In the third quarter of 2023 XTB reported a consolidated net profit of PLN 121,1 million compared to PLN 236,2 million a year earlier. Consolidated revenue amounted to PLN 275,7 million (Q3 2022: PLN 391,3 million) and operating expenses amounted to PLN 165,0 million (Q3 2022: 132,5 million). During the period, the Group acquired 67,5 thousand new clients, while the number of active clients amounted to 223,1 thousand compared to 151,7 thousand a year earlier, which is an increase of 47,1% y/y.
In the third quarter of 2023, the Group’s revenues decrease by 29,5% y/y, i.e. from PLN 391,3 million to PLN 275,7 million. This decrease was contributed by a lower profitability per lot of PLN 108, amounting to PLN 137 (Q3 2022: PLN 245). Significant factors determining their level were lower volatility in the financial and commodity markets in the third quarter of 2023, understood as the presence of long and clear trends, compensated in part by an increase in the number of active clients (increase of 47,1% y/y), combined with their high trading activity represented by the number of CFD contracts concluded in lots. Consequently, the transaction volume in CFD instruments amounted to 2 011,5 thousand lots (Q3 2022: 1 594,6 thousand lots).
XTB has a solid foundation in the form of constantly growing client base and the number of active clients. From the beginning of the year, the Group recorded a further record in this area, acquiring 234 704 new clients compared to 145 826 a year earlier, an increase of 60,9%. Similar to the number of new clients, the number of active clients was also a record, increasing by 47,3% y/y, from 224 339 thousand to 330 357.
The priority of the Management Board is to further increase the client base leading to the strengthening of XTB’s global position by reaching the mass client with its product offerings. The ambition of the Management Board in 2023 is to acquire, on average, at least 40-60 thousand new clients per quarter. These activities are supported by a number of initiatives, including the first passive investment product introduced in September 2023, which allows clients to build up to 10 strategies based on ETFs. Each strategy can consist of up to 9 ETFs. Investors have a choice of over 350 exchange traded funds currently available on the xStation 5 platform. The client determines the percentage of each ETF included in the plan.
The product is currently launched in 6 markets: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Portugal, Romania and Italy. It will also be launched in Spain and Poland in the fourth quarter of this year. According to the company, the product is attracting considerable interest despite the lack of significant marketing activity around it.
In addition, from April 2023, XTB will allow you to invest in selected European and non-European markets in company shares and ETFs at a fraction of their price. Fractional shares offer greater flexibility and control over investments. This makes it easier for clients to tailor their investment portfolio to their individual financial goals and risk tolerance.
Following the realized activities, the Group acquired a total of 104,2 thousand new clients in the first quarter of 2023, in the second quarter of this year 63,0 thousand new clients, and more than 67,5 thousand new clients in the third quarter of this year. In turn, 26,3 thousand new clients were acquired in October 2023.
In order to strengthen its market position and global recognition, XTB cooperates with titled athletes who are XTB brand ambassadors. In February 2022, an advertising campaign was introduced featuring titled combat sports athlete, the first Polish woman in the UFC organization and a champion in the organization, as well as three-time world champion in Thai boxing – Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
In September 2022, promotional activities were launched featuring Conor McGregor, another XTB brand ambassador – the Irish mixed martial arts (MMA) and UFC fighter. Conor McGregor is the biggest combat sports star in the world and the highest paid athlete according to a list compiled by Forbes. In addition to being a fighter, Conor is also a successful business person as an investor in number of interesting projects.
Jiří Procházka, a Czech fighter, one of the one of the top MMA fighters, UFC champion, also became the face of XTB brand. This cooperation ended in May 2023.
Iker Casillas, former Real Madrid footballer, considered one of the best goalkeepers of all time, also joined the XTB ambassador team in 2022. He currently serves as deputy general manager of the Real Madrid Foundation.
XTB, thanks to its cooperation with such celebrities as Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Conor McGregor, Jiří Procházka or Iker Casillas, has started to promote the investment solutions it offers, in particular convincing that investing in different types of assets is accessible to everyone, with tools that make it easier to enter the world of investment into the world of investment: through daily market analyses, as well as numerous educational materials.
Looking at XTB’s revenues in terms of the classes of instruments responsible for their creation, it can be seen that commodity based CFDs led the way in the third quarter of 2023. Their share in the structure of revenues on financial instruments reached 47,7%. This is a consequence of high profitability on CFD instruments based on oil, gold and wheat quotes. The second most profitable asset class was CFD instruments based on indices. Their share in the revenue structure in the third quarter of 2023 was 25,4%. The most profitable instruments in this class were CFDs based on the US 100 and the US 500 index. Revenue on CFD instruments based on currencies accounted for 22,2% of total revenue, where the most profitable instruments in this class were CFDs based on the EURUSD, USDJPY and GBPUSD currency pairs.
XTB places great importance on the geographical diversification of revenues, consistently implementing the strategy of building a global brand. The country from which the Group derives more than 20% of revenues each time is Poland, with a share of 20,7% in the third quarter of 2023 (Q3 2022: 49,3%). Due to the overall share in the Group’s revenues, Poland was separated for presentation purposes as the largest market in terms of revenues in the Group. The Group breaks down its revenues by geographic area according to the country of the XTB office in which the client was acquired. The exception is the Middle East region, which also presents revenues from clients from this market acquired by the subsidiary XTB International Ltd. based in Belize.
XTB puts also strong emphasis on diversification of segment revenues. Therefore, the Group develops institutional activities under X Open Hub brand, under which it provides liquidity and technology to other financial institutions, including brokerage houses. Revenues from this segment are subject to significant fluctuations from period to period, analogically to the retail segment, which is typical for the business model adopted by the Group.
