Retail Foreign Exchange and CFD broker FXCM obtained a license to operate in the growing market of South Africa. On November 16, FXCM CEO Drew Niv appointed former FXCM Hellas CEO Harry Coundouris to head the office in Johannesburg and the expansion in the country. The Industry Spread journalist Ricardo Esteves reached the FXCM South Africa CEO for the first interview after the appointment.
You were Managing Director of FXCM Hellas, in Greece, during a period that was known to be a very hard one for the financial sector there. In what ways will that experience count for a successful business in South Africa under your leadership?
It is true that Greece is going through difficult times especially in the last year. Despite the country’s financial and political turbulence, FXCM Hellas has not only retained its business but also continued to grow our clientele. During the 6 years of operating in Greece, we have built strong relationships with our clients and kept high quality customer services, which has helped us remain one of the top local FX brokers. We also provide opportunities to our staff for continuous growth and development which keeps them motivated and engaged. This is the corporate mentality I want to adopt in FXCM South Africa as well. We want to make a difference in the local market by understanding the client’s experience, while continuously providing training to our personnel so as to be able to support and solve any clients’ query. Our clients can contact their dedicated representative not only by phone or email, but also in person through our one-on-one meetings. What’s more, FXCM is known for offering free educational resources to its clients. We have already introduced weekly free seminars on our offices in Johannesburg, as well as market commentary webinars.
Only a few Forex and CFD trading brokerages have a license to operate in the South African market besides FXCM. There is XTrade, HotForex and FXTM. Do you consider them your most direct competitors?
Clients certainly need to understand the importance of holding an account with a regulated broker. As in every financial factor the regulatory requirements and supervision can ensure transparency and safety of transactions. We always recommend to our potential clients who are exploring other brokers, to firstly confirm if the broker is regulated both locally as well as in the jurisdiction they are based. So we consider our main competitors to be regulated brokers with market share in the local market.
South African Rand (ZAR) volatility and growing demography makes the country an interest bet for an FXCM expansion. What are your expectations regarding the number of client accounts within a year?
South Africa is a growing market with high interest in online forex and CFD trading. Our goal is to create a forex/cfd community where traders can improve their knowledge in trading and experience exclusive benefits through our high level of support, awarded platform as well as free seminars and events. Through these means we aim to increase our market share in the local market and become one of the top local brokers.
What will be the FXCM South Africa’s strategy to earn a local client’s interest and trust?
At FXCM we strongly believe that reliability, trust and transparency are at most importance when clients consider to open an account. Being regulated by both FCA (UK regulator) and FSB locally, FXCM South Africa has high standards in terms of safety of clients’ funds, as well as business ethics. Moreover, we are focusing on educating the clients in the FX and CFD market, by offering free seminars, webinars and one-on-one meetings. FXCM remains one of the top FX and CFDs brokers worldwide with major experience in this market. We are aiming to make a difference in the local market with our top-notch products combined with exceptional customer service.