In an interview with Muscat Daily, Hassan Ali Jawad, managing director of United Securities spoke about the company’s customer-focused approach, which helped establishing it as the most trusted name among Oman’s investment and brokerage firms. Jawad also discussed the general business outlook for the sultanate.
United Securities won Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Award for a third consecutive year. What are the key factors that helped your company to maintain the image of the most trusted brand in the eyes of customers and clients?
When customers express their confidence in the company’s capabilities, it means the company has done its work well and has met customer expectations even during challenging times. This award shows how much our team cares about customers, and it also indicates the consistency in our performance and meeting consumer expectations on a sustainable basis.
Building a brand is one thing, but maintaining the brand expectations in the long-term is a challenging task as consumer expectations continue to grow over time. This is possible only if there is a consistency in the performance of the company. Besides this, developing niche and new products for the clients are also very crucial for achieving success in the long run. And when you are continuously winning the awards, it shows that your movement is in an upward curve. If you are awarded once it means you have built something, but if you are continuously winning it shows the upward movement in the business.
You talked about the challenges in meeting customer expectations. Can you elaborate on the steps taken by United Securities in this direction?
The first thing a company needs to ensure is that there should be a consistency within the company. What I mean to say here is that a company or an organisation needs to continuously invest in training, development and upgradation of skills of its employees. These things are important as the company has to keep developing new products to remain competitive in changing business environment. The continuity and consistency are important for the development of a company.
Besides marketing there is another important area which needs higher attention: One must remember that consumer is the king, and you have to ensure that the king is happy. Ensuring consumer happiness is the key to success, and this becomes even more important during such troubled times.
With oil prices likely to remain at subdued levels for the next few months and as the local market is not much active, how do you plan to remain afloat and grow business?
We never ignore two types of people: First our customers and second our employees. The employees are the people who run the business and they will be building the future for the company. So if a company ignores its existing staff that means it will eventually lose its clients also.
There are other key elements to succeed in the long run, and one important thing is to keep adding new products for the clients. For companies like us, when we say products we mean new markets for our clients. We had initially started with the Muscat Securities Market and then we added asset management and when the local market was not giving desired results, we added the whole GCC region to our portfolio. After that we added American and Egyptian markets.
We add all these markets to ensure that our clients will have different choices available from our basket of offerings. We did it so that if one market is down, our clients can divert their investments towards some other market. For an instance, today regional markets are not doing good but the US markets are rising. We ensure that our clients should have good opportunities available to them and that is why they have shown confidence in our services.
Despite all the efforts by various agencies and authorities, activities in the capital market have not yielded desired results so far. As a veteran in this market, what are the key missing links that you have noticed?
The markets and business across all the countries are cyclic in nature. So, there is not much anyone can do about it. For a country like Oman which depends on oil, the diversification of the economy is very important. The government has taken some steps in this direction but the diversification of economy still remains a big challenge for them. There is a need to look at the solution in a more holistic manner rather than solving immediate problems.
The other big problem that needs to be addressed is the speed in which most reforms are implemented. The country not only needs a holistic solutions package but it also needs to do it fast. So these holistic and fast solutions are the key to resolving all major problems in the country. Business opportunities are like a train, it is not going to wait for anyone and there is no second chance if you miss it.
What is your outlook on the business and economy for the near future?
In my opinion things are very challenging in the country. Despite all the talks related to geopolitics and business cycles, I believe the market will soon reach to a new equilibrium. I’m not saying that things will become normal but most people will get used to it, and will accept those levels. However, at the same time there are some positive signs, authorities are trying hard and the government is working in this direction. All these factors make the future outlook little more optimistic.
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