Investment banking is changing. What are the trends that you are seeing in the digital age in this region?
The investment banking industry has progressed from providing analog to digital services, from manual business process management to automated services, and from a local to a global reach. There’s a race for digital services and branchless banking, and a requirement for financial institutions (FIs) to include all market participants. Paperless transactions mean there’s an increased trend in secured and automated onboarding of new clients. Also, there is a growth of one-stop service providers that offer multiple services from one platform. Services such as money exchange, investing equities and portfolio management are all being provided from a single online platform. Because of the increased utilisation of artificial intelligence and machine learning, there has been a reduction in operational cost and risk. FIs in MENA realise that going digital is the key to moving forward, especially during these times that digitisation has become a mandate. They must digitise to stay competitive over global players, which causes an increasing pressure to reduce their margins.
What technological solutions are you providing financial institutions to stay on top of their game?
Tradesocio equips financial institutions to be able achieve their digital transformation, enabling them to do digital acquisition, onboarding and compliance for their customers. It also allows them to onboard customers instantly instead of following the traditional manual process. Our investment management and wealth management solutions are scalable not only to high-net-worth individuals, but also to retail investors. We provide front- to back-end automated architecture utilising AI and ML applications. We also optimise the middle and back office business process management for increased efficiency. Our library of APIs allows seamless integration with the existing architecture of our customers. Also, we host and manage architecture with minimum resource requirement from the client to manage and support the service. Tradesocio also offers product management and consultancy services, and we can leverage the experience we have gained from our existing client base to allow quick and efficient go-to-market delivery and strategy.
While the current volatile market may bring a certain amount of uncertainty, it also represents opportunities for the banks to open new revenue streams. How can Tradesocio help?
In this current volatile market, bank revenues will start to move downward. Banks will have to become aggressive and look to diversify their business to offset their decreasing revenues. While the market is down, there has been a spike of new low-to-medium investor entrants to the market. This brings an opportunity for banks to service these entrants and offset their decreasing revenues. To offer better service, banks will have to introduce services that lower the barrier to entry and wealth management solutions that cater to retail customers, who are often being ignored. Through digital automation, banks and customers will make transactions easier. Banks will be able to operate remotely and introduce cashless transactions, contactless payments, and branchless banking.
What is your focus this year? What are your plans for the company?
This year we will focus on our new operations headquarters in Dubai at DIFC, where we are planning to hire 30 top management professionals within the next two years. Also, we will prioritise the MENA and African markets. Furthermore, Tradesocio will expand business development on satellite offices in Singapore and London to be able to effectively cater to clients in the region. We will also release a new, ‘Investment Suite’ and launch our AI component, which will impact the business positively. Tradesocio will work closely with strategic partners and fintech accelerators around the world, and engage with potential customers across conferences and roadshows, targeting financial centres globally.
What challenges do you expect the market to face this year?
One of the challenges that financial institutions face is ensuring that they create a road map to enhance their current offerings, through digital solutions. They must offer digital products and solutions to a wider customer base in order to remain competitive. Financial institutions are also challenged by increasing competition from new fintech companies. New fintech companies have mushroomed globally and have forced the industry to lower margins in order to stay competitive. Plus, non-traditional financial companies such as telcos and super apps have also expanded their offering to include financial services and adding to the overcrowding of the market. Lastly, the ability of wealth managers to perform well while working from home. If this ‘work-from-home’ requirement continues, it can be a major obstacle for wealth managers if the technology infrastructure is not built to support it.