Saana Azzam, who was appointed financial executive at Saxo Bank Middle East last November, discusses the importance of empowering women.
Saxo Bank executive introduces women to online trading
Saana Azzam was appointed financial executive at Saxo Bank Middle East last November. Her job includes sales of Saxo’s online trading platform to clients in the region. To cater to the increased number of women interested in trading she will be running women-only trading sessions weekly from May 13 until August 12 to explain how to better use the platform. Here, Ms Azzam, who from the Palestinian Territories but was born and brought up in Sweden, reveals the importance of empowering women.
What sparked the idea of women-only trading sessions?
We’ve seen there is a demand for it. In 2013 and 2014, we’ve seen an increase in women attending Saxo Bank events. We host market outlook workshops and open house sessions and we saw there was an increase in females that were attending – particularly new mothers and housewives who were looking at trading as a way of making extra income. The majority of traders we have are men, so this is something we want to focus on to make sure we are welcoming women to our platform and enabling then and empowering them to start trading with us.
Is it smart for non-professionals to trade like this?
There is always risk in trading financial markets and that’s why Saxo offers a demo account so that our clients can practice before going live and trading on an actual account. We have a website called tradingfloor.com, where actual Saxo Bank clients have plugged in to disclose their trades and their returns. Our No 1 person on a one-month time horizon is a man; he is up 82 per cent. Our No 1 female is up 44 per cent. So if they each invested US$10,000, they would have make $8,000 and $4,000 respectively in a month by making wise investment decisions. With regards to trading, you have to be in it to win it, it’s as simple as that. You actually have to trade if you want to make money and make your money work for you; it’s not going to be profitable if you are not investing anything at all.
Do women and men trade differently? For example, are men more likely than women to take risks, or vice versa?
I haven’t observed these tendencies in one or the other. It’s a matter of financial literacy, I would say. What we are seeing at least is in every aspect of life – from university to the working world – we see an increase of female participation and in the case of the Middle East or the UAE it’s more a matter of us needing to educate them and presenting the opportunities to learn about trading. It’s a matter of ensuring the financial literacy is there and the knowledge of how to trade is there.
And is there any focus on any particular asset class – stocks, bonds, currencies?
The interest is definitely across the board – that’s definitely something we are noticing. But some products are more popular and some are extremely sophisticated and require more years of experience for you to enter. With regard to theses events, we are going to look at stocks on May 13. And then we are going to move on and look at contracts for difference – CFDs – on June 10 and FX on July 8. The peak of this is going to be on August 12, when we’ll have an event called Women’s Trading Day when we’ll recap the products and we’ll have drinks and a networking session.
Why do a separate course for women? Why not just bring everyone together?
This is definitely in line with the culture of the region and there seemed to be a demand for it. We do host open houses every Tuesday and at least once a month another event, so we are listening to what our clients are saying. We offer these events for free unlike other companies because we believe that when you are opening a Saxo Bank account it doesn’t mean you are just getting a platform, you are getting so much more. That’s why we are hosting all these workshops and seminars. And it’s supposed to be a forum where other traders can interact with each other and add value. And these sessions are open to anyone who’s looking to start trading, not just existing Saxo Bank clients.
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