Why CRMs Have Become the Backbone of Brokerage Operations

XCritical's Alexander Ivanov lends his strategic perspective and insights regarding CRM's utility and growing importance.

CRMs have proven to be a valuable resource for forex brokers. Given the tumultuous state of markets in 2020, the onus on streamlined operations is even more paramount.

Finance Magnates spoke with Alexander Ivanov, Director of Business Development at XCritical for the company’s strategic insight and perspective within this space.

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In what sense has 2020 proven to be a challenging time for the brokerage industry and what are the best ways to manage this dilemma?

2020 was challenging for brokers. In the same sense, it was challenging for most other businesses as well. Covid-19 and the subsequent quarantine put a lot of stress on all types of operations in the industry. 

However, brokers that have been more successful are the ones who used really good technology providers.

These are big enough and reliable enough to provide good services, even while the quarantine locks down most of the offices. 

Alexander Ivanov, Director of Business Development at XCritical
Alexander Ivanov, Director of Business Development at XCritical

In terms of XCritical, our clients did not have any disturbance, while the lockdown affected most countries. This was due to our vast infrastructure – the 40 offices that we are located in, enabled us to keep all our clients operations smooth.

The positive side of 2020 for the trading industry was that trading volumes and deposit numbers have surged. 

Brokers that were able to offer reliable services to the clients as well as new products and good quality of service capitalized on the opportunity in a big way. 

Brokers who were able to accommodate the spike in demand have almost universally enjoyed high revenues, high deposit, and record volume numbers.

For XCritical, the challenge was to cope with the demand. And we think we have done a pretty good job as we see doubling and tripling deposits and volume numbers for many brokers that are using our infrastructure. 

Do you foresee brokers developing a greater reliance on CRMs moving forward and has this technology become a deal breaker for companies?

Today’s CRM has become more than just “Customer Relationship Management” systems. Presently, a CRM includes Back Office, Compliance, Risk Management, Dealing, Finance and more. Basically it has evolved into the backbone of entire operations. 

XCritical’s infrastructure as well as its Back Office and CRM also includes amazing Web and mobile trading platforms (for novice and experts), crypto exchanges and wallets, KYC integrations and more and more.

When it comes to technology choices – there are three types of brokers. The ones that are using some sort of “homemade systems” – these will lose in the long term, unless they are really really big and they can afford huge development resources. 

It is like you developing your own operating system. Maybe a few of the largest companies can do this well, but most companies will fail to build anything competitive and will eventually be restricted by their own lack of resources. 

Nobody remembers Nokia’s operating system for mobile, as they lost to Android for the same reasons.

The other type of brokers are the ones that are trying to integrate general CRM systems to a trading infrastructure: SalesForce, Zoho CRMs and other CRMs with MT4 or MT5. 

It proves to be extremely challenging – the synchronization of the data is very complicated and trading business is very unique business in a sense that unlike typical CRMs there is a requirement for real time trading data synchronization. 

Most businesses that rely on CRMs do not have any real-time aspect, it’s pure “Custom Relationship Management”. 

In the trading business, customers’ trades happen in real-time and it’s incredibly important for salespeople, finance, compliance teams to know exactly what happens with customer’s trading activity in real time. 

Synchronizing external CRM systems with trading infrastructures is challenging and basically not worth doing, because every change on the trading side requires additional synchronization and changes on the CRM side. 

It’s basically using the wrong tool for the job and constantly fixing it.

The third type of brokers are the ones who are using dedicated professional solutions like XCritical, whose only business is providing CRM and Back Office infrastructure for trading companies. 

It’s built for real time synchronization and data exchange between different parts of the system. 

In my view, the companies that are going actually to win a race are the ones who are using these types of solutions. It is like in any kind of business, if you are using the right tools – it is much easier to win.

How has XCritical dealt with the changes to the industry in 2020 and where does the company see itself during the rest of the year?

The main challenge in 2020 for XCritical was coping with clients that scale up really rapidly. 

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Our infrastructure is built for fast and quick scale ups and for example we have multiple clients that just started using our technology in 2020 and already showing extremely high deposit and revenue numbers. 

Providing good service for them, helping to add more brands, offices, languages, desks, products – that is our main goal, and it’s always challenging. 

And going forward, I think, quality of service is the main focus and the main challenge. That is what we do 24hours a day and that will remain the main challenge for the rest of 2020. 

We see a lot of new clients and a lot of growing clients, we must facilitate this growth.

Additional challenges include the new line of business, as we introduced our Crypto Cortext and Crypto Exchange infrastructure which is very attractive to many brokers. 

Right now, one of the challenges typical CFD brokers are facing is building a crypto exchange infrastructure, to get additional lines of business and additional source of revenue. 

We have launched multiple exchanges in the US and EU and see this industry as very high potential.

Adversity often creates both consolidation and opportunity. In what ways is XCritical positioned to take advantage of the playing field for clients in 2020?

Right now we see a lot of regulatory changes, changes related to Covid-19 volatility in the world and in the markets is insane.

Some brokers capitalize on the changes and others are getting out of business as they cannot cope operationally with the challenges.

What XCritical infrastructure allows brokers to do is to scale up as fast as they can, both through organic growth and by buying other brokerages or call centers really quickly. 

For example, if our client wants to acquire another company or merge with another company it typically takes a week at most, to get the entire brokerage moved to XCritical infrastructure. 

For an MT4 broker it is just a matter of configuration and all the information about existing MT4 operations will be integrated into the XCritical CRM, and immediately become available for the consolidated operation of the business under the XCritical system.  

We have seen many mergers and acquisitions, I would say in the last twelve months over 10, and all of them were successfully moved from other platforms to XCritical infrastructure within a few days. 

It’s very important that we can support our clients in their efforts to expand their business not only by natural and organic growth but also through the acquisitions.

What makes XCritical and its CRM technology unique relative to its competition?

To put it simply – our resources. We have over 500 developers that are dedicated to one main goal – development of XCritical infrastructure and all the services around it. 

We have BackOffice CRM systems integrated with MT4 as well as our Web and Mobile platforms, crypto exchanges and wallets, chat (with AI) solutions, multiple voice over IP providers, email distribution services, multiple KYC/AML automation services. 

We also have our own PCI DSS certified environment. We are integrated with the PowerBI system and Affiliate Management system.

The enormous amount of resources that we put into the system allows us to be just the best. 

I’m welcoming anybody that is using a different provider, to compare a list of features. We can just print it and send it to any potential client and win the deal. This is our uniqueness. 

No one in the market has anywhere close to the amount of features and functionality that we have in the system.

Few specific examples: we have a Trading Web Platform for professional traders, we have it for novice traders. We have multiple Mobile Platforms integrated. 

We have our own full Crypto Exchange infrastructure and we are integrated with multiple crypto exchanges. We have integrations with over 50 payment providers.

Another unique point is our ability to serve multi brand, multiple call centers and multilingual operations. Supporting these kinds of operations in other systems requires separate installations of the CRMs. 

And we can handle everything with one single installation, that can be installed on our side making it software as a service, or it can be installed on the client’s infrastructure making it a hosted solution; we support both.

To conclude – our industry is run by very smart, agile and curious people. We invite everyone to give us a shot, schedule a demo, and see by themselves what kind of power they can utilize within their brokerage if they start using xCritical platform.

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