This week LeapRate caught up with Imran Firoz, Managing Director (pictured above) of US-headquartered Match-Trade Technologies, a global Forex brokerage software provider. His early experience in the FX industry was as the Chief Financial Officer of a brokerage firm where he provided financial oversight to accounting & finance departments of the company and advised the Board of Directors.
He joined Match-Trade in February 2014 as its Managing Director and is responsible for its corporate development and strategic planning. The Company was formed in March 2013, with the primary purpose of creating an open, and transparent ECN trading system. Match-Trade dedicated its first two years of operation to develop this proprietary trading system.
The Company has recently expanded with a European office in Poland and is geared to continue generating and supporting innovative services like its newly launched multi-level IB portal to help FX brokers manage their day-to-day operations in a winning fashion, the full interview follows.
LeapRate: How has the market response been to the company’s new ESMA/MIFID II compliance services launched last month?
Imran Firoz: As you know, Company’s mission has always been to deliver an open, transparent and fair trading system to FX/OTC market participants. As a result, we were in a strong position to timely launch our ESMA/MIFID II compliance services which provide dedicated solutions to meet the best execution policy requirements described in the MIFID II documentation and guidelines published by ESMA. We have received positive feedbacks from several brokers and closely working with them to ensure full compliant by end of 2017.
Our independent BBO (Best-Bid-Offer) feed aggregates prices from various liquidity sources in our proprietary matching engine and can be used as a reference market price point. This system will enable the brokers to prove that trade execution is in line with the real market prices. Further, our solution can automate verification of brokers’ price feeds before the trade execution takes place. This solution addresses the requirements of best execution policy as described in the new ESMA/MIFID II regulations.
LeapRate: How exactly did the decision to open up an office in Poland come about? Has this helped European clients better?
Imran Firoz: We have selected Poland as it is in the heart of Europe and borders both EU member states and Eastern European countries. Further, it has reasonable proximity to Asian markets, which allows us to support our clients in both continents effectively. Additionally, at the beginning of 2016, we have started cooperation with XTB as their technology provider, and this was another factor in choosing Warsaw as our business location. Poland also provides trained and educated specialists with expertise in many areas at a reasonable cost. We are extremely satisfied with our decision of choosing Poland, and we plan to increase our staff in Warsaw in the coming months.
LeapRate: How many brokers do you support, do they normally use more than one solution?
Imran Firoz: Most of our clients use multiple solutions from us, and we currently serve close to 50 brokers worldwide. Our primary market is Europe and Asia, but we continue to add new clients from other countries like South Africa, Chile, and New Zealand. We have also partnered with industry experts in Malaysia and the UAE, who are helping us to understand needs of local market better.
LeapRate: Which is the most popular service out of all?
Imran Firoz: Our most popular service continues to be MT4 White Label Pack, which was recently enhanced to be a turnkey solution. This upgraded service includes WL Manager (application to manage the spreads, swaps, etc), fully customizable Client Office with Multi Level IB, MAM solution, RMS, MT4 Bridge & Aggregator, ultrafast data feeds and fully automated execution based on Match-Trade matching engine technology.
Our Match-Trade system, which is based on proprietary matching engine technology is getting traction and recognition. Match-Trade system comes with ultrafast web-based platform, fully functional back office and FIX connectivity with routing system.
We have successfully integrated the Match-Trade system with all the major platforms including but not limited to MT4, cTrader, and xStation. This system is a solution for sophisticated market participants looking to create their own ECN market or to provide liquidity to other brokers.
LeapRate: Which market has more potential right now, LATAM or Asia-Pacific?
Imran Firoz: We believe growth in FX market will come from Asia-Pacific region if they strike a proper balance between reasonable regulations while allowing attractive trading conditions. Both LATAM and African markets have decent potential provided local regulators adapt best practices to promote market integrity and allow market participants deliver FX product and services in a cost-effective manner.
We are seeing early stage growth spurts in smaller markets such as Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. Governments have to take initiatives to consolidate the country’s legal and regulatory framework as a crucial step to developing a vibrant private sector which will allow FX market participants to thrive in these markets.
LeapRate: For a new brokerage entering the market, how much are startup costs running for just for a basic ECN MT4 setup?
Imran Firoz: Brokers must evaluate several factors to optimize overall business costs to run a successful ECN system. Startup cost and ongoing cost are one of the main factors for many start-up brokers. However, brokers with a long-term vision also consider the capability of the technology provider and scope of customer support that is being offered to them. We offer a very competitive startup setup and monthly maintenance fees which range from USD 5k to 10k and USD 3k to 4k respectively. Our clients experience huge savings in ongoing costs as we don’t charge any turnover/volume fees for any of our products: MT4 WL, MT4 Bridge, Match-Trade System. Our simple flat monthly fee remains constant as agreed at the signing of the technology service agreement.
LeapRate: Do you believe for the large retail brokerage your market making method is the best and why? Can small and medium broker clients implement a hybrid model through your systems or will they have to find another provider on top?
Imran Firoz: As discussed earlier, the recent shift in the regulations in the direction of a more transparent and best price execution model ties very well with our mission. These new rules, regulations, and recommendations are encouraging that OTC markets participants have attributes of an exchange like system where sources of pricing and execution of trades are transparent, open and fully disclosed. This fairness will force FX providers to manage their counterparty and business risk appropriately, limit the risks of default, and assure transparency and integrity of the market.
By using Match-Trade’s proprietary system, brokers can create a true ECN, no last look model, where retail clients can add their liquidity by placing limit (executable) orders to the order book. It is a solution that benefits all types (STP-Market Maker) of brokers regardless of their size as it provides a low latency no last look execution.
LeapRate: Any plans to develop an IB portal integrated?
Imran Firoz: A few weeks ago, we launched multi-level IB portal integrated with our Client Office. One of the main advantages of our IB portal is that it can handle multi-level IB commission structures (up to 3 levels), with real-time online reports. Further, IBs and sub-IB’s can generate automatic registration links for their clients directly from the application.
We have received positive feedback from brokers for this solution as it has implemented many functions which can automate the process of creating and verifying new accounts, linking them with IBS, calculating commissions and handling payments from a single portal/dashboard.
We have also automated several processes such as opening a new account, making deposits/withdrawal which reduces customer support cost of brokers while giving the independent and flexibility to IBs in a controlled environment.
LeapRate: What does Match-Trade have new planned for the rest of 2017?
Imran Firoz: We will continue to add more features and release upgraded versions of our existing current products and solutions.
We plan to develop solutions for cryptocurrencies. For example, we have already added feed and execution for multiple cryptocurrencies from the most liquid exchanges. We are currently working on proprietary solutions for collecting payments in bitcoins, which will be offered to brokers and other companies in general. The Company is currently seeking partner(s) to create a real MTF venue based on our prove Match-Trade system for multiple asset classes which will allow market participants who find it difficult to meet the requirements of a highly regulated environment.