework that allows small investors to benefit from opportunities that offer lucrative returns while being 100% secure and Sharia-compliant,” Sheikh said.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2017.

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Comon Man | 4 years ago | Reply So all those posting negative comments against this startup have any credible evidence of wrongdoing on the startup's part? I for one believe the startup is an excellent idea and will enable the common man who can only dream of investing in property due to the gigantic rise in prices to benefit from this sector.
Uza Syed | 4 years ago | Reply Good! Hopefully, it's still not too late and many poor people saved from this attempted robbery. Now, charge this thug Umair for scheming and fraud. Ensure refund of money from this so called investment scheme. Thank you SECP.
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