Samuel Tay works at Grentone Meta Solutions, a business and technology consultant based in Singapore. They focus on helping stocks and securities brokers to set up their businesses, obtain the necessary financial licences and attract clients.
Samuel, how did you get involved with the Fintech industry?
I started as a Forex broker in 1993, when people were still using phones to trade, since then my professional career evolved around the financial industry. I became an investment manager for a fund in Singapore that was owned by a Forbes 500 billionaire then became a market maker and private client desk dealer for a renowned brokerage.
There I provided sponsored training for several exchanges such as SGX, CME Group, Indonesia’s IDX, FSTEP Malaysia and Bursa Malaysia. I then decided to become an entrepreneur and start my own brokerage when I was holding a position as AVP for an Investment Bank in Malaysia and Singapore.
At the end of 2014, I started my first consultancy office in China, Shenzhen to venture into brokerage. I did a co-venture with my partner to run Esteem Financials Ltd, which was ASIC regulated, and was later developed and became Blackwell Esteem.
In 2017, we decided to put out Blackwell Esteem for sale, as our group of companies already had another preferred jurisdiction chosen by clients. So after this, I decided to retire myself from running brokerages to move into providing solutions for clients.
Through the years, I think I have understood the industry pretty thoroughly to feel competent enough to offer what I am offering at this moment, and the depth in this business is definitely something beyond anyone outside the industry can imagine. It’s a challenging industry, which is also something that I feel I can do well and can bring value to people.
Does Grentone offer training in the actual trading, or just setting up businesses?
Grentone mainly focuses on offering solutions to financial institutions, and in simple words, help set up and build new businesses. However, on a personal basis, and if our schedule is clear from projects, we will try to offer training in actual trading to exchange or central bank supported people.
It is part of consulting I would say, and the majority of colleagues who work with me in Grentone have that competency and ability to provide training in these areas as most of them were previously from my proprietary trading desk.
We also make it a point for people who join us to be familiar enough with the financial markets, understand what trading is all about, and at the same time, to understand tools that could help customers develop their businesses and add value to their trading customers.
Which countries does Grentone operate in?
Grentone Meta Solutions is headquartered in Singapore, and it owns a subsidiary, Greenstone Management Ltd which is domiciled in St Vincent and Grenadines. At the moment we have offices in Singapore and Fujian (China), with another partner office in Turkey.
Our clients are from all over the world; however Grentone’s physical coverage is in Asia. Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand are places where we will pop by frequently to meet up with clients. The support office is in Fujian, so this makes it a lot easier for clients travelling from Hong Kong, Taiwan and within China to meet us.
In our China office, we have a 200 square metres office, a small yard that our colleagues use for practicing boxing, practice golf swings, and al-fresco coffee under a big umbrella. Our Singapore operation is small at this moment, nothing to mention about right now.
What kinds of trading do you help businesses to get involved with?
We have a pretty wide spectrum of offerings. In short, we take care of the start-up process like incorporation, licencing and registrations for the brokerage, exchange, money manager; attain MT4 MT5 or alternative brand’s white label or grey label trading platform; cryptocurrency exchanges platforms; back-office portals such as CRM or Tradersroom; Payment gateway application and integration; setup relationships with Custodian services in order for the broker or money manager to segregate client’s money or assets; KYC/AML screenings for entities who require them; M&A of regulated companies; and ownership transfers of trading platform licences.
These resources and services were built through the duration of operating our solutions business as these are the most frequent wants by our customers.
What kinds of lead generation support does Grentone offer?
As we are very much focused in serving the Asian business community, surprisingly this is seldom a service that our clients will want us to provide. Most people who come to us would already have an idea in mind and be clear about their target market.
However, for customers who require assistance in these areas, we would assess their business model, and make a referral to the right specialists at no cost. Meeting regulatory requirements is a key consideration first when it comes to marketing, then we explore strategies, be it via seminars or talks, participating in exhibitions or fairs, sponsorships, webinars, phone sales, internet sales, website promotion, email, affiliate marketing, create competitions, ICO or others.
We have witnessed different lead generation methods work for different entities, so it depends on their strength and also their focus to only do one thing right first.
Does the company have any plans to expand its operations or services in the near future?
Yes we do, although I am planning for my retirement soon! For the past year, our team has focused on growth in the Pearl River Harbour (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Jiangxi, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Taiwan, Shanghai) region, next year we will look closer into East Asia, and if business in East Asia grow further, we will look at adding more specialists and get a bigger office in Singapore.
Though we are focused on Asia, there are a fair few customers who come from Europe, Australasia, and the Middle East due to many good partners and friends whom I am absolutely grateful to, who have been referred to us during the course of running our business.
That is why in time, I do hope to be able to have offices in these regions so I can have a lame excuse to travel around the world and meet these friends and clients who have supported us in our business.