The Business Year

Philippe Ghanem

UAE, ABU DHABI - Finance

A Daily Basis

Vice Chairman and Executive Managing Director, ADS Securities


Philippe Ghanem is the Executive Managing Director and Vice Chairman of ADS Securities, the Abu Dhabi-based forex and commodities trading company conceived and developed to offer a world-class global trading and investment company located in the Middle East. He was instrumental in setting up ADS Securities, drawing on his wealth of experience in both establishing and running successful entrepreneurial financial services companies. He is also Deputy CEO and Vice-Chairman of ADS Securities’ parent company, ADS Holding, and Chairman of ADS Securities London Limited. Prior to joining ADS Securities, he successfully created and launched a number of forex businesses. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the International University of Geneva, Switzerland.

TBY talks to Philippe Ghanem, Vice Chairman and Executive Managing Director of ADS Securities, on the development of the financial market in Abu Dhabi and the company's role in it.

What does your new ADS London office add to your network?

Our office in London will initially be focused on our FX, precious metals, and CFD trading business. This is because London is still responsible for trading 41% of the daily $5.3 trillion currency market, meaning it is essential that we have a regulated business in the UK. Most of the important liquidity providers, our counter parties, and a number of our largest clients are in the City. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a respected regulator, and we are pleased that it has accepted ADS Securities to work alongside some of the most important global financial services companies. Before I could be appointed as Chairman of ADS London, along with James Watson, our Managing Director, we had to go through detailed checks from the FCA to ensure that we met the international standards it works to. Having our London and Hong Kong offices means that we are now regulated in three major markets and act as a genuine bridge from the Far East through the Middle East to Europe and on to North America.

How has the response been in regard to bringing online trading to the Middle East?

We are the first international online trading company headquartered in the Middle East, and the response has been overwhelming. I look at all the awards we have and I am shocked. Every day we have clients willing to trade with us, and we have had a great response. We are a real success story. And we continue to invest in the services we can provide them, including fixed income (bonds), structured products, wealth management, investment banking, and asset management. They like what ADS Securities provides and they want us to grow. People want to put money in ADS and be managed by ADS, because we have qualified people and we have a hands-on approach.

What kinds of new technology are you investing in?

We have a new platform out called OREX Optim, which is a platform made for all kinds of traders, from bank traders to professional traders. It is a platform that gives you the ability to manage all your assets. It is an easy platform to use, being quick and highly sophisticated. The whole objective of this platform was to build on the idea of giving our clients excellent execution and putting them in charge of their trades. From having developed the first platform in the region we are now creating global technology firsts for Abu Dhabi; for example, we have implemented the world’s first 40 GB FX Ethernet cards. The 40 GB network cards allow each tick from multiple liquidity venues to be processed with dramatically reduced delays during volatile market conditions. This option is only available to ADS Securities clients.

What are some challenges you expect going forward?

The financial services sector is always the most competitive in the world. It is a very challenging industry that can also produce great rewards and, if you are not very careful, also losses. To be able to compete against the main well-known firms that have been building their reputation and businesses for many years is difficult. But, for the reasons we have discussed, we believe that we have a unique and important offer and will work day and night to make sure that this is delivered to the market. Our challenge is to keep making money so that we can keep investing in our people, our technology, and services for our clients. We want to be the best and will strive to achieve this even when markets are difficult and investors are cautious. Our vision has always been to demonstrate that the independent financial services sector in Abu Dhabi has a role to play alongside other similar sectors in the world’s leading financial centers.



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