LR: Hi Hisham Mansour, thank you for joining LeapRate today. You are CFI Financial Group’s Founder and CEO. Tell us more about the company and the people behind it.
Hisham: CFI Financial Group Holding is a world class provider of online trading services serving both private and institutional clients for over 22 years. We offer a multitude of asset classes, top notch support and a great trading journey. The group encompasses several regulated entities around the world and have won many awards with the latest being the “Best Online Financial Services Provider in the Middle East 2020” by the print and online new journal CFI.co (Capital Finance International).
CFI Financial Group is more than just a name with globally regulated entities. It’s a set of values, a vision and a team with limitless dedication and ambition. The success that allowed CFI to continue its operation for many years is a traditional recipe but with a twist. This twist is evident in our slogan: “Empower Yourself”. This is a term that applies to our team as well as our loyal clients. We want everyone to bring out the best in them when associated with CFI. Our team is not only conquering day to day challenges but also individual ones because it’s the kind of environment that encourages that. At the same time, our clients are partners and family. They receive the best support possible and are always engaged with the team by providing us with feedback, ideas and suggestions which in turn, we take very seriously and add to our operational pipeline. What our clients say is what we focus on so that we can provide the best trading experience possible.
LR: Speaking of awards, you mentioned your latest one under the name of “Best online financial trading services provider in the Middle East for 2020”. Can you tell us more about this recognition?
Hisham: When it comes to online trading, CFI has established itself as a household name across many countries and this is especially true in the GCC and Middle East. In these countries, trading or mentions of financial markets is synonymous with CFI. It’s years of superior services, transparency and authenticity which led to a highly loyal customer base.
Furthermore, our philosophies played a serious role in shaping CFI into the company it is today and continues to be the driving force behind our success. Our team is highly motivated, focused on keeping the operation running smoothly while also leading and supporting horizontally and vertically. They are family and treat each other in such a manner. It’s business as usual but with a positive aura surrounding the offices and the best part is, it’s a global phenomenon across all companies within the group.
The above is only a small part of the recipe we follow but enough to help us gain global recognition and receive multiple awards.
LR: How successful was 2019 for CFI – what has changed, what would you like to leave behind?
Hisham: 2019 was a great year for CFI. We on boarded experts across different divisions, improved our website and customer experience and intensified our operations in London and Dubai, among other things. With the trade war happening between the US and China, opportunities emerged during 2019, especially the second half, which drove traders towards looking into the price changes across different asset classes. 2020 saw further volatility with Covid-19 and with many people working from home, the industry emerged almost as a necessity for people to explore venues where they can attempt to control their financial future. The only thing we are leaving behind are the goals we reached in favor of upgrading to more challenging yet more rewarding ones.
Hisham: Traders demands have not changed much recently with most still demanding a very streamlined user journey, cost efficient and uninterrupted access to the financial markets and most of all a superior execution venue they can rely on to get their orders filled at the best prices and with the deepest liquidity possible. Those are some of the key elements we have truly invested in and optimized over the years. Our account opening process is simple yet compliant. Our range of products is diverse and highly cost efficient. Our infrastructure is technologically advanced and constantly supported and optimized. Lately, we felt people are interested in expanding their knowledge base and learning more about the dynamics of the markets which led us to put our efforts towards launching daily webinars focused on education and the markets in general while escalating efforts on the analytical tools we provide to our loyal clients.
LR: According to you, what has changed for the retail trading industry in 2020, and what to expect in 2021?
Hisham: 2020 emphasized the concept of working remotely and I truly believe this trend will continue into 2021 as business dynamics have completely changed. Companies are going as far as allowing employees to work from home forever and that will definitely alter the way we interact on a societal level. From clients’ perspective, not much has changed as investors continue to take advantage of potential opportunities with volatility ebbing and flowing periodically. What could change in the near future is increased attention towards our business which is mostly online, driven by the masses working remotely. Basically, more and more people will realize the importance of having a trading account and with more free hours and better time control on a daily basis, this would mean more flexibility for people to invest towards better finances.
LR: What is your opinion on the current market coronavirus situation in the industry?
Hisham: Given the online nature of our business, Covid-19 had minimal effect on the markets except for the volatile conditions due to economic reasons. It was always about readiness and while some firms had nicely written plans, others like CFI actually tested the ability of its operations to continue under any circumstances. It was a rather smooth and easy transition with our infrastructure always ready and tested and a major investment area within our vision.
Hisham: London’s status as a financial hub and possibly the most important one on a global scale stands, regardless of Brexit repercussions, the reputation of the retail trading industry across the UK is firm enough to continue driving traders and investors from all over the world towards the area. We believe that despite Brexit, London will remain a powerhouse for investments for the same reasons that have been in place for years.
LR: What upcoming trends do you see emerging and making an impact on the industry in the next few years?
Hisham: The industry is expected to experience consolidation with the strongest and most renowned brands likely taking the stage and surviving over the coming years. It’s a given that CFI will do what it takes to be part of the brands that survive and grow as we continue to work across the different aspects of our operations.
Hisham: The sponsorship between CFI and Nissan E.dams Formula E team is a harmonious one. Both CFI and the Nissan E.dams Formula E team are considered global brands and highly innovative ones within their respective industries. The main focus is sustainability, something that makes this sponsorship truly special.
Originally, we started with a brand ambassador role with Oliver Rowland, one of the main drivers within the team. Oliver played a vital role in emboldening CFI’s image but at some point, a team sponsorship was exactly what was needed to create the added value we were looking for. At the end of the day, what really brought us together are a few key elements which are innovation, speed and advanced technology, commonly shared focus points between Nissan E.dams Formula E team and CFI.