Interview

TigerWit CEO Reveals Plans for 2020: Expansion and Diversification

The fintech firm plans to enter the Middle East and Africa and expand its product offering.

2019 was a big year for TigerWit, with the company securing a Financial Services license from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), and it appears that 2020 is going to be an even bigger year for the foreign exchange (forex) broker.

TigerWit is a global forex broker and fintech firm based in the United Kingdom with roots in Asia. Over the past couple of years, the firm has been expanding its global reach – particularly in the European Union (EU) and Asia.

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TigerWit’s expansion plans

However, in 2020 the financial technology company is eyeing new regions – Africa and the Middle East. To learn more about the broker’s plans, we caught up with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TigerWit, Tim Hughes.

When speaking about the firm’s expansion plans for 2020, Hughes said: “We’ve opened up a partner arrangement in Nigeria and we are working with a local party in Dubai which will hopefully go live in the next three months or so, in the next quarter. That continues the journey that we’re on, particularly looking at emerging economies.”

The broker has chosen Dubai because the United Arab Emirates has one of the most developed FX markets in the Middle East in terms of regulation and trading activity.

When setting up shop in both of these regions, Hughes outlined that although both geographies have their unique rules and regulations, coming from the EU, the company is used to operating within a highly-regulated market, and therefore, they haven’t found the change in regulations and compliance particularly troublesome, as the regulatory standards are familiar.

Further Asia expansion?

In 2020 TigerWit is looking to expand into the Middle East and Africa. But can we also expect further expansion in the Asian region? According to Hughes, the answer at the moment is no.

“Our view at the moment is that we’ve got a good spread across the Bahamas SCB, UK FCA, and Hong Kong SFC. We’ve got a strong foundation and a good geographical spread, which we believe makes us relevant in all of the regions that we are actively targeting. So we are not looking currently to add any more, but we always keep a watching brief on that, should things change then we may adjust.”

Unrest in Hong Kong

As Finance Magnates reported earlier this month, TigerWit secured a license for leveraged forex trading on the 12th of December 2019 for TigerWit (Hong Kong) Limited (BOI171). While Hong Kong is an important FX market, at present, there is a lot of unrest in the country.

When asked whether TigerWit was concerned with the current situation, Hughes commented: “The Hong Kong story is interesting, related to what I just said about regulatory standards globally, there’s been a process to go through, which we have duly done.”

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“Through that process, yes, of course, the political situation kind of changed in Hong Kong. We are watching it closely, as everyone must do, it is a concern of course. I think fundamentally Hong Kong has significant historical and structural benefits, which has got it to the position of a massive global financial centre, and I think it’s very likely to continue with that kind of status and therefore offer a very attractive access point for the south-east Asian region.”

“So whilst of course we will watch it very closely, it’s a great place to be in and do business and particularly for our business, there is an incredibly active fintech environment in Hong Kong, numerous incubator hubs and a lot of kind of governmental and quango activity which is very much Hong Kong making themselves relevant in the fintech space. This is not just in terms of product but in terms of the bigger plans that we have in the coming years, this suits us very well.”

TigerWit focusing on institutional in EU

With its FCA license, TigerWit is an active player in Europe. However, with the regulatory changes since August of 2018, it has become a lot harder and uncertain for brokers to operate within this space. Because of this, the firm told Finance Magnates that it is currently focusing on the institutional space.

“Europe remains a key region for TigerWit, in both our short and long-term plans. However, due to the profound recent regulatory changes in the EU market, there is still no ‘new normal’ as the impact of those changes continues to play out,” added Hughes.

“For now, we will work with institutional clients to provide liquidity and risk management solutions. Once the regulatory picture is clearer, we’ll implement a strategy to expand in the most competitive regions.”

Diversification is key

As highlighted by Hughes – diversification is a core principle of TigerWit. This can be seen in the company’s expansion plans both in terms of geography and expanding its product offering.

“We view ourselves primarily as a fintech firm, our current product is margin FX, so for us, the key to the future is about diversification. Bringing disruption and innovation in terms of how we deliver financial service products, how we package them and how we distribute them,” outlined Hughes.

“But the mission and vision is to be the provider of a broad array of financial service solutions, which we believe will resonate with the clients that we currently have and are relevant to offering margin FX trading. We will be rolling out products which we believe they are going to pick up on quickly and will be keen to benefit from its use.”

So when can we expect these new products? According to TigerWit’s CEO, the firm will be rolling out these products in the second half of 2020.

“The key thing that attracted me to work with TigerWit and brought me back into this industry, after a few years of working in different fintech spaces, was their vision and appetite to be more, do more and have a broader product suite. That’s what captured my imagination and has continued to excite me,” concluded Hughes.

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