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LeapRate Exclusive Interview… Managing and growing a retail forex brokerage in today’s rapidly changing business and regulatory environment is not easy. One broker which seems to have done a good job of it lately is CFI Markets, which recently announced its expansion into Dubai and the MENA region from its home bases in Cyprus and Lebanon.
We’re pleased to speak today with CFI Managing Directors Eduardo Fakhoury and Hisham Mansour – Mr. Fakhoury is the founder of CFI, and LeapRate readers will recall that Mr. Mansour was the founding partner and CEO of Switzerland-based FX broker MIG Bank which was sold to Swissquote for $70 million in 2013. Mr. Mansour joined as a partner in CFI last year.
LR: Hi Hisham and Eduardo, and thanks for joining us today. Please let us know more about your decision to open a regulated subsidiary in Dubai. What are your plans there?
Eduardo: Indeed, we’re very pleased to launch our Dubai subsidiary: Credit Financier Invest (DIFC) Ltd.
As you know, Dubai has emerged as a strategic regional and even global hub in the last two decades for financial institutions and this is what encouraged us to further expand our operations and setup our offices here.
CFI Dubai will focus on providing premium and exclusive online trading services to a select clientele, being High Net Worth professionals and institutional clients.
In fact, we believe that there’s a true gap in what’s currently provided to HNW professionals and financial institutions and that they deserve more than what they are getting now.
This is where CFI Dubai comes in: Filling this gap by offering premium solutions, superior support and services while guaranteeing exclusive conditions up to the level of our clients’ expectation.
Moreover, our firm is regulated by the DFSA, which, since its inception, has been recognized to be operating to international best practice standards and has contributed to the success of the Dubai International Financial Centre in becoming an important financial core for investors and financial institutions.
LR: You mention that you believe there is a gap in what is currently offered to High Net Worth professionals and financial institutions. Can you elaborate on that?
Hisham: Sure. We’ve noticed from our experience that there was a “niche” with great untapped potential that has been for a long time underserved as trading firms usually accept all types of clients and do not focus on a specific category.
On top of this, these customers have been paying much more than they should to get the needed trading services they deserve.
This is why, at CFI Dubai, we chose to focus solely on these select clients and we believe we’re among the few if not the only ones on the market, to offer them the exclusive service, the attention and the fair conditions they deserve.
LR: CFI has been active in sports sponsorships, such as your backing of the FIA World Rally Championship. How do you choose which sponsorship is the right one? How do you go about measuring ROI on such investments?
Eduardo: We’re certainly proud to be the official “Forex Trading Partner” of the World Rally Championship.
We have chosen this sport as it has much in common with our business.
The WRC is FIA’s premium rally series. While it showcases authentic motorsport, high performance cars and the world’s best drivers, this is a sport that’s held globally like us as a company having clients from around the world and subsidiaries in different locations.
It’s also a sport whereby to succeed, you’ll need the proper support and technology which is very similar to what we aim to provide our clients with. Finally, it is a sport compatible with the interests of many of our clients, so all these factors contributed to our decision.
As for the ROI, we mainly measure it by the enhancement of brand recognition we got within our existing and potential clients and partners. We firmly believe this sponsorship has been a success and has contributed to that.
LR: There’s been a lot of regulatory change overseeing the FX trading world in Cyprus where you have one of your subsidiaries, as well as throughout the EU. How do you see these changes affecting the retail forex sector, as well as CFI’s own operations.
Eduardo: Yes, there were quiet many changes as you mentioned. However, we think they will benefit us on the long run.
Firstly, because we’ve been actually following and implementing many of these regulations already before they were in force as we always thought it was the right thing to do. Now that they are in order, this puts us on the same level as our competition.
Secondly, these changes will surely protect better the industry from potential providers who benefit from loopholes and end up hurting the reputation of the trading business.
This will surely enhance as well the overall image of Cyprus since it has been a pioneer in implementing many of the recent regulations and protections.
Last, we believe that, as these new regulations will be applied, there will be fewer and better providers, which we will be among.
LR: What else can we expect to see from CFI in the coming months?
Hisham: We have a lot of upcoming news, whether it’s on the level of our branding strategy, technology or geo-expansion and we hope to announce all of that very soon. At CFI, we have a constant dissatisfaction with the status quo and always endeavor to enhance our product offerings and trading services!