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One of the more interesting and successful personalities in the retail forex business has returned to the sector after a more than two-year self imposed hiatus. After selling his company MIG Bank to Swissquote in late 2013 for $70 million Hisham Mansour is back in the Retail FX game. As we reported exclusively last week he is joining CFI Markets as an equal partner to current controlling shareholder Eduardo Fakhoury.
So what has Hisham been up to the past 24 months?
Why get back into Retail Forex now?
And why with CFI?
We asked Hisham all this and more. Here is what he had to say.
LR: Hi Hisham, and thanks for joining us today. It has been more than 2 years since you exited the online trading business after the sale of MIG Bank to Swissquote. What have you been up to since then?
Hisham: Hi, it is a real pleasure speaking to you today! Yes it has been actually a bit over 2 years since the sale of MIG and the merger with Swissquote but online trading was always in my heart and on my mind as you can imagine.
To answer your question, after the years spent in MIG and the completion of the merger between Swissquote and MIG, the first thing I did was to take a bit of break!
I have relocated me and my family in Dubai where we permanently live now. I have started some real estate projects here but as I said my heart and mind was with the fast moving exciting world of online trading and meanwhile this opportunity came with CFI.
LR: Can you let us know why you are now getting back into the business? And why via CFI? What will your day-to-day role be with the group?
Hisham: I actually never wanted to leave the business!
The main reason I partnered with CFI is the people behind it. I know Eduardo Fakhoury and his family personally for years and they are the kind of people you would like to associate with, i.e. decent, modest, honest and fair. Eduardo himself is a seasoned business man and an entrepreneur who has built his company like I did not for the money primarily but to enjoy the success of delivering something great and thereby becoming great. We both believe that integrity in our business comes first and that reputation and people are the key assets. I think we also both complete each other in a way, i.e. he is slowing me down when I want to go too fast, he enjoys the details while I also like to look at the big picture…etc.
Apart from that, CFI is today the leading financial institution in Lebanon in online trading and CFI Markets was recently launched with the objective of growing the company globally.
As for my role, I do not currently have a day to day role. This is something that we have agreed we will explore together in the future.
LR: What vision do you and Mr. Fakhoury see for CFI?
Hisham: CFI will become sometime soon the preferred online trading provider for clients worldwide. It has already built a nice reputation of providing a great combination of best service, competitive conditions and being a secure and fair provider. Building up on this reputation by improving these different aspects will be its formula to achieve its goal.
LR: In which areas primarily would you like to see CFI grow? Where is CFI now strong, and where does it need to improve?
Hisham: CFI is already the number one provider for online trading in Lebanon and will only need to replicate what it does there globally. Yes these are different markets but clients all around the world are the same in my opinion and need the same things. Everybody appreciates great service, competitive conditions, fair execution and security of assets. This is what CFI will build on.
LR: How do you see the Forex industry having changed since you sold MIG Bank? What do you think are the major challenges ahead for Retail Forex?
Hisham: Honestly and despite what everybody thinks, I believe that things have continued to change positively for the serious providers and it will continue to do so as it has been always. The industry continues to consolidate and in shock waves like the post SNB decision era last year, clients will look more and more for serious providers who will continue to capture market share. CFI has been one of these who has benefited and we look forward to more growth.