The Business Year

Tareq Ansari

CEO, First Investment Group

Moataz Maraqa

CEO, ABC Investments (ABCI)

Financial products are in demand in Jordan, where security gives the sector reason to be optimistic, despite regional uncertainties.

How did your firm get to where it is today?

TAREQ ANSARI From its start in 2004, First has stood out as a very different kind of investment firm. First was founded on a simple idea—making a difference in the lives of each and every member of the community we reach by putting clients’ needs and interest first. At First, we are guided by our culture and a set of principles that ensure we never forget what we stand for—to help more and more people invest in their financial well-being. First is registered and licensed by the Jordan Securities Commission to present financial services to clients, mainly in asset management and financial advisory.

MOATAZ MARAQA ABC Investments is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank ABC Jordan and is a one-stop-shop brokerage firm. Through our company, clients can trade investment products across all markets, local, regional and international, a uniquely different proposition from many other companies in Jordan, who solely focus on the local market. Our services are also spread across all asset classes, giving our clients the privilege of trading in stocks, bonds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFS) and derivative products (futures and options). Being a one-stop-shop brokerage firm differentiates us from our competitors and offers our clients a fully-rounded service in one place.

What makes your company stand out from others?

TA We help our partners achieve their investment goals and provide customized, objective advice. Our clients can depend on our investment management expertise to build a plan that helps them achieve and strengthen their financial security. We recognize the importance of our partners entrusting us with their investments. Our partnership is commitment to long-term relationship principles of perfection, follow-up, and patience and we insist on continuous provision of our advice and services in an honest, transparent, and professional manner. As for institutional clients, First has the know-how and funds needed to help institutions in IPO’s. In 2018, we were one of the sub book runners for Jerash Holdings (JRSH), the first Jordanian company listed on Nasdaq, which paves the way for many other companies to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

MM Customer satisfaction is key. In fact, client centricity is a core value for our parent company, the Bank ABC Group. Offering services across all markets and asset classes is a prelude to satisfaction. An additional focal point is proper communication. We offer our clients multiple communication avenues, from our large customer service team that responds to queries and resolves issues, to our online trading and e-services platform, which gives our clients live and up-to-date access to their account details, trade transactions, and statements of account. On top of this, our communication with clients is proactive in that we constantly keep them abreast of all market developments, emerging trends, and changes in regulations, thereby constantly asserting that our interests reside in satisfying and meeting our clients’ needs.

What are some of the challenges for Jordan’s economy?

TA Today, the Jordanian economy faces a set of difficult challenges resulting from successive crises as well as international and regional conditions. Jordan’s security and stability are the highest in the region, which can be utilized to expand opportunities and improve investments. I see huge opportunities here with the attractive climate, high caliber of expertise, domestic political stability, and Jordan’s relations with other nations. We are also open to investing in the GCC if the opportunity arises. We see the situation changing and expect it to improve. We already have the infrastructure as well as the recognition of being a safe haven.

MM The level of uncertainty in Jordan is high and stems from the instabilities in surrounding countries, rendering it difficult to predict how things will move forward. For example, thousands of Jordanians work in the Gulf, and in 2016, their remittances reached around JOD2.6 billion, higher than foreign aid and FDI. Therefore, stability in the region is crucial to our economy. Fortunately, the opposite holds true, and recoveries generally happen suddenly. As such, we are well set to capitalize on these events, which would strengthen our economy and solidify our standing.



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