We look at the weird names being used by FX brokers

Whatever next, Mate? We look at the weird names being used by FX brokers – Op Ed.

They say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. We take a look at some of the derisory names that have recently cropped up among FX firms, and why making a branding faux pas is the road to obscurity. FXPIG? No thanks. DepahoFX? Bless you.

“My word, what a name!” There couldn’t be a more amusing choice of name than that of new Australian FX firm MateFX.

This would be rather like a retail FX company in California choosing the name DudeFX and displaying a surfboard as its logo. I’m still looking for the inevitable barbecue on the company’s recently established website….

Whilst it may appear to belong in a 1920s music hall, this is actually the name of a new FX firm that has established itself in Australia, its choice of name either being a complete coincidence, or an attempt at leveraging the stereotypical term of endearment commonly in use among Australia’s social scene.

Whether humor sells, or attracts the attention of potential customers is perhaps debatable, as maybe that could be the case with the entertainment industry or other leisure activities, but when electronic trading of the financial markets is concerned, conservatism and professional conduct is paramount.

Whether retail or institutional, this is a somber-suited business dominated by articulate and professional leaders, with attempts at mirth being notable by their absolute absence throughout the entire industry whether the firm is a technology provider or brokerage.

In fact, quite the contrary is the case. Most businesses have very avantgarde and clever names, subtle marketing and evoke modernity, sophistication and, quite rightly, the fact that this business is one of the most technologically advanced and modern industries in the world as the firms across the world rapidly develop tomorrow’s financial markets structure.

MateFX, with its large helping of kitsch, is just the latest in a line of very strange attempts to catch the eye of potential customers by fringe companies.

A company called PriorFX established operations in Cyprus recently, its marketing-led strategy having been the subject of an inquiry as to what prompted this choice of nomenclature by yours truly, to which the answer came in the form of a resounding silence.

Visitors to Larnaca Airport in Cyprus will notice the PriorFX banners adorning the departure lounge, in order that they can digest this information prior to boarding their plane, which could be either on time, or delayed without prior warning, or could be subject to excess baggage charges that could have been avoided if added prior to reserving the flight.

FxGrow is another strange name which is the preserve of a retail brokerage in Cyprus which uses livery and logos that bear more than a passing resemblance to those used by large retail FX brokerage FxPro. Whether FxGrow’s choice of brand design was a deliberate attempt to echo that of FxPro and bask in its shadow is open to interpretation, however whilst FxPro is a fantastic choice of name, FxGrow, er, is perhaps less so.

Perhaps even more perplexing is FxGrow’s company slogan, that is if the name itself hasn’t caused the onlooker to move on already. “Growell Your Trading” is apparently their corporate message. I have been blessed with a reasonably high quality grasp of the English language, but this one is lost on me….. I’m not going to spend very much time scratching my head pondering it, however, as I can take a relatively secure guess that there is no such phrase.

What is a Premier Interchange Gateway? I beg your pardon!

Perhaps the most unappealing and certainly unappetizing name (especially in my case) in use by a retail brand is New Zealand’s FXPIG.

Apparently, PIG stands for Premier Interchange Gateway, what ever on earth that is. Having spent 25 years in the electronic trading industry, with a large proportion of that having been as CEO of a software consultancy providing network architecture and application integration solutions to institutional firms and bank desks, I have never heard of a Premier Interchange Gateway, thus giving way to the possibility that there is no such interface and that PIG indeed refers to an omnivorous seven-toed ungulate.

The clue that perhaps cements this assumption is the large picture of said seven-toed ungulate adorning the company’s website, which is accompanied by some equally non-FX specific cartoon images of what appears to be a 2001 Bentley Continental R coupe, thus:

Capture 2

What?

To add to the ambiguity, FXPIG’s website does not mention the basic functionality of its service, instead the first sentence, in capital letters, being “NO SMOKE AND MIRRORS.” Deciphering the connection between this message, the moniker and FX would likely even confuse the analytical minds of Ernő Rubik, Harry Houdini and Albert Einstein combined.

Capture

Intriguing

Regional preferences and cultural sensitivities are also a very important consideration when working internationally.

A former employee of HotForex today explained to FinanceFeeds that “When I worked in customer support, people from the Asian subcontinent used to call and ask if this was an adult entertainment site, and wondered if there was a letter S missing between the R and the E in Forex.”

This created a sort of lowbrow image within the brand itself, and is a matter worth considering when choosing a name.

Thailand has become a region in South East Asia in which emerging brokerages are now establishing, following in the footsteps of Indonesia which is a focus for many Western brokerages.

In Thailand, new firms have gone to market with names that include the rather unbelievable “Secret 2 Rich”. Not “Secret to Riches” or “Secret to Obtaining Riches” or even “Secret to Becoming Rich”, but quite simply, “Secret 2 Rich” with all of the lack of grammatical correctness, inclusion of numbers in a sentence rather than an equation that this non-sentence represents along with of course the downmarket connotations that would no doubt strike a chord with not only astute retail investors but with liquidity providers and vendors alike.

An interesting exercise would be to contact a prime of prime brokerage in Britain or North America and ask for a Tier 1 bank liquidity feed and counterparty credit line and then explain that the company’s name is “Secret 2 Rich.”  ……… Click. “Hello, Hello.”

A broker with a significant following and a very strong client base which has risen to prominence is Russian owned, Cyprus based EXNESS (yes, capital letters!) which apparently is a diminutive form of “The Exness of Trade.” … The what?

The strange thing is that whilst at best this is mildly amusing and at worst very off-putting for both vendors and clients, getting the marketing and branding right in terms of image and nomenclature is vital, especially in an online business.

Indeed, these brands along with others with banal names such as DepahoFX and Add More Value, all of which are the preserve of George Orwell’s Room 101, have been able to register their domains and gain business facilities.

I am certain that the regulatory authorities in no jurisdiction globally would allow names such as BottomlessPitFX or DownTheWell.com but obscure branding is potentially likely to dent the progress of a company even if the name is not an absolute taboo. Consolidated Online Currency Kingdom, anyone?

In conclusion, it can only be assumed that all of the ‘serious’ or very attractive names that can generate good relationships and attract large mainstream business are now in use, which has led to a form of, her, how can I put this… ‘creativity’, however there is a limit as names such as HonestFX would likely not be taken seriously at all. It is therefore very important and business critical to bear this in mind. QED.

That’s quod erat demonstrandum for those tempted to punctuate an acronym with numbers or spelling errors.

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