The wave of tumultuous silence often displayed by Singapore’s FX sector has been broken to Western audiences over the weekend, as Singaporean financial house PhillipCapital launched in Australia. The launch was brought into being as a result of the re-branding of PhillipCapital’s Australian broking and advisory firm, Octa Phillip.
This circumstance represents the reverse of common practice: Often Western brokers position themselves in the antipodes as a springboard into the Asia-Pacific markets, whereas PhillipCapital is doing the opposite – leveraging Australia’s proximity to bring the Asian broker to Western markets.
Corporate View of Antipodean Venture
In a public statement made to the occasion, the Chairman of PhillipCapital in Australia, Michael Wong, commented: “We are pleased to announce the expansion of the Phillip Group’s technology platforms and business model into the Australian market. It is our objective to become a dominant provider, drawing upon the broader Phillip Group.
“Our point of difference is high technology, high touch service, maintaining strong client relationships alongside highly competitive multi-asset class execution platforms. This gives our clients the double benefit of relationship based advice and the cost and convenience of internet based technology platforms.”
“We have to be more customer-centric. With the dominance of the Internet and mobile phones as a delivery channel there is an abundance of content available and it’s about how we package the content to suit our client needs. The brokers’ role is not just as an intermediary but an ‘infomediary’”, Mr. Wong concluded.
Australian investors will thus gain access to retail and institutional platforms offered by PhillipCapital for a diversified range of investments and management tools for direct market access, both in the country and around the world.
In a concluding press statement, Jonathan Buckley, CEO of PhillipCapital Australia stated: “PhillipCapital’s Australian growth plan aims to build a substantial and diversified financial services business in Australia. We are positioning ourselves for the next growth cycle, to provide client services beyond the traditional broking model and be at the forefront of innovation”.
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The Birth of PhillipCapital Australia
Octa Phillip arrived in Australia in 2012 as a result of the Intersuisse acquisition of Austock Securities earlier the same year, with business confined to the stock sector. With major shareholder being PhillipCapital, it had a corporate interest in Asia – a heavy clue being in the name Octa, chosen to represent the number eight which is synonymous with wealth and prosperity in Far Eastern culture. During this process, Octa Phillip also acquired former Austock CEO Paul Masi, whose tenure at Octa Phillip ceased after three months before being superseded by PhillipCapital Group CEO Jonathan Buckley, whose career with the company spans 16 years.
The Australian division began offering professional services consulting and investment management services, without concerning itself with offering OTC derivatives, following its parent company’s evolution from stockbroker to fully integrated financial services provider. In a new corporate direction, the company’s imminent launch of FX, CFDs and Futures platforms on MetaTrader 4, and the company’s in-house Phillip FX 365 trading solution which accesses interbank liquidity, is intended to further bolster the array of investment options provided by PhillipCapital and position it to compete with industry’s major players.
As Phillip Capital was the first broker in Singapore to introduce online trading, this along with its technology-focused business model, falls in line with corporate policy. But now Octa Phillip is no more, giving way to the new organization PhillipCapital Australia subsequent to the re-branding.
Pathway to International Markets
PhillipCapital expects to more than double the size of its current Private Wealth team to over 100 advisers across five offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Gold Coast in an attempt to boost PhillipCapital’s scale in Australia across wealth management, institutional and private client stockbroking, corporate finance, research and funds management services. Quite a feat, when considering that the company is already substantial, with a payroll of 3,500 staff in 16 countries with shareholder funds in excess of USD 1 billion and assets under management total more than USD 20 Billion.
Last year, the company began looking at other regions away from Asia in which to expand its footprint, and acquired Turkish broker Hak Menkul Kiymetler A.S in order to begin establishing presence in what was at the time a newly regulated market for FX. In the conservative manner which is certainly prevalent within Singaporean business, the company used this as a development ground for entering Turkey, which led to an international collaboration between Turkey and Singapore taking place in September last year in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding being signed to foster cooperation between the two countries on the development of exchanges and financial markets.
Although PhillipCapital maintains its privacy over its performance subsequent to the acquisition of Hak Menkul Kiymetler A.S, a statement from within the company confirms that this allowed the company to extend its reach to 13 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. This move into Australia demonstrates the company’s continued efforts to grow in Western markets.