Falcom has been chosen by Global Investor/ISF as the best broker in Saudi Arabia, a huge achievement given that it came top in the same category last year. The firm is recognised as one of the region’s top Islamic finance institutions with strong performance across its corporate finance, brokerage and asset management businesses. The brokerage is led by Adeeb Al-Sowailim, who has been CEO of Falcom for the past few years.
Falcom aims “to challenge conventions using the power of ideas”. It talks about a paradigm shift happening in finance and wealth management both in Saudi Arabia and across the world. In order to help clients cope with this change, Falcom’s managers are pursuing strategic opportunities using research and in-depth local analysis to create an experience that is “tangible and result-orientated”. Falcom said its resources are deployed to understand and anticipate future demands and to deliver “performing ideas”.
According to the firm, its Islamic values and sharia principles form the bedrock of its investment products and wealth maximising solutions. Falcom has a number of local and global trading platforms to give investors access to 37 markets, including its Broker-Assisted Trading, Trading Lounge and Touchstone Trading platforms.
Falcom says investors in Saudi Arabia are going through a tough learning process. It says it tries to help investors through its research business, which analyses stock markets through regular coverage of markets and occasional strategy reports.
Mubasher excells in UAE
Mubasher is pushing the boundaries of technological innovation in the financial industry platform market, bringing innovative technology as an end-to-end solution. Mubasher said it made a lot of progress in 2011 and 2012 introducing new and innovative trading solutions. The broker says it is the only company to offer a trading solution that allows private investors to trade on GCC, Arab and international stock exchanges through a single platform.
It established new benchmarks and said it has maintained a consistently high level of customer satisfaction, in the delivery of technology-based financial services in the UAE markets.
With the further expansion of Mubasher’s already wide range of trading tools which includes Mubasher BlackBerry, Mubasher iPhone, Mubasher iPad, Mubasher Trade-web and Mubasher PRO 10, in 2011 and 2012, Mubasher delivered financial market solutions tailored to the needs of active investors across different Arab markets.
“We are very pleased to receive this award in recognition of our continuous efforts to bring innovative, best in class investment solution to our clients. This award is testament to our commitment to the UAE market and our most valued customers. We firmly believe that our planned offerings will further enhance our position for being recognised as the broker of choice in the UAE,” said chairman of Mubasher Financial Services, Mohammed Rasheed Al-Ballaa.
Mubasher’s solution combines the latest e-broking front-to-back technology with a powerful multi-market order management system. Together with the Mubasher Asset Management System, a fully systemised margin trading product and a unique proprietary advisory product for regional and international markets, Mubasher provides a complete range of buy-side services that establish a full ‘next-generation’ platform.
The platform facilitates multi-asset class trading, including equities, exchange traded funds, options, forex, commodities, and equity contracts for difference, allowing users to move their funds easily between markets and instruments.
SICO scores top broker in Bahrain
SICO is the largest broker on the Bahrain Bourse with over 38% in 2011 market share by value of stocks traded. It says its brokerage team is experienced in securities trading and endeavors to execute transactions at the most competitive prices available in the market.
SICO also offers its clients the means to benefit from listed investment opportunities available in the region. Its clients are able to execute transactions in the various regional markets under one roof. This is made possible by the network of brokers SICO has established in all GCC and other regional markets. It has traded for its clients in the various GCC markets, undertaking some of the largest trades as of today. It says its strength is offering discreet execution to a select number of institutional clients.
Research remains an independent value-added service by SICO for its clients, and provides valuable support to the firm’s business units. During the past few years, SICO enhanced its research capabilities in line with its commitment to offer clients a superior platform and level of service.
SICO pioneered the market making concept on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE). Starting its activities in 1997, SICO remains the only recognised regional market maker on the BSE. SICO’s market making function is recognised by the BSE as an independent function and at arm’s length from SICO’s brokerage business.
SICO’s research activities focus on Bahraini public listed companies and also include selective coverage of companies in other GCC markets. With GCC stock markets becoming more integrated and complementary to each other, and with growing regional and global institutional interest, SICO intends to further expand its regional equity research capabilities with a greater emphasis on a GCC sectors approach. The research team currently has various products to cater to unique requirements of clients.
SICO is a securities house offering a selective range of investment banking services on a regional basis with particular emphasis on Bahrain.
QNB was top broker in Qatar
QNB Financial Services (QNBFS) claims unmatched trading and execution capabilities. This includes the following:
• Dedicated support. The dedicated institutional equity sales and execution traders have many years of industry experience in local, regional and global markets.
