Omar Arnaout, XTB CEO give us his views on ESMA and progression from CFDs to multi-asset investment brokerage

SONY DSC

Tell other's what you think and vote in our "Broker of the year Awards"

You could win a £1,000 Amazon voucher...

How long have you been CEO of XTB and what did you do beforehand?

I’ve been CEO and President of the Management Board of XTB since 2017 but in fact I’ve spent most of my professional career at XTB, first starting back in January 2007 where I held the position of Sales Dealer. In 2009-2010 I moved to our Romanian branch to be the Deputy Director before moving to our Italian branch in a similar role a few years later.

I then left to learn more experience at another broker before returning to XTB in 2014 to help set up our UK branch under our FCA regulated offering before finally returning to Poland in 2016 to help grow some of our core markets.

What is XTB really good at? Is there one thing you do better than other brokers?

Honestly what I and everyone at XTB is really motivated to do is give our customers an unrivalled trading experience at every stage of their journey. There are three core elements that play into this.

First and foremost is the customer service. Many brokers in our space are low touch, relying on automated systems to serve clients. That’s not the XTB way. We go out of our way to ensure the client feels fully supported in their journey with dedicated account managers, 24hr customer service, an open-door policy at every one of our branches, in house education and much more.

Secondly, the platform must be engaging, stable and transparent. Many brokers rely on MT4 but we also offer our own proprietary platform xStation, which has won a huge number of awards in the last 5 years. We have a large tech team responsible for keeping it up to date and working with our customers to keep it at the forefront of customer needs. I’m really proud of our platform and honestly believe it’s one of the best in the market.

And finally, complete transparency on every aspect of our client accounts including price execution, dealing costs, swap rates and more. We don’t hide anything and present all information to the client on the deal ticket so they know exactly what will happen to their trade and account. There’s no hidden costs at XTB.

How much of a focus do you put on educating your clients and customer services versus price and platform?

I would also say we dedicate a lot of our resources to client education. We offer a complete diverse amount of education to cater for all client needs and experience including weekly webinars, in house trading clubs, beginner courses and trading masterclasses.

In addition to this, we’ve worked with some of the worlds most prominent trading mentors including Jack Schwager, Kathy Lien, Steve Ward and Ashraf Laidi to develop a video series designed to help develop our clients skills and knowledge. All of this is for free with an XTB account and comes as part of our service.

XTB already has offices in 10 countries in and around Europe, any plans to launch in APAC?

We are always looking to grow and diversify our revenue stream across both products and territories. This is a key goal of ours. Right now I can tell you that we are focused right now on the big opportunities we see in some of our European markets and South America.

What do you think of the recent ESMA restrictions?

XTB is fully behind ALL measures introduced in an effort to protect retail customers and certainly some of the measures announced does this, which we fully support. We do however feel that the leverage restrictions are too severe, which we fear will encourage some European based clients to trade with Non-EU brokers who do not offer them the same high level of protection we do.

Investing with a trusted and strongly regulated broker must be a priority for every trader. We always advise clients to check the license not only on the company website but also on a website of the relevant regulator. Traders should be aware that different licenses provide different levels of security for investors with some offshore brokers providing significantly less protection to retail clients than those required in the EU.

My personal fear is that some European based traders will go to certain brokers who continue to offer high leverage without realising they are regulated in exotic locations and could therefore endure an unhappy trading experience when they realise certain practices they are used to in Europe may not be followed outside of the EU.

At the same time, we expect to see these new restrictions expedite consolidation in the sector and XTB stands in a strong position to take advantage of this. Equally, the limitations placed on CFD trading also raises the importance for XTB to offer a broader range of asset classes for investors.

That’s why we have recently introduced thousands of cash equities from the world’s largest stock exchanges around the world and hundreds of ETF markets.

This will help enable our clients to create interesting and well diversified investment portfolios. So you can see XTB is quickly progressing from a CFD broker to a truly multi-asset broker for all types of investors.

You can find out more information on XTB and read trader reviews here

Good Broker Guide Featured Brokers

Looking for institutional broker? Compare prime brokers here

Richard started the 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.