Ararat Ghukasyan: Unibank provides an opportunity to invest in the world’s largest stock exchanges

16.05.2024 | 22:24 Home / News / Interviews /
#Unibank #Ararat Ghukasyan
At the end of 2023, Unibank launched new product - brokerage services. Through the Unibank Invest platform, the bank enables its clients to invest in global capital markets.

Ararat Ghukasyan, First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board at Unibank, spoke with about the new service.
- Mr. Ghukasyan, at the end of last year, Unibank launched a new line of brokerage services. What prompted this decision?

 - With the launch of Unibank Invest brokerage services, we enabled our clients to invest in the world’s most advanced and largest stock exchanges.

Like other sectors of Armenian economy, the banking system has passed the initial stage when customer expectations were more modest, and returns from traditional deposit instruments or alternative real estate investments were considered to be high enough. Today, the return on deposits or bond market is not enough attractive to meet banking customers needs. Clients are seeking new investment opportunities and higher returns. Listening to clients demand, Unibank, started developing new brokerage services last year and now our clients can invest in the world’s leading stock exchanges.
- Who can use the bank’s brokerage services and what are the steps customers need to take to access them?

- Our brokerage service is available to anyone looking to build an investment portfolio and who has the financial capability and relevant knowledge. When we talk about financial capability, I do not mean individuals with considerable wealth. Through our system you can make investments and build a portfolio starting from $1,000.

Ararat Ghukasyan

I also want to emphasize the importance of knowledge, as it is the cornerstone of investment activity. Great fortunes cannot be accumulated through guessing or luck. It is necessary to clearly understand what securities are, how their pricing factors are formed, the nature of economic fluctuations and which companies have the highest potential for growth. The brokerage service is new to Armenia, and to support our clients, we have launched a Telegram analytical channel, where we almost on a daily basis post analytical articles about global economic trends and provide expert analysis on selected companies. I want to emphasize that these articles and analyses are published to provide relevant knowledge and information to our clients. They do not serve as advisory recommendations. Ultimately, the decision to make an investment rests with the client.

Regarding the sequence of steps to use the service, it’s worth mentioning that to start investing, all you need to do is apply to Unibank and open a brokerage account without any fees.
- What technological solutions do you offer your customers?

- The brokerage service is provided through the Unibank Invest digital platform, accessible via both personal computers and a mobile application. It has no precedent in Armenia’s banking system.

A personal account is created for each client on the platform, granting them access to the system and becoming a full participant in international stock trading. The platform is user-friendly, offering not only the opportunity to participate in stock exchange trading, but also information about securities listed on leading exchanges.

Ararat Ghukasyan

Our country enjoys a favorable position due to the operating hours of the stock exchanges. Our working day ends when the main American stock exchanges open, that is, in the evening, when clients have free time to follow the news and make decisions regarding buying or selling securities. And as soon as the working day begins, it is convenient to follow the Asian markets.
- What financial instruments can clients invest in? At the same time, what commissions has the bank set?
- Through the Unibank Invest system, investments can be made in more than 17 stock exchanges worldwide, including the NYSE, NASDAQ, LSE, HKEX and Xetra. Stocks, bonds, as well as ETFs - the largest funds - are available to the client. While some securities or funds may have minimum investment thresholds, as mentioned earlier, even those with modest financial means can find suitable investment instrument.

Unibank Invest offers two packages. The first, FreeTrade, is for beginners and does not entail annual maintenance fee. With the FreeTrade package, clients gain access to the NASDAQ, NYSE, LSE, XETRA and Euronext stock exchanges, along with the ability to conduct transactions in foreign currencies (USD, EUR, GBP). Clients can buy any stock listed on these exchanges.

The second is the ProTrade package, which incurs an annual maintenance fee of AMD 50,000. This package is designed for professional investors and offers leverage for executing transactions.

Transaction fees are available on the website, and our employees are always ready to offer the necessary support.

- At the core of every investment activity is risk management. In this context, what do you offer your clients, including in terms of enhancing investment literacy?

- When using investment services, the clients must first understand the instrument they are going to invest in. Also, one should remember the golden rule of investments: diversification, distributing capital in securities of different types and currencies. We consistently feature analyses and investment ideas on our social media pages that may be of interest to our potential clients.
- Recently, Armenia has witnessed increased activity in the brokerage services sector, due to the entry of specialized players into the market. What are Unibank’s competitive advantages in this regard?
- As a competitive advantage, I would highlight our system itself, including the mobile application through which clients perform stock trading. The other advantage is our service. Clients receive comprehensive information, without the need to independently search for news, informative materials, then contact the bank, make quotations, during which days will pass and the market will change. On our platform, clients can immediately get all the information they need.

Our clients do not incur any fees related to money transfers when making an investment, which further enhances our competitive advantage.
- Mr. Ghukasyan, can you give a preliminary assessment of the demand for the brokerage service launched by the bank as of today?

- The number of Unibank Invest clients and the volume of assets under management are increasing daily, already reaching several million dollars in a short period. However, I believe this is still a modest figure and we will see a significant surge in the coming months.

In terms of financial culture, this service represents an innovation for our citizens. Currently, our primary focus is on acquainting the general public with the features and advantages of investment services.

Arpi Jilavyan
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan
Views 3830

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