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30 Fastest Growing Private Companies to Watch 2021

Equiti Group Leadership Speaks to The Silicon Review: ‘Our Focus is on Innovation that Delivers an Unrivalled Client Experience, and Our Aim is to Make Our Client Experience a Global Market Disruptor’

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“Equiti became the first global brokerage to obtain a license to provide multi-asset brokerage services in the local and international markets by the Jordan Securities Commission.”

Equiti Group is a pioneering FinTech firm and world-class provider of online trading technology and multi-asset financial products.

With over 300 global specialists and 24/6 customer service in nine languages, Equiti provides clients with access to individual, professional and institutional brokerage services across various affiliates and subsidiaries.

The company has offices spread across several countries, including London, UK; Amman, Jordan; Dubai, UAE; Yerevan, Armenia; Nairobi and Nakuru, Kenya; Florida, USA; Auckland, New Zealand, and Victoria, Seychelles.

Interview Excerpt: Mohamed AlAhmad (Managing Director: Middle East & Africa) & Iskandar Najjar (Group CEO)

Equiti Group was incorporated in late 2016. From the outset, we were clear that regulation and good corporate governance would be pivotal to our business approach and model. Equiti commenced with the acquisition of two regulated entities, namely Divisa Capital and EGM Futures.

Mergers and Acquisitions (2017):

  • Equiti Group acquired Divisa Capital, a London-based brokerage, licensed and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), with two lines of business, a prime-of-prime brokerage and an FX Agency Desk that acts as an execution-only broker.
  • Equiti Group acquired EGM Futures DMCC, a UAE-based DGCX broker, licensed by the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority.

Acquiring new licences, setting up in new markets, and adapting to new regulation (2018):

January: Equiti became the first global brokerage to obtain a license to provide multi-asset brokerage services in the local and international markets by the Jordan Securities Commission.

February: Equiti Jordan, a fully operational entity was established in Amman, Jordan.

March: Equiti became the first online forex broker to be granted a license by the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya.

July: EGM Securities, a fully operational entity, was established in Nairobi, Kenya.

In H2 2018 while Equiti was rapidly setting up regulated entities in two new emerging markets, Kenya and Jordan, we also had to rapidly adapt our UK-based FCA-regulated business to implement new regulatory requirements, including MiFID II, a legislative framework aimed at strengthening investor protection and increasing transparency, and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

November: To streamline global branding efforts, in November 2018, Divisa Capital was rebranded to Equiti Capital.

Investing in people and systems (2019):

After achieving significant milestones in 2018, Equiti’s focus in 2019 centred on investing in people and systems to build a platform that would support global scalability, operational efficiencies, and the company’s global growth.

Gearing up for further expansion (2020):

To support further expansionary efforts in new geographical regions Equiti obtained a licence from the Seychelles Financial Service Authority under its newly registered entity, Equiti Brokerage (Seychelles) Limited. In line with our multi-licenced broker model we will also look to replicate this in Latin America and South East Asia.

The Current Year

Equiti’s fast-paced growth over the past few months has led to its global footprint expanding across four continents with now over 300 specialists in ten offices in Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. We are now regulated by six market authorities and currently working on new licenses to continue our growth into new regions.

In just over three years, Equiti has rapidly transformed to become a robust world class pioneering fintech and online trading services provider with a strong focus on regulation, governance, collaboration, and innovation.

Innovation is one of the driving forces behind Equiti’s fast-growth trajectory and will remain the focus of the company over the next five years.

Our focus in 2021 is on innovation that delivers an unrivalled client experience, and our aim is to make our client experience a global market disruptor.

To achieve this, we are fully committed to exploring and developing new cutting-edge technologies, new product offerings and customizable solutions, all while developing new ways of doing things better that will give us a leading edge and added impetus for further global growth.

We see innovation not only in terms of new localized product offerings, but also in working with local partners, innovating to provide local systems, tools and financial instruments, services and support methods, and also adopting local channels of communication.  

We’re making serious investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to enrich our risk management and pricing tools. In February 2021, we appointed a Group Chief Data Officer to oversee our data architecture, and to incorporate AI and ML capabilities within the Group.

