Name, position, title: Tom Higgins, CEO, Gold-i
Describe your company with three words: Trading systems integrator
Please go into detail about the company, its market segment and recent developments:
Gold-i has transformed the global retail FX and CFD trading market by developing a suite of innovative products which give retail brokers the same execution and risk management tools as institutional brokers, at a fraction of the cost.
Gold-i’s products help brokers to trade more profitably and manage their risk more effectively. A series of Gold-i innovations over the last five years have improved the capabilities of retail brokers already in the FX market and have also enabled many regulated companies to enter the FX and CFD market for the first time.
Our products include:
– The Gold-i Gate Bridge which provides the fastest and most reliable integration between retail and institutional financial trading systems on a global basis. It automatically covers all retail broker risks with banks in real–time and provides access to over 50 liquidity providers. The Gold-i Gate Bridge enables MetaTrader to be transformed into a multi-asset trading platform so that FX, futures, equities, CFDs and indices can all be traded using MetaTrader4.
– The Gold-i Gate Link, our post-trade integration product, which enables brokers to integrate MetaTrader with a broker’s bought in or in-house back/middle office and CRM solutions – all in real-time.
– Over 20 Gold-i Bolt-On risk management and execution tools to help brokers to trade or manage their risk more effectively. We develop bolt-ons in response to specific customer requests and add them to our portfolio sell to others.
Most recently we’ve extended our focus on Hosted and Managed Services to provide a flexible offering for brokers who require help to support their in-house IT team or who wish to fully outsource the set up and management of their MetaTrader environment.
Our Managed Services options range from our Bronze Service, for customers who require second level support to their in-house IT function and out of hours cover, though to our Platinum Service for larger brokers who want an unlimited Managed Service with a dedicated out of hours support number.
Gold-i owns the IP for all its products. In addition to providing, tailoring and installing products, we provide excellent 24×5 service to clients across the globe. The combination of market leading, innovative products backed up by a focus on excellent service has been a real recipe for our success.
How did you arrive at your current position, and what expertise do you offer the Forex Industry:
I worked in the City, London for around 20 years and held a variety of technology based roles at high profile organisations. My career history includes Management Consultant at PA Consulting Group, Chief Technology Officer at The IPE, Head of IT Business Strategy at NYSE Euronext, COO Europe & Asia at Reuters, and Chief Technology Officer at online broker, ODL Securities. I also have an MBA, majoring in finance, from Cass Business School in London.
At ODL, I became increasingly frustrated that there was no specialist company in retail trading to buy software from. Software had to be built in-house, which was expensive and often limited in functionality. I knew that other brokers faced the same issues. Having spotted a gap in the market for serious expertise in retail foreign exchange technology, I left ODL in October 2008 to set up Gold-i and provide retail brokers with software unavailable from any other provider in the world.
I offered consultancy work to fund the development of the first product, the Gold-i Gate Bridge, and I led a development team of four people over nine months to bring the product to market. I also networked extensively with my wide range of industry contacts to discuss the product development and agree sales in advance of the completion of the product This approach ensured that we had a profitable business from the outset.
The business has gone from strength to strength. I believe my institutional background has been a real advantage as I have a thorough understanding of how best to serve the market – in terms of products, professionalism and service.
What you have achieved since being appointed CEO.
There are a number of achievements that I’m very proud of, including growing a start-up business into a global market leader in less than five years. I’ve done this by having a very clear vision, a strong focus on innovation, and nurturing and motivating a very loyal team of Gold-i employees.
As a result of my technical background, I’ve led the development teams for a range of industry first products which have truly disrupted the market – such as being the first company in the world to develop the technology to transform MetaTrader into a multi-asset trading platform. Gold-i has opened up significant opportunities for brokers across the world and without Gold-i products, many regulated companies would not have been able to enter the FX and CFD market.
As a result of Gold-i’s business success and strong reputation in the industry, I have become recognised as a thought leader in the industry, which I feel extremely proud of. I enjoy speaking on the panel at events such as iFX EXPO as well as sharing my views in the media.
Over the years, Gold-i has won a host of business and industry awards in recognition of our innovative products, commercial success and market potential. However, this year, we received the ultimate accolade. We won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category. It is a real honour and an amazing achievement for such a niche business to be one of a few British companies to be given this award. I will be going to Buckingham Palace in the summer to meet The Queen and celebrate our Queen’s Award success. I am immensely proud of this achievement.
Why should current graduates or people looking for a job in Forex consider working for your company?
