FX Broker Competition Necessitating New Technological Focus

IFC Markets' CEO Aghasi Vardanyan outlines the company's new emphasis on PCI technology development.
Photo: FM

The foreign exchange (FX) industry is constantly shifting, and with it executives and company leaders have had to adapt and shape agendas and initiatives in an increasingly complex playing field. Finance Magnates spoke with Aghasi Vardanyan, Executive Director of IFC Markets, an individual who helped steer the group into 2017 with several new goals for the brokerage.

Please tell about yourself and how you reached your current role.


I was always fascinated with financial markets’ behavior and complexity. In 2013, when I was offered the position of Chief Information Officer at IFC Markets, I already worked in the financial sector for more than ten years as a security advisor, auditor and risk manager.

As the CIO, my job was to ensure that Information and Communications Technologies of the whole company were aligned with business processes. One of the first things I did at IFC Markets was to reorganize our IT department by bringing aboard extremely qualified members capable of responding quickly to challenges we faced, be external or internal.

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As you know, our business heavily relies on ICTs, and we prioritized putting forward strategies and created new technologies such as PCI (Personal Composite Instruments) that would allow us to be technologically one step ahead of the competition.

In 2016, I was promoted to the position of CEO. In my new role, I am responsible for all revenue generating business units, audience development, dealings, and customer service operations.

What are your goals for the company over the next few years?

We have an ambitious schedule for the upcoming years with many projects in the pipeline. At the end of each year we set new goals incorporating the lessons learned. As you know, today, the field of Forex trading is very competitive as well as rapidly developing, so the time to deliver new products is extremely important.

Our goal for IFC Markets is to be a premier choice for traders looking for maximum flexibility in traded instruments and the company that is distinguished by having an outstanding customer service.

What do you think sets you apart from the competition?

Ten years ago, when our company first launched its own platform NetTradeX, we were one of the very few brokers on the market that offered their own platform for trading along with MetaTrader. We continuously have been improving our platform, taking into account users’ feedback and incorporating cutting edge technology.

PCI technology allows capabilities that were not possible before

Today, the user friendliness of NetTradeX platform as well as the fact that it allows to trade with smaller volumes makes it very attractive for beginners and traders who want to start from smaller amount.

Professional traders would appreciate the flexibility of NetTradeX in creating new instruments among other things. Of course, IFC Markets offers MetaTrader 4 platform as well, so the traders can trade with the platform of their choice. PCI technology allows capabilities that were not possible before.

With it traders have maximum flexibility and creativity by creating their own portfolios, made up by any combination of financial instruments, quoted by another portfolio similarly way assembled.

I think, the PCI technology, by completely freeing the creativity of traders, lets traders look into different markets with the purpose of finding possible relationship. PCI is currently in the process of patenting. I believe PCI has a great future in Forex market.

How do you view the current state of the industry?

The market is constantly growing with the number of market players growing even faster. More and more people start trading on Stock and Commodities markets. Buying and selling any commodities futures or stocks has become so easy that even beginners can do it within moments.

The market is constantly growing with the number of market players growing even faster

Today, the service quality and trading conditions of brokers more or less have leveled out. At the same time, innovation in the field has mostly stagnated and the majority of brokers are not offering substantially new products. Hence, in my opinion, the battle has turned into who has a better marketing strategy.

What new fields or opportunities do you see as growth potential in the market?

I think, in not too distant future, there will be analytical tools with artificial intelligence capable to automatically analyze news, trade volumes, use historical data, and make judgements for us. Of course, the battle is still open and we don’t know yet whether the changes will have more positive or negative consequences.

As for our proprietary PCI technology, once it gains ground in the market, I strongly believe, it will have a great influence on trading as it will substantially increase the quantity of traded new products. The technology will attract more traders, and, as a result, will potentially increase the size of the market.

The effect of PCI technology will encompass investment and hedging funds

PCI, through creation of new synthetic instruments, specifically designed and tuned by individual traders themselves will give birth to new trading strategies. The effect of PCI technology will encompass investment and hedging funds, where traders will be able to create their own portfolios with just a click of a mouse.

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