Admiral Markets Group – President and CEO – Alexander Tsikhilov

Today Admiral Markets offers its services in more than 45 countries worldwide through its regulated trading companies

State your name, company name and position please:

Alexander Tsikhilov, President and CEO of the Admiral Markets Group.

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Describe your company with three words:

Incepto Ne Desistam.

Please go into detail about the Company, its market segment and recent developments:

Since its foundation in 2001, Admiral Markets has continued to expand its reach. In 2011 alone, the company experienced a growth of 70 percent!

Today Admiral Markets offers its services in more than 45 countries worldwide through its regulated trading companies, with Admiral Markets UK Ltd, Admiral Markets AS, Admiral Markets PTY and Admiralex Ltd holding licenses in the UK, the EU, Australia and Cyprus respectively. The company employs a staff of around 300 people across the globe.

While holding a leading market position in the Baltic States, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany with continuous growth in other regions we truly focus on a localized and exceptional client experience.

Recognizing its growth and success, Admiral Markets received the “Best FX Broker for the Baltic Region” as well as the “Best of the Best” awards from The New Europe magazine in 2012. In 2013 Admiral Markets ranked as the second best Forex Broker in Germany according to the lesser award. Australian magazine, Financial Investor Smart Review, named Admiral Markets the best Forex broker for both novice and experienced traders in their 2013 FX awards test.

At Admiral Markets we strongly believe that the continuous improvement of service and technology paves the road to success, hence we are about to launch a new type of account with premium trading conditions that will satisfy even the most demanding and knowledgeable clients.

How did you arrive at your current position, and what expertise do you offer the Forex Industry:

I’ve run several businesses over time, including an internet service provider in the early 90’s. The provider was named Admiral Telecom and it was one of the biggest ISP’s in the western Russia. Looking for new business opportunities and ways to diversify my investment portfolio, I decided to set up several businesses connected with the internet business I had. An online trading company was one of them and it was well before any online Forex trading platforms existed. Admiral Markets and Alpari were the first companies to start working with MetaQuotes, even before their first MetaTrader existed. The first license we acquired was the license for a platform called FXCharts, the second-generation MetaQuotes solution. I remember, it was very different from what MetaQuotes offers today. All in all, I got excited and carried away by the Forex business, I soon realized that there was nothing else I wanted to do and that’s when Admiral Markets began its journey, as did my career in the Forex Industry, it all happened 13 years ago.

What specifically do you offer the retail traders?:

We offer the opportunity to experience financial trading, to excel and enlighten yourself through it. Obviously there are many brokers who have similar to identical solutions to ours, however we are here to provide a real trading experience. We focus on responsible trading, where we educate our clients on all the potential advantages and disadvantages of the profession. Our product portfolio allows us to cover three main segments of traders based on their experience and level of knowledge. We are rather conservative in our approach and prefer having a low tolerance to risk, we expect the same from our traders. We do not attract gamblers by principle. We offer, real, transparent and responsible trading and it can be seen throughout our 13 years of development. It’s a long and difficult road to take but we are on our way to become the best MetaTrader broker out there, in every country and every region. It might take some time and we take it step by step, but we strongly hold our ground and we will not shrink from our purpose.

Why should retail traders choose your company instead of others?

They shouldn’t, but if they are looking for exceptional customer service and a trading experience that is tailored to suit their needs and desires, in their local language, with their own representative and is available by a simple phone call or a visit at any time – we are the only option out there.

Please elaborate on your industry experience, and what you have achieved since being appointed CEO.

I’ve developed Admiral Markets from the beginning, hired every single employee and supervised in all of its global activities including the establishment of all 45 offices. I’ve always been responsible for the strategic development of the company including license acquisition and its global presence. I also take a great pleasure in working on HR matters, including employee motivation and empowerment schemes.

Why should current graduates or people looking for a job in Forex consider working for your company?

We are simply the best for young, enthusiastic, intelligent, motivated and hardworking people. We pay above the market, but you have to earn it. We value our employees and respect every one of them. We are all about flexible working hours and empowerment. Due to the company’s extensive growth one could start at a junior position and in 3 years undertake one of the top management positions. It’s all possible here, we make it possible, and our people make it possible.

What are your present issues and challenges and what is your plan to steer the company through them successfully?

As I mentioned earlier we are always on a look out for driven, intelligent and enthusiastic young professionals. However, since the industry is rather small and “region specific” based on local regulation, from time to time we find it difficult to find the talent we are looking for. Very often we are forced to relocate people from one place to another. Nonetheless, all of our employees are exceptional and we are always optimistic about finding new talent.

