We last discussed Global Kapital Group (GKG)’s expansion plans with Tunc Akyurt back in May 2019. Back then he shared with LeapRate details on Global Kapital Group’s re-brand, the DK Trade launch and the company’s recent partnerships.
Tunc Akyurt is Group CEO at the Global Kapital Group in charge of the global brokerage business including GKFX Financial Services based in UK. He joins LeapRate today for a quick catch up with the company’s future plans.
LR: Last May, you were in the middle of a potential acquisition process regarding a new brokerage firm based in Middle East. What happened with this Middle East expansion?
Tunc: After careful evaluation and detailed Due Diligence process, we decided not to acquire the targeted brokerage firm based in Middle East. This decision has nothing to do with our ongoing business appetite and strategy for the Middle East region. As GKG, we currently serve our clients in Middle East out of our Dubai and Tel Aviv offices.
LR: How successful was 2019 for GKFX compared to 2018 – what has changed for the company, what would you like to leave behind?
Tunc: 2019 has been much more successful than 2018 for Global Kapital Group’s global brokerage business. We have increased our net client deposit by more than 70% compared to 2018. Our number of active clients holding an active trading position with us also increased by more than 50% globally. Our total annual transaction volume has exceeded 100 yards / month or 1.2 Trillion usd / year across the globe.
We went through a structured business and culture transformation program regarding our organizational structure, IT platforms, websites, client experience and marketing. We run our business in a more analytical and systematic way compared to the past. We opened up a new office and operation in Cambodia which is performing very well so far in the first 6 months. We invested a lot into our IT infrastructure and cyber security. We have been trying to improve UX&UI dimensions of our web and mobile platforms.
LR: Any new sponsorship deals from your side? I remember AC Milan from last year.
Tunc: We have big news on that front. We have partnered with British Premier League Legend Arsenal FC as their global forex partner since September 2019. We have a dedicated hospitality box at the Emirates stadium where we host our successful sales employees, retail or institutional clients or IBs around the world. We are looking forward to a long-term and strong partnership with Arsenal.
LR: According to you, what has changed for the retail trading industry in 2019, and what to expect in 2020?
Tunc: In 2019, we continued to observe a low volatility trend across asset classes, mainly on the g10 space. Led by the hopes around US/China relationship, and the decent economic data, global optimism continued to support economies and stock markets around the world. We also continued to see a further implementation of AI and machine learning in the financial system, which continues to suppress the spreads and disrupts the traditional market behavior.
In 2020, we started the year with a chain of negative events led by Corona Virus pandemic unfortunately, and the global sentiment has totally shifted to the downside. On the volatility front, markets are at a place we haven’t seen in over a decade, ie. VIX index (volatility index for US stocks) at levels higher than we’ve seen in 2008, 4-5x times of last year’s.
2020 started fast, and we could continue to see an untraditional, high volatility environment this year. It will be interesting to see how governments and regulatory bodies react to recapitalize the economies as the world gets tested on this coronavirus pandemic.
LR: I can’t help but ask about the new corona virus global madness – what impact do you think this will have on the industry in the next few years?
Tunc: Coronavirus is a big challenge for all businesses and all countries around the world. It has already disrupted the supply chain system around the world, as well as the efficient usage of human resources for global firms as companies take action to avoid the spread of virus (working 100% from home offices etc).
I believe that humanity will overcome this tough problem too, but it will be a long-lasting struggle and process. We need to stay calm, without causing any panic and remember that we are already in Spring and the virus strength and effect will hopefully phase out in the upcoming months.
In terms of our industry, it will be challenging for global firms to sustain a smooth operation and deliver high quality customer service as countries take variety of actions. We also acknowledge that the rising volatility of the markets could also offer opportunities to favor trading ecosystem.
As a global leader in the retail brokerage industry, GKG is well prepared for the headwinds in front of us, and we will be ready to collaborate with all of our partners to fight against the corona virus. Our employees’ and client’s health will be number 1 priority going forward.
LR: How will regulation affect retail industry this year?
Tunc: Regulation is a subject we all have to pay attention to in our industry, and at GKG, we pay extra attention as part of our global initiative. Regulatory rules do not make our lives easier, but given that they are designed to protect both our clients and financial players, we have to respect and utilize them. We see a growing interest from financial players towards the retail industry, ie. this year Morgan Stanley announced its acquisition of E-Trade. As retail industry grows and takes on a bigger share in the markets, we can expect further regulations to be introduced and implemented.
LR: What about Brexit? Will it have an impact on the retail trading industry?
Tunc: Brexit has been a cloud of uncertainty since 2016. With more clarity around it, and the fact that UK has actually “Brexit’ed” as of now, we could expect much more clarity and hopefully see positive effects on business as well as our trading industry in the coming years. At least as of now we can say it is much more predictable and certain for the political and financial stability.
LR: What were the key traders’ demands in 2019?
Tunc: Traders’ demand in 2019 has always been about more competitive trading conditions: tighter spreads, better swaps, less downside offers (revenue shares etc). In addition to these, traders also demand timely and hassle-free ability of funding and withdrawals in-and-out of their accounts. They also demand better UX & UI for their client experience on web and mobile platforms. Traders’ also demand better quality and updated value adding services with strong contents and analysis for major financial products and trends.
LR: Upcoming plans for 2020.
Tunc: In 2020, we are celebrating our 10th year anniversary! Global Kapital Group’s brokerage journey has actually started with humble steps 10 years ago in 2010 with a single office. Now we serve in 18 countries with more than 1500 loyal employees. Over the decade, GKG has steadily developed top brokerage brands, well-trusted and approved by its loyal customers worldwide. We are a leading and ambitious fin-tech group, gaining speed as we move forward. Next decade, we will keep leading the Financial Services industry with client experience excellence and competitive trading products and services.
We are exploring couple of markets in Europe and one market in Africa as part of our global expansion strategy. We will be redesigning and restructuring our web and mobil sites with better UX & UI. We’ll further improve our IT infrastructure and cyber security. We’ll keep providing more variety of products and services. We’ll feed our clients with better and high quality content through our social media channels and new mobile applications.