To support the company’s fast-paced global growth over the past few months, Equiti has quadrupled its global Compliance teams, tripled its technology teams, and more than doubled its operations and support teams at multiple locations around the world.

Equiti’s mission to be at the forefront of innovation in the fintech sector is bolstered by two subsidiaries within the Equiti Group, namely AlgoLabs, a research and development company, and EGMLABS, focused on technological developments. In addition, Equiti Group partners with the world’s best technology providers to give our clients the most advanced trading experience.

Q. Mr. Najjar, what were the roadblocks that Equiti had to overcome during the initial days?

While being a pioneering company in new markets gave a first mover advantage, it presented operational challenges that came with very rapidly adapting to new markets, cultures, regulatory and compliance requirements, nuisances in local markets and educating the local markets on global trading opportunities.

These provided valuable learnings and insights on what is needed to build a scalable global business model that can be applied to support our ambitious plans and aggressive growth strategy.

Q. Being a well-capitalized, multi-asset, and financial trading brokerage with a unique operating structure, how precisely do you address your clients’ pain points per this, Mr. AlAhmad?

Strong client relationships, dedicated account managers, providing multiple channels of communication, offering client support in nine languages on a 24/6 basis are some of the many ways we address our clients’ pain points.

In addition, we have a trade support team, a fully dedicated global client support team and a large and ever-growing development team to constantly innovate and develop new solutions and offerings to support our clients.

Q. What makes Equiti Group world-class? What are the key factors that set it apart, Mr. AlAhmad?

Developing innovative and customizable solutions to meet clients’ needs in local markets is largely what sets Equiti apart. For example, in Kenya, Equiti developed an innovative mobile trading app for the mass market called FXPesa. FXPesa allows smartphone users to trade-on-the-go and fund their account using popular local mobile money providers.

‘Our global success is driven by our passion to be the best in the industry.’ This sounds highly promising and incredibly productive. Where do you stand as a company in a crowd of competitors? And what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve, Mr. Najjar?

Building scalable and customized solutions and innovative products tailored to local markets is what will keep Equiti ahead of the curve. For example, we aim to understand the local payment methods in each region that we operate in and who owns the majority of market share to ensure we have a local offering that our clients are familiar with and trust.

In 2020, we introduced over 100 new payment solutions in Latin America, in addition to new payment solutions in East Africa and South East Asia as well as an Equiti-branded prepaid card. Plus, we’ve added an extensive range of new and alternative payment methods including e-wallets, credit and debit cards, mobile money, and international bank transfers in 39 currencies.

The Relentlessly Reliable Leaders

Iskandar Najjar, Equiti Group CEOthesiliconreview-iskandar-najjar-group-ceo-equiti-group-21

lskandar began his career as a financial advisor working for Barclays bank in the UK before transitioning to work in the FX industry. He holds an MBA from the LondonBusiness School and an M.Sc. in Finance from Leeds Beckett University.

Mr. Najjar has a strong track record leading and growing FX and CFD companies in the Middle East. He is the former MD of ADS Securities for the Middle East & Africa region, and CEO of Alpari ME. Under his leadership, Alpari ME became the leading FX firm in the Middle East region.

Mohamed AlAhmad, MD Equiti Group (Middle East and Africa)

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Mohamed is the managing director of Equiti Group’s Middle East and Africa regions. His extensive career in the industry spans over 15 years. He started his financial career with Thomas Cook, Travelex UK, and Alpari UK in the city of London. Mohamed moved to the UAE to serve as the COO, and later the CEO of Alpari ME before becoming the CEO of Axitrader ME DMCC. He was instrumental in developing the business operations of both firms and establishing them as the leading pioneers in the FX industry in the region.

Mr. AlAhmad is a successful business leader and a results-driven senior executive manager with coherent business practices that maximise revenue growth and strengthen company operations across the group.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Services from London Metropolitan University.

We’re fully committed to exploring and developing new cutting-edge technologies, new product offerings and customizable solutions, all while developing new ways of doing things better that will give us a leading edge and added impetus for further global growth.”