A recent study by Google Inc. found that the smartphone penetration in the United Arab Emirates is 62 per cent. One of the highest smartphone penetration rates on earth. The country is far from peaking with penetration rates expected to reach 71 per cent with 3,752,100 owners by 2016.
One of the factors that is driving the increased use of stock trading with smartphones is convenience. Investors can check stock movements, buy and sell stock and check their portfolios performances simply by accessing the apps on their phones. A second factor behind the increasing use of smartphones by UAE traders is the enhanced security features that come with the newer trading apps. Most of these apps have password protection, which secures stock account information. A third reason that smartphone use by UAE traders is increasing is the rapid growth of the country's three major stock markets, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and the NASDAQ Dubai. The presence of these major stock markets has provided an alternative investment choice for investors looking to diversify their investments.
The DFM and the ADX are traditional stock markets that trade stocks in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries; the NASDAQ Dubai was designed to trade international stocks. The growth of these three markets has been encouraging to UAE investors: all three of these exchanges are experiencing explosive growth with ever higher rates of trading volumes. For instance, the largest of the three stock markets, the DFM, has seen its General Index advance (YTD) by 43 per cent just in 2013, while the Abu Dhabi Security Exchange (ADX) General Index is up 32 per cent (YTD). Shares of the 128 stocks on the UAE stock markets (DFM and ADX) have been bolstered by recent news that the MSCI will be upgrading the status of UAE stock markets from frontier market status to emerging market status. For UAE investors, this is a big deal because it is likely to attract foreign investors to invest in the country's stocks.
Malek Kanawati, CEO of Mubasher, said, "The UAE is seeing a convergence of all the major factors that create an encouraging environment for mobile trading. These range from user-friendly interfaces, optimal flexibility, enhanced security and real-time access to the markets 24/7. Besides this, there is also the anticipated influx of foreign investors following the MSCI's upgrading of UAE stock markets from 'emerging' to 'frontier market' status. There has never been a better time to embrace mobile trading."
Mubasher has already launched customized apps for iPhone, iPad and Android via the mobile web app, covering the full spectrum from ordinary handheld phones to the latest smartphone devices.
Kanawati added, "It comes as no surprise that the UAE has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates, with estimates of 2.4 mobile phones per person. The residents are certainly early adapters when it comes to new technologies. With our clients, we have seen a major shift towards mobile trading; more and more clients are opting to trade via their smartphones than ever before."
In addition there are a number of multiproduct UAE based brokerage firms. These firms allow their customers to buy and sell stocks, bonds, futures, currencies, forex, gold, oil, silver and more from their smartphones.