It goes without saying that 2019 was a difficult year for brokers, particularly with regulations making it harder to retain retail clients. However, there were those within the space that managed to move forward despite the challenging space. Finance Magnates recently caught up with Alexander Geralis, Business Development Manager at Spotware, to see how the company fared in 2019 and what it expects for the year ahead.
Spotware is a provider of online trading platforms and applications for brokers, which aim to convert and retain clients. The company’s flagship platform is cTrader, which is one of the most prominent foreign exchange (forex) and contracts for difference (CFD) trading platforms in the industry.
Spotware on key 2019 trends
When asked what kind of demand Spotware saw during the year, Geralis said: “2019 certainly was a challenging year. We saw more regulators looking to follow in the footsteps of ESMA while a wait-and-see type of atmosphere remained.
“You can understand this is not the healthiest environment to do business in, especially if you are focusing on a product that might be affected. On top of that, we have the Brexit situation which is still ongoing and unclear, both in terms of what it means for GDPR and for FCA brokers and their clients abroad.
“Zooming out from the current regulatory atmosphere, we noticed an interesting mix of demand. cTrader gained a healthy uptick in market share with a host of startup brokers choosing to enter the market exclusively with our platform. We also see these startups becoming more demanding than in past years. They really need a platform provider who can handle the heavy work while they focus on growing their revenues.”
New brokers expected to exclusively use cTrader in 2020
When looking to the future, Geralis expects that new brokers will continue to enter the market using cTrader exclusively as its trading platform.
“Looking at FX/CFDs as a whole though, right now it is tough being a mid-sized broker. Large brokers are well capitalised and have the right people in place to weather the regulatory storm while managing their multiple licenses,” Geralis highlighted.
“On the other hand, startup brokers have the full flexibility to choose where to be regulated and keep their costs low, while knowing what to expect. But brokers who are mid-sized, without the large capital, knowledge and moreover flexibility to handle sudden changes that can completely change their operations, are at a disadvantage.”
Stand out trends in 2019
In 2019 there were a number of trends in the retail space – more brokers moved offshore, the importance of mobile apps continued to grow, and brokers diversified their offerings in order to stay competitive.
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When asked what trends they noticed at Spotware, Geralis added: “In terms of the product, we are seeing traders demand a better trading experience, especially on mobile.
“I’m really proud of the value-adding integrations we’ve done with excellent content providers over the past year, like Autochartist and Trading Central. And specifically with how well it is done on mobile. There is a fine line between adding noise and providing content in a meaningful way that will help the trader have more and better trade ideas.”
Looking to 2020, what can we expect?
In order not to completely focus on the past, we also asked Geralis what trends Spotware thinks will play an important role in the retail trading industry in 2020.
“In terms of new brokers to the space, we expect to keep seeing more startup brokers launching with the nimble qualities mentioned earlier,” he outlined. “These can be companies with a handful of people or an IB who is ready to start his own business.”
“In terms of existing brokers, considerations of which licenses to keep or apply for is something we will hear more about. For example, we are already seeing some large brokers establish a presence in Cyprus. This looks like a hedge against certain possible outcomes with Brexit and has always been a good place to be licensed.
“These trends are positive for Spotware as a company. We have powerful solutions that can help someone launch their brokerage in just a couple of weeks. As for the established brokers, our multi-jurisdiction solutions give them the flexibility to manage various jurisdictions with a range of options that makes it effective, streamlined and compliant with various licenses at hand – this is something that we have invested a lot of time and effort on so we are pleased to see it being put to good use.”
cTrader to be more available in UK
The final question we asked Geralis was what is Spotware, in particular, focusing on for 2020. Despite the threat of Brexit now likely to be a done deal this year, the company isn’t moving away from the United Kingdom. In fact, Spotware is planning on focusing more on the region.
“We are working on a number of things that I believe will add value to existing and new cTrader brokers,” Geralis elaborated.
“I can not reveal much, however, as a way to thank you for the interview, I can say that in the coming year we are looking to make cTrader more available to UK brokers and traders – the demand is there and we are preparing a response to help meet it in the coming months. We see a lot of opportunities in the market and believe now is a good time to expand our presence.”