Egypt’s fastest growing bank and the leading investment bank in frontier emerging markets, EFG Hermes has put digital innovation at the heart of its growth strategy. EFG Hermes’s Ahmed Waly, Head of Brokerage, Mohamed Fathy, Chief Information Officer and Mohamed Keshk, Corporate Product Manager, discuss the digital future of brokerage and relaunching the bank’s mobile trading app to serve increasing retail demand.
Global Finance: How is EFG Hermes addressing rising demand for mobile trading services?
Ahmed Waly: The world has changed rapidly over the past five years and technology is now dominant in our lives. This is also true for brokerage and trading services. Several years ago, we anticipated the demand shift toward online and mobile brokerage services and quite early on worked to develop and expand our online and digital suite of products.
GF: What is the market opportunity for digital brokerage services in the frontier emerging markets you serve?
AW: There is a strong appetite for digital brokerage services in our markets, presenting significant opportunities for growth. A high percentage of our daily trading volumes in frontier emerging markets are from online and digitalized services. The younger populations are tech savvy and require financial services that are automated and digitalized, including brokerage.
GF: Why did you relaunch your flagship online trading platform, EFG Hermes One?
Mohamed Fathy: We place our customers at the heart of everything we do. We always empower them to grow their financial well-being, give them greater control over their investments and make our online trading platform available to everyone.
Two years ago, we ran different focus groups and listened carefully to our customer's feedback; based on their inputs and given the new technology evolution from big data, cloud computing, and Data Science to AI, we decided to relaunch a brand new EFGHermes One. The new EFG-Hermes One offers our client's leaner and faster trading experience by having a seamless onboarding process and Identity verification using image recognition. It improves the trading process efficiency by using robotic process automation and a digital payment facility at a single click. The platform helps our customers learn the market dynamics and allows them to evaluate the impact of various scenarios on the stocks using the virtual trade simulator.
GF: How is EFG Hermes One distinctive compared to other mobile trading platforms in the market?
Mohamed Keshk: As a leading MENA brokerage firm, we provide clients access to nine Middle East markets and over 35 international markets with different asset classes through a single username. Performance is our priority, ensuring the simplified user interface effectively accesses the multitude of services and markets offered in EFG Hermes One. We also launched EFG Hermes One in Kenya and are receiving great feedback on ease of trading and performance. This year, we are introducing more features and critical updates that support our vision for a total platform across all our markets.
GF: What technological innovation was required to develop the new EFG Hermes One mobile platform?
MK: We used the latest DevOps processes and technologies to reduce time to market and automation testing to optimize the testing process to improve ongoing support for the platform. To provide superior performance, we optimize workloads using Openshift so users are never disconnected or dissatisfied with a delayed response on the app. To deliver our platform across our hubs and support our global scale, we use microservices architecture, which provides the advantages of unparalleled scalability and capacity to grow.
GF: How does EFG Hermes One relate to your broader future strategy?
AW: As the world continues evolving into a tech-based environment, EFG Hermes One fulfills all our clients’ brokerage needs in a single app. It is also scalable and its infrastructure can accommodate the addition of new services. Digital onboarding of clients is the way forward in frontier emerging markets. Our platform is well equipped to serve the growing needs of our markets and benefit from any technological advances that arise in the future.