Alexander Geralis is part of Spotware’s team since October 2018, when he was hired as Chief Product Officer of cXchange, Spotware’s digital asset exchange solution. Alexander is now a Business development manager at Spotware.
Throughout his career, Alexander has been trading cryptocurrencies, as well as physical commodities in the marine fuel sector for a number of years. He has shared his expertise with a global audience by providing his market analysis for the oil and gas sector, and being a regular contributor for the well-respected publication in the crypto world, Cointelegraph.
Alexander joins LeapRate today to discuss key traders’ demands and 2019 for Spotware and cTrader.
LR: Hi Alexander, thank you for joining LeapRate today and happy New Year! Compared to 2018, how successful was 2019 for Spotware and cTrader – what has changed, what would you like to leave behind?
Alexander: Thank you for having me, Valentina. Looking back over 2018 and 2019, there were some similarities between the years. Regulatory changes remained pressing topics, both leading up to and since ESMA changes. The difference is that in 2019 no major changes were introduced. I think ASIC is a fair example of how to cautiously propose changes and not rush to implement them. Their paper was well circulated.
Something to remember is that many changes often require serious development from a fintech provider such as ourselves, and cannot be implemented immediately simply because a date is suggested. Apart from the time and energy we would need to invest, there are some proposals which are simply not easily possible from a tech perspective. I would like to invite regulators to go into 2020 with this in mind.
LR: What were the key traders’ demands in 2019?
Alexander: If I zoom out and look at platforms in general, what I see is that traders are demanding a more catered platform. They want a platform that aids their trading process, as opposed to hindering it.
Embracing our “Traders First” motto, we’ve listened to exactly what our traders are requesting. Integrating value-added data providers for signals, technical analysis, and an intuitive economic calendar is part of offering traders a platform catered to their needs. If I am predominantly trading the SP500, I want content catered for that, which would be a calendar, technical analysis and news for the instrument in question, rather than for a handful of unrelated instruments which I am not currently trading. Gone are the days when you could simply provide a platform and leave it unchanged for years. Brokers need to reduce noise and increase value. We are helping them do exactly that.
LR: Spotware teamed up with lots of companies during 2019. Which partnerships helped the firm grow and in what way?
Alexander: We put in a good amount of work to establish the integrations mentioned above, as well as many others. I know an integration may look simple, but we like to do it in a manner that adds value and makes it feel truly native. By this I mean: if you log onto cTrader with a broker offering Autochartist and Trading Central, it will look like it was always there to aid your trades on both web and mobile – where screen real estate is limited.
Apart from Autochartist and Trading Central, we have also integrated with Blinger, Bridgerpay and, just recently, Skale for cost-effective modular CRM.
LR: According to you, what has changed for the retail trading industry in 2019, and what to expect in 2020?
Alexander: One thing that stands out in 2019 is the amount of market share cTrader has captured. Our platform continues to become more available in regards to startup brokers. Right now more and more startup brokers are choosing to launch their brokerage with cTrader as their trusted solution. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, Spotware makes it very easy to launch, given that all technical responsibilities, support and hosting are taken care of on our side. We do not limit to web, mobile or account numbers. And another reason is that more and more traders are demanding cTrader. Our goal as a provider is to help brokers become the most successful they can be, so our interests are in line.
With the above in mind, the next question comes to a platform. The need for an intuitive solution that allows a broker to efficiently manage multiple jurisdictions.
LR: What upcoming trends do you see emerging and making an impact on the industry in the next few years?
Alexander: I believe we will see the industry becoming even more transparent and this will, without a doubt, be welcomed by traders. We will also continue to see brokers move offshore. This includes many established intermediaries, aiming to satisfy their clients who demand more flexibility in regards to leverage. Traders need to conduct their own research, understand the regulation they are under, and be comfortable with the protection this regulator can provide.
On the other hand (although not in 2020, but in the coming years), I also expect a slight regression and the return of a certain degree of flexibility with regard to regulation.
LR: How will Brexit affect the retail trading industry?
Alexander: Looking from the perspective of European businesses, established brokers are facing headwinds with possible changes from large regulators, as well as the uncertainty of how Brexit may or may not change their European operations in terms of GDPR, onboarding, etc. There are already talks that one of the first agreements that might be signed is for cross border EU-UK data sharing to offer continued GDPR compliance as we know it now.
I believe in seeking opportunities in every situation. Brexit can be viewed as a threat, but also as an opportunity for FCA brokers to consolidate volumes that are coming from the UK in terms of FX/CFDs and spread betting, which is indeed unique over there.
LR: You are Spotware’s Business Development Manager, I can’t help but ask a bit about the commercial and business direction for the company in 2020.
Alexander: 2020 has just started and it is already a very busy year. We are introducing a number of improvements on cTrader mobile, which are bound to make better use of the screen real estate, and fit with the catered trading journey model I spoke about earlier.
We continuously seek to improve our products in meaningful ways. Ultimately, the improvements we make in our cTrader releases are there to satisfy traders and therefore aid brokers in increasing their volume and market share.