Interview with Francis Lee, CEO and Head of Asia Pacific at ADS Securities

By Gary Lam

Post on 04/01/2018


Francis Lee

CEO and Head of Asia Pacific at ADS Securities

Leadership Philosophy

Success in business is only achieved through team work. So as a coach I want to be able to help and guide people to allow them to achieve their goals.

Asia CEO Community

ACC: Please tell us about the company and the services you offer?

FL:  ADS Securities Hong Kong Limited (ADS HK) provides the latest, state-of-the-art Forex trading platform which is available on desktop and through a mobile application. It allows traders to keep in touch with the markets and trade, when they want wherever they are. ADS HK’s parent company, ADS Securities LLC, is based in Abu Dhabi in the UAE and is a full service investment firm offering global FX and trading solutions. It is known for its investment in trading technology and its high level of capitalization which gives security to its clients. The company works with a range of companies from banks through to investment houses offering high quality execution, very competitive pricing and great support. On a daily basis trillions of dollars are traded on the world’s currency markets and ADS Securities provides entities based in the region the opportunity to use FX as a way of generating revenue, hedging exposure to any currency and to manage their day-to-day trading requirements. ADS HK is regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (CE No: AXC847) to act as a financial intermediary in the conduct of brokerage business for the sale and purchase of Securities, Futures Contract, Leveraged Foreign Exchange and Advising on Corporate Finance as permitted in accordance with the Securities and Futures Ordinance of Hong Kong.

ACC: Could you share with us how do you achieve today’s success? 

FL: Any CEO will tell you that if you do not innovate your business will fail. This is certainly very true of the financial services sector. We need to always look to adapt and develop our services to remain competitive. For ADS HK we are focused on two main areas, regulation and technology. These are the drivers of change within our industry and we must always look at the way we provide our services based on the changes which are taking placed in these areas. Following the global financial crisis of 2008 central banks introduced tighter regulation to protect traders. We fully support this approach, but it is our job to provide the best possible services, within the scope of the regulations, which give our clients the tools they need to manage their investments. The way that we do this is through the development of proprietary technology which provides the support and the products that our clients are looking for. The latest generation of technology offers the visibility and reporting traders need to be able to manage risk and also provides the transparency which regulators require. So, for ADS HK, the way to maintain sustainable growth and grow our market share is through investment in technology, strict adherence to regulations and a focus on innovation.

ACC: What is your philosophy in management? 

FL: I am a people person, so believe that if you bring in the right people – talented, professional and enthusiastic people – that a business will do well. My role is, with the management team, to set the strategy and agree the numbers and the targets, but these will never be met if you do not have the right people in place. You need a team which understands what you are trying to achieve and which is motivated to make this happen. Over the years I have been lucky enough to be involved with some great teams of people and they have delivered fantastic work, but they need to see someone in charge who is a motivated as they are. So if I have a management philosophy, it is to lead by example and give employees and colleagues the opportunity to be the very best that they can be.

ACC: How would you describe your leadership style?

FL: I would like to think that my leadership style is that of a coach. Success in business is only achieved through team work so as a coach I want to be able to help and guide people to allow them to achieve their goals. But, to meet all the goals that the Board, I also need to be create a team which is much better, and achieves much more, than the individuals can on their own. To use a sporting analogy, my idea of a good leader is a football manager. You need to be able to buy-in the stars, the people who can make a difference, but you also need to be an Alex Ferguson, and develop your own people, and make them into stars. And, if you create a team out of all of these parts, you will succeed.

ACC: What is the company’s direction in coming 3 years?

FL: The financial services industry is always evolving and at the moment we could potentially be at a point of great change within the industry. There has been a lot of talk about of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. This tends to polarize views but a number of very smart people have realized that ‘blockchain’, the system at the heart of cryptocurrencies, has the potential to revolutionize the financial services sector and create a system that could gave have a level of impact on investing which we have not seen in the last 50 years. At ADS Securities we will continue to develop our products and services and provide the support that our clients need, but I think in the next three years we will start to see the real significance of blockchain technology coming into effect and I would like to think that we may be part of this next stage in the development of the financial services sector.

ACC: Thank you Francis!! Happy New Year to you!

About Francis

Mr. Francis Lee

Francis is a forex, derivatives and risk management expert. Prior to joining ADS Securities, he served as Managing Director and Regional Head for Greater China at Saxo Bank, and as Managing Director for FXCM Asia. Francis is widely recognized as the pioneer for the forex business in Asia, having set the industry standard for the regional institutional and retail trading business.


Francis is also a published academic, author and commentator on foreign exchange markets, and remains a guest lecturer at the Department of Economic at Fu Jen Catholic University, his alma mater. He completed his post-graduate studies in Visual Communication at the Pratt Institute in New York, and earned his masters of business administration from Lubin Business School at Pace University. Since 2009, Mr Lee has been a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.


The ASIA CEO COMMUNITY Interview Series is a fun Question and Answer style interview which we really enjoy doing with business leaders. The purpose of our interview is to get insight into two areas … one – business leaders ideas on managing their companies and two – insights into the methods and philosophy that make these leaders successful.


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