Skilling, an online trading platform that offers foreign exchange (forex) and contracts-for-difference (CFD) trading on instruments, is a relatively new player in the European market. However, the company is backed by some big players and has equally large ambitions.
Licensed in Cyprus by CySEC and backed by the Scandinavian shareholders of Optimizer Invest, Skilling officially launched its offering in Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the UK earlier this year. With the offering now available in the rest of the EU, the firm is strongly committed to continuing to invest in its growth.
Skilling’s four core values
We spoke with the co-founder of Skilling, André Lavold, about the broker’s future plans and to get a deeper view into what the broker is all about and what the company is currently working on. When asked what sets Skilling apart from other brokers, Lavold said that its customer experience, transparency, and focus on education and trust are its key differentiators.
“Skilling is an online trading platform that offers forex and CFD trading on instruments from markets around the world. Our vision is to unlock the potential of the world’s financial markets by making trading simple and accessible to everyone in a transparent and secure environment. Our trading platform is designed to cater to traders of all levels, from beginners who have never traded to seasoned pros,” he said.
“There is a reason we called ourselves Skilling. Skilling is derived from skill (well, actually it has two derivations: skill being one of them, and it’s also the name of the old Scandinavian currency, with Scandinavia being our origin thanks to our investors and founders) – our commitment to upskilling traders of all levels through education to become successful at trading. We truly believe education and transparency are two of the core industry pillars, and so we’ve made both of them two of our core company values.”
Skilling is focusing on European expansion in 2019
At present Skilling is focusing on two things – expansion and product development. In 2019, Skilling will be focusing on expanding its presence in Europe. The company is planning to add around 2 to 3 more European languages to its offering, as well as onboard customers from more European countries.
Then, after this is achieved, Skilling will explore additional licenses next year, with a focus on Asia and Latin America. Aside from expanding globally, Skilling is also focusing on expanding its product developments.
“We’ve set out to create a unique product proposition that fuses many of the industry learnings and best practices together with customer experience found in other innovative sectors,” highlighted Lavold.
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“So this year we’re focusing on our core if you like, while slowly rolling our product out across Europe. Next year, we’re planning a wider ROW launch, together with our global brand campaign that will focus on our core values and beliefs.”
Skilling to improve education and transparency for traders
One of the main aims at Skilling is to improve education and transparency for traders. So, when speaking with Lavold, we asked the question – how does the broker expect to achieve this?
“We’ve done some work already in this regard. Our pricing is not only displayed on our instrument page, but we also show the full cost of trade, including indicative gain or loss, in customer account currency, with every trade placed in the order ticket.
“We have also designed an educational tool called Skilling Trade Assistant for users who wish to learn more about how leveraged trading works and how broker fees are calculated. The tool is designed to be fully contextually relevant to what the customer is actively doing.
“It takes a customer through a number of steps required to place a trade, contextually overlaying key trading concepts, such as leverage, stop loss and take profit. By clicking on each of these concepts, the customer can learn more about them through very short, one- or two-sentence explanations and dynamic examples.”
“We believe in the success of this approach to education, and we will be shortly integrating our Trade Assistant into the main Skilling trading application.”
Has ESMA helped with transparency?
Over the past two years, European regulator ESMA has made big strides in increasing protection for retail investors. One of the ways the watchdog has done this is by making brokers be more transparent.
Whilst these are a step in the right direction, according to Lavold, the regulations haven’t gone far enough: “While recent clampdowns by European regulators and ESMA have introduced stricter requirements – they haven’t directly mandated how pricing should be displayed or handled. Restricted leverage in Europe (to 1:30 on forex; 1:5 on share CFDs), put more pressure on clients’ own funds, which in turn created more pressure for brokers to be more transparent.
“So, when talking about whether the new regulation has done enough, I personally don’t think so as pricing is still not a fully transparent concept and left to brokers to decide how they want it to be presented to their clients.”