Understanding the difference between FX industry events


Having just returned from the recent B2B Expo in London and the Money Fair in Shanghai we are now looking back and are discussing the merits of attending these B2B and B2C FX industry events. Unless your budget allows you the freedom to attend all events, it’s prudent to prioritize and to choose those that will best benefit your business.

So, what are the B2B and B2C events, who attends them and what’s the goal(s)?

Typical FX expo attendees include: buy-side funds, institutional and retail FX brokerages, banks and non-bank liquidity providers, binary options brokers, fund managers, IBs, retail investors, money managers, payment processors, marketing and technology providers, and other vendors.

The goals of attending FX events can be many and varied; from collecting leads and qualifying opportunities to increasing your brand’s awareness. Depending of the type of event, and whether you are representing the broker or technology provider, there are numerous goals that you can accomplish. The table below provides some examples.

Event type


+ explore partnership opportunities
+ client retention
+ attend industry panels
+ raise brand awareness
+ arena to launch new product or service

– potential client base is limited
– expensive (travel, sponsorship,  advertising, etc.)
– potential leads may get  confused by all the information they get from all corners
– opportunity cost of being away
– too much competition per sq. foot
– running the risk of having your clients attend the event (to meet with you) and being swayed by your competitors

+ potential client base is bigger than at any other type of events
+ less competition
+ chance to spend more time with the prospect at their booth during quiet time

– may get a lot of business that cannot qualify
– risk of not meeting influencers or decision makers

(Return on investment)
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to determine if an event yields enough new business to justify the cost of participation? Absolutely!

If you represent the institutional side of FX then attending a B2B expo provides a pretty vague ROI. Most of us in business development and marketing will argue that collecting and qualifying leads is the primary objective at all tradeshows, closely followed by brand awareness and client retention.

I am sure that many industry veterans could attest that collecting quality leads at the B2B show could be challenging task, particularly as the event venue is typically filled with your industry peers and, a lot of times, direct or indirect competitors. Regardless, such events are a great way to catch up with the industry trends, learn what your competition is up to, reconnect with the current partners, and brainstorm potential synergies. It’s worth noting, however, that at many of these expos, organizers frequently charge for attendance. Additionally, you need to be ready to incur additional expenses on booking and designing a booth, banners and all the various sponsorships that are usually offered (and required).

On the other hand, if you represent the retail FX broker, B2B expos provide tremendous opportunities for the generation of new business partnerships. The organizers normally incentivize you to attend by offering free entrance to such events. The pool of technology platform and service providers (sell-side) is disproportionally large and you will have plenty of options to choose from.

Besides the obvious concerns such as the impact on your budget, you should ideally ask yourself the following questions and conduct detailed research when choosing which event to attend:

  1. Which region do the exhibitors represent? Are you already operating in, or   planning to expand to that region?
  2. If you are B2B, what is the expected number of exhibitors?
  3. If you are B2C, what is the expected number of attendees?
  4. Talk to the attendees of the previous year’s event. Get their feedback on the quality of the event as well as on any resulting new business.
  5. Get the list of attendees where possible (organizers will often provide it for free or for a small additional cost). Check if any decision-makers you would like to speak with will be there.
  6. Do you speak the language of the region where the event takes place? Make sure you send a Sales Representative who speaks the language of the potential market. If there is no one on the team to cover the region, then the effectiveness of attendance is questionable.
  7. How much of additional exposure can you get through media coverage? Some event organizers have access to popular industry news platforms and might mention your company in their posts and on social media before, during, and after the event.
  8. Can you set up meetings around the expo venue with your other potential clients who happen to be at the same location?

Preparing for these events requires a lot of advanced planning and the first step is always selecting which ones to attend. I realize that everyone is busy with their own day-to-day responsibilities and that it’s often difficult to set aside time to figure this all out. To save time, I’ve prepared some research for you that will hopefully help make this process simpler and less burdensome.

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