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Why you wouldn’t want to work for a small broker in the Middle East


Working for a retail brokerage is a perilous place to be; smaller players are shutting shop at a quicker rate than ever as trade volumes slump and even larger firms are deciding to just focus on institutional business.

Assuming you’re determined to continue in this industry, are there any safer bets? Well, perhaps not. While the larger firms are better placed some – such as HSBC and Shuaa Securities – have decided it’s not worth pursuing with their retail business at all. HSBC transferred some staff to institutional clients, while Shuaa continues to cut headcount in this area.

There could yet be some distance left to fall for the sector, and one thing’s for sure – you don’t want to be stuck at a small firm.

Robert McKinnon, chief executive officer at ASAS Capital, told Gulf News: “The brokerage industry is following the same trend as it has done for the past 24 months. Even if volumes were maintained at current levels — 410 million shares were traded yesterday — there is still only room for around 10 brokers in the UAE; volumes would have to increase around five to eight times what they are now, if not more, for all the brokerages in the country to survive.”

There’s no guarantee of sanctuary from job cuts but, assuming just ten brokers will be left in the UAE in the not-to-distant-future, which firms are safer? According to the Dubai Financial Market, these are the top ranked brokerages in 2011:

1. EFG-Hermes Brokerage-UAE

2. Shuaa Securities

3. Al Ramz Securities

4. Al Futtaim HC Securities

5. Direct Broker for Financial Services LLC


7. Emirates NBD Securities

8. Abu Dhabi Financial Services

9. Mashreq Securities

10. Al Safwa Islamic Financial Services

Comments (1)

  1. On this list, only EFG actually does institutional research. Shuaa and HC closed down already. The rest are local local outfits…

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