Exclusive Interview: James O’Neill on The New Life of ASIC-Authorized Fairmarkets

FairMarkets is an ASIC-authorized investment house which aims to become an established name in the Australian market – 2021 heralds a year of change. FairMarkets was acquired by KIG, the brokerage division of GKG, a global financial services group, in February 2021. The acquisition is very much part of KIG’s ambitious plan to expand its footprint across the APAC region, with FairMarkets at the centre. The Industry Spread spoke with James O’Neill, Executive Director at FairMarkets, about the new life of the liquidity provider and what it means for retail traders.

James O’Neill
James O’Neill, Australian Country Manager of Fairmarkets

James O’Neill is the Australian Country Manager of Fairmarkets. A former lawyer with extensive experience in FX compliance and operations. James holds a Bachelor of Economics (Finance), a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws. He is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. James is admitted as a solicitor into the Courts of New South Wales and is RG 146 certified.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and, before we proceed any further, can you please tell our readers what is the role of FairMarkets within the Australian trading industry?

We have been operating since 2012, and under our new owner KIG, we have been gradually transitioning FairMarkets which historically had a B2B focus to becoming a force within the B2C space. This is being achieved through a mixture of customer, pricing and product focus – providing our clients with a unique offering and experience.

We will be very much focused on Australian customers as the Australian market is large with 1.1 million active traders in the equities markets and around 400 thousand traders of CFDs. We believe that by careful pricing of products, we can easily gain market share.

Global Kapital Group’s brokerage subsidiary KIG acquired FairMarkets earlier this year in a move that is expected to strengthen the firm’s position in the Australian market, but in what way?

FairMarkets will act as the platform for KIG’s expansion in Australia and also in South-East Asia. At the moment, we offer only trading in metals, but we are to shortly start offering CFDs in some key mining stocks such as Fortescue, BHP and Rio Tinto. We are also planning a package of FX products aimed specifically at the Australian market.

What are the key highlights of the FairMarkets offering and what is the “Aussie package”?

Our offering includes a range of financial products and services at competitive pricing in Australia and with an attractive spread pricing, including a standard package with spreads and no commission as well as products with a zero spread and some commission. The Aussie Package specifically includes crosses between the Aussie dollar and the US dollar, Euro Loonie, Yen, UK pound, NZ dollar and Singapore dollar. We will also offer trading in the ASX 200, Gold, Silver and Brent.

We aim for price leadership and cheaper spreads across a select range of products, such as commodities and Australian crosses, enhancing FairMarket’s competitivity.

How easy is it to enter the Australian market?

Although as highlighted the Australian market has a lot of large brokerage firms, there are very high barriers to entry. In fact, ASIC has not authorised any new brokers in recent years. Although the barriers to entry are high, the market is attractive. Australia has a high proportion of high-net-worth individuals whose risk profile and investment interest is aligned with FairMarket’s product offering.

KIG’s goal is to grow FairMarkets into an international multi-asset investment house in South East Asia. What will that mean for FairMarkets’ broker partners?

KIG certainly brings FairMarkets with the financial firepower which allows us to scale. However, more than this, KIG’s greatest value add is its people, network and stellar reputation within the industry. For example, were there an appetite from our customers to add a payment method, without KIG, this would historically take months. With KIG’s network – this process is streamlined and fast-track providing customers what they need in an expedient manner.