Exclusive: Ali Hassan Leaves Q8Trade to Launch New FX Brand in MENA

Hassan is launching an FX brand that has secured a CySEC license and is now seeking regulation in Abu Dhabi.

Ali Hassan, vice president of business development at Q8Trade, has parted ways with the Kuwait-based FX broker. The two-decade FX veteran, mostly spent his career in Middle East’s markets, is leaving his current position to start a new CySEC-licensed brokerage firm.

In a brokerage firm with a low turnover, Ali was one of the longest-serving executives at Q8Trade who has remained on the job since he originally joined Q8 Securities’ subsidiary three years ago.

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No formal announcement has been made, but Mr. Hassan confirmed to Finance Magnates that he leaves on good terms.

During his three-year tenure, Ali had been tasked with identifying new business opportunities including new markets, growth areas, trends, customers, technologies and services. Additionally, he established teams across customer service, compliance,

Ali Hassan

verification, marketing, BI and quality control. His responsibilities included creating Q8 financial reports and setting monthly and annual budgets.

Prior to Q8Trade, Ali has spent the bulk of his career at e-Toro, based out of Cyprus. He was its Arabic regional manager from 2007 to 2017, rising through the ranks to be responsible for developing sales and marketing strategies at the Israel-based firm.

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Moreover, Ali is one of the influential speakers to represent blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses in the Arab world. Earlier in his career, he worked for Israel’s financial group and the largest lender, Bank Hapoalim.

Traditionally a difficult market to break into, Q8 Trade and e-Toro built on Ali’s extensive experience and Palestinian origins to understand the region’s client base and trading styles.

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Mr. Hassan is going live with a new FX brand that has been in the works over the last three months and has already obtained a license form CySEC. 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).

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.

Other than AML compliance, FX brokers need to have systems and controls such as intra-day and end-of-day counterparty and settlement limits, segregation of functions, and other risk measures.

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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