Galt & Taggart: Leading Brokerage in Georgia

Georgia is the most dynamic economy in the South Caucasus. It was recently listed 24th in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 survey, matching its ranking from 2015. Georgia scored its highest marks in starting a business (6th), registering property (3rd), and getting credit (7th).

A legion of international companies has set up shop in Georgia to capitalize on the country’s business-friendly approach and skilled workforce. There are local success stories as well. JSC Galt & Taggart (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Georgia Holdings PLC) has grown into a Georgian corporate sector leader. The brokerage and investment house was established in 1996 and has played a major role in Georgia’s capital markets for the past two decades – both a beneficiary and contributor to the country’s dynamic economy.

Galt & Taggart Head of Brokerage Goga Melikidze shared some insights on the company’s recent successes with GEORGIA TODAY (including G&T TRADER, the company’s new multi-asset trading platform). He also made a few predictions for 2016. Despite a lot of recent gloom and doom about the Georgian economy, Melikidze sees positive things to come for Georgia and Galt & Taggart over the next year.

Galt & Taggart refers to itself as “the leading brokerage in Georgia.” What role does the company play in Georgia and the region? How is the country’s international reach an asset to its Georgian customers?

Galt & Taggart was established in 1996 and since then G&T has been playing a crucial role in capital market development in Georgia as well as in the region. Galt & Taggart, as a leading investment bank and brokerage house, has participated in many capital market and M&A transactions that have taken place in Georgia. Galt & Taggart customers have always been international investment companies and funds interested in investing in Georgia and other frontier economies.

Goga, please tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Galt & Taggart. What does a typical work day look like for you?

I come very much from a finance and banking background. I joined Galt & Taggart as a financial analyst back in 2005 right after I graduated from the Caucasus School of Business - these days I run the brokerage department.

My typical day starts at 10:00 AM with either a morning catch-up with my colleagues or reviewing the major tasks list for the week. I usually spend the first half of the day on business development activities, and the second half of the day on meetings and dealing with daily tasks.

Could you briefly tell us about G&T TRADER, how it works, and who can use it?

G&T TRADER is indeed the start of an era of investment experience in Georgia and the region. The platform has a very user-friendly interface and provides outstanding intuitiveness for the users. G&T TRADER allows clients to invest in approximately 100,000 different investment instruments (such as Stocks, ETFs, Futures, Options, CFDs, FOREX, etc.) from one single account from any device of any kind - thus, it is very much optimized to all devices. Very importantly, the client can access their accounts in G&T TRADER from anywhere, where there is internet available, via their account credentials.

G&T TRADER’s website calls it the “most intuitive multi-asset platform” and says using it carries “zero capital gain tax.” Could you elaborate on these features?

G&T TRADER is really the most intuitive multi-asset trading platform available in the world these days. We say it is a multi-asset platform because there are up to 100,000 various investment instruments available there. This is an opportunity that has never been available either in Georgia or in the region. Thus, Galt & Taggart is the first company to open a window for local and regional investors for the global financial markets.

Among many other major benefits, the legislation of Georgia is quite investor-friendly. One of the important implications of this is the zero tax on the capital gains of internationally traded securities. This means that any investor who holds and keeps internationally traded securities from Georgia will not pay any capital gain tax whatsoever. This is quite an important point because it makes Georgia a unique investment environment in the world.

Tell us about G&T’s relationship with Saxo Bank.

SAXO Bank is one of the oldest and most unique, and is the leading bank offering online trading services in the world. Therefore, it was an absolute honor and privilege for us to get partnered with SAXO Bank in 2015.

Galt & Taggart and SAXO bank have quite an intense relationship, almost on a daily basis. On the back of the G&T TRADER; the SAXO Bank engine and technical capabilities are used, while on the front side it is entirely managed by Galt & Taggart.

What role does Georgia play in the regional economy, particularly with regards to the trading industry?

Over the past decade, Georgia has been quite a diversified, composed and liberal economy in the region. It has been and continues to be the regional hub from many economic perspectives and, furthermore, the country is indeed the cosmopolitan destination in the region. Georgia has quite favorable investment regulations and environment – zero capital gain tax (on internationally traded securities), no capital controls of any kind, double tax treaties with almost all major economies, zero tax on foreign sourced income, and more. Thus, we think that Georgia will now become the financial hub in the region.

What do you expect 2016 to bring for G&T and for the Georgian economy in general?

I think 2016 will be a quite active and important year for Galt & Taggart and for the Georgian economy as well. 2016 might be a year of many interesting economic reforms and changes which should lead to further economic prosperity and growth.

Joseph Larsen

01 February 2016 19:46