Exclusive: Saxo Bank’s Christian Hammer on its new trading platform SaxoTraderPRO

LeapRate Exclusive Interview… Leading multi asset broker Saxo Bank announced earlier today its latest platform innovation with the release of SaxoTraderPRO, aimed at the active trader and institutional client.

But how is SaxoTraderPRO different from Saxo Bank’s previous platforms?

What will it be replacing?

How might ESMA’s leverage cap cuts affect Saxo Bank’s plans?

We thought we’d go right to the source and speak with Saxo Bank’s Head of Platforms Christian Hammer, who headed the project developing SaxoTraderPRO. Here is what he had to say:

LR: Hi Christian, and thanks for joining us today. Please let us know a little more about the new SaxoTraderPRO platform. Specifically, how is it different from the SaxoTraderGO platform? What are they key innovations in SaxoTraderPRO?

Christian Hammer Saxo Bank

Christian Hammer, Saxo Bank

Christian: SaxoTraderPRO is an innovative new user friendly professional grade trading platform for active traders and institutional clients offering a unique combination of a feature rich trading platform and ease of use.

The new platform is an advanced multi-screen trading platform offering a fully customizable workspace for both Windows and Mac with no monthly fees. SaxoTraderPRO has its foundation in Saxo Bank’s unparalleled global capital markets access. Catering to active traders and institutional clients, SaxoTraderPRO is set to replace the current SaxoTrader platform, while SaxoTraderGO continues to cater to a wider range of retail traders and investors.

The platform’s new advanced trading tools will allow clients to manage and execute orders and analyse market data. This includes Enhanced Trade Ticket with one-click trading, shortcuts and many order types including algo orders. Clients can choose between “Real Time Netting” or “End Of Day netting” of individual trades. The platform includes new integrated risk-management tools, account shield to protect overall account balance, custom margin alerts and margin utilisation breakdowns. SaxoTraderPRO makes use of best in class reporting and provides full transparency of different cost elements.

LR: Have you seen a change lately in traders’ habits or preferences?

Christian: We have certainly seen a greater demand for ease of use and the ability to customise the platform to individual needs. We know that our active traders and institutional clients demand unparalleled access to global capital markets combined with a high level of control through advanced trading tools, fast and reliable execution and extensive options for customizations to fit their individual trading needs.

For SaxoTraderPRO, we have worked with the latest front-end technologies such as HTML5/JS/REACT which connect to a single REST API that clients can also access directly to develop their own bespoke functionality for trading, risk monitoring or reporting purposes. We have placed our clients at the centre of the development process with constant feedback, early prototyping and A/B testing with in-lab usability studies.

LR: Beyond adding volumes, has cryptocurrency trading changed things at Saxo – either in terms of the type of new client you are attracting, or the way clients approach trading?

Christian: We have seen significant volatility in cryptocurrencies over the past few months which has vindicated our decision to proceed cautiously. Cryptocurrency markets are still at an early development stage and for now we find that listed products like ETNs without leverage, offering high levels of transparency, are good ways to include cryptocurrencies in our multi-asset product offering spanning more than 35,000 instruments.

LR: Saxo has come out strongly in favour of the ESMA proposals to severely limit Forex leverage to 30x (and lower for index CFDs, commodity CFDs, stock CFDs, and cryptos). Won’t the proposals lower your client trading volumes? How is Saxo Bank preparing for the ESMA changes?

Christian: Saxo strongly welcomes and supports the measures set forth by ESMA and believes that consistent, harmonised regulation at a European level will be positive for clients and the industry as a whole. Through these measures, ESMA is creating better alignment between leverage levels and market conditions which is very important and we find the proposed caps on leverage fair and proportionate.

We have made a clear strategic decision not to compete on high leverage which puts us in a good position to maintain and grow our business in this new regulatory environment. CFDs and FX instruments have a number of uses for traders, such as allowing them to trade the full global macro cycle and hedge their market exposure in a flexible and efficient way. However, with excessive leverage, the risks of trading these products can outweigh the benefits. It is important to note that this is a leverage problem – not a product problem. Responsible caps on leverage are therefore key to consumer protection.

Our approach and business model clearly show that running a profitable business and being a responsible market participant are not mutually exclusive. For the benefit of its long-term survival, the industry should welcome the move away from competition on leverage and embrace competition on quality of platform, price, product and service.Some argue that more prudent consumer protection will lead to increased activity from unlicensed providers from outside of the EU. Such activities should be the remit of the police and relevant authorities. This is however an entirely separate issue and not in, our opinion, a valid argument against firm and fair regulation.

As one of the first signatories of the FX Global Code of Conduct in 2017, we also decided to publish an Enhanced Disclosure and withdraw from the UK CFD and Association. Saxo Bank’s aim is to continuously be at the forefront of driving transparency, integrity and trust in the sector.

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