Exclusive: As City Index Israel waves goodbye to Meir Velenski, which international FX firm will tap the start-up nation next?

Meir Velenski can best be described as an extremely adept business strategist. Not only can he claim the accolade of being the very first executive in the FX industry to have successfully established a branch office of one of London’s prominent multi-asset CFD companies in Israel, but also the ability to harness Israel’s disproportionately high presence within the FX business and generate a new level of interest among veteran FX, futures and stock traders who would traditionally stick hard and fast to the banking sector.

This week, LeapRate has learned from industry sources that Mr. Velenski has left his position of Managing Director at City Index Israel, a move which is likely to prompt other firms to seek Mr. Velenski’s specialist knowledge in this area in order to access Israel’s astute base of experienced traders in a nation whose economy and innovative mindset has led it to be world renowned as a fantastic place to do business.

During a previous interview with Mr. Velenski during his tenure at City Index in March this year, he detailed his ethos to LeapRate. “Entering the market in Israel is relatively easy, as it is a very business-orientated environment” explained Mr. Velenski at the time.

“However the difficulty remains that in the past there had been two types of trader here. One which considered FX to be gambling, and had been a customer of a local, unregulated company which does not transfer trades to the live market and therefore it becomes a battle of wits between the trader and the dealing room, and the other type of trader which is a very astute, knowledgeable and financially secure person who trades company stock, equities and futures with the banking sector in Israel.”

“For this reason” continued Mr. Velenski, “it is very important to offer customers the correct product range, in order to attract those high-net worth, highly educated traders away from the banks and into electronic trading firms. With City Index, we had a fantastic product range to offer, and I was able to establish a model in Israel which appealed to traders with several decades of trading experience who fully understood the market and wanted to operate with an FCA regulated, London-based company which offered them a good platform and lower costs than the notoriously expensive but secure banks.”

Mr. Velenski’s success with the pioneering effort of bringing a London-based firm to Israel’s high net worth client base was two pronged. He fully understood that digital marketing to an Israeli audience is relatively ineffective, and that approaching the right audience with the right product was critical.

Israel’s traders are well known for being extremely critical and very inquisitive, therefore they do not respond to generic marketing material as well as in other jurisdictions. Mr. Velenski adopted the approach of marketing by attending conferences, attracting an audience by inviting Israel’s top traders to City Index’s office for seminars and providing personal attention. “This is a far more productive use of marketing budget in this particular market sector” Mr. Velenski explained to LeapRate during a seminar at City Index’s Israel office in March this year.

“By doing this, we are seeing a 70% client acquisition rate, and because of the type of trader we are appealing to, these are long term propositions, therefore the life time value of the client is far more than it would be if appealing to the other type of trader which exists here. This increases company revenue, and reduces costs, as well as ensures that we work with a good quality client base which understands the market and continues to work with us.”

Prior to establishing City Index in Israel, Mr. Velenski spent over 25 years in London’s financial sector, having successfully entered the Israel market twice in recent times.

With his departure from City Index, it will be of great interest as to which firm will seek to establish itself in Israel in the year ahead.

An opportunity for international FX firms to investigate this further will be in September this year, when  the Forex Innovators conference will take place at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, bringing Israel’s vast array of platform providers, brokers, social trading firms, payment technology providers, brokerage technology vendors and affiliate marketing solutions providers to a worldwide audience.

Click here to register for Forex Innovators conference & expo, Sept 14-15 in Tel Aviv.



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