As the bright lights of Macau become a familiar sight to 1,500 of the world’s influential figures from a wide cross-section of the FX industry following the final day of the iFX EXPO Asia 2014, the aura surrounding today’s events was as sophisticated as yesterday’s was frenetic.
Indeed, the second day was abound with feedback from many attendees keen to provide their perspective on the value of the event so far.
Today’s agenda comprised of a series of discussion panels, which were intended to enhance the overall disposition of companies operating in, and seeking to enter, the Asian market.
During this morning, the first panel discussion comprised of a highly poignant subject which is currently at the top of the priorities’ list for both brokers and technology providers alike, namely social and mobile trading.
Mobility = Sustainability
The Asia-Pacific region is synonymous with a technology-orientated population and there is a drive toward mobile-led platforms as well as the need to further advance social trading networks to continue to engage users regardless of experience or location.
Participants shared their experiences with regard to how social trading has become an established component of an Asian traders portfolio.
Japan was referred to by panelists as a good example of a market which has not only produced high demand for such services, but the education element has developed the market to such a degree that regulators have now started looking and reviewing the status of social trading, representing a good thing for traders and brokers.
The debate on the currently hot topic concluded after one hour, where panelists were in the exalted company of not only social trading pioneers, but also a bank liquidity provider, multi-asset data companies and complementary service providers.
Lior Nabat, CEO of veteran social trading firm Tradency, explained that he has experienced an overall benefit for both traders and brokers, thus giving traders the ability to make an informed choice with regard to choosing a trader to follow, as well as providing greater understanding and empowerment of each trader.
Leverate’s Yosef Caplan reinforced the overall message by stating that there has been remarkable growth on the company’s SIRIX portal in Asia.
Order Flow On The Go
The discussion continued to the subject of liquidity in social portals, about which Hu Liang, Senior Managing Director of State Street Global Exchange in the Asia Pacific region, stated “The liquidity element of several thousand orders coming through a broker’s system is problematic.”
In response, Mr. Nabat retorted that “In my opinion, brokers who warehouse trades (run a b-book) will find it difficult to maintain social trading, its too hard to manage the risk.”
Mr. Liang went on to elaborate further that “The industry is young, only 5 to 6 years old. Therefore it is fair to say that more liquidity providers and support services to brokers need to understand the impact of 100,000 traders all trading EUR/CHF in the Asia session, all in the one direction.”
“State Street and Currenex started looking at social trading in 2007 and since then have been deploying new systems and controls to enhance the liquidity flow” Mr. Liang informed the panel.
As the direction of the debate progressed to the subject of the role of mobile trading, Ryan Morony of CQG explained that, “The market has evolved over the last two years, mobile has now become an important part of a trader’s toolkit.
The application we offer today mirrors the desktop and thus allow traders to not only report and monitor trades but actually place trades, conduct analyses and make changes to trades.”
A degree of acknowledgement among panelists was displayed when considering that one size does not fit all when it comes to mobile trading in Asia.
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Rajesh Yohannan – Managing Director and CEO of OANDA’s Asia-Pacific division stated that, “Asia is a diverse market and a mobile solution needs to be localized.”
“We have deployed specific architecture that not only looks at the trade administration in terms of latency or connectivity but also the localization element,” he said.
ZuluTrade’s CEO, Leon Yohai looked to the future by sharing his view of what is to come in the years ahead. “We see mobile technology complementing our social solution. On the mobile application people can carry all the functionality required, and I believe that the mobile solution will replace the desktop,” a specific direction which tradable CEO, Jannick Malling investigates in great detail in the Forex Magnates Quarterly Industry Report for Q4 of 2014 which is now available.
The esteemed panelists concurred with this, with Mr. Nabat stating that the company’s three year strategy only incorporates mobile, and Mr. Yohannan enthusing that, “The future is mobile!”
Marketing in Asia is a matter which can tax even the most strategically organized company, and this subject was debated among seasoned professionals at the iFX EXPO today.
The post-lunch panel which started at 14:30 was all about marketing and best practises firms can use in developing their sales strategy for the Asia region.
The Asian continent serves a large number of the world’s population, however panelists reiterated that diversity is key, and certain techniques will work in one country compared with another.
The main factor that binds the commercial activity in the region together is the way FX is promoted, in Asia this is conducted primarily through the partner channel.
If firms need to be successful then a strategy and product range that accommodates the needs of IBs is essential, this can be from simple bonus campaigns to advanced back-end reporting for tiered partners.
Dukascopy’s Luis Sanchez explained that innovative usage of media channels is a great angle, “TV has been one of our key growth areas, especially in Asia,” he said. “Research from our users show that end users are no longer looking at detailed reports or articles on how to trade, the TV provides the same content, if not in a better medium with the use of pictures such as charts.”
TradeNext CEO, Mohsin Jameel sees value in mobile within his company’s client base, by concurring that, “We are experiencing a lot of activity on the mobile platform, in fact our corporate experience of one of our sister products reinforces the need of easy to use yet detailed mobile products for FX traders.”
Regulation the Key to Established Market
The final panel of the event concentrated on regulation, exploring the best regions where firms can look to start-up or develop their brokerage
The taboo subject relating to ‘offshore’ brokers was high on the agenda, however it was handled with care and the audience was impressed with the level of knowledge they gained from panelists, as usual, consultants keep the key information hidden away.
With regard to the ever-present matter of the navigation of regulatory considerations, Mr. Sanchez explained that, “Regulation is dictating markets, I dont think it’s a hindrance. If we look at Japan, the largest and most established market in the world, it has a fully efficient system.”
He continued by stating that, “This will most likely spread across other regions, an example being Singapore, which is already reviewing looking at leverage restrictions, firms will most definitely need to address regulatory matters when running new campaigns, this goes in line with the increase in financial literacy in the region.”
Mr. Jameel explained that a trustworthy and reputable environment is just as important from a marketing perspective as it is from a regulatory point of view, “In our industry, the key is credibility. We are flanked by banks with several years of history so competing in this market is a challenge, we have looked at out of the box marketing approaches for this sole user, let the people get to know the brand.”
Shay Hamama, VP of Business Development at MarketsPulse, responded to a question on this matter, in which he was asked whether building a good presence is about brand building or vertical tools by explaining that, “It is a combination of both.”
As the closing party at McSorley’s Bar draws to an end, 1,500 of the FX industry’s thought leaders have spent the last few hours engaging in further networking and reflection on the day’s discussions relating to cutting edge technology and pressing issues.
After an emphatic two days, it is evident that Macau, like the currency market, never sleeps. From the success of iFX EXPO ASIA 2014 it is clear that this signature event will continue to flourish in the world’s fastest growing economic region. Forex Magnates wishes each of you a safe and comfortable journey home.