Okan Boke, the General Coordinator of ATIG, tells IFM why the company sees big potential in the forex business
July 29, 2015: ATIG Investment and Securities provides professional services, such as Forex and CFD Trading, Equity Trading, Futures and Options Trading, Portfolio Management and Corporate Finance. The forex business has been growing in Turkey since 2011 and ATIG started providing forex services in 2012. In an interview, Okan Boke, the General Coordinator of ATIG, says, “Forex is not something in which you can be successful with luck alone.”
Tell us about the journey of ATIG Investment Securities since it was founded.
We have bene focusing on two parts:
1. the local equity and future business accompanied by the corporate business
2. the rather newly developed forex business
Despite the fierce competition from other investment and brokerage houses, ATIG has worked hard to receive respect in the first part. In the forex business, due to our backgrounds, experience and strong IT department, we are ranked among the top five. The IT expertise coupled with our long experience will take us to the top in forex business in Turkey.
What are your expectations from the forex sector in 2015?
Forex business is very new in Turkey and regulated by the Capital Market Board. The margin or accounts of the investors are held by the Clearing House (Takasbank) of Turkey. That is a very big advantage. Unfortunately, clients are not too successful at trading but if these markets are advertised in a smart and correct manner, we see big potential in the coming years. Turkish people love trading and they want to take risks. Sometimes, they make money, sometimes they lose but the young population of Turkey and desire of trading in Turkey make me think that forex markets have huge potential for Turkish investors. So, it will get bigger and bigger.
What do you think about the course of the forex industry?
Forex industry in Turkey is one of the very few, may be the only one, that is regulated by Capital Market Board (SPK). Of course, it might be regulated all around the world, but the main advantage is that all the accounts of the customers are held at the clearing house of Turkey. That makes investors feel very secure about their investments. That might be the main advantage of the Turkish forex sector and I think this application does not exist anywhere in the world. Therefore, we should be using this advantage. We can only make money if our clients make money. So, they stay in the game and they trade more and more. Looking at the success ratios of individual traders in Turkey, I don’t see too much success in the trades of the customers. We need to educate the people about the risks that they take. For example, if you are making money on a trade, you should not just exit the position immediately, try to wait bit longer and run the profit. I believe that discipline is the main area investors should be educated in.
Could you tell us about your services and activities, investment instruments, your corporate structure and the team you work with?
The team that we are working here with is excellent. We are trying to select people who are fit for the market and can be good team members. When it comes to our investment instruments, we provide customers with every financial asset such as CFDs, ETFs, all kind of currency pairs and we are very active in future trading. We also provide our customers with an online service for 24 hours. We are very active in the local equity business and local future business. In Turkey, lately corporates are trying to borrow from the capital markets by using the corporate bond issues. We have a corporate finance team at ATIG and they are in touch with clients. In the forex market, we are pricing our customers in each and every single currency pair. I think our prices are very competitive. It all comes back to strong IT background. If your IT background is good and the firm is trustable, then you can always be on top.
Please explain the risk and advantages.
I have been active in this sector for 25 years and it is not easy as it seems to make money. You have to be very careful in the market place. You have to watch and analyse all the daily economic and political issues that may have an effect on the pricing. It is not like something that you could trade at a coffee break; it’s more like a full-time business. You have to concentrate on the market, follow and watch everything such as news, daily bullets, political developments. For example, in Turkey, we watched the elections very closely. These kinds of things are very important in trading. If you do not watch these developments, if you have no idea what is going on, there is no way you can be successful. Forex is not something in which you can be successful with luck alone. The most important advantage is that it is a leveraged business. However, this advantage can turn to a disadvantage very quickly if not used properly.
What are your plans and objectives for the coming years?
If you consider that we have been around for only 2.5 years in this market, the position that we have reached right now is very promising, but not enough. There is no limit like “enough” for us. We try to be more and more active with a wider customer base and improve every day. How would we be better? It is probably if we have more happy customers. That should be our aim for the next few years.
How to succeed in the forex sector?
Most important, people need to be educated for whichever sector they are in. Also, they should concentrate on the markets to follow and watch everything, such as news, daily bullets, political developments. It will help them improve their vision in finance. Customers have to be educated and informed all the time about the risks and rewards of the forex market, the equity market or any kind of financial asset class. Therefore, we start to educate our own staff because they have to be face to face or on the phone all day with their clients to help them. Unfortunately, in this market, there is no right and wrong. For example, I have experience of 25 years but do not really know where USD will be tomorrow. We are telling them what kind of data we are expecting. The best you can do is to try to be interactive with your clients, share with them everything that you know, but do not make decisions on their behalf. Decisions should be always made by the customers. We tell them what we expect and they should be making the final decision on their trades.
About Okan Boke
Okan Boke graduated from the Austrian High School in Istanbul. He went to Texas A&M University for undergraduate and graduate degrees. He has a B.S. and M.S in Industrial Engineering. However, his career has been entirely in finance. He started as an option trader at Citibank, New York, before returning to Turkey to work for Citi in Istanbul. He worked for some other banks, including Inter Bank, Korfez Bank, TAIB Bank and TSKB, before moving back to the USA in 2009 to work for a hedge fund in Chicago. The fund was not successful. He quit his job and returned to Turkey. He joined ATIG about a year ago. He has worked in the treasury departments of banks. At ATIG, though his title is General Coordinator, he is more like a big brother trying to help young people solve their problems, do their jobs better and improve themselves.