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As the industry is well known to be highly competitive, what means do you use to survive and to excel in such a fast and sometimes harsh environment (except for collaboration with Forex Magnates Directory of course ;)?

We diversify and offer exceptional client service. We are not afraid of operational costs as long as it’s what our clients are looking for; hence we open up offices to be closer to the clients. It won’t come as a surprise that we have more offices and languages than any other broker in the world. It’s both an advantage and a disadvantage – since our focus is local we are not as well known in the markets where we do not have a local presence, on the contrary in markets where we do have a local presence we are very strong.

Does your company focus on the domestic market or does it have a global presence?

We like to think we do both. However, to be realistic we focus more on the domestic presence. Nonetheless we do our best to cover the global image of the company from the places we are regulated in like Estonia (Easter Europe), UK (Western Europe), Cyprus (Worldwide partners) Australia (Asia and South Pacific) and Uruguay (South America).

What is your company’s plan for the next two years? Please detail any expansions, technological developments, mergers/acquisitions or proposed entries into new markets.

The company’s main goal for the coming two years is to increase the amount of investment instruments available to clients and to diversify its offering as much as possible. These instruments will not only consist of derivative instruments, they will also include the stock market and portfolio management services. We are also planning to capitalize on our local presence; hence we will focus on extending the “local” instruments offer.  As a result of these plans we will also implement new trading platforms.

The most immediate project, will focus on in-house developments including aggregation tools and liquidity in the scope of STP/ECN type of products. We are also currently investing into the mobile market, including trading platforms and entire mobile content. We strongly believe that modern day society is becoming more and more mobile. The key is not to simply provide a mobile solution, but to ensure it is as user friendly as a desktop one.

Is branding important, and what is your corporate view on it?

Branding is indeed very important, as a company which has branches in so many countries we had to learn that the hard way. It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure that, for example, our clients in an Asian country will experience the same level of service and would get the same “feeling” from the brand as they would experience in a European country. This is not an easy task, as cultural differences need to be taken into consideration. Thus we do our best to extend this brand essence across all regions and countries, whilst trying to localize the concept of Forex Trading.

What are your predictions for the coming years of the Forex industry as a whole?

Due to low volatility on the market, the old “market making (B-book)” model is quickly dying out, hence brokers who will not switch to the agency/proprietary model will definitely not be able to provide the best quality of execution to their clients, and therefore they may find it difficult to survive. Moreover, the industry is becoming more and more regulated; smaller brokers might find it difficult to provide a competitive offer to its clients. In general, I believe we are heading to an era of main mergers and acquisitions between brokers in the near future.

What innovations could the industry as a whole benefit from?

In order to answer this question it is first essential to understand who the beneficiary is in the end. However, in my personal opinion brokers need a liquidity “one stop shop”. I do have one innovation in mind, but I would rather keep quiet about it for the time being 🙂

Do you think that the forex industry is transparent enough and that most companies including yours pay enough attention to due diligence?

Different players in the market have a different approach to due diligence and transparency. Here in Admiral Markets transparency is something we truly value and we do our best to explain the difference between entities within the group and regulatory implications to our clients. We always follow the best practice rules and we do not cut corners.

Do you read Forex Magnates Quarterly report?

Yes and it is quite an enjoyable moment each quarter 🙂

What’s your view on the Forex/social network phenomenon? A good way to further the business with much lower costs, or a potential regulatory hazard should it be deemed financial advice by regulators?

The development of the social trading network is by far the loudest development in the Forex industry within the last couple of years. It is represented by both the development of the industry and the online communities in general. Having a social network often leads to an increase in trading volume and client lifespan.  However, matters in regard to regulation may affect ones decision to implement a social trading network within a brokerage firm. The strictest regulators demand a firm to acquire additional licenses in order to offer such services to retail clients, which may affect the operational costs of the company. Nonetheless, the benefits of having a social trading network may be higher than the associated costs or regulatory implications at the end of the day.

Are you using social media channels to create greater exposure and increase trader lifespan?

Yes we are, in fact we have one of the largest international communities on Facebook where people are very engaged and responsive. Having a real conversation instead of just selling the service is what really matters. We also find social media to be a great feedback tool for our clients.

To allow us to get to know you a bit better, let us know something that interests you, and what you enjoy doing in your spare time.

I have two hobbies: history and traveling. These are very well connected.

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