Philip Adler, newly appointed CEO of ETX Capital tells us what his plans are for the CFD broker and why he views trader education as such a critical part of his strategy.
There have been many changes in the spread betting and CFD industry over the past year or so. With the restriction of marketing initiatives, brokers are going back to basics and focussing on good old client service. And as such, industry veterans are returning to the helm to instill these old school values.
I first met Phil Adler over 15 years ago. I sat across the aisle from him dealing derivatives on a desk at Man Financial. Phil headed up GNI Touch, the first CFD broker to offer direct market access to clients. In fact, GNI, at one time or other, hedged exposure for most (if not all) of the spread betting and CFD brokers.
Over a decade later, Philip tells us why he’s joined ETX Capital and what his plans are as newly instated CEO.
Over the years you’ve founded and run some of the biggest CFD desks in the business. What’s the draw of joining ETX Capital?
For many years ETX Capital has enjoyed an excellent reputation as a firm that puts the customer first. This is seen in ETX’s approach to all aspects of service whether customer support, trading or credit.
In my previous roles at GNI and Man Financial, we offered hedging and financing services to ETX so my relationship with ETX goes back many years. When dealing with ETX as a client they did everything the right way.
When I was recently offered the COO role by Arman the draw was immediate. Here was an opportunity to work with an established player, with motivated, hard-working and knowledgeable staff, with its own proprietary trading platform and with owners ambitious to develop the business.
What will you mainly be responsibilities at ETX Capital?
My current responsibilities unsurprisingly involve all aspects of the smooth running of day to day operations but also include some sales.
For instance, we have a serviced equities desk which looks after active professional traders and is run by experienced sales traders. In fact they are so experienced I have little to manage. I also have responsibility for the retail client conversion team which works closely with the more operationally focused account opening team.
Then there is the trade management team which performs middle office functions and looks after the relationships with our hedging brokers. I also have responsibility for the customer services and credit teams.
Any plans to introduce new services to ETX over the next year or so?
Although it is perhaps an unfashionable answer, I believe that the best opportunity for ETX is to build on our existing reputation for service and platforms. I want to make sure that we build on our position as a top 3 provider in the UK for all active customers.
This means maintaining our focus on customer account opening, trading and support services. However, we are looking at establishing ETX in a number of new geographies over the coming months.
Since the new ESMA ruling has made it harder to entice clients away from the major CFD and spread betting brokers. What, in your view, are the other major problems brokers face in the changing regulatory climate?
The recent ESMA changes have affected all the CFD and Spread betting brokers. I would guess that we have all faced volume of business reductions in a similar proportion. Whilst we are always looking to increase our market share, our marketing and networking efforts do not solely focus on enticing clients away from our competitors.
Education is key.
There are new clients routinely considering CFD and Spread betting activities. If we do a good enough job of explaining the products, the risks and the ETX service differentiators we shall continue to win new and existing client market share.
The regulatory climate has changed dramatically over my time in the business. The problems that CFD and Spread betting brokers face today are considerable. For instance, the recent ESMA changes mean that we are facing greater competition from offshore, unregulated brokers.
Furthermore, CFD and Spread betting brokers are having to spend more time, money and resource than ever before to fight market abuse and financial crime.
And from those problems, any particular opportunities for ETX to evolve and stand out?
Quite simply, the opportunity is to make sure that we increase our focus on client education and service.
We may have the best product range and the most sophisticated trading platforms but if we don’t educate the clients on how the products and trading platforms work and the risks of leverage we won’t win or keep market share.
Richard founded the Good Money Guide (previously Good Broker Guide) in 2015 and has been a broker for 20 years most recently at Investors Intelligence and previously a multi-asset derivatives broker at MF Global (Man Financial). Richard started his career working as a private client stockbroker at Walker Crips and Phillip Securities (now King and Shaxson) after interning on the NYMEX oil trading floor in New York and London IPE in 2001 & 2000.