Amana targets new generation of traders: Rasoul

Dubai-based neo-broker says it will target the Gen Z and young millennials in the region and give them direct access to global financial markets



Muhammad Rasoul, chief executive officer, amana, says amana is more than an investment and trading platform.
Muhammad Rasoul, chief executive officer, amana, says amana is more than an investment and trading platform.
by

Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Sun 23 Oct 2022, 4:52 PM

Amana, a Dubai-based neo-broker, will target new generation of traders that is emerging globally and engage them in the financial world to secure good returns on their investments, its top official says.

Muhammad Rasoul, chief executive officer, amana, said he will primarily target the Gen Z and young millennials in the region and give them direct access to global financial markets.

“We have big dreams of building a community where everyone can learn, trade and grow together,” Rasoul told Khaleej Times during an interview.

He said amana, which operates multiple offices across Dubai, London, Limassol, and Beirut, is more than an investment and trading platform and his prime objective is to educate people about best investment options in the financial world and how they can use technology to invest their money in a safe and secure way.

He said amana is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in the United Arab Emirates, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CYSEC) in Europe, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in Lebanon, the Labuan Financial Securities Authority (LFSA) in Malaysia, and the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Mauritius.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Please define amana and its concept and shed light on its future growth plans?

amana is born and bred in the Middle East. Our global headquarters are here, in Dubai, with additional offices in United Kingdom, Cyprus, Lebanon, Mauritius and Malaysia. We started out as a traditional derivates trading firm but have since emerged as one of the leading neo-brokers in the region. Our trading platform today supports about 25-30k customers by offering access to trading and wealth creation through a full selection of assets and educating them along the way to ensure transparency and financial inclusion.

We have big dreams of building a community where everyone can learn, trade and grow together. amana is more than an investment and trading platform. What we’re trying to create is an experience that is simple and easy for people, regardless of how much investing experience they have. We also make sure that it’s priced fairly. I think a good example is the way that we treat local and regional shares — we don't charge commissions on local and regional shares. The cost that we pay to the exchanges to clear those transactions is the same price that we give to our customers. Our cost is their cost. We take this approach because we are trying to give more people access, easier access to the local and regional markets.

Amana is very vocal about financial literacy and inclusion. What’s your philosophy behind this?

We’re all about making sure that everyone, regardless of gender, income or experience level, has equitable access to the markets and can participate in the financial world. With our seamless technology and trading platforms, especially our brand new all-in-one amana app, we ensure that people can participate in the region’s thriving economic development. Let me illustrate. The long-awaited Salik IPO took place recently and our customers were able to invest in its shares from Day 1, the minute Salik shares were available for public trading. We take pride in offering the only trading app with such unprecedented access to the local and regional stocks.

Education is an important part of what we're trying to do. We're just getting started there. I'm a believer in teaching people the reality of the markets because markets aren’t simple. It’s important for people to understand that some products are risky. Sometimes companies out there make things seem simpler than they are. Crypto assets are a good example of that, just look at the volatility in Bitcoin and Ethereum.

There's also no minimum deposit. What is more, we fractionalise pretty much everything on the platform, even the local shares. For example, you may have wanted to buy Tesla, Apple, Alphabet or IHC — however if you shied away from it because of the big buy in cost, now you don’t have to because you own now a fractional share/s. This is what makes markets truly inclusive. Irrespective being new or seasoned, you can work toward creating wealth, at a pace that’s best suited to you.

With multiple offices in major cities, please explain which are potential growth markets for amana?

Just last month we launched our state-of-the art trading app, the amana.app, to complement our existing product offering in the UAE. The new app is based on seamless and highly personalised technology. It truly makes investing and trading super easy. Why is this an important milestone? Because we’ve listened to a new generation of traders that is emerging globally, but especially here in the region, the Gen Z and young millennials. And we know that it’s important to engage them in the financial world. They are tech savvy individuals, who have been raised in times of the smart phone. So, what better way than offering them a trading platform that’s accessible via smartphones to ensure they are able to start building their financial future.

Of course, we’re not stopping there. We’re ambitious and we’re growing. In addition to addressing the needs of our customer base by creating specific technological solutions, we’re also focused on expanding within the region, beyond the UAE. We’ve got our eyes on other countries of the Middle East and North Africa. There is definitely more to come from amana.

Do you offer advisory/help or guidelines on investment through amana or it will be the sole responsibility of amana subscriber?

We don’t give advice. With the help of our state-of-the art technology, our customers have access to global and local financial markets on the go, anytime, anywhere. To supplement their investment journey, we offer a diverse Learn section to help our customers grow their skills and become better traders. While we do not offer direct advisory services for our customer base, we are stark believers in the importance of financial literacy and are committed to making educational resources available to all. This is how we want to ensure that our existing and potential customers are equipped to make the best possible investment decisions for themselves and their particular circumstances, whether they are just beginning to build their financial future or are already seasoned investors.

Please explain how amana is different with other trading platforms. Why should people prefer amana over its competitors

Amana is simple and affords you access to the global and regional markets at the touch of a button and is an inclusive playing field. On the amana platform, you can trade and invest in stocks, ETFs, currencies, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. We offer access to 1000s of commission-free products, with no minimum balance required.

But amana is not just an investment and trading platform. It’s an experience that’s refreshing for the region. Most apps are built by people who have been trading for many years or who know the lingo and it can be very intimidating. Our mission is to remove frictions for people, to provide a clear and transparent message on all of our products that anyone can understand, to educate at any step of the customer journey and honestly to be playful and easy to use.

How else is our app unique? I believe that the difference isn’t just one feature or another that any other firm can copy. Rather it’s designed to be familiar where any trader or investor can feel comfortable with. We have a unique order entry method that simplifies the user experience without the need to input order types or breakdown assets into shares, lots, and or contacts. We have quick access charts so clients can swipe through assets easily, we have a For You page that pulls together asset information personalised to the users’ interests (much more coming soon), and, most importantly, we provide access to MENA-specific exchange traded stocks alongside US shares, Gold, Oil, Indices, Crypto, and any other major financial markets – all sitting by each other. Our onboarding takes minutes.

In a nutshell, several of amana’s features can be linked back to convenience, selection and price:

• Educational materials conveniently within the app constantly evolving, so you don’t have to spend hours searching for content, tutorials, market analysis, etc. The platform is also support an Arabic interface, thereby ensuring access to all.

• Full selection of financial assets: stocks, derivatives, crypto, FX: trade any financial asset conveniently on the same app. No need to use multiple brokers and track multiple accounts.

• Fractionalised trading: Apple, Tesla, Google, Amazon — with fractionalised trading you can still invest in the companies you love and believe will continue growing.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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