Hisham, please tell us a little about your day to day responsibilities at Credit Financier Invest (DIFC) Ltd. and CFI Financial Group.
As the CEO of any company, I think you have two main responsibilities:
Firstly, you have to make sure that everything works perfectly. This includes all aspects of the business be it Financial, Operational, Regulatory, IT, Marketing, HR…etc.
Secondly, you have to manage and continuously deliver with your team improvements to the business so that you maintain a leading position among your rivals for your clients.
My day at CFI Dubai and CFI Financial Group in general is all about that and working with my people of whom I am very proud to deliver it.
You have a great deal of experience in this industry having formerly been a founding partner and CEO of MIG Bank in Switzerland. What do you particularly like about your current business in which you are also a major shareholder and in what ways does it give you an opportunity to deploy your business skillsets?
Online trading is my passion. It is a fast moving industry and everyday there is something new going on in this business. It is never boring here.
I also like working with people and delivering success. MIG was very successful as you have mentioned and now with CFI Financial Group, we have achieved several milestones opening offices in London, Dubai and Amman on top of our existing offices in Beirut and Larnaca. In addition, we have expanded the business to serve institutional clients as well as private ones.
How would you describe the values and mission of CFI Financial Group and in what ways do you see these as being fundamental to its future growth and success?
This year, we have celebrated that CFI has served clients for 20 years. There are few names in this relatively new industry who has achieved that and we are very proud of this milestone.
We attribute this mainly to our values which we constantly work to preserve. These are as follows:
- Integrity first of all as reputation is the main asset
- Continuous improvement and discipline as a way for achieving excellence
- Long term conservative approach
- Empowerment and care for our people and therefore clients
As for our missions, we summarize it as follows: To Provide Superior Trading Services for Private Investors and Financial Institutions.
Our vision at CFI Financial Group is to be the Leading Group for Financial Trading Services worldwide. We know that by offering the right products and services, having the right people and preserving the confidence of our clients, we will be able to achieve that.
What types of client are you catering for at CFI Dubai and how do their expectations vary with respect to the trading services and toolsets they require?
At CFI Dubai, we serve financial institutions and high net worth professional clients. These are very demanding clients as you can appreciate and you need to serve them right to succeed and maintain their confidence. First of all, you need the right technology with API connectivity, ultra-low latency and high availability.
Secondly, you need an experienced team and in that we are proud to have Nidal Abdel Hadi as our Global Head of Business Development. Nidal has been working with me in MIG and later at Swissquote and ADS Securities before we came back to work together at CFI now. He has been dealing with institutional clients for about 20 years and has a competent team with him.
Finally, you need to provide deep liquidity, ultra-tight spreads and the right products.
Our experience at MIG has helped a lot in all that and we are very proud of our Ultimate Liquidity Stream, the product specially tailored for institutional clients offering them deep liquidity and ultra-tight spreads using latest technology.
What do you see at the key strengths of your firm and the reason why increasing numbers of clients are choosing to trade with it?
The main factor I would say is Trust. CFI has served clients for over 20 year now and is managed by its founders: myself and my partner & friend Eduardo Fakhoury. My and Eduardo’s daily mission is to conserve this trust and to build on it whether by providing superior services, conditions, products, technology…etc or by having the right people, right attitude and long term approach.
Credit Financier Invest (DIFC) is also fully licensed and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). In what ways does regulatory oversight present an opportunity for firms like yours to differentiate themselves?
Regulation is very important in the Financial Services business and we are blessed to be in one of the world’s most reputed and highly regulated environment as this gives additional comfort and confidence for our clients. Since its inception, the DFSA has been recognised to be operating to international best practice standards, which has contributed to the success of the Dubai International Financial Centre in becoming an important financial hub for investors and financial institutions. We are glad to be in this environment and believe it gives us an additional edge.
What plans do you have for extending the products and services that CFI Dubai and/or CFI in general offer?
At CFI, we constantly aim to improve our products & services. We have just launched an institutional offering tailor made for Forex and CFD’s Brokers in the EU. The offering expands on our tight spreads, deep liquidity and latest technology already offered to our institutional clients to cover some new requirements of ESMA with regards to Negative Balance Protection that needs to be guaranteed by EU Brokers to their retail clients so what we do is that we take up this burden from them based on some conditions so that they can provide it to their clients. On top, we also assist them in the new reporting requirements.
At CFI Cyprus, we have launched CFD’s on five major crypto currencies namely: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitnote, Litecoin and Ripple.
At CFI Lebanon and CFI Jordan, we have launched CFI Global. CFI Global is our latest platform that truly gives international access to multiple products and at low cost. You can invest in stocks, bonds, ETFs, Options, Futures other products listed on over 120 major exchanges and across 26 countries
CFI Financial Group as just launched a sponsorship whereby they became the Official Sponsor of Formula E Champion Nelson Piquet Jr. Can you elaborate as to why CFI has chosen that?
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship racing series is a championship whose values closely align with CFI’s own approach to innovation, hi-technology and speed which is we have eyed doing something around it. Nelson Piquet Jr. is a true champion and has won the ABB FIA Formula E Championship title in 2014/15. He has Brazilian origins like my partner Eduardo but it’s not only why we have sponsored him! He is a true champion and has racing in his blood as his father who was Formula 1 world champion 3 times. Last season Nelson joined the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team which is a renowned British team. All this made us believe this will be a right partnership and we are looking forward to explore it.
You have already led one financial institution through a period of rapid growth (MIG Bank). What are your key objectives for the business over the next few years and where do you hope to take CFI?
As mentioned, our vision at CFI is to be the Leading Group for Financial Trading Services worldwide. This is not just a statement but a true objective we work for on a daily basis. We have recently launched our activities in London, Dubai and Amman together with our existing entities in Beirut & Larnaca. Our aim is to continue our expansion in new markets but we want to do that gradually so as not to compromise the superiority our products and services need to provide to our clients.