5 challenges you’ll face when expanding your FX brokerage to the GCC

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The following article was written by Elizabeth Rayment, Director of Your Mind Media.

Elizabeth Rayment

Elizabeth Rayment, YMM

Your Mind Media (YMM) recently announced it has diversified its service offering to include company formations across the Middle East. In addition to providing comprehensive marketing services in Arabic, the firm also recruits local talent and offers consultancy on conducting business in the region. The Arab market can sometimes be misunderstood and seen as a challenge and this is where YMM can provide expertise in establishing the correct presence.

Regulation can be unclear

The main hurdles brokerages face in the GCC are unclear regulation, different employment laws, local legal customs and licensing issues. There are many license types which suite different business activities and commercial goals. All options have separate legal considerations; for example a new branch office could be treated as an extension of a firm’s headquarters, whereas others would only be able to carry out client support or marketing activities. A comprehensive comparison should be made to understand the advantage, disadvantage and cost for all options.

No one tells you about the paperwork

Initially it’s about choosing and obtaining the most appropriate license and permits but then the monotonous work of organizing residence visas (the number of visas issued varies depending on the license you receive), mandatory health insurance and setting up bank accounts quickly follows.

You’ll be hiring mainly expats professionals

Doing business in the Middle East can be difficult due to cultural differences, adapting to the Arabic language and recruiting, hiring and training a team. Due to its geographical location the UAE has expat professionals from nearly 200 countries so choosing the right talent can be testing.

You’ll need to adapt your strategies

Having an office in the GCC requires wide-ranging knowledge of local best practices and customized client requirements. Planning a market penetration strategy in an already competitive industry can prove to be difficult. On top of this customizing your product offering to suit Islamic trading conditions, finding the right payment solutions and trading instruments should also be considered carefully.

Location, location, location

The GCC, in particular the UAE, has proven to be particularly popular as a midway point between the global financial centres in Europe and East Asia. Having an office located in the Middle East fills a vital time-zone gap with working hours that bridge the trading hours across the world. It is worth noting, that there is a different working week (the weekend is Friday and Saturday) and of course different public and religious holidays.

Choosing to open an office in the Middle East

To overcome these challenges business connections and relationships are vital to be successful in this part of the world. YMM can help make some of these valuable connections.

Before deciding to open a new office be sure to consider all options. YMM provides guidance and the right introduction to ensure the smooth running of a new office, as well as support on direction and strategy. We believe in integrity, honesty and transparency and can help you make the right decision.

Elizabeth Rayment is the Director of Your Mind Media and has many years of experience in conducting business in Dubai. Contact her at [email protected].

The advice provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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