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To compete successfully as a brokerage, it is now less a question of price, and more a question of service. This is the mantra of XTB, a CFD broker that began life in Poland in 2002, and opened for retail business in the UK in 2014. Since then it has trebled its customer base thanks to its focus on innovation and making sure that traders feel they are being properly looked after.

XTB is less well known in the UK, but has already expanded across many key European territories, and is the market leader in its home base of Poland, as well as the Czech Republic and Spain. It has 11 branches across Europe.

“We don’t treat people like a number here, they’re our valued customers,” explains Joshua Raymond, a director with XTB in London. “We offer a more dedicated service, we believe in giving customers a lot more.”

What does “a lot more” look like?

How about a dedicated account manager for each customer, and a highly developed education program that can cater to both novice and advanced traders? This includes hands on workshops with XTB analysts, active trading clubs, and a monthly trading masterclass. This goes beyond static presentations to actual live trading sessions, where XTB clients get to bring their laptops into the office and trade through important market announcements.

“We want to be more open, to deliver more knowledge to our clients,” says Eryk Kopan, who heads up retail sales for the firm’s UK operation.

Some traders may be aware of XTB’s advertising campaign, featuring craggy Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, but Raymond says he really wants to win business on the strength of XTB’s service for traders. The firm sees many traders coming to it who already have one or more accounts with other brokers, and are pleasantly surprised with the high levels of service they can receive from XTB.

Innovation in XTB is in constant supply – Raymond and Kopan aren’t allowed to talk about new projects in the pipeline, but can point to the launch of their new trading platform, X Station 5, which went live in October. Apart from the usual tools one would expect from a first class proprietary trading platform, X Station 5 also turns the spotlight back on the individual trader, with new analytics that allow you to assess your own performance rather than simply assess the markets you trade, for example win/loss ratio.

“We want to empower our clients with more knowledge, not just about the markets, but also about themselves as traders,” says Raymond. “Our customer service can now work hand in hand with our trading platform, helping customers to have a 360 degree picture of their activities.”

Proprietary trading platforms are becoming an increasingly critical part of the overall brokerage offering: traders will stick with a firm that can deliver a trading experience which they are happy with.

Trader engagement

XTB’s mantra is empowerment with knowledge – to this end, traders are able to book one to one sessions with its analysts. Beginners can join its weekly courses in its Canary Wharf offices on the basics of trading. An informal traders’ club meets at XTB on Thursday evenings, with regular guest speakers who come into the office, providing yet further insights on how to be successful.

Beyond this, the firm has now harnessed WhatsApp, with dedicated groups covering specific markets, communication analytics insights to traders. It has to be one of the fastest and most convenient ways of receiving market alerts. XTB doesn’t want to clutter up traders’ in-boxes with unnecessary chatter – alerts are only sent out when there is something important happening that traders need to know about.

Beyond all this, XTB recently picked up an award from Bloomberg for #1 FX Forecaster in 2016, beating out tough competition.

We asked XTB what we can expect from them in 2017 – it looks like 2016 will be a hard year to beat, after all.

“I think you can expect more in the way of trading information and trade notifications,” says Raymond. “We will continue to invest in our education resources for traders. Ultimately, we want to make our clients our biggest advocates.”

Find out more about XTB Online Trading

You can read more about the XTB Online Trading features and services alongside our opinion on their strengths and weaknesses with our in-depth review, here.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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