• Conflict-free agency-only broker. QNBFS is an agency only broker and will trade on behalf of and get best execution for clients’ trades.
• Block trading. With its broad relationships, QNBFS can provide efficient execution for large blocks of stock or thinly traded securities.
• Trading execution. Volume-based, pricebased, and time-based trading strategies are in place to achieve best execution.
• Multi-market execution. Ability to trade multiple markets in multiple currencies is a value-added service for its clients.
QNBFS provides ‘on-the-ground’ equity research on Qatari companies in close proximity to the companies it covers and has long established quality institutional relationships. Its local listed company road shows, targeted at institutional investors, have enjoyed significant success and positive feedback.
Backed by its parent QNB, the recent award of a custody license to QNB adds to QNBFS’s value proposition, especially when it comes to international institutional fund clients. Also, QNB enjoys significant financial strength and resources that it has used to attract talented staff and establish QNBFS as a strong, independent and market-leading brokerage company.
QNB is highly rated by international credit companies, which is a solid advantage for QNBFS when dealing with international institutional clients. Thus, QNBFS will help develop the brokerage market in line with international standards in terms of products, customer service and transparency.
The company says no conflicts of interest exist. QNBFS is a wholly owned subsidiary of QNB but maintains its own capital base, separate board of directors, separate commercial license, independent staff and staff sponsorships, independent and robust compliance and supervisory staff, independent seat on the exchange, etc.
This is to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and QNBFS is able to serve its client interests efficiently. The separation also allows for proper regulatory oversight of the brokerage business, which is in line with best international practices.
EFG Hermes Securities wins in Egypt
EFG Hermes Securities Brokerage operates directly in six markets (Egypt, UAE, Saudi, Oman, Jordan and Kuwait) and indirectly in another six: Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq.
EFG Hermes reaches out to more than 90,000 investors (retail and VIP), 315 highnet- worth individuals and family offices, 330 foreign institutions and 170 GCC institutions.
“We are particularly gratified to win this prestigious award, which we feel is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and the global quality of our product offering,” said Mohamed Ebeid, co-head of EFG Hermes.
EFG Hermes employs 150 sales and traders dedicated to MENA and GCC equities specialised by client type, product or geography with a regional expertise averaging nine years of experience.
“We are a truly regional firm, but Egypt is our home market, and we are always pleased to see our efforts here acknowledged,” added Ahmed Waly, co-head of EFG Hermes Securities Brokerage. “We have successfully maintained a first-place ranking in Egypt for a number of years, we have nine retail branches here, and we recently added an ATM facility for our clients in Egypt, as well. We are the first investment bank in Egypt to offer such a service.”
The firm has also introduced margin lending facilities in Saudi, DFM and ADX this year. The division has also taken the lead as the first broker to provide its investors with access to trade Iraqi equities via a SWAP agreement.
In addition, EFG Hermes provides trading platforms for its client base that include online trading and call centre services.
EFG Hermes offers access to top corporate management teams and regional decision makers through organizing a series of annual conferences that take place in Egypt, London and New York, as well as special purpose country events, bi-weekly investor trips and quarterly analyst / management team road shows across the region, Europe and the US.
EFG Hermes’ research product provides thorough fundamental analysis and includes equity coverage of 138 corporates across MENA and the GCC, sector analysis, economics reports for nine different countries, strategy reports, and country yearbooks.
MedSecurities wins best broker in Lebanon
Headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, MedSecurities offers brokerage and product development services to a growing local and international customer base. Med- Securities is involved in securities trading as well as in the distribution of both tailormade and off-the-shelf investment products. These products are structured with a view to capitalising on changes and trends in global financial markets in ways that would potentially benefit investors in the equities, fixed income, currency or commodity markets.
As part of its brokerage services, Med- Securities provides access to equities, fixed income, funds and derivatives, as well as OTC securities in local, regional and international markets. In 2011, MedSecurities achieved in excess of $1.5bn in cross trading covering the GCC in both liquid and illiquid paper. In addition, MedSecurities expanded into new markets such as Eastern Europe.
MedSecurities has participated in a number of local and regional private placements, covering several sectors and involving different asset classes. During the fi rst three quarters of MedSecurities MedSecurities provides access to a wide range of fi nancial instruments EFG Hermes Securities Brokerage is a regional force that facilitates transactions and provides trading execution in all major markets in the region Mohamed Ebeid Ahmed Waly 2012, MedSecurities arranged and placed several successful transactions including:
• Rifai Private Placement, where MedSecurities acted as an arranger to the transaction relating to the sale of Class B Preference shares in Al Rifai International Holding Ltd to Qatar First Hospitality Ltd, a subsidiary of Qatar First Investment Bank.
