Forex Magnates checked in with Luis Sanchez, the newest CEO of BMFN, in an exclusive interview on his career ascension and detailed background of his recent move from Dukascopy. His interview can be read in full below.
1. You have been successful wherever you have landed, how has this most recent move helped your career evolve?
I started in this industry 10 years ago in Switzerland as a Junior Account Manager. I have always been committed to learning, building authentic new relationships, and propelling the success and thriving of those who entrust me. My new role as CEO at BMFN takes my commitment to a new level and will allow me to offer even greater positive impact to more people.
This is a natural next step that springboards from my most recent role, First Vice President at Dukascopy Bank. During my years at Dukascopy, I learned a tremendous amount. In making the decision recently to take this new leadership role with BMFN, I evaluated my options and recognized my strong desire to continuing developing myself, as I positively impact others.
The position of CEO opens a new era in my life. I am keenly aware that this role will include some difficult challenges. Paul Belogour’s decision to offer me this role reflects a belief that we both have: Together, with his vision and experience and my track record, imagination, and enthusiasm, we will make BMFN stronger, more efficient, and forward-moving in developing new markets.
I will say that for me, personally, this is the start of a new period in the life of Luis Sanchez. I am grateful and excited.
2. What do you consider are your greatest strengths that make you ideally suited for your new role?
Feeling a strong sense of passion and joy that comes from simply contemplating this important question, in this particular industry, is one of the greatest strengths that I will offer my new role. I will talk about the compelling importance of passion in a moment – but first I want to suggest a few other “ingredients of success” that make me well suited for this new role.
I am adaptable to a very wide variety of scenarios and circumstance. This versatility, a trait I’ve had my whole life, would empower any CEO in this field. I personally came from Peru to Switzerland as a tourist, with no job plans. I was unexpectedly offered a job within that 10-day leisurely stay in Geneva. At first, I thought the idea and the offer was a kind of joke (or that I was misunderstanding), but then after participating in some meetings over lunch and dinner, I could see that this was a real opportunity.
I agreed to stay – to abruptly change my life and to relocate immediately Switzerland. I called my parents and told them: “Send me my suits! I am staying here to live.” I remember hearing on the other end of the line, “Excuse me?!”… They did ultimately understand, of course.
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that if I was able to naturally do that – to jump successfully head first into an entirely new situation (industry, culture, technology, peer group) – as I did, and please keep in mind that Peru and Switzerland are quite different from each other (and were even more so 10 years ago) – then I have demonstrated that I can strongly adapt to new situations. Not just adapt – but succeed and thrive very quickly.
That show of adaptability in Geneva was just one of many such demonstrations over the years (especially within Dukascopy) that led me to positions of higher responsibility and success. I will draw upon this precise strength in my new role as CEO of BMFN. I am greatly excited by the challenge, and I have strong confidence that I will help the organization generate meaningful new business.
A related strength that suits me for this new role: I fear not, and I take well-considered risks. I am the kind of person who is willing to assess and choose forward movement in the face of some risk. (When needed, I have proven willing to start or “reboot” my professional life entirely from zero.) I acutely see the connection between risk and reward.
I look forward to sharing and applying my strong combination of risk, fearlessness, reward, accountability, restraint (especially when called for) and willingness to make timely decisions to lead BMFN, its teams, and our clients on a path of growth.
New Ideas and Innovation: One of the things that drives my success professionally – and that enabled my strong track record at Dukascopy Bank – is the innovation and ideas that I bring consistently to the table. I tend to see things three steps ahead, and I constantly think, with strong imagination: “What else can we do?” “What is the next step?” and “How can I identify and apply ideas from other fields to the Fxworld… for the benefit of all stakeholders in this business?”
Heart and Passion: This speaks to what I shared as my first intuitive response to you. I say this: Any leader needs to have lots of heart and passion in this business; you must never lose this passion. And – it’s not only enough to have and embody this passion: it’s important to share and transmit this passion to all of your employees and clients. I could be the smartest man in a given situation, but with no passion, such smarts won’t matter. Nothing will change or be produced.
This is how I have felt and operated since long ago. People who have known me during any period of my life will confirm this value and embodiment of passion that I hold so dear.
Finally, I offer the role of CEO at BMFN my strong ability to listen. I am known for having an open-door policy: I am committed to listening to the ideas of employees and other stakeholders in this business. I honor, respect and often marvel at the ideas of others.
Moreover, my ability to listen helps assure that movement is led forward by multiple valid and creative perspectives, not simply by my own isolated group of ideas in a vacuum. My creed too is: Listen to your clients’ ideas. Give them space to be heard – and potentially acted upon.
I say that companies should hold an annual meeting with key employees and key clients; invite them all to your office; bring them all together; exchange ideas and document next exploratory and action steps; and use this invaluable feedback and interactive engagement to improve your business – and the loyalty of your clients.
Employees and clients are all part of the same business. They are entitled to be participants in, rather than objects of, our decisions as tuned-in leaders. My own ex-boss used to listen a lot of my ideas – and I felt immensely appreciated for that.
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This listening led to greater success than would otherwise have been possible. It is important to listen – intently and with open-minded disposition. I know that much of my learning has come from listening attentively to others… and engagement with their gifted imaginations.
