Exclusive: Ali Hassan Launches New FX Brokerage in Cyprus
After a series of penalties and suspensions made by the Cypriot regulator in the last few month, all aimed to tighten online trading regulation, the question of whether or not the new rules would affect forex, CFDs brokers was on everyone’s mind.
However, it seems that CySEC’s efforts were not that bad, since we have just found out that at least one broker out there is brave enough to expand its business to Cyprus.
As Finance Magnates has exclusively learned, Middle East FX veteran Ali Hassan has led efforts to obtain a CySEC CIF license for a new retail brokerage firm, operating under the brand Evest.com.
Mr. Hassan is going live with the new FX brokerage that has been in the works over the last three months. The new firm, which has secured decent funding from a big investor, is also seeking additional licenses from other ‘top-tier’ regulators, including the financial watchdog of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
We also learned that the list of angel investors includes Israeli businessman Mohammad Sheikh Suliman, who also invests a number of start-ups in various sectors – including IT, healthcare, and real estate, among others. A lifelong horse lover, Suliman is of an Arab descent, studied Business Administration and Management at Tel Aviv University, and his most notable venture was establishing an exclusive horse stud in 2016.
Introducing the new brand, eVEST CEO Ali Hasan said, “We must trust in numbers, once you understand the numbers of any business, the growth can become easier.”
Ali also said that eVEST engaged other “established entrepreneurs” and that it raised seven million dollars through its A funding round from one investor alone, but “the investor does not want to reveal his name at the moment.”
Eyes on the Arab gulf region
We understand that the entire process of the firm’s venture onto the UAE territory began a while before obtaining the Cypriot license, but the application is still pending regulatory approvals.
Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) has very strict guidelines in place for obtaining a forex license, as well as for conducting forex business. Specifically, obtaining a UAE forex license is a complicated procedure that involves many legal limitations that revolve around the country’s prohibitions on banking activity in the local currency.
With a booming economy and massive levels of inward investment and migration, the Gulf market, in particular, looks an increasingly attractive investment opportunity within the MENA region. However, expanding into more developed markets within the Gulf area, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has been a complex process with many potential pitfalls, as getting ‘straight’ regulatory approvals to operate a forex retail brand is extremely difficult.
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