The business model used by XTB combines features of the agency model and the market maker model, in which the Company is a party to transactions concluded and initiated by clients. XTB does not engage, in proprietary trading for its own account in anticipation of changes in the price or value of the underlying instruments (so-called proprietary trading).
The hybrid business model used by XTB also uses an agency model. For example, on the majority of trading in CFD instruments based on cryptocurrencies, XTB hedges these transactions with third-party partners, virtually ceasing to be the other party to the transaction (legally, of course, it is still XTB). The Company’s fully automated risk management process limits exposure to market changes and forces it to hedge positions in order to maintain appropriate levels of capital requirements. In addition, XTB executes directly on regulated markets or alternative trading venues all transactions in shares and ETFs and CFDs instruments based on these assets. XTB is not a market maker for this class of instruments.
It is inherent in XTB’s business model that revenues are highly volatile from period to period. Operating results are affected primarily by: (i) volatility on financial and commodity markets; (ii) the number of active clients; (iii) the volume of their transactions in financial instruments; (iv) general market, geopolitical and economic; (v) competition in the FX/CFD market and (vi) the regulatory environment.
As a general rule, the Group’s revenues are positively affected by higher activity in the financial and commodity markets due to the fact that in such periods see higher levels of trading by the Group’s clients and higher profitability per lot. Periods of clear and long market trends are favourable for the Company and it is at such times it achieves the highest revenues. Therefore, the high activity of the financial and commodities markets generally leads to increased trading volume on the Group’s trading platforms. Conversely, a decrease in this activity and the related decrease in trading activity of the Group’s clients generally leads to a decrease in the Group’s operating income. Accordingly, the Group’s operating income and profitability may decline during periods of low activity in the financial and commodity markets. In addition, a more predictable trend may emerge in which the market moves in a limited price range. This leads to market trends that can be predicted with a higher probability than in the case of larger directional movements in the markets, which creates favourable conditions for trading within a narrow market range (range trading). In this case, a higher number of profitable trades are observed for clients, leading to a reduction in the Group’s market making result.
In the third quarter of 2023 operating expenses amounted to PLN 165,0 million and were higher PLN 32,4 million to the same period a year earlier (Q3 2022 r.: PLN 132,5 million). The most significant changes occurred in:
• costs of salaries and employee benefits, an increase of PLN 14,7 million mainly due to the increase in employment;
• marketing costs, an increase of PLN 10,0 million mainly due to higher expenditures on marketing online and offline campaigns;
• other external services, an increase by PLN 2,8 million as a result of mainly higher expenditure on: (i) legal and advisory services (increase by PLN 1,6 million y/y); (ii) IT systems and licenses (increase by PLN 1,0 million y/y).
In q/q terms, operating costs increased by PLN 7,6 million mainly due to PLN 3,8 million higher offline marketing expenses and PLN 2,3 million higher salary and employee benefits expenses, mainly resulting from an increase in employment, as well as 0,7 million higher commission expenses resulting from higher amounts paid to payment service providers through which clients deposit their funds on transaction accounts.
As a result of XTB’s rapid growth, the Board estimates that total operating expenses in 2023 could be as much as a quarter higher than what we saw in 2022. The Management Board’s priority is to further increase the client base and build a global brand. As a consequence of the ongoing activities, marketing expenditure may increase by less than a fifth compared to last year.
The final level of operating expenses will depend, in particular, on the rate of employment growth and the amount of variable remuneration paid to employees, on the level of marketing expenses, on the rate of geographical expansion into new markets and on the impact of possible new regulations and other external factors on the level of revenues generated by the Group.
The level of marketing expenses will depend on an assessment of its impact on the Group’s performance and profitability, the pace of overseas expansion and the degree of client responsiveness to the actions undertaken. Employment growth in the Group will be contributed by its dynamic growth, both in existing and new markets. In turn, variable remuneration components will be influenced by the Group’s performance.
XTB’s dividend policy assumes that the Management Board recommends to the General Meeting of Shareholders the payment of dividend in the amount which takes into account the level of net profit presented in the Company’s standalone annual financial statements and a number of various factors concerning to the Company, including the prospects for further operations, future profits, cash requirements, financial situation, the level of capital adequacy ratios, expansion plans, legal requirements in this respect as well as FSA guidelines. In particular, the Management Board will be guided by the need to ensure an adequate level of the Company’s capital adequacy ratios and the capital required for the Group’s growth when making its dividends payment proposals.
The Management Board reiterates that its intention is to recommend the General Meeting in the future to adopt resolutions on the payment of dividend, taking into account the factors indicated above, in an amount ranging from 50% to 100% of the Company’s standalone net profit for a given financial year. The standalone net profit for the nine-months period of 2023 amounted to 540,6 million.
The levels of the total capital ratio (IFR) of XTB on individual days in Q1-Q3 2023 are presented in the chart below.
At the end of the third quarter of this year the total capital ratio in the Company amounted to 174,2%. The total capital ratio informs about the ratio of own funds to risk-weighted assets, in other words, it shows whether the brokerage house is able to cover the minimum capital requirement for market, credit, operational and other risks with its own funds.
Cash and cash equivalents
XTB invests part of its cash in bank deposits and in financial instruments with a 0% risk weight, i.e. in treasury bonds and bonds guaranteed by the State Treasury. As at September 30, 2023 the total value of own cash and bonds in the XTB Group was PLN 1 629,1 million, which PLN 1 236,4 million was cash and PLN 392,7 million for bonds.