• Pin-Pay, where MedSecurities participated in a private offering and arranged for BankMed’s acquisition of 4,000 common shares representing a 25% stake in Pin-Pay SAL, a company that offers mobile banking and mobile payment services.
• Beirut Terraces, where MedSecurities acted as a placement agent, raising $40m through an investment arrangement for Beirut Terraces 2015 Ltd.
In addition, MedSecurities is concluding equity raising for a well-established local fashion designer, looking to expand internationally. The deal is scheduled to close during Q3 2012. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of BankMed sal, MedSecurities benefi ts throughout its operations from the synergy and support of the bank’s wide network.
Bank Muscat wins in Oman
Bank Muscat brokerage department says it is the broker of first choice among foreign institutions investing in Oman. The department, which services a geographically diverse base of emerging market institutional investors, has consistently won accolades for promoting trading on the Muscat Securities Market.
In addition to retail and institutional brokerage services, the division also offers clients the facility to set up non-funded trust accounts that help clients trade with anonymity while keeping their assets safe under Bank Muscat’s protective custody. The division services a geographically diverse base of emerging market institutional investors.
Bank Muscat’s brokerage department has the highest market share in the Omani market, reaching around 14%. It says the key differentiator of its internet-based trading facility is that it offers seamless trading through a linked two-in-one brokerage and Bank Muscat account. Customers using the online trading platform can now trade in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar and the Saudi market.
Abdulrazak Ali Issa, chief executive, Bank Muscat, said: “Bank Muscat is honoured to win the Best Asset Manager and Best Broker in Oman awards which endorse its unrivalled position in Oman as well as the region.”
He added: “The team is committed to providing customers with exclusive value-added services as part of the one-stop financial services package offered by the investment banking division.”
AB Invest excells in Jordan
AB Invest’s brokerage department was established in 2000, and since then it has developed and expanded its brokerage business to become a fully fledged brokerage platform serving the diverse needs of local, regional and international investors.
Being incorporated in Jordan, and as members of both the Amman Stock Exchange and Palestine Securities Exchange, its brokerage business has played a leading role in the introduction, sales and trading of Jordanian and Palestinian listed securities to buy-side and international broker/dealer firms worldwide.
In 2007, it expanded its coverage to offer clients’ cross-border execution on regional markets in addition to Jordan and Palestine. Therefore, it introduced a special desk for regional markets and commenced securities trading on the capital markets of the GCC and Egypt. In 2008 and 2009, it directed its efforts towards the development of its brokerage and research offering, and placed emphasis on providing institutional sales trading material. Its research coverage expanded to cover more strategic companies in Jordan, and it strengthened its relationships with company management.
Adel Kasaji, CEO, AB Invest, said: “We are delighted to be honoured with the Best Asset Manager and Best Broker in Jordan Awards for the third consecutive year. Winning the award three times is a testament to the fact that leading the investment banking industry in Jordan is a well established tradition at AB Invest.”
NBK Capital best in Kuwait
NBK Capitalwasestablishedin2005 as a subsidiary of the National Bank of Kuwait, one of the region’s oldest and highest rated banks. NBK Capital focuses on four principal lines of business: alternative investments, asset management, brokerage research and investment banking.
NBK Capital has offices in Kuwait, Dubai, Istanbul and Cairo, employing more than 170 professionals. Its brokerage services are housed under the umbrella of sub-brand Watani Brokerage, and provide clients with the full spectrum of brokerage services ranging from traditional brokerage dealing in the KSE to online services for the KSE, GCC and the wider MENA markets. This offering is complimented by access to the US markets through Watani Brokerage’s US online platform.
Key achievements in 2011:
• Floor brokerage division WFBC’s market share grew by 10% while the market’s volumes were down over 40%.
• Brokerage AUM up over 18% versus a decline of over 16% in the overall market cap.
• NBK Capital Securities-Egypt, a joint-venture with Al Watany Bank of Egypt, started operations.
Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK Capital, said: “We take great pride in being recognised as the Best Broker, Kuwait by Global Investor/ISF. This award underscores the dedication and effort of our professionals to provide the best products and services to our clients. Receiving this award is yet another great milestone for NBK Capital, and is testament to our continuing growth and relentless focus on quality.”