Middle East and South East Asian companies can work together to tap new opportunities arising from the growth of emerging markets, new technology and the issues facing traditional investment markets, said an expert. The financial services industries of both the Middle East and South East Asia are at a crossroads, said Philippe Ghanem, managing director of Abu Dhabi-based ADS Securities and a speaker at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Malaysia.
Innovative and entrepreneurial companies can seize the opportunity to not only deliver world-class solutions to their own markets but also offer high-value financial services alternatives to global investors, he noted. Regional investors are looking for regional solutions, added Ghanem.
“The recent global financial crisis has made it clear to investors that they should diversify their portfolios and in many cases they are going to be better served by regional providers rather than having to accept the additional costs of managing their investments out of one of the main financial hubs,” Ghanem said. “These investors are experienced and know what they want. They are looking for state-of-the-art technology, the highest levels of support, compliance and governance. They want financial services providers who offer real innovation and anticipate their needs – replicating what is offered in other markets is not good enough.” Ghanem said that the changing economic environment combined with shared business aspirations and cultural affinities have created new financial synergies between the Middle East and South East Asian markets.
Over the last few years, Middle Eastern investors have increasingly looked at growing financial ties with South East Asian nations. “The potential for East-East relationships in the financial sector has never been better and I believe the financial sectors of South East Asia and the Middle East can work together to tap opportunities across the world,” said Ghanem. ADS Securities is looking at establishing a presence in South East Asia to target Asia, the second largest forex market in the world today with a daily turnover of $1.2 trillion. “South East Asian and Middle East countries bridge the trading gap between the Far East and Western Europe and this is a common advantage they can leverage together to serve not just their regional markets but also global markets. However, companies in both regions need to provide the right levels of service at the right price to convert these advantages into results,” he added.
Ghanem pointed out that companies in the region have an advantage in the fact that liquidity and latency have become as important as location for participants in the global trading market. “Our platform has the ability to allow sophisticated trading at the speeds investors need whether these are institutional, professional or high net worth traders,” Ghanem said. “By offering them some of the best prices anywhere in the world, we are creating a new market, which operates 24/6, and is just focused on delivering what they want. We differentiate ourselves from most of our competitors because we do not trade against our clients.” “We know that these firms want to have a long term relationship with the platform they use. They do not want to find that they have been dropped by the provider as soon as they become successful. Our view is that this is the right time, and there has never been a better time for financial service companies in the region,” he concluded.