Digital brokerage, GCEX  (GCEX Group) is expanding into the MENA region with the opening of a Dubai office and the appointment of former Regional Director of CFH Turkey (now Finalto), Mehtap Önder as Managing Director, GCEX MENA.

GCEX’s launch in Dubai follows on from the firm being granted provisional regulatory approval by the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority in Dubai (VARA) in April 2022 to operate as a crypto exchange. The firm is now in the process of applying for a license, in accordance with VARA requirements.

This follows hot on the heels of GCEX’s announcement in June 2022 of its regulatory approval by the FSA in Denmark as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) and a Currency Exchange. The firm is also regulated by the UK’s FCA.

GCEX enables brokers, funds and professional traders to access deep liquidity in digital assets and also offers a range of technology solutions. Its modular ‘Crypto In A Box‘ plug and play trading solution comprises of a technology-agnostic platform which covers regulation, custody, safety of funds, liquidity and technology (both backend and frontend).

Dubai has made great strides towards establishing itself as a hub for the Virtual Asset (VA) industry. As the first and only jurisdiction globally to set-up a specialist regulator dedicated to the Virtual Asset economy, Dubai’s VARA has been actively developing progressive parameters to enable a highly selective list of global participants establish themselves in their regime for the initial phase.

Lars Holst, Founder & CEO, GCEX commented, “Extending our crypto offering to the MENA region is a major milestone for the business. Receiving provisional regulatory approval from VARA in Dubai adds significant credibility to our offering and puts us in a strong position to become a dominant crypto exchange for institutional and professional clients in the region.”

“I am thrilled that Mehtap is joining GCEX to spearhead our growth across MENA. Having worked with her for almost eight years at CFH (now Finalto), I know she will be a huge asset to the firm. She has strong business acumen, excellent industry knowledge and a proven track record in building strong client and team relationships. Mehtap has lived in Dubai for the last four years, has a great network of institutional clients and a deep understanding of the regulatory and client requirements in the region.”

Mehtap Önder Appointed as Managing Director, GCEX MENA

Mehtap Önder has over 15 years’ experience in the financial services sector. She spent eight years at CFH (now Finalto), a global Prime of Prime which was co-founded by Lars Holst, taking it from a start-up to 120M USD exit. At CFH, Mehtap was Regional Director, Turkey for five years and, prior to that, was the firm’s Head of Legal Onboarding. She joins GCEX from Waystone Compliance Solutions, a Dubai-based consultancy firm specialising in Compliance, Risk and Governance.

In her new role, Mehtap Önder will be responsible for all operational aspects of the business in the MENA region. She said, “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to join a thriving business.  What GCEX has achieved to date in a relatively short space of time is exceptional. The business will be regulated in three jurisdictions, has secured investment from TGV4 Plus, has a rapidly growing global client base and offices in London, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.”

“From working closely with Lars at CFH (now Finalto), I have witnessed first-hand his ability to grow a global business. I am excited to be joining his team and working closely with him to scale GCEX across the MENA region. Dubai is at the forefront of the crypto market so this is an ideal location for GCEX to be based in. Our presence in the VARA ecosystem will be key to attracting institutional and professional clients, highlighting our focus on investor protection.”

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About GCEX

Founded in 2018, GCEX is a pioneering regulated digital brokerage with a best-of-breed digital asset and FX platform and partnerships with Tier 1, trusted Liquidity Providers, lending counterparties and digital custody asset institutions. The firm’s ground-breaking innovation comes from integrating all the components, resulting in far more than the sum of its parts. GCEX offers a wide range of products and technology solutions including White Labels. Please note, the Dubai entity will not offer any FX or CFDs to its clients.

About VARA

Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is the world's first specialised regulator for the Virtual Assets sector. Established in March 2022, following the effect of Law No.4 of 2022, VARA is responsible by decree for licensing and regulating the Virtual Asset sector in the Emirate of Dubai and its free zone territories [excluding DIFC], and oversees all licensing requirements and applications for authorisation of Virtual Asset activities under UAE law. VARA plays a central role in creating Dubai's advanced legal framework to protect investors and establish international standards for Virtual Asset industry governance, while supporting the vision for a borderless economy.


The content of this /material is for professional and institutional clients only. It is not directed to Retail Clients or residents of any jurisdiction where FX, CFDs and/or digital assets trading is restricted or prohibited by local laws or regulations.

FX and CFDs are leveraged products that can result in losses exceeding your deposit. Trading of these products and digital assets carry a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for everyone. Before deciding to trade you should carefully consider your objectives, financial situation, level of experience and risk appetite.

GCEX is a trading name of GC Exchange Limited a company incorporated in England and Wales (No 11382809) with registered address at 75 King William Street, London. EC4N 7BE. GC Exchange Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 828730). Digital asset services are provided by GC Exchange A/S, a company incorporated in Denmark (CVR 43088777) with address at Amager Strandvej 390, 2770, Kastrup which is authorized by the Danish Financial Services Authority as a Currency Exchange (FTID 45020) and Virtual Asset Service Provider (FTID 17524). GC Exchange FZE is incorporated as a Limited Liability Free Zone Establishment under the Dubai World Trader Center Authority with registration number 1896.

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