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Addressing the Challenges of the Trading Industry: A Conversation with Tony Lim of IG Asia

IG Asia’s CEO and Managing Director Tony Lim talks about education and content as strong business pillars for the company.

In the fast-paced world of trading, it's crucial to have an expert who understands the dynamics of the market and can navigate its intricacies. Tony Lim, the CEO/Managing Director of IG Asia, brings with him a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success.

As the regional arm of an award-winning trading platform and the world's top provider of CFD and forex, IG Asia has firmly established itself as a leader in the field. Under Lim's leadership since 2015, the company has experienced remarkable growth, doubling its headcount and expanding its business by more than two times.

Lim has nearly three decades of experience in the financial services sector, including 15 years in leadership roles. Prior to his tenure at IG Asia, he served as the Head of Retail Client Trading Services and Co-Head of the Private Client Group at Saxo Capital, where he achieved record revenue targets and successfully managed high-value client relationships. Prior to that, in 1994, Lim was in the trading pits of the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX), where he gained invaluable firsthand experience alongside industry heavyweights.

Singapore Business Review had the opportunity to speak with Lim about the evolution of the trading industry from his perspective, IG Asia's history and philosophy, as well as the company's plans for the future.

Ignore Hype, Focus on the Basics

Given his decades-long experience in the financial services industry, Lim has seen it move from the traditional analogue trading process to digitisation. Retail clients today can now access complex and sophisticated financial products that were once only available to institutional or corporate clients. Additionally, the trading industry has moved to zero commissions and lowered fee structures for clients.

“It is a race to the bottom, and players would need to find ways to make up for the revenue whilst making sure that the client’s interest isn’t compromised,” he noted.

Lim had also seen the history and growth of IG Asia. The company, established in Singapore in July 2005, has grown from a company of 10 to over 50 and has become the market leader in the CFD and FX sectors over the past 10 years.

With its client-centric approach, IG Asia experiences success thanks to a loyal client base and dedicated staff who serve as its greatest ambassadors.

Through the years, the organisation’s philosophy has remained the same: to power the pursuit of financial freedom for the ambitious by offering clients innovative, market-leading technology, platforms, products, exchanges, and educational resources. This, in turn, will ensure that every interaction they have with the IG brand is inspiringly positive.

Lim noted that amidst the pandemic, IG Asia saw a huge increase in new clients who were jumping in to take advantage of rare black swan events. Whilst there were some success stories that came out of these events, he pointed out that many traders stopped trading post-pandemic because of losses.

Following this, IG launched the new campaign slogan “Where Traders are Made” in hopes of cutting through the chaos and encouraging traders to stay calm in the midst of the storm.

Lim highlighted the campaign’s simple message: “Ignore the hype and focus on the basics of trading, like technical analysis, having a growth mindset, and tons of learning.”

“At IG, we recognise that there are no shortcuts to being a great trader, and we’ll be there to support every step of this journey with our comprehensive tools and resources accessible for any aspiring traders looking to hone their skills,” he said.

Education and Mindset of a Good Trader

The trading industry is no stranger to challenges, and macroeconomic factors have recently painted a gloomy outlook for the markets. Rising costs and inflation have prompted many to reevaluate their finances. Being a good trader comes with the knowledge that a volatile market can be a place for opportunities, and with the proper education and mindset, a trader can turn bad conditions into a good trade.

One significant misconception about bear markets or recessions is that they inevitably lead to losses and despair. However, IG Asia's products enable clients to trade bidirectionally, offering a unique advantage over traditional markets. Whilst traditional markets only allow profits from buying low and selling high, IG Asia's clients can profit by selling short at the market's peak or during downtrends.

This bidirectional trading approach allows clients to capitalize on market volatility, selling high and buying low, even in a southbound market.

It is for these scenarios that IG Asia understands the importance of education and content as part of their business strategy, as they empower traders to be successful.

“It is important that we make sure IG’s content and technical knowledge enable clients to build the confidence they need to make the choices right for them and inspire them to act,” Lim stressed.

The company delivers daily content on various financial instruments to its clients. Its content offerings, made by its global team of over 30, include long- and short-form videos on social channels as well.

Embrace Diversification and Sustainability Moving Forward

Looking ahead, IG Asia has a growth strategy focused on diversification in the business, by building a diversified product that is sustainable and leveraging on the company’s strong foundations via organic and inorganic growth.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the ever-evolving trading landscape, IG Asia believes that product education, timely market information, and customised content delivery are several ways to improve the value and enhance the trading experience. Additionally, IG Asia further explores short-form videos and trading content on social channels to engage and retain its community.

A lot of promising improvements are expected to take place for trading in the near future, as it is set to embrace scalable IT solutions, predictive artificial intelligence, and round-the-clock access to various financial instruments. Along with this, market players will introduce more innovative products that are easily accessible at one's fingertips.

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