Commercial Bank Financial Services (CBFS) won the International Finance Award for the ‘Most Innovative Mobile Trading Application – Qatar 2023′. The venture, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Commercial Bank, provides its customers with a secure platform for trading Stocks, Bonds & T–bills.
Commercial Bank Financial Services, which is a licensed brokerage house in the State of Qatar and is regulated by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA), has a vision of “playing 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.”
Akhlaq A Khan, Head of Business Development and Support, Commercial Bank Financial Services, during his interaction with International Finance, spoke about the company’s ‘CB Waseet App’ and ‘Dedicated Broker’s Lounge’, which have been making waves in Qatar, apart from giving us a sneak peek of Commercial Bank Financial Services’ business model.
Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Q) Commercial Bank Financial Services won the International Finance Award for the ‘Most Innovative Mobile Trading Application – Qatar 2023′. How do you feel about receiving this recognition?
A) We are very excited & honoured to receive this recognition from International Finance Magazine. Our business strategy is to become a “Brokerage House of Choice” for our domestic and international clients by offering them first-to-market and best-in-class products and services leveraging technology to help them achieve their financial goals. We view client experience as a competitive advantage and it’s the centre of our strategy. We are continuing to invest in our digital technology capabilities to seamlessly provide the right products & services to our clients. Our long-term strategy remains centred around clients and we will continue to invest in our product & service offerings that are relevant to clients and provide them with best-in-class experience at every client touch point.
Q) Tell our readers about your sensational ‘CB Waseet App’ that has been making waves in Qatar.
A) 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. Another important vision 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 as well as younger client segments 30-45 years of age. Our entire Mobile Application was built on the theme of providing clients with a ‘Simple & Interactive Platform’. These enhanced functionalities enriched our market content with fewer clicks in trade execution. We received excellent feedback from clients on our Mobile Application and our mobile transactions are already up 10-12X since July of 2021. We have several other service platform innovations in the pipeline that will be available by early 2024 for our clients.
Q) You have also been awarded the ‘Fastest Growing Brokerage House – Qatar 2023’ with the highest market share reported at 13.37%. What made you stand out from other counterparts?
A) Our digital platforms have helped us scale our product and service offerings to the local market clients. The Margin Trading product differentiates us in the market from our competitors as we provide customers with a seamless onboarding experience, competitive offers, and pricing. This has resulted in a 2x increase in our customer base.
In 2023, we launched the liquidity provision service and have already onboarded a number of clients which contribute positively to the growing volumes traded through CBFS.
Discretionary portfolio management is another service we offer and our in-house team of professionals are actively engaging with institutional funds and High Net Worth individuals to optimise their investments.
Q) Commercial Bank Financial Services also offers a ‘Dedicated Broker’s Lounge’. Tell us about it.
A) The idea behind this concept is to provide our clients with a world-class environment to follow the movements in the stock market as well as perform their trades. Our brokerage lounge at D Ring provides them with the opportunity to network with other traders and set up their trading workstations in a private space. CBFS has embedded elements of the Qatari heritage by providing a traditional Majlis-inspired seating area. Customers have been very positive about these enhancements, and we see a steady flow of clients availing of this facility.
Q) Trading has always been considered a risky option. What kind of guidance do you provide your clients?
A) The QSE index has been consolidating for the past 6 months and we remind our clients to approach investments from a long-term viewpoint. Historically, equities have provided long-term capital gains with a steady stream of income in the form of dividends and there are many Qatari companies on the stock market with a healthy dividend payout ratio. The increase in interest rates due to an increase in inflation has had its fair share of impact on the local market; however, Qatar is well positioned to absorb these shocks as seen by the latest CPI numbers and H1 2023 corporate profits. Qatar’s GDP growth is anticipated to be around 3.0% for 2023 with Q1 2023 growth at 2.7%. The North Field Expansion will play a major role in the coming years, and we see positive growth momentum cascading to all sectors of the economy.