This month saw TIOmarkets celebrate their first birthday. After what can only be described as an eventful first year in an increasingly competitive space, Finance Magnates got the chance to catch up with TIOmarkets’ CMO, the always effervescent Helen Astaniou, and reflected upon the last twelve months.
Congratulations on your 1st birthday. A big milestone. How did you celebrate?
So far, the staff corps have been treated to a PowerPoint presentation, highlighting our successes to-date via a veritable visual feast of bar charts and line graphs! Let’s just say that the ‘party’ was social-distancing appropriate. In truth, we’re waiting for the social environment to be a little less apocalyptic before we can treat the team to something less formal.
Regarding our stakeholders, clients, traders, and partners, we gave a thank-you gift to every single depositor during our birthday week, regardless of their portfolio size or type. We’ve never done a campaign on this scale before but believed that the occasion merited it. The gifts ranged from a webinar, all the way up to free access to our flagship product, the VIP Black FX trading subscription package.
It’s been a big journey in just a year, what have been the highlights and the lowlights for you and TIOmarkets?
I can’t underplay the difficulty of setting up an FX brokerage in a saturated market. The company, of course, faced the usual start-up challenges that any new FX firm might face. It’s a race against time and money to get any new firm off the ground. Unusual for other FX firms in the space; however, we already had a fully mature community [tradeio] who
had a vested interest in the company’s success. We have an obligation to them to succeed. The highlight so far for TIOmarkets, therefore, is in being able to confidently communicate month-on-month successes to our stakeholders. We are very open about our numbers, trades made, partners onboarded, clients, subscribed, etc. so that our community can see some actual data to verify any assertions that we’re doing well.
The lowlights are the sacrifices that have been made in order to achieve those levels of exceptional performance. One such example was the decision to hibernate the trade.io exchange, despite our view that it was an excellent exchange, visually, operationally, experientially.
Looking back over a challenging year, what lessons have you learned, and what would you have done differently?
Despite being CMO, my duties have not been confined to those of the marketing department. In the last year, I’ve had the privilege of learning operational aspects of our daily business that I may not have had the chance to learn in a more mature FX firm. Ultimately it should be best practice in any firm not to be totally confined to your function. This, in fact, is one of our strengths at TIOmarkets – that each division communicates and consults inter-departmentally, leading to a healthier, stronger business model.
Big Data, News, Sentiment Analytics & NLPGo to article >>
I’ve also had the privilege of learning from more experienced members of senior management with a proven track record of starting-up FX firms. With regards to what I could have done better and differently – I’m sure there are a million variables. Particularly in marketing where every single tiny optimization on every single campaign could make or break targets in any given month. My challenge is always to improve myself and to task my team to improve, whilst never basking in successes earned from false confidence.
In a year of some great achievements, what are you most proud of?
On a personal note, I’m proud of my team who, when onboarded, was full of beans for the trade.io project and who adapted and responded to our evolving business objectives with grace and resolve, with unflattering loyalty to the project and with the resolve to maintain the highest possible standards.
In a hopefully, post COVID-19 landscape, how do you think the next year will pan out for TIOmarkets and the FXindustry as a whole?
At the risk of sounding unoriginal and unimaginative, the FX markets will go up, and they will go down, but not necessarily in that order.
In 2015, the industry was shaken by the SNB black swan, but it survived. In 2017 we thought that retail FX trading was going out of fashion in favor of cryptocurrency. This didn’t happen (yet). In 2021 there will be a new affront to the industry. Some have hinted at alien invasion, asteroids, or solar flares. In whatever form they come, we will always be presented with challenges to our business, and it’s our job to find a way to power forward in the best possible way.
Can you share with the Finance Magnates any TIOmarkets plans for the upcoming year?
In the short term, we have plans to enhance the use-case for the company’s native token, the TIOx, as well as greater provision of services for our partners. In the long term, our legal and compliance team work hard to ensure highest levels of regulatory compliance for European and global customers … and whether it’s this year, the next or the year after, we’ll not slow our pace until we are one of the of top FX brokerages worldwide.
Thank you, congratulations and good luck for the upcoming year Helen Astaniou, CMO at TIOmarkets