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CBFS leads the way in novel brokerage servicing

IFM_CBQ Head Of Retail Banking Shahnawaz Rashid
CBFS vision is to become a “Brokerage House of Choice” for their domestic and international clients by offering them first to market products and services to enable them achieve their financial.

Commercial Bank Financial Services (CBFS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Commercial Bank which provides customers with several secure platforms for trading on QE listed stocks, bonds & T–bills from anywhere during the trading hours. CBFS is one of top licensed brokerage house in the State of Qatar and is regulated by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA).

CBFS offers customers the very best investment products and services available and builds upon its rich heritage from Commercial Bank, a heritage based on the understanding of customer needs. Its business mission is to be Qatar’s leading provider of premium brokerage services to customers through dedicated brokers and a state-of-the-art trading portal offering complete range of financial products to its valued clients.

CBFS’s vision is to play a leading role in the growth of the financial sector in Qatar by ensuring greater investor participation across the spectrum and providing the tools to prospective investors to enable them to effectively participate in the market. It caters to a range of clients with varying profiles, risk appetites and investment needs. Their clients include retail, domestic and expatriates residing in Qatar and abroad, high net worth individuals & international / local corporate entities.

Excerpt from an exclusive interview with Shahnawaz Rashid, the General Manager of the CBFS.

Q. What differentiates CBFS from the other players in the market? What is your long-term business outlook?
CBFS is among the top brokerage houses in Qatar, regulated by Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA). Established in 2011, CBFS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Commercial Bank with paid-up capital of QAR 700 million. Our business strategy is to become a “Brokerage House of Choice” for our domestic and international clients by offering them first to market products and services leveraging technology to enable clients achieve their financial goals. We view client experience as a competitive advantage and it’s the center of our strategy. We are continuing to invest in our digital technology capabilities to seamlessly provide the right product and services to our clients. As an example last year, we became the first brokerage house to offer our clients a fully digitized onboarding experience that led to a reduction in account opening time from 5-6 days to within an hour. We are the first subsidiary of a local bank to offer a Margin Trading facility – introduced last year, the product offer clients flexibility of increased buying powers using their existing portfolio as collateral to take advantage of market opportunities. Our long-term strategy remains centered on clients and we will continue to invest in product and service offerings that are relevant to clients and provide them with the best in class experience at every client touchpoint.

Q. CBFS is adapting to the changes and demands in the market by introducing technological solutions and enhancements. Can you tell me more about that especially in light of the COVID-19 impact?
The COVID 19 has fundamentally shifted the way we interact with our clients. Now, more financial transactions are executed through mobile, online, and other self-serve channels. Our goal is to enable clients for them to do 100% of their transactions from anywhere using our best-in-class self-serve platforms. COVID 19 has reaffirmed the investments we have made in technology platforms, products, and people as part of our strategic plan, as it has given us a greater degree of resilience and the ability to adapt quickly to capture the changes in customer behaviors that have been accelerated by the pandemic. CBFS provides customers with secure platforms to trade on Qatar Stock Exchange-listed stocks, bonds, and Treasury bills. Customers can trade directly through our numerous upgraded channels i.e. online and mobile trading applications from anywhere during market trading hours. Almost half of our trade transactions now are coming from mobile and online channels, which are up almost 8-10 times over 2019.

Q. As an investor why should I invest in the Qatari Market?
We see positive growth momentum in Qatar as a result of higher natural gas prices, continued government spending on infrastructure projects such as North Field Expansion, and the forthcoming Soccer World Cup. Qatar’s GDP is anticipated to be around 3.0, one of the best in GCC markets due to increased demand supported by very high domestic vaccination coverage. The benefits of the removal of the blockade have not yet fully flowed through to sectors such as hospitality and tourism due to COVID 19 and these are expected to recover as vaccines continue to roll out globally and restriction on movement eases. Qatar is also a strong regional leader in digital banking supported by QCB’s Regulatory Sandbox Initiatives, and more widely government programs promoting the digital society and digital government. QSE has been lagging as compared to other peer markets in GCC and there is definitely room for further growth in line with regional markets with all these tailwinds. The global banking outlook is overall positive due to a resurgence in demand post-pandemic and an acceleration in consumer discretionary spending from the savings piled up during lockdowns, which would further help increase the investment flows in the market.

Q. What makes the CBFS Mobile App the Best and most innovative App in Qatar?
We are very excited and honored to receive this recognition from International Finance Magazine. It is our strategy to continue to leverage technology solutions to provide our clients with flexible and interactive platforms to engage with us through self-serve channels. Our entire Mobile Application was built on the theme of providing clients with a ‘Simple & Interactive Platform’. These enhanced functionalities include high-touch navigation tools, enriched market content, fewer clicks in trade execution to name a few. We received excellent feedback from clients on our Mobile Application and our mobile transactions are already up 10-12X since July 2021, the launch of this application. Another important vision of CBFS is to develop and align our products and services to meet the investment needs of our clients, as well as broad-basing our digital product offerings to engage Qatari Youth segments in 25-35 years of age. We have several other new products and service platform innovations in the pipeline to further enhance our client engagement that will be available by early 2022 for our clients.

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