We are an exciting, dynamic and rapidly growing organization and a market leader in our field. We offer share options to all employees to increase their motivation to deliver the best products and services in the industry.
As a small organization, there are huge opportunities for career progression. We have a low staff turnover, value our employees and provide excellent training and development opportunities.
What are your present issues and challenges and what is your plan to steer the company through them successfully?
The biggest challenge is undoubtedly managing the large scale and international growth that we are experiencing. We are managing international expansion by partnering with regional technology experts in key parts of the world.
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In addition, we have recently added to our management team by appointing Chris Rowe as Business Development Manager and that has allowed me to focus on a more strategic role in the organisation.
As the industry is well known to be highly competitive, what means do you use to survive and to excel in such a fast and sometimes harsh environment (except for collaboration with Forex Magnates Directory of course ;)?
First and foremost, we focus on offering exceptional products and service and I believe that we are known in the industry for being ‘good people to do business with.’ We have strong company values including being ethical, treating everyone with respect, and always going the extra mile to help clients. As a result, we have very high customer satisfaction levels and these clients have recommended us to others, helping us to grow our network.
We are also able to grow as a result of strong partnerships with companies such as Star Financial, Ariel, DealHub and Think IS, who offer complimentary technology. These companies market the Gold-i business to their network and this has proved to be highly effective.
In addition, we have a strong focus on PR, ensuring that we spread the word about our company news and business success, and attend Forex Magnates industry events in order to network with industry contacts and meet potential clients. The combination of these elements has helped us to develop a great reputation in the industry and grow to be the leading player in our sector.
Does your company focus on the domestic market or does it have a global presence?
We have a global presence. Our clients include many of the most prestigious brokers in Europe, Asia, USA, the Middle East and Australasia. We currently have over 80 clients including CitiBank, City Index, Gain Capital, London Capital Group and CyberAgentFX (Yahoo Japan).
We are seeing increasing demand for Gold-i products from overseas brokers in all key regions in the retail trading industry. We work with a carefully selected network of resellers in Japan and Turkey to help us with our international expansion plans.
What is your company’s plan for the next two years? Please detail any expansions, technological developments, mergers/acquisitions or proposed entries into new markets.
We will continue to invest heavily in R&D and lead the market with innovative new products such as Matrix, which is launching later this year. Matrix provides a platform that will allow brokers to aggregate incoming liquidity feeds and offer their own liquidity out to their customers. The product has been in development for over a year and is already in high demand.
We are also focusing heavily on our Hosted and Managed Services offerings, which provide specialist IT support to help clients of all sizes to manage their MetaTrader environment more effectively.
Is branding important, and what is your corporate view on it?
Branding is very important as it gives the company a strong identity. I also think that it’s important to give a personality to the brand and understand more about the people who are running the organisation. After all, people buy from people and it’s important for us at Gold-i that clients, partners and potential clients know that we are personable, knowledgeable, act with integrity, and always go out of our way to help.
I seem to have also created a strong brand identity for myself and have become known in the industry for my brightly coloured shirts and glasses. I didn’t plan this but it’s actually been really effective in quickly becoming recognised and standing out in a highly competitive industry.
What is your prediction for the coming years of the Forex industry as a whole?
Increased volatility, continued consolidation with larger brokers gaining the edge and new markets opening up in places such as China and India.
What innovations could the industry as a whole benefit from?
There are two areas which I think the industry could benefit from. Firstly, greatly improved global networking between regional trading centres and liquidity providers. Secondly, I think there should be more forums for industry leaders to discuss and share thoughts on relevant topics in order to drive the industry forward.
Do you think that the forex industry is transparent enough and that most companies including yours pay enough attention to due diligence?
Yes. It is one of the few industries that is very transparent.
Do you read Forex Magnates Quarterly report?
Yes. It’s vital for keeping me informed about important developments in the industry.
What are your views on the Forex/social network phenomenon? A good way to further the business with much lower costs, or a potential regulatory hazard should it be deemed financial advice by regulators?
Both. It is a train that cannot be stopped so it has to be managed to get the best out of it.
Are you using social media channels to create greater exposure and increase trader lifespan?
Yes. We use social media to communicate quickly and succinctly with clients.
To allow us to get to know you a bit better, let us know something that interests you, and what you enjoy doing in your spare time.
I have four children – aged 13, 11, 9 and 1 ½, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 5 chickens and one wife! As you can imagine, I don’t have much spare time. When I do, I enjoy restoring my classic car – a 1964 Triumph Herald.