Fifty stockbrokers have become the first in the country to pass an internationally recognised professional qualification, the securities regulator said yesterday.
The brokers, including analysts and trading managers, completed all three levels of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment exam, introduced by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).
The programme "takes into serious consideration the UAE financial market legislations and the characteristics of the local investment environment, with the aim of providing the financial industry with world-class professionals", said Abdullah Al Turifi, the chief executive of the SCA.
"It is a significant step on the way of improving performance and meeting any subsequent developments on the world markets." The regulator uncovered 209 violations by brokerages through inspection visits and monitoring in 2010. It also recorded 11 cases of trading malpractices, seven cases of front-running operations, three cases of insider trading and one case of cycle trading. All are forms of price manipulation.
The regulator's report for last year's activity is due out today.
"The accreditation brings more credibility and confidence in local stock markets and signals maturity and a continued interest from the regulator for the development of the capital markets," said Haissam Arabi, the chief executive at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. "The accreditation comes in good timing; more volumes bring more room for error."
Local markets fell sharply last year as Europe's worsening debt crisis dampened investor sentiment. But markets this year have reversed their track as Dubai's index rallied 30 per cent since January, causing traded value to jump 30 per cent. Combined traded value on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market jumped to a daily average of Dh400 million (US$108.9m) this year, compared with Dh316m last year. "Individual securities that have brokers who are certified will stand out among the rest and [be] better able to capture business, after the regulator completes its ratings on companies through a three-tier classification system," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, an independent analyst in Abu Dhabi.
The SCA is categorising companies through function, including regular brokers and sophisticated brokerages that offer research, margin trading and asset management.
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