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This week LeapRate discussed the FX brokerage business with Mr. Alexander Tsikhilov, the CEO for over 10 years of Estonian based and globally regulated Admiral Markets. To familiarize yourself with the brokerage the latest info shows that Admiral is operating in 35 countries worldwide through various licenses, has nearly 200 employees globally, around 12,000 active clients (active: at least one deal per month) and averages approximately $35 billion in total monthly trading volume.
Founded in 2001, the brokerage has been shifting more of its sales resources to the London branch as evidenced by the latest public financial report from the UK branch showing that revenue stood at £463,828 in 2014 vs. £42,404 in 2013. Check out the interview below for Mr. Tsikhilov’s thoughts on his brokerage and the industry moving forward.
1.Can you talk about your operations heading into 2016?
We have an excellent team, who share my passion for providing easy trading access to our customers globally. Innovation is key to meeting this objective, so we’re continuing to develop our product range and expand technologies in various arenas. This translates to numerous releases in the pipeline for this year forward.
2. Has the brokerage moved it’s operation focus to FCA-London and mostly Europe?
Yes. It’s no secret that we moved our retail business to the UK a year ago. We did this because global customers feel more secure with UK regulations and we understand the importance of satisfying customers wherever they may be. Historically our strength grew from Europe and we continue to be primarily European in nature. For example, our Estonian arm will remain an institutional part of the business.
However, we are also continuing to expand our global operations, to support local customer segments. For example, Admiral Markets Australia is broadening to provide stronger operations in the Asia Pacific region.
3. Is Estonia more the back-end / technology base?
Yes, it remains our technology base and our HQ. I like Estonia. It’s a great technological hub for development and a progressive state, so we see no reason to change this stance.
4. What is unique about the Admiral Markets IB portal?
Our IB portal is available via our Partners Room today, but we started to work with partners from our first operational day. IB has always been an integrally major part of our business and our technological solutions have significantly evolved chronologically.
Our partners consider our trading conditions, reputation and technical solutions appealing – so they are naturally motivated to suggest our business to other regulated companies.
5. Do you have any current plans for expansion?
Yes. Not just geographically but also within our targeted segments and product range such as traded instruments.
6. What’s the rationale of having three concurrent EU licenses in Estonian FSA, UK FCA and Cyprus CySEC?
Each license has it’s own advantages, which we use to manage a highly diverse product portfolio. The Cyprus license is best for our socal trading customers, while the Estonian license is mainly operational for our institutional customers and the UK license remains strong for our retail customers.
7. What are your views on the Chinese Forex trading market?
We know the Chinese market very well. We know the challenges of reaching out to clients in a market this size – we know what our customers want and how to consistently deliver. But perhaps most importantly, we know how to consistently deliver on our promises to customers no matter where they are and this action pays off over the long term.
8. Can management discuss why a typical trader who trades part time with say a 20k account should trade with Admiral?
Well first off, we are regulated and that offers our customers great money security. Then there’s our reputation – 15 years as a broker means that even in a volatile market like Forex, our customers know we can be counted on to remain in business. These two factors provide a trust factor that’s hard to beat.
We have great local presence too, which means that any trader – regardless of what amount they are trading – can pose questions face-to-face in their local language. For example, one of our customers recently said, “I like you guys because I can trade in my currency, with my words” – that says it all really.
What we offer is a combination of these factors, mixed with a robust technological offering (like execution on prices aggregated from a wide range of carefully selected liquidity providers and ECNs, MT4 Supreme etc), business transparency and an unbeatable education offering.
9. What do you think about the future of the industry?
Regulation will be much stricter moving forward and we expect greater market consolidation. There’s already a large number of mergers and acquisitions in the marketplace. It’s evident that only the bigger companies will survive and that those remaining will have a lucrative market. The industry’s entry barrier is already quite high and the bar continues to elevate. We have noted an increase in smaller companies trying to establish IBs, but there’s a clear trend toward regulators tightening demands in this area.
10. What is your suggestion to traders who are looking for reliable partners (brokerages)?
Firstly, choose a broker who is supervised by at least one reputable regulatory authority in your region because they usually offer safety-orientated benefits that you won’t get from less serious brokers. And, look for a stable broker because many collapse – aim for one with at least a decade in business. Then there’s local presence as mentioned earlier. You also want a MetaTrader-supporting broker because MT4 is the world’s most popular Forex trading platform for a reason. And you should aim for a broker that offers a good range of instruments because most traders want to change their strategy from time to time and less instruments mean less strategic choices.
But perhaps most importantly – don’t join a broker based on a bonus offer, because most of these enticements come with conditions that are not focused on benefiting the customer. Bonuses are a marketing ploy, not a signal of reliability. Instead, carefully consider whether or not the service and products offered by a brokerage, match your investment goals and risk tolerance level. In case of doubt – definitely seek professional advice from an independent financial advisor.
You can check out Admiral Markets by clicking here.