Open conversation with OANDA’s new APAC CEO Kazuaki Takabatake: Delving deep into news, trading, modernity, Expedia and Tesla
“I’m looking forward to continuing OANDA’s legacy of innovation and being a driver of the continued disruption across markets where traders rely on their platform as a partner to support their trading strategies” – Kazuaki Takabatake.
June this year was a very poignant month for technology-led electronic trading company OANDA Corporation, as its Asia Pacific division, based in Singapore, gained a new CEO, in the form of Former Saxo Bank senior executive Kazuaki Takabatake.
Mr. Takabatake, whose career spans far and wide, is a highly experienced and urbane electronic trading industry leader.
Following in the footsteps of the previous APAC CEO, Rajesh Yohannan, a very high level path is ahead of him. Prior to joining AxiTrader in June, Mr. Yohannan was Managing Director and CEO of OANDA Corporation’s Asia Pacific operations, based in Singapore, a position that he held for three years.
He is a fine ambassador for OANDA Corporation, standing out the high quality of leaders that the company both produces and appoints.
Today, we speak in detail to Mr. Takabatake, who gives a great account of how the future will look for OANDA’s APAC division.
OANDA has been a voice in top-level industry conferences globally, often putting very incisive points across. Is this a direction that you would like to follow and build on, especially given your extensive understanding of electronic trading in the APAC region?
Essentially yes, as an organisation OANDA will continue to offer an opinion on the markets, leveraging our reputation as a trusted source of market commentary for leading publishers throughout the region and hopefully further gaining credibility in terms of providing colour for our clients.
With this in mind, we’re looking to bring a new Asia Pacific spokesperson on board in the not too distant future with a view to increasing the regularity with which we update clients and the media about recent developments in the markets.
This spokesperson will also be a regular contributor to our OANDA |MarketPulse news site, which provides timely and relevant commentary on the major macroeconomic trends, technical analysis, and worldwide events that impact a wide range of asset classes.
Established in 2006 by a team of securities analysts, OANDA | MarketPulse publishes insightful commentary on a daily basis, offering round-the-clock coverage of the world’s largest financial markets.
Joining OANDA as CEO for APAC brings your experience and a technology-focused background with proprietary systems. How does this transfer into the FX sector in terms of leadership qualities?
During the course of my career, I’ve gone from being a trader to a FinTech vendor to working in the capital markets sector, which perfectly positions me for a role with a global leader in online trading services such as OANDA.
And while the firm’s FX business has seen tremendous growth over the last three years, increasing our active client base within the region by 100 percent, there is further room to solidify our brand across a much wider range of asset classes including indices, bonds, commodities and precious metals.
As such, in the coming years we’ll be looking to change public opinion that OANDA is an FX provider, establishing our reputation as a multi-asset trading company that is well positioned to serve high-net-worth individuals.
Bullion is a very popular instrument in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. From two years at Allocated Bullion Solutions as CCO, do you think this is something that you can tailor OANDA’s services toward in Hong Kong?
Our clients can already trade gold with OANDA as a contract for difference (CFD), which have become increasingly popular with retail traders in recent years, due in large to the advent of web-based trading engines such as OANDA’s award-winning platform. CFDs are a derivative that allows retail investors to trade on the price movements of asset classes such as gold, commodities, bonds and indices without the need to physically own them.
This means that traders can significantly reduce the costs associated with ownership and makes them an attractive choice for either diversifying investment portfolios or hedging current holdings to better manage overall market exposure.
What lies ahead at OANDA for further penetration into Asia, and how does the team in Singapore view the important steps that the company needs to accomplish over the next year?
As a team, we remain dedicated in our pursuit of the OANDA growth story across Asia Pacific, however we are also looking to introduce a paradigm shift in the way we are perceived in the market. As a matter of public perception OANDA is typically viewed as a retail FX house, however in reality we provide a range of multi-asset trading services to a wide range of clients and would like to further build our brand as a trusted financial institution in the years to come.
Hong Kong and Singapore are the world’s third and fourth largest financial centres, with Singapore being Asia’s number one institutional and interbank FX sector. OANDA’s ability to integrate into local bank systems to provide OTC trading facilities to bank customers and the recent speculation that OANDA Corporation may look toward becoming a bank stands it in good stead to go into that sector. Is this something that is forthcoming?
I wouldn’t like to speculate on whether OANDA has ambitions to be a bank, however we already have a presence in this arena, and while OANDA’s trading platform is very much a retail product, we also white label the system for banking clients around the world.
We also serve a host of corporate and institutional clients around the globe, and today the company is trusted by some of the world’s leading audit firms, taxation authorities and companies, all of whom turn to OANDA Rates® as the globally recognised standard for accurate exchange rates data.
And while we currently count global brands such as Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, Twitter, Tesla, Expedia and Airbnb among our clients, we are also investing heavily in ensuring small to mid-cap corporates are able to benefit from our FX data as they expand their operations.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your career so far, and what are you looking forward to at OANDA?
Being able to have a front row seat as the APAC financial community shows what is possible with the right technology and platforms has been tremendous.
I’m looking forward to continuing OANDA’s legacy of innovation and being a driver of the continued disruption across markets where traders rely on their platform as a partner to support their trading strategies. OANDA is a technology company at its core and I look forward to being a part of discovering new and better ways to leverage that technology and empower traders to better execute their trading.