3) How has the FX industry changed since you first began as to now?
During my first interview at a Swiss FX company, the first question I was asked was: Do you know anything about FX – about foreign exchange? This was the first time I had ever heard the “FX” word or thought about “foreign exchange”, and it pained me as I answered the question honestly.
I figured for sure that the company would not hire me because I had no experience in the field. To my surprise and shock, the interviewer smiled and rewarded my sincerity with: “Great, that’s the type of person we are looking for – someone with no knowledge, so we can teach them everything from A to Z.”
Receiving this chance, and going into this field with a “beginner’s mind” enabled me ultimately to help influence – as well as learn and observe – the evolution of the FX field over more than a decade.
Overall, the FX world has changed dramatically since my first day in the industry. The biggest change is that technological advances have made access to FX trading easier, more widespread, and significantly more competitive. When I started this work, phone trading and huge spreads were the norm. Today, online trading and mobile platforms dominate, granting nearly ubiquitous access to FX market, and spreads start as low as 0.1 pips.
I have witnessed first-hand how this industry has adapted, changed, and developed across many different cultures and countries, and across client types ranging from retail to institutional.
FX is truly an amazing world and being a part of this is world and its evolution is a feeling of excitement that I cannot fully describe. The question now is: What is the next step in FX? Many of us in the industry go to different seminars and expos often, and we are all wondering what will the next step be, or the next “big thing” in FX?
In my view, personally, I think the FX world will become even more tightly driven by new advances in technology and by more widespread regulation. As a result, there will be a consolidation of the market. Also, we are very likely to see spreads go up, not as high as 10 years ago, but landing somewhere around 0.7 to 1 pip.
In my new role, as CEO of a blossoming pioneer in the field, I subscribe to the vision that we need to create and combine new lines of business with or within the FX industry. As just one example of an organization that is already doing this, BMFN in recent times introduced classy, energizing and engaging fashion shows called Miss Unitrader, (www.missunitrader.com).
The engagement of the target audiences (and others) – and the wide range of responses to this idea received by BMFN – demonstrated the idea’s uncommon “stopping power” in a world that is overflowing with competition for people’s attention. This kind of creative, business-meets-fashion thinking is merely one example of ways to create more buzz and awareness within and about the FX field.
Leaders need to think outside of the box like this, and search for new and very eclectic ways to market FX. Latin America – as a prime example – will be an interesting and challenging FX market to develop; and – as I am from Peru myself, with a deep understanding of varying and diverse Latin American cultures – I will do my best, with passion, to take BMFN to the next level in this market that is clearly ripe for expansion.
4) What is the FX market like in Switzerland compared to other jurisdictions, like for example Latin America.
Today in Switzerland, to be able to offer FX, a broker must possess a bank license. Before 2010, anyone was able do it holding simply a broker’s license. As a result, in Switzerland presently, there are only a few companies that provide online FX. The regulation of banks in Switzerland is very strong, as is the strictness and intensity of required procedures.
I believe that this way of doing business is the correct and best one, even though, on the surface, it does not appear to be the most friendly to clients. (In other jurisdictions, for example, the account initiation and maintenance processes are much simpler and more ‘friendly’-feeling, up front.)
For instance, in Switzerland, to open an FX account, a person needs to present an original certified copy of his/her ID, and have it notarized by a notary. This contrasts with some other jurisdictions (e.g., many in Latin America) that require only a simple, scanned copy of a personal ID and no notarization.
Latin America, in my opinion is going to be the next rapidly growing and maturing FX market, as Asia-Pacific is today. Because of this, I believe BMFN will go to Latin America proactively, with deep enthusiasm, and will develop this market strongly today, rather than tomorrow. This is a market that is already showing signs of growing pretty fast, and it is an emerging market where attention to FX will be dominant some years from now.
Definitely much work must occur before this potential is fully realized – especially in educating people in Latin America about FX. People there need to understand the FX market. Building understanding of what FX is, how it operates, and how the rules are conducted – is a must for any serious player(s) in the field, and it’s the job of all FX companies to help each other to develop this “FX literacy” among people living in Latin America.
The eventual implementation of beneficial regulation will also play an important part of the growth and evolution of FX in Latin America. Stakeholders there will need to learn and apply the rules in alignment with best practices across the international world. Rules in the United Kingdom may offer a perfect template for how rules and regulations can be rolled out effectively in Latin America.
At BMFN, we will make sure that we provide the necessary education and information to as many current and prospective FX market participants as possible. In doing this, we will be as transparent as necessary to assure that clients fully understand what FX is and how it works. We will begin such education concretely and immediately with an online seminar on December 1-5 (Monday-Friday) in Peru and December 8-12 (Monday-Friday) in Spain. Please visit this link to register and participate.
I would like to end this interview by thanking Forex Magnates deeply for the ongoing opportunity to provide perspective in the FX field, and for this latest chance to share my thoughts as I embody the new role of CEO at BNFM. For an understanding of additional perspective that I have shared in this field (across various relevant FX topics) in the past, please visit other parts of this Forex Magnates site – for example. If you would like to contact me directly, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.