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LeapRate Exclusive Interview… It hasn’t been easy running a Retail Forex brokerage lately. Regulatory changes, technology which is constantly changing, ever increasing competition…
Continuing our series of discussions with various industry leaders, we are pleased to present our recent conversation with Olga Rybalkina, CEO of CySEC regulated FXTM. Olga has quite a lot to say about how FXTM has been dealing with the leverage and bonus changes which recently hit the sector, FXTM’s use of sports sponsorships, technology innovation, and a whole lot more.
LR: Hi Olga, and thanks for joining us today. Let’s begin with 2017; how has the year been for FXTM so far?
Olga: After the success we’ve had in 2016 with our first sports sponsorship, the introduction of new products, and being one of the first brokers to introduce the MT5 platform with hedging, the bar was set high for 2017. So far, we have been exceeding our own expectations. At the beginning of the year FXTM reached a major milestone in client registration, as we now have over 500,000 registered accounts under the brand. Complimenting this are the year-on-year numbers; in March we showed an increase of over 90% in our number of active clients. This is a great way to start off the year and close out the first quarter.
In 2017 we became the official forex partners of Sahara Force India, a top Formula One™ team, and have recently hosted a successful event in Shanghai, where we showcased our shared values and highlighted the strength of our sponsorship to top tier sports and finance media outlets in the region. In line with our focus on education, we are also continuing to develop our educational program to include more resources such as articles, videos, e-books, webinars and live seminars for both novice and advanced traders around the world.
Besides the F1™ sponsorship, ForexTime Limited also introduced a unique feature in the industry – offer physical bullion gold to its Clients. It allows clients to buy, sell and store physical gold, or turn it into trading collateral. Considering the current state of the markets in 2017, investing in such an instrument like Gold in this way is an example of FXTM thinking outside the box while always having the client’s safety and trading experience in mind.
LR: Recently, the industry saw a number of regulatory moves in Europe around bonus payments, leverage, and negative balance protection. How do you view these changes, and what issues and opportunities do they present to FXTM in 2017 and beyond?
Olga: We have never really been a bonus broker. While we have done some small, limited-time regional promotions, we never really operated too heavily in this space, so the recent regulatory changes have not affected us at all. We have been providing negative balance protection even before it became a regulatory requirement and we’re often ahead of regulators when it comes to client protection. We have embraced the recent regulatory changes and, in fact, we see more opportunities than obstacles in these changes because they are ultimately designed for the safety of the client which is something FXTM takes very seriously.
Giving clients the right tools and foundations in order to trade, while always making sure they are aware of the risks involved, has always been one of FXTM’s core imperatives. As part of our commitment to transparency, we publicly display our performance statistics, which are independently checked by PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PwC).
LR: How is FXTM adapting and responding to the digital transformation that is becoming more and more prominent in the industry?
Olga: FXTM has an acute awareness of what makes technology a major driving force and how it is going to keep us at the forefront of our industry. Our teams are constantly researching trends and refining our systems in order to quickly adopt any new technology. Our updated ForexTime mobile app is the perfect example of this – we have upgraded it so that traders have full access to MyFXTM, their client portal, giving them full access to their trading world. We are also positioning ourselves as trend-setters by being early adopters of new technology and, in some cases, developing it. We just introduced FXTM Trading Signals from our Head of Education, Andreas Thalassinos, which could help traders maximize their earning potential and can be accessed through our app as well.
Also, we are using the precursors of Artificial Intelligence in the form of our Expert Trader offering, which is essentially a smart algorithm that processes large amounts of data as a way of assisting trading decisions.
LR: FXTM has been quite innovative in its use of sport sponsorships to help build your brand. What makes sports sponsorships such an attractive avenue for branding?
Olga: Our partnership with Valery Rozov in 2016 was very successful, and we were excited to take the next step in 2017 with the sponsorship of a dedicated and highly respected Formula One™ team that shares our values for dedication, training, and resilience in competitive industries. The sports sponsorship industry is worth an estimated $21.4 billion annually, so it cannot be denied that sports sponsorships have a lot of merit and in a crowded advertising environment, it is vital for companies to differentiate themselves. We have chosen to do this through Formula One™ in 2017, which has a following of 400 million people around the world. This environment, which shares a lot of characteristics with forex, creates an ideal opportunity for us to familiarize a very large audience with our brand, our values and the unique characteristics that make FXTM a leader in the industry.
LR: What else can we expect to see from FXTM in 2017?
Olga: In 2017, we will look to build on the successes of 2016 as we continue to grow our global footprint. With our continued focus on trader education, we are excited to give our growing number of clients better and more comprehensive means of expanding their knowledge. We will continue to put a lot of resources into technology as we are always looking to take our clients’ trading to the next level and stay one step ahead of the pack in the modern age. Our successful copy-trading program FXTM Invest keeps growing, we now have over 300 Strategy Managers, and we are looking to give this feature a big upgrade in the months ahead. So these are exciting times for us, with lots of new services in the pipeline before the year ends.