Arthur Le enjoys the always evolving FX market. He set up his own Asia focused brokerage in 2014 and only wishes he’d done so earlier.
What’s your story?
I’m a native Californian who grew up on both coasts of the US. My first experience in Asia was during university when I spent a semester abroad studying in Japan. It was there that I discovered foreign exchange and the impact it has on my purchasing power. My dollars were worth a lot more Yen when I first arrived than after a few month, in other words, my US dollars had gotten weaker. I decided to do some more research and fell into the world of FX trading. Upon graduation, I landed a job at one of the top FX brokers in the US and eventually moved to Hong Kong in 2009 where I continued leading various FX firms until my partner and I decided to launch our own Asia focused brokerage in 2014.
What excites you most about your industry?
The most exciting aspect of our industry is that it’s always changing and evolving. While other parts of the world have started to mature in growth, we still see immense upside potential in Asia. Just in the past few years, we’ve witnessed the continual growth of sophisticated traders, more efficient trading technology and an overall acceptance of FX as an investable asset class for the retail market. I believe we’re still at the tip of the iceberg and that the market will continue to grow and become more efficient, especially with automated trading.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Besides my Vietnamese background, I had never travelled to Asia before studying abroad at university. Fast forward to 2016, I’ve now been in Hong Kong for 7 years, about to gain permanent residency and I am married with a 1 year old son. In addition, our company is Asia focused and we plan to continue establishing a presence throughout the region. I see myself being connected to Asia in one form or another for the foreseeable future.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. It’s the gateway to China yet still close enough to travel throughout Southeast Asia. For someone like me who needs to travel a lot for work, Hong Kong makes a great hub. For startup companies, Hong Kong is extremely entrepreneur friendly and the government makes it easy to incorporate your own business, all while having favorable tax rates.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t be afraid to fall flat on your face and don’t regret any decisions you make. I’ve always been a risk taker and I think all entrepreneurs have some level of risk appetite. It’s a bold decision to start your own business and inherit all the responsibilities that come along with it. I’ve learned that no business will run perfectly from day 1, but it’s how you handle the challenges and learn from your mistakes that will ultimately make you successful.
Who inspires you?
On a personal level, my grandfather is my hero. He is the most humble, kind hearted, family oriented man I know and yet he has experienced events that I will never experience in my lifetime. My grandfather was a high ranking officer in the military and at one point lead and was literally responsible for the lives of ten thousand soldiers. He has lived through war and bloodshed yet you would never know it when meeting him. Knowing that no matter how many accomplishments I achieve or how successful our company becomes, it will pale in comparison to what my grandfather has lived through. It’s a very humbling feeling and puts life into perspective.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
There are more iterations in a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
My biggest regret is that we didn’t started earlier. The technology for our industry has been around for a few years so starting our business wasn’t contingent on any new technology being developed. I believe timing is an important factor when deciding to start your own business, whether it is the right time personally or timing the market. If you see an opportunity, seize it or someone else will.
How do you unwind?
A glass of wine and watching Netflix with my wife. We’ve recently discovered Suits and try to put aside time during the week to squeeze in a few episodes. My wife is in love with Harvey Specter.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali has always held a special place in my heart. My wife and I got married there and we try to go back at least once a year to visit. The accessibility to the beach and world class restaurants combined with the options of trekking in the forest or visiting the rice patties of Ubud make Bali a truly unique island. Although Bali is continually being developed, there are still places that maintain a remote island charm.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I’ve read dozens of books on developing business strategy, making and assessing important decisions and starting your own business. Eventually many of the lessons start to blend together and overlap from book to book. I think it’s important to remember the reason you decided to go into business in the first place. It’s easy to get caught up in the countless hours of work, pulling all nighters and being glued to your laptop. Whenever work starts to build up and stress levels get high, I am reminded of the lessons learned in Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s a reminder to think about who I’m working for and the importance of individualistic versus popular culture.
Shameless plug for your business:
Juno Markets is an Asia based FX broker focusing on delivering clients an unparalleled trading experience through competitive pricing, ultra low latency execution, and world class customer service. We aim to combine the experience and professionalism of global brokers with the familiarity and comfort of a localised service.
How can people connect with you?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>