Exclusive: Autochartist CEO Ilan Azbel Delivers Insight on AI at iFX EXPO LATAM 2024

Rick Steves

In an insightful interview with FinanceFeeds at iFX EXPO LATAM 2024, Ilan Azbel, CEO of Autochartist, discussed the evolution of trading technology, effective trader engagement strategies, the integration of AI in trading analytics, and the cautious approach of regulated brokers towards its adoption.

Financefeeds exclusive interviews

The highly awaited iFX EXPO LATAM 2024, the first of its kind in the region, took place at the World Trade Center in Mexico City from April 9th to 11th, 2024.

The event served as a crucial platform for stakeholders looking to explore and expand in Latin America, attracting a diverse group of industry participants, including retail traders, investors, fintech startups, affiliates, liquidity providers, technology providers, and regulation and compliance experts.

Autochartist, a leading provider of market analysis tools, was among the participants. Founded in 2001 by Ilan Azbel, the company remains a key resource for brokers globally