Movers & Shakers: Pavel Khizhnyak is a tour de force in China
2016 heralded a new era of innovation, and in the fast-moving FX industry, those at the cutting edge who are not content with simply going through the motions and emulating their peers before heading home at the end of the working day will likely reveal yet more industry-changing developments. To give an insight into the […]
2016 heralded a new era of innovation, and in the fast-moving FX industry, those at the cutting edge who are not content with simply going through the motions and emulating their peers before heading home at the end of the working day will likely reveal yet more industry-changing developments.
To give an insight into the personality, charisma and just what makes such things happen, FinanceFeeds met with some of the movers and shakers of the industry for an open and casual discussion on what the industry is likely to look like, with a splash of comedy for those who appreciate.
In this edition, Pavel Khizhnyak, Founder & CEO TradeExact Consulting Inc. reveals his expertise in what is widely considered to be the golden egg of the retail FX industry – taking brokerages successfully into Mainland China.
I’ve been in the FX for 10+ years now, so by now the industry has turned into a circle of friends and business partners. I am the founder and CEO of Trade Exact Consulting, New York based management consultancy firm that helps brokers enter and grow their business in China. A Russian guy, living in US – working with China market? Why not?)
My career path has been quite an exciting journey so far. In 2005 after getting my bachelor’s degree in Oriental Studies and International Affairs in Russia and consequently my MBA in project management, I came across an exciting and challenging job opportunity to lead the market entry of the largest Russian retail FX broker into China.
This was truly unheard of at the time, because for the most part the only commodity Russian businesses succeeded in selling to China were natural resources. There were very few western companies present in China at the time let along working directly with the local retail consumers. I decided to give it a try and gave myself 6 months to complete the project.
Needless to say, that after we launched our services in China in 6 months I was too involved in the process to just walk away from it and wanted to see it grow. That’s how my FX career has started.
Two years later, the company moved me to newly opened New York office to help grow our start-up operations there. In my 10+ years working for Forex Club, I was always connected to China supervising or directly managing our operations there.
I held many different positions from China Regional Head to Asia Marketing Director, Global Head of Partnerships and Member of the Management Board. During that time, I couldn’t help but notice how major FX and binary options brands struggle while trying to penetrate into Chinese market, making same mistakes over and over again regardless of their size, background or regulation.
After we successfully built up the market presence for my previous broker in China, I decided that it’s time to scale this business, leverage the experience, network and local market insights gained over the years. This is how Trade Exact Consulting Inc. was born in 2013.
With the largest internet population, smartphone users base and stock market traders, there hardly is any broker that doesn’t have China market on it’s global expansion map. Yet, China remains hidden behind the Great Internet Firewall, non-transparent regulation and most importantly – a completely different culture that westerns often fail to understand.
Trade Exact company moto reflects main idea behind the business – Chinese Markets Simplified. In essence, we help bridge the gap between western broker mentality and business approach with Chinese market realities, ease the market entry, which ultimately saves our clients dozens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way. Trade Exact focuses on helping brokers, technology providers and other financial institutions succeed in China – be that a first market entry or an already established Chinese operations that hit a growth ceiling.
I worked 5+ years on Wall Street, so I am quite familiar with the business approach top brokers employ when it comes to expanding into new markets. Unlike some local Chinese companies that offer basic market entry services, we take it a step further. We speak the same lingo with our clients and know how to meet and exceed their expectations on every stage of market expansion.
OK, so nobody is perfect. What is the biggest thing you can improve on from last year?
Being a small fast growing company, the main priority at this stage is staying focused on our core products and services and earning a solid market reputation. We plan to achieve that by further expanding our service line offerings, refine our provider network and grow our team on the ground in China.
Funniest thing/ incident that happened in the office? Any cringe / epic fail moments?
There have definitely been many funny and some sad stories throughout my career. Here is a funny one that falls into the “lost in translation” category. A few years back we launched new service levels for our Chinese clients (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond). A couple days after we released the newly translated Chinese service level page, we received a curious call from confused client who didn’t understand why we called the premium account package “Brick Account”.
Quick website scan revealed a typo – instead of the character “Diamond” (钻石)a character “Brick” (砖石) was used. Turned out we were selling “brick packages” for $50,000 for a few days Another good one when we received withdrawal request in a form of video file from one Russian bodybuilder. Apparently he thought that the visual effects would demonstrate the urgency of the matter. Needless to say, wire was promptly processed
A not so funny story was when we lost $500,000 in a matter of 2 weeks from 2 Hong Kong based Chinese payment systems. One day they probably decided that they have made enough money and simply closed shop and were nowhere to be found. All our subsequent attempts to recover the funds didn’t yield anything but frustration. That was the most expensive lesson we learned about China.
If we are sitting here in one year from now discussing what you as a company have achieved in 2016, what do you hope to be the big achievements?
Although we can’t reveal any specifics about our plans, I do hope to be able to say that we were the first to offer at least 2 unique and exclusive new services for the forex brokers in China this year.
If your company morphed into a super-hero or animal in 2016; what would it be?
Despite the stressful schedule, we try to remain humans But if all else fails – how about a unicorn-panda?