The annual IFX Expo in Cyprus concluded an action packed first day. A record breaking attendance packed the venue with the event buzzing throughout the day. Among highlights of the first day were several panel discussion and keynote addresses.
The morning panel kicked off with a discussion on Cyprus’s forex industry. Answering whether the country’s forex industry had recovered from the financial crisis of 2013, the overwhelming opinion was yes. Providing an interesting opinion on the current state of affairs, Stephen Leahy of FXPrimus pointed out that his firm was proof that Cyprus remains an important hub for entering the EU market as they recently chose the country for their financial licensing.
Arguably the most interesting question was whether CySEC licenses were at risk of losing their passporting to other EU countries due to the regulation being viewed as too lax. Answering, Chris Bates of Abide Financial explained that “the EU has built a lot of infrastructure to allow cross-border registration.” Therefore, limiting the authorization of a CySEC license would be counteractive to all the progress they have made so far.
However, Vasily Sukhotin of FxPro pointed out that CySec has a problem in that they don’t have the manpower to ensure rules are followed. Therefore, firms feel they can take advantage of this scenario which other EU countries may look down against. As a result, Sukhotin stated that in his own opinion, it was time for the Cyprus forex industry to start improving itself instead of waiting for the regulator to become stricter.
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The afternoon panel discussed business trends and how to use them when creating business plans. Among the panelists, there was a consensus that it is very important to listen to clients to gain an understanding of what their problems and needs are when creating products.
When it came to what is the ‘hot’ trend providing an opportunity, the panelists were hesitant to jump on any ‘trend bandwagon’. On this, Jannick Malling of Tradable mentioned that “trends don’t appear overnight,” and therefore it is important to focus on discovering what customer problems are and creating solutions.
Nicc Lewis of Leverate provided an interesting answer when he mentioned a countertrend taking place. He explained that more and more brokers, liquidity providers and technology firms were entering the market. The result is lots of competition and rising acquisition costs. Therefore, he perceived the countermeasure to this trend is being laser-focused on what firms do well, knowing that their competitors will take advantage of any slip ups.
Another interesting tidbit was from Ran Cohen of Traders Education. When asked about geographic trends of video consumption, he related that Russian clients were the most engaged for videos compared to other countries and languages. He also mentioned the importance of creating content specific to individual locals, using Japan as an example of having poor video engagement rates until they created a more Japanese ethnic appearance to their videos.