Breaking; Nicc Lewis waves goodbye to Leverate after sterling service at the firm

Nicc Lewis, a highly renowned senior FX industry figure, moves on today. We look back at some of the most insightful anecdotes and viewpoints from one of the most thoughtful marketing leaders in the industry.

Today marks the day in which one of the FX industry’s most widely renowned marketing experts has taken the decision to move on.

Nicc Lewis, who joined FX brokerage software and enterprise solutions development company Leverate, has left his position as Chief Marketing Officer, and can reflect on his legacy as a steadfast thought leader among industry discussion, engagement and progress.

Joining Leverate in 2012, Mr Lewis became quickly recognized as one of the FX industry’s avantgarde spokespeople, notably at global electronic trading B2B conferences.

His departure from Leverate signals a new path for Mr Lewis, who is currently assessing his next move, however he is well positioned indeed to continue the sterling progress he made during his seniority at Leverate.

Prior to joining Leverate, Mr Lewis provided consultancy services in the marketing sector to demonstrate to companies how best to plan the execution of their marketing strategy defined by targets, goals and budgets.

An analytic and experienced thinker, Mr Lewis concentrated on profiling, segmenting and analysis, which has been highly transferrable to the B2B FX industry.

At Webpals, Mr Lewis was VP Marketing and Business Development, where, for two years between 2012 and 2014, he led the marketing and branding strategy, a position which followed almost ten years at Spiral Solutions, a gaming software development company, where he was VP Gaming Business Solutions.

Mr Lewis has quite rightly attracted substantial attention over the past few years, often being one of the first to highlight very important strategic consideration within the FX industry.

On Platform Originality

Mr Lewis met with FinanceFeeds in Hong Kong in 2016, where he explained that when considering approaching Chinese brokers, it is important to look at the vast counterfeit platform sub-industry that exists.

“We know that there are a number of companies that copy the MetaTrader 4 solution that are geared toward the Chinese market.”

“After some time, they find out that there are serious problems with this business model and it is often completely unsustainable long term due to various issues such as lack of support and security problems in that it can be easily hacked. which means that leads belonging to other companies can be stolen and sold to other rival brokerages” – Nicc Lewis

On region-specific localization

A few months later, Mr Lewis shared his view on how to localize a brokerage and consequently how vendors need to look toward helping brokers localize.

“Retail firms that are looking to move eastward need to focus on one particular country to begin with, hire one local person with extensive knowledge and connections, and from there begin to adapt operationally. The eastern market is much more dominated by IBs and has a very B2B nature, so the first hire with the connections is the most important one and from there the company can expand” said Mr Lewis.

“The difficulties that some companies come across include providing local support and payments. We get asked alot how we can help in certain areas. Customer support is one thing, it need to be local therefore a small investment would be required in order to grow support services, and actually although there is a large dialog about payment channels, the payment segment is relatively simple if in house knowledge exists” said Mr Lewis.

“The more difficult stuff is the technology provision. We invested the hard work in local hosting where it is needed, so a broker can be up and running fairly quickly, and we can explain what to do with regard to website. For example, if a company is going into the Chinese market, it will need to have a site free of all Google and Facebook analytics, and instead the developer would need to put in the Baidu analytics.” 

On going on-exchange

FinanceFeeds has for some time considered that the inevitable move for certain OTC derivatives asset classes is toward exchange traded listed products. This is not only because a listed product range provides access to a very high quality client base, but also gives a good insight into the possibility of expanding a product range to gain a very high quality value propostion.

Mr Lewis was among the first to observe this from a marketing and positioning perspective, and was also among the first in the industry to highlight the opposite direction within Chinese business, which made a substantial switch to OTC derivatives brokerage business via IB networks that send client execution abroad to regulated brokers in Western countries following the closure of local exchanges in southern China by the government.

In the inevitable switch from operating exchanges to operating OTC electronic trading companies, Mr Lewis considers the largest fear among participants is the type of technology that they will now have to use, which differs tremendously from exchange technology.

“The technology for FX brokerages is more complex than that of a regional exchange” said Mr. Lewis. “There is a fear of technology and how to use the technology, especially for organizational matters such as risk management or the management of client assets” he said.

“Another concern is integration to live markets and how to manage relationships with liquidity providers” said Mr. Lewis.

On banks diversifying into the retail FX sector.

Tier 1 banks have been curtailing counterparty credit to OTC derivatives firms recently, to the point at which only a handful of genuine prime  of prime brokerages exist, however they fully realize that this is an efficient business sector which does not require massive real estate costs or continual overheads, and generates tremendous revenue.

Mr Lewis spoke recently to FinanceFeeds on this subject, stating that the banks themselves may well go toward the FX sector on the retail side, rather than worry about extending credit to non-bank entities.

The issues European banks are suffering is just the tip of the iceberg of many problems surfacing in Europe and globally” said Mr. Lewis.

“We are all getting smarter with 24/7 access to information and the ability to make better educated decisions. This also promotes volatility as the effect magnifies trends and people jump on the bandwagon as a result of their research. The effect also diversifies suppliers as consumers or customers are willing to move away from traditional suppliers in search of better value for money” – Nicc Lewis

Mr. Lewis then explained the specific aspects of the FX industry in Europe with regard to the effect this will have. “I believe the Forex industry in Europe will be affected in three ways” he said.

With regard to liquidity provision, Mr. Lewis concluded “Brokers are already looking to diversify their pool of liquidity providers to minimize their exposure and risk; this is a knock-on effect following SNB. It will be interesting to see how willing brokers are to diversify their risk from premium liquidity providers outside Europe”

“The technology is in place to allow for execution from Asia. Brokers should check that execution speed is no higher than 200 ms, and more like 100 ms.”“First, Banks and traditional financial companies will look into diversifying into the retail sector as an extension of the business in order to generate volume and mitigate their decline. Secondly, consumers are becoming more aware than ever of regulation and looking for the trust it brings. This will lead to opportunities for Brokers to build a reputation and business on trust.”

FinanceFeeds wishes Mr Lewis a successful future and can look back on a very memorable few years as a senior figure at Leverate.

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