XGLOBAL Markets acquires 98 Degrees to set up shop in South Africa

abdelaziz Fathi

Cypriot FX broker XGLOBAL Markets has acquired a 45% stake in South African broker 98 Degrees Alternative Risk (Pty) Ltd. The new business has now been rebranded as XGLOBAL Africa to reflect the new ownership structure.

According to information available on South African regulator’s register, 98 Degrees acts as an OTC derivative provider and therefore is permitted, under regular features of its business, to originate, issue, sell or make a market in OTC derivatives.

A Cypriot based company founded in 2012, X Global Markets Ltd is operating under two brands, XGLOBAL Markets and XGLOBAL Investments. The latter is the investment management arm of X Global. Additionally, the company operates XGLOBAL FX Ltd, which is regulated by VFSC (Vanuatu Financial Services Commission), and holds a ‘Dealer in Securities’ license.

The company was originally licensed by CySEC under the brand name FXRidge Ltd, as a forex broker, and also holds a CIF licence.

Forex brokers in South Africa are overseen by the financial sector conduct authority, FSCA, which approves the platforms that can operate within the jurisdiction. The powerful watchdog handles the issuance of licenses and can sanction companies that violate guidelines of the nation’s dual regulation system.

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XGLOBAL is not alone

XGLOBAL is not the first FX broker to be granted formal permission to operate in South Africa. The country has become a magnet hub for forex companies and executives as many see it as a friendly regulatory environment. In 2021 alone, Pepperstone, Evest, ETX Capital, XTB and Eurotrade have secured their respective licenses in South Africa.

South Africa enjoys a strong and well-organized financial market and therefore has become a popular destination for brokers looking to expand. It is one of the world’s top ten capital markets and boasts thousands of investors. The country itself is a diverse market that is largely devoid of the market saturation seen in other jurisdictions such as Europe.

The country’s resource-rich economy is heavily reliant on financial services and its appeal as a business hub only increases as there are almost no competing financial centers in the south part of the black continent.

Commenting on the news, Samir Dbouk, CEO and major shareholder of XGLOBAL Group, said: “We have been looking into expanding our presence in the African continent for some time. We partnered up with 98 Degrees, and we agreed that XGLOBAL Africa would be a good name that reflects our interest in that region. We have added payment gateways to support that endeavour and remain optimistic that we can bring good change to the way brokers offer services in that region.”

“Our operation in South Africa has been structured in a similar way to our European operations, and we have adapted all compliance procedures to be compatible with the new jurisdictions in which we are now operating in,” added Hadi Zaarour, Chief Operations Office & Head of Compliance & AML, XGLOBAL Markets.

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