Rajesh, AxiCorp operates on the simple idea of being the broker that you yourselves would want to trade with. Why has that guiding principle proved to be so successful for you?
I think it’s worked because it’s simple and encourages perspective. For example, someone here might come up with an idea to make a change they think has merit from a business perspective, but do our customers actually benefit from it? Will they buy into it? To figure out if something’s going to work, you need to step out of your own shoes and into those of your customers. That “by traders, for traders” principle is part of the fabric of our business.
AxiCorp started out as an Australian FX/CFD provider, but since you took the helm as CEO the company has expanded its global footprint significantly. What are your ambitions as a global provider?
It’s true that AxiCorp started out in Australia, but we’ve always had the global market in our sights and I’m privileged to be leading the company at a stage of significant expansion. In the last year we opened new offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Philippines and Cyprus, had new trading licenses approved in New Zealand and Dubai and AxiCorp acquired One Financial Markets (OFM), which is an indication of how serious we are about expanding our footprint.
We’ll continue to pursue growth in all directions, whether geographically, via acquisitions, partnerships or products. We’ve formed a strategic partnership with PsyQuation [see below] and launched Cryptocurrency CFDs and Cash CFDs based on the strength of trader demand. We’ve got an extremely robust business model that offers many growth options.
In this edition of e-Forex we are looking at the growth of electronic FX trading and associated FinTech developments in the Middle East. Earlier this year AxiTrader announced the opening of your new office in Dubai. Why is this region also shaping up to be very important for your future plans?
We’ve long had a strong presence in the Middle East but the acquisition of OFM makes us a leading broker and demonstrates our long-term commitment to the region. That will include expanding our product range towards instruments specifically tailored to this market.
Technology is now an important differentiator in the ultra competitive financial trading space. What investments have you been making to your IT and infrastructure to enable you to cater for the needs of clients and meet any increased trading capacity requirements?
For a long time it’s felt like brokers have been competing on the same things; low spreads, fast connections, etc. That’s fundamental, but what happens when everyone’s claiming to have the fastest connection and zero pip spreads? Where do you go next? Technology allows you to differentiate.
We’ve invested heavily in scaling and personalisation of our acquisition and client retention model through the integration of predictive and ROI-driven tech platforms and it’s significantly increased our growth trajectory. For example, overhauling our customer onboarding process improved the customer journey and sales conversions. From there we improved integration with our CRM and Salesforce, which allows better segmenting for marketing, and it flows from there. We’ve also built better risk and exposure management which allows us to manage risk at a real-time, online and granular level. That’s not necessarily what you would think of when someone says “technology”, but it’s a hugely important part of our tech infrastructure that sits on top of traditional things like servers and platforms.
What new trading products and services across all three of your key business units are you and your team currently engaged in rolling out?
A key focus is growing the relationship with PsyQuation. It’s an amazing piece of software, a combination of behavioural psychology and quantitative analysis that minimises trading errors and improves profitability. We’ve been working with the PQ team to integrate with existing Axi services and roll it out to retail clients. It’s not something we’ve pushed but the organic uptake has been fantastic, fundamentally because the product stands up to the promise. I see huge potential for PsyQuation, particularly with a premium service about to launch.
How do you see the changes in the global regulatory environment impacting the industry?
There’s no doubt the European Securities and Markets Authority’s new measures will be challenging for FX and CFD providers, particularly in Europe, but consumers have to be protected. I personally welcome the new regulations and feel that any business that truly cares about its clients should be embracing the change. While it’s too soon to know the full implications of the new rules, it may mean additional operating costs for smaller players who may find it difficult to meet all the regulatory requirements. It wouldn’t surprise me to see industry consolidation as European providers look to other markets. AxiCorp is in a great position to take advantage of consolidation as we have the global presence and capital to navigate more stringent regulations.
You have recently been making some important management changes to the business, How will these help with your business expansion plans and efforts to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex global regulatory and compliance environment?
When you’re operating on a global scale in multiple markets, the regulatory and compliance complexities are enormous and ever-changing. We’ve adapted to that by ensuring we have the right people to lead us, leading to some pivotal management changes. Our longtime CFO Simon Hodgekiss moved into a newly created role of Chief Risk Officer, an area critical to our ongoing success globally. Having someone with extensive industry experience who also knows all the intricacies of our business was the perfect fit. As CFO we were joined by Patrick Salis who has a terrific track record of achievement within high growth global organisations and brings a huge skillset from strategic planning to mergers and acquisitions.