For those who frequently follow LeapRate you’ll certainly have noticed a trend of forex brokers from around the world establishing beachheads in the UK and getting licensing from the FCA. The reasons vary from trying to take a piece of the very lucrative UK online trading market – still the world’s #1 retail trading market as far as Client Lifetime Value goes – as well as attracting clients from around the world to the safe shores of the UK, the FCA and the FSCS.
We are pleased to speak today with Shoaib Abedi, Director and co-founder of ICM Capital, a UK headquartered company licensed and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in London, with six offices spread around the world. Shoaib shares with us his thoughts on the very competitive UK online trading market, sports sponsorships such as ICM’s recent backing of the England Polo Team, and of course ICM’s strategy going forward.
LR: Hi Shoaib, and thanks for joining us today. Please let our readers know a little about ICM Capital, and your operation in London.
Shoaib: We’re based in the financial district of London, in Canary Wharf, which is crucial not only for our successful UK operations but for our global success. We have combined our advanced UK experience with our international support via our local operational teams spread across the globe. This way we ensure we offer comprehensive, professional and effective client support and services for traders based in and outside of the United Kingdom.
LR: Where do you see the most opportunity for ICM Capital as a UK regulated firm – retail brokerage, institutional, or both?
Shoaib: We used to be mainly retail focused but we now have a rapidly growing client base on the institutional side as well. So these days our support team on both sides is expanding. We have a very big internal technology development team which ensures all our offerings are in line with the quickly changing market dynamics.
As for the regulation side of things, this is always mentioned by clients of all sizes. Being a UK headquartered and regulated firm we often get asked how clients can be sure to have the security of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are their funds really protected. We then explain about the strict financial standards we have to adhere to and our transparent business practices.
LR: It seems as though Forex brokerages are pursuing more offline branding opportunities recently, most notably sports sponsorships. Can you share with our readers how you came to the decision to sponsor the England Polo Team. Were there other opportunities you looked at? (Or still might do?) How do you go about measuring ROI for this type of activity?
Shoaib: In recent years sponsorships have become an essential component of our marketing strategy. We go to extreme lengths to find innovative ways to enhance our reputation management and to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. This includes choosing to be part of the most highly recognized British events and sporting activities. We recently signed a sponsorship agreement with the ICM Capital England Polo Team at Chestertons Polo in the Park 2016, as polo perfectly represents British heritage and as a UK firm that aligns with our identity. Very excitingly, the partnership has resulted in our logo being on the front of the players’ shirts.
LR: The FCA regulated brokerage ranks seem to be getting more crowded, and there are already some very formidable competitors out there including some multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies with very deep pockets. How do you see ICM Capital successfully competing?
Shoaib: We ensure to consistently partner with brands in our respective target markets which present themselves at the highest level in their field and share ICM Capital’s overall objectives. The reason for choosing this sport and specifically the ICM Capital England Polo Team was due to it being considered a game for the elite and a prestigious sporting discipline. In an industry that is built around safety and reputation this counts for a lot.