LeapRate interview… Alex Pusco, founder and CEO of ActivTrades, sat down with us to discuss the company’s 20 year anniversary, market insights and further enhancing its product offering.
Alex Pusco’s career started as a personal broker for high-net-worth individuals, using the internet to expand his client base. This path led to the creation of one Europe’s first online trading platforms – ActivTrades.
The Swiss entrepreneur moved the sales hub of ActivTrades to London in 2005. The company initially specialised in forex but has gradually expanded its range of products so that it now offers more than 1000 CFD or Spread Betting instruments across Forex, Indices, Shares, Commodities, Financials and ETFs. ActivTrades also provide services to institutions looking for support for their portfolio managers and to independent brokers, as well as technology allowing clients to trade via their smartphones.
Today ActivTrades serves clients in more than 140 countries and offers MetaTrader, enhanced with Smart Tools and its own fully-featured platform ActivTrader. Headquartered in London, the company has offices in Milan, Nassau, Sofia and Luxembourg.
LR: Last time you were LeapRate’s guest, ActivTrades expected record revenue for the first half of the year. (that was back in June 2020). What has changed in the company since then?
Alex: We’re delighted to report that the promising first half of the year continued so that 2020 saw record profit and turnover for ActivTrades, quite a way to celebrate our 20th anniversary!
LR: ActivTrades kickstarted the year with zero commission on a range of shares, no overnight swap rate charges and fractional trading. Tell me more about what motivated you to add that to ActivTrades’ offering?
Alex: We’re constantly innovating and thinking of ways to ensure our clients have the best possible service. We’ve seen a surge in interest on shares and indices, particularly with bonds offering very low or even negative yields, so we wanted to make trading them as easy as possible. Promotions such as these help to make us the best place for individuals to trade the markets, something that has been reflected in our growth rate with the number of clients with funded accounts increasing by 31% last year as well as the number of clients actively trading at the end of the year rising by 9%.
LR: You must have some insight into how the global markets have been responding to the coronavirus. Are there any observations you might be able to share?
Alex: In the last year, the markets have been extremely volatile and particularly interesting from a trading perspective. We have seen once-in-a-generation moves on many different assets and this has obviously attracted more traders and has triggered an increase in trading volumes.
A lot of the action was on the equities market, where we have seen many indices reaching all-time highs, as well as major moves in commodities.
WTI for example famously plunged to well below zero in April 2020. That was the first time in history that the oil price had been in negative territory but it has recovered to now be trading above $60. Gold rose for the first time above $2,000 an ounce and hit a series of fresh record highs in the last year and we have also seen significant moves on other precious metals and soft commodities.
There have also been lots of interesting moves on currency markets, notably the strong recovery of the Australian and New Zealand dollars as well as the impressive bullish run the Canadian dollar has been on. Obviously, this kind of swings creates a lot of opportunities for traders.
LR: ActivTrades recently opened an office in Luxembourg, do you have any other plans for expansion?
Alex: The opening of the Luxembourg office at the end of last year has gone well and provided our European clients with a seamless transition after Brexit. While the bulk of our clients are based in the UK and Europe,Latin America and the Middle East are the markets we’re seeing a lot of growth in.
LR: Any new company offerings you want to share with us?
Alex: We never like to stand still so we’re continually working to improve our already popular platform ActivTrader. We’d like to considerably increase the range of our share trading offering and expand to stock markets from all over the world as well as enhancing ActivTrader. The next update to the platform will include conditional trading algorithms which will allow traders to enter or exit positions automatically when technical signals are met. On top of this, we’re developing a social trading platform that we’re hoping to integrate with our trading platform.
We’re an ambitious and entrepreneurial company so if an acquisition opportunity crops up we’d certainly be interested, but for now, our focus is on our core business and making sure our clients around the world receive the best possible service. Having successfully opened an office in Luxembourg to serve our European clients after Brexit, we’re now looking to expand further.
We’re proud to have built up our reputation over the last 20 years so that we’re now the brokerage with the tightest spreads and fastest executions and in such a competitive sector we’re going to work ever harder to make ActivTrades the go-to place for online trading.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is sponsored by ActivTrades. Opinions are personal to the author and do not reflect the opinions of LeapRate.
Experienced writer and journalist, working in the global online trading sector, Steffy is the Editor of LeapRate. She has previous experience as a copywriter and has been with the company since January 2020. Steffy has a British and American Studies degree from St. Kliment Ochridski University in Sofia.