The final week of March brought many developments on the foreign exchange (forex) and cryptocurrency markets. In case you missed some, here is a summary of some of the most exciting stories in our “best of the week” analysis.
Ran Strauss Retakes the CEO Position at Leverate
Ran Strauss, the co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Leverate is returning to his position after spending the past four years in a less active role.
As Finance Magnates reported exclusively, he is replacing Yasha Polyakov who resigned from the top position after leading the company since August 2017, citing fatigue as a critical factor to his resignation.
MetaTrader Defies Odds, Increases Market Share
Despite critics long anticipating the demise of MetaQuotes’ MetaTrader 4, the FX trading platform remains the industry standard after 15 years. Not only that, but as Finance Magnates’ Victor Golovtchenko analysed, the platform actually managed to increase its market share in 2018.
As highlighted in the analysis, during the first quarter of 2018, above 50 per cent of total forex trading volumes outside of Japan were traded via MT4. Towards the end of the year, the composition of the market shifted even further in favour of the legacy platform of MetaQuotes.
Alfa-Forex Abandons Retail Offering
FX broker based in Cyprus, Alfa-Forex, announced this week that it will no longer be offering its services to individual clients and other users which are categorised as “retail” under MiFID, from the end of June 2019.
Alfa-Forex, which is the trading name of Alfa Capital Holdings (Cyprus) Limited, stated that the reasoning for its decision was driven by Alfa Capital’s strategic decision to focus on its institutional business.
In Europe, the retail trading industry has become a lot tougher over the past year. However, whether Alfa-Forex’s move was also driven by the tightening regulatory environment in the region is purely speculation.
How is Technology Changing Brokers’ Call Centres?
Call centres are an integral part of many retail brokers and employees working over the phone could be apart of a broker’s compliance, sales, marketing or customer support teams.
But how is technology changing brokers’ call centres? An analysis by our very own David Kimberley set out to answer this question. He found that although call centres have changed little over the past few decades, it’s looking like this is about to change.
One prominent example of this was when internet giant Google released a demo of Duplex – a system that can make hyper-realistic automated phone calls on your behalf. To see what other changes you can expect, you can read the full article here.
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Can IEOs Revive the Token Sale Industry?
Despite Bittrex’s recent attempt to hold an initial exchange offering (IEO), which almost resulted in a disaster, participants in the cryptosphere are increasingly wondering if IEOs could replace initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Although the ICO craze is over, and a number of scams and failed projects have left investors much more skeptical, IEOs could be one way in which the token sale industry makes a comeback.
But – nothing is bulletproof, as Rachel McIntosh analysed this week. You can find out whether there is real potential in IEOs here.
JFD Brokers Rebrands to JFD Bank
Just slightly over one month after the company announced that it was launching commission-free stock trading, JFD Group revealed exclusively to Finance Magnates that it had consolidated its retail and institutional services under the brand JFD Bank.
Now, all the services provided by the different entities of JFD Group of companies, including those previously provided by the brand JFD Brokers, are now provided under one roof and can be accessed via the new website www.jfdbank.com, replacing jfdbrokers.com.
The name change represents “the beginning of a new, even more exciting part of our journey,” according to the founder and CEO of the Group, Lars Gottwik.
Labuan, Malaysia Emerges as a New Offshore Destination for the FX Exodus
In the aftermath of the new European Union regulations, an offshore migration trend emerged. However, with previous havens like Vanuatu clamping down on regulations, a new offshore destination has surfaced – Malaysia’s offshore island of Labuan.
As Finance Magnates analysed, Labuan is one of the latest jurisdictions to officially offer a broker licence and gives firms previously looking at Vanuatu an offshore alternative with more relaxed regulations.
On the Malaysian island, the Labuan Financial Services Authority (Labuan FSA) offers a Money Broking License, a permit specifically suited to the FX industry.
Elaborating to Finance Magnates, David Woliner who is Head of Financial Regulation at Nir Porat & Co. shared that a company needs one shareholder and two directors to get started. The minimum experience required from directors stands at 3 years, and at least a diploma level education.
Bitmain Appoints New CEO Amid Failed IPO Attempt
After months of rumours and a failed attempt to list itself on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Bitmain Technologies confirmed that it has a new CEO – Haichao Wang. Wang replaces the co-CEOs Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan, who were also the co-founders of the company.
As Finance Magnates previously addressed, rumours were circulating that there would be a change in leadership for Bitmain, with reports suggesting the decision was driven by a disagreement between the founding duo over certain issues.