Square Funds: Bringing AI to fintech in the MENA region
BAHRAIN | May Rostom
AI and fintech are changing the world of wealth management. By using customer-centric algorithms and detailed datasets, finance apps are now efficiently delivering investment opportunities tailored to people’s needs, with just the click of a button.
According to CNBC, investing app Robinhood saw “record” deposits in the first quarter of 2020, with daily trades up 300% compared to late-2019. Elsewhere, eToro and Raging Bull Trading saw demand surge 220% and 158%, respectively, over the same period.
With strict stay-at-home orders, COVID has forced consumers to switch to digital banking services and investment opportunities that they would not have otherwise explored.
A recent BAI Banking Outlook survey found that more than 60% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers would switch their primary financial services organisation for better digital banking services.
Bahrain-based Square Funds uses AI to match investors with the most suitable investment opportunity available to them in the MENA region. The innovative startup competes in the blossoming fintech industry, where billions of dollars have been allocated to move investing, banking, money management, and other financial services to digital platforms.
“Being a financial broker myself, [I saw that] my clients always faced a common challenge and that was not being able to find an investment opportunity that suits their budget, religious views, location or time. That’s where the idea for Square Funds came from,” says CEO Anfal Ahmed.
Together with her team, Ahmed worked on developing a unique algorithm that would collect all the necessary data to match the investor with the right opportunity. She explains:
“On our website, you are asked to answer a few questions on your income level, marital status, willingness to take a risk, your primary goals and timeframe to achieve these goals. After answering these questions, your investor profile is created, and you are offered investment opportunities that match your requirements.”
The seamless platform is easy-to-use and transparent, allowing every customer, no matter how much or how little they have, to begin growing their wealth.
“Not a lot of people are comfortable with taking big or blind risks. Not a lot of people are aware of potential investment opportunities within the region, either. Square Funds was built to educate micro-investors on the different options available to them to grow their wealth and reach their financial goals.”
CATERING TO EVERY INVESTOR TASTE
The free online consultation platform offers investment opportunities from mutual funds and saving investment schemes to saving accounts and all Shariah-compliant products.
“Square Funds only launched six months ago, but since then, we’ve created more than 65 investment solutions to choose from, and we’ve garnered 800 active investor profiles. Operating under the Central Bank of Bahrain Regulatory Sandbox has helped us offer our clients investment solutions that are reliable, affordable, and 100% credible,” Ahmed says.
“We understand that hiring a personal financial advisor could be costly, so we also developed an AI-powered robo-advisor program to help answer our clients’ most pressing questions. In addition to our ever-evolving robotic wealth management services, we are also aware of the importance of human-to-human interaction, and that’s why we also offer free, personalised human financial advisory.”
While the Bahraini startup is still evolving and operating out of Bahrain FinTech Bay, plans for expansion are on the horizon. Ahmed concludes:
“We still have a long way to go; there are endless fintech solutions we are looking forward to developing and including on our platform. Right now, we are focused on growing our investor profiles and efficiently meeting client needs while carefully planning expansion across the GCC.”