Sireau: Fixed Odds Trading (also known as fixed odds financial betting) is an innovative concept whereby you can speculate on the movement of the financial markets safe in the knowledge that your losses are limited to your premium, i.e. the price you pay for the bet. This service offers you the ability to customize your own betting terms by entering expiry dates and barrier levels into the web site, which will then calculate the payouts of your bets in real-time.
Financial-Spread-Betting: Mr. Sireau, please tell us a little about yourself.
Since I was 11 years old, I have had a fascination with both computers and the financial markets. This interest led me to develop my own technical analysis software, and in 1990 I was awarded the Jacques Douce Prize for young entrepreneurs by the French Prime Minister.
In 1992, when I was 21, I moved to Hong Kong to work on the currency-trading desk at Credit Commerciale. The following year I created my own fund management firm - Fortitude Fund Management Ltd - where I specialized in dealing exotic options. Through this I developed the specific knowledge that was to become central to the Binary.com (previously known as Betonmarkets) venture.
Financial-Spread-Betting: So how did Binary.com come about?
"I founded the Regent Markets Group in 1999. My vision was to create a market in the most simple of all derivatives contracts; the fixed-odds bet (fixed odds trade) - and to offer such bets in small sizes to ordinary investors worldwide.
During the period 1998-2000, I worked extensively, in collaboration with a number of very talented financial mathematicians, to develop the systems, methods and algorithms that were necessary to the implementation of the fixed odds financial betting system (trading system)."
The Regent Markets Group venture received a significant boost in October 1999 when Regent Pacific Group Ltd. (www.regentpac.com) invested US$2 million capital into the venture and committed to a supplemental USD$2 million loan.
Fixed-Odds Capital (Malta) Ltd [now known as Regent Markets Capital (Malta) Ltd] was incorporated, in Malta, at the end of 2000 and our flagship website, Betonmarkets (now Binary.com), went live in April of 2001. This has been translated into Chinese in March 2002 at www.Betonmarkets.com for users in Asia. Sireau explains: "This is our Asian version of the site and has been translated into simplified and traditional Chinese for the Asian audience. In China the number eight is associated with luck so we thought it would be appropriate to use it since it would appeal to the Asian community."
Financial-Spread-Betting: Two million dollars? How did you pull it off?
Sireau: "The success of my fund management company in Hong Kong had already put me in contact with Jim Mellon - MD of Regent Pacific Group, so then it was simply a question of sounding him out directly about this new proposal."
Financial-Spread-Betting: Where exactly is your business located?
Sireau: www.Betonmarkets.com is operated by Fixed-Odds Capital (Malta) Ltd [now known as Regent Markets Capital (Malta) Ltd] (a company incorporated in Malta) and operates under a Maltese betting office license."
Financial-Spread-Betting: Why did you choose Malta as a base jurisdiction?
Sireau: Malta is a great jurisdiction and one which has recently been targeting a number of internet betting companies by offering them betting office licenses with generous levels of betting duty. This, combined with Malta's convenient location and well-educated work force, made it the appropriate choice for us.
Financial-Spread-Betting: What exactly is "Fixed-Odds Financial Betting (fixed odds financial trading) "?
Fixed Odds Trading (fixed odds financial betting) marks the most recent and, possibly, most radical revolution in the worlds of finance and betting. For the smaller investor traditional methods of betting on the financial markets have been restricted to intraday trading or financial spread betting.
Both of these options are risky in that they place only limited restrictions on the maximum you can lose. Binary.com is exciting in that it actually allows you to buy fixed odds trades on market movements in the same way you would buy a bet on a sporting event. For example you can buy a bet, for USD45, that will pay USD250 if the Dow Jones rises above a certain level, or another bet to win GBP1000 if the USD/JPY exchange rate closes between two specified values on a certain date.
www.Betonmarkets.com allows clients to buy bets on the movements of stocks, indices and foreign currencies. And to guarantee that there is a bet type for every potential market strategy we have a huge range of bet types, from the simple Double-Ups/Double-Downs and Bull/Bear bets, to the Barrier range and Double Touch bets. Furthermore, we even let you sell bets back to us, before expiry, at their present value.
Financial-Spread-Betting: Can you tell us more about your marketing efforts?
Much of our marketing efforts are directed towards online placement in search engines and the like, but we are also doing an increasing amount of direct mail advertising and key placement on financial related websites. We also focus on affiliate based marketing as it guarantees us a return on our marketing dollar. And finally we rely heavily on word of mouth.
This spring we will focus more on "offline" advertising ventures, as we are fairly comfortable with our online presence. We will likely take on several key ad buys in investor's magazines and the like.
Financial-Spread-Betting: What about the software that runs the site, how do you update the technology?
Our software, in my opinion, is the best in the entire industry. For one, we aren't using antiquated technology. Our software runs on an apache, Linux platform, whereas much of the industry is using NT. In addition, our entire software platform is browser-based, and has features entirely unique to our operation.
Secondly, our software is simply easier to use and faster than the rest. We tout ourselves as being the fastest from "pick to click" and challenge anyone to find a faster website with a more intuitive interface. Also, because our software is proprietary, it is unique and fully customizable, therefore we are able to adapt and change to meet our customer's demands.
Financial-Spread-Betting: Which country have you gained the most success overall in terms of turnover?
Sireau: We are enjoying robust growth with over 600 new registrations every month and the UK being by far the dominant market. More than 200,000 bets (contracts) are sold every month and the number of deals struck every month is increasing at an ever-accelerating rate as more clients discover the attractiveness and flexibility offered by fixed odds financial betting (fixed odds financial trading).
Financial-Spread-Betting: Which is the most popular fixed odds trading product (fixed odds financial betting products)?
Our intraday plays (intraday up and intraday down) and run bets are understandably very popular with our clients:
Intraday Double Up's and Intraday Double Down's bets let you play a market move between two given hourly times during the day. You will have the ability to set the starting hour of the bet and the ending hour of the bet, and you will win 2 times your stake (minus our small commission) if the market follows your prediction.
The Run Bets are over in the space of less than a minute; so you can make money in seconds.
Financial-Spread-Betting: Any remarkable incident/ trade that happened in 2003 you could share with us?
Sireau: Well, if you can call it an incident! We have found out that our products appeal very much to Indonesians and have virtually penetrated this market through no marketing efforts of our own. Word of mouth has worked wonders for us!
Financial-Spread-Betting: How do you see Regent Markets Group today?
Sireau: Today, Regent Markets Group Ltd. is a global corporation with operations in several jurisdictions, and has become the industry leader in the offering of structured financial bets. The Regent Markets Group operates in several jurisdictions via wholly-owned subsidiaries or partners, in countries as diverse as the UK (www.betonmarkets.co.uk), Malta (www.binary.com (formerly betonmarkets), and Malaysia where our research and development takes place.
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