To be a woman in a leadership position in the corporate financial world, means being asked the same inevitable set of questions repeatedly; questions that albeit important, can be tedious and even unfair.
- How does it feel to be a female leader in a male dominated industry?
- How do your inherent qualities as a woman help you in your role?
- Do you feel like one day you will have to choose between career and family?
Discussing women in business in light of questions like these is in many ways a reasonable, relevant and interesting approach. Interviews of this nature kick start conversation about the undeniable complexities of what it is to be a woman in business.
Nonetheless, for many women executives, especially those who are younger than their male peers and who are keen to represent an industry or company, this narrative can be frustrating.
Gender orientated questions can seem like roadblocks to the central topic of discussion.
Earlier this week, we met with Exness COO Maria Fedorova, to get to know one of the most important people spearheading a global brand and to hear more about the multi-asset broker from someone playing a key role in shaping its success.
Exness has been around since 2008. What vision was the company founded on and how has that vision materialized and evolved?
The vision in the very early days was limited to some particular aspects. It was based on technology and creating the best algorithms for superior pricing and execution.
Later, the company’s vision transformed and became wider. The initial goal of creating unique algorithms was a key distinguishing factor for us then as much as it is now – it has always been in Exness’ DNA.
Another important factor of Exness is a belief that providing fair trading is more beneficial for the company in the long term. Fairness and integrity are very much connected to technology and algorithms because they allow us to manage trading risks in a smart way rather than being unfair and unreasonable to traders.
Our vision also evolved during the years and expanded to different aspects of the company. For example, in our culture we do not tolerate any kind of dishonesty or manipulation. We are open, transparent, direct and honest to our clients and to each other within the company.
You joined Exness in 2012 and have had your own personal journey with the company, experiencing different roles before becoming COO. Do you consider it an advantage to grow into such a role rather than joining a company as an already established C-level manager?
I absolutely consider it an advantage to have grown into such a role within Exness. I believe that growing within a company over a significant period of time is almost imperative to being able to fulfill such a role properly.
I started off as a technical support executive which was the perfect entry point for understanding the business, our products and above all, our clients.
Over the years I moved through several promotions in Support until becoming Chief Customer Officer and subsequently Chief Operations Officer.
Were it not for the decade of growth and experience in Exness and for the honour of developing within and alongside a company which was also going from strength to strength, I don’t believe I would be as equipped as I am today to handle the role of COO with all of its challenges.
Can you tell us a bit more about your personal management style and the management style at Exness generally?
My personal management style is tricky to define in just a few words but I would definitely say that I believe in people. I believe that if they truly want to achieve something and work hard, they can do the impossible, therefore I always support people who are making an extra effort.
I believe that everyone has their strength, which, if they use it wisely, allows them to be successful (whatever successful means to them).
I try to be flexible in my management style and this flexibility helps me work with people of different backgrounds and experiences and to build a really diverse team. The more expertise and strengths we gather as a team, the more we can achieve.
As for the management style at Exness, I would say we are advocates of innovation and initiative that are collaborative and transformational. Leaders at all levels should inspire people to succeed without imposing or micromanaging.
We believe that creative freedom and collaboration at all levels develop a stronger commitment and therefore lead to greater results.
How does it feel to be leading a successful global brand like Exness, which has become a giant in the field of online investments.
It feels humbling and not something any of us, from CEO Petr Valov down through the organisation, take for granted. Exness finds itself in a position today that it worked very hard to get to and it is there for good reason.
Over the course of its 13 year history, Exness has transformed from a small forex brokerage in Tomsk, Russia, to a global multi-asset broker committed to being a pioneer in the world of finance and technology.
We have incredible teams working hard behind the scenes to deliver tailored technical solutions which really make a difference to a trader’s experience.
How important is it to you for people to know the Exness story and the brand’s ideology rather than just its products?
Our ideology is what shapes our products and services so this and our story go hand in hand. Internally, we definitely don’t aim to present our products in isolation or just show their competitive edge exclusively.
We are more interested in showing how and why these products came to be as they are and why they make a true difference in traders’ lives.
It is also important for employees to share our ideology in order to continue creating the product the way we do in Exness and be proactive participants of the company’s journey and development.
And externally, I believe that a product created with a great idea in mind would always look more complete and advantageous. I believe our clients feel the idea behind our brand without us telling it to them directly.
We have a well-thought and straightforward ideology and it is one of the main reasons why clients choose us over other brokers.
We are a company of science-driven financial engineers who passionately aim at creating the most efficient markets in the electronic trading industry. We believe that engineering methods, data technology and integrity can create a radically different experience for traders.
And we believe that a broker that functions on principles of ethical trading and fairness can be the same broker that provides better-than-market prices and execution.
These are the principles Exness is built on and what we try to deliver in practice every day. Retention and strong, long-term relationships with our traders and partners are much more important to us than short-term profits.
I am sure you’ve been asked many times, but what really makes Exness stand out amid a sea of competitors?
I feel like I could easily say it’s the amazing technology we build in-house, or the exceptional customer service we offer in so many different languages, and those things would be true; but ultimately I believe what makes us stand out is the fact that we never forget the human element of doing business.
We treat clients and partners with respect, we reward them for their loyalty in as many ways as we can, we build long-term relationships that are based on listening to their needs, and through the kind of products and trading conditions we offer, we make it very clear that it is their interests we have at the core of our offering.
And I think few brokers go to the lengths we go to look after their employees like we do; because who we are to the outside world is a reflection of who we are as employers too. This is what makes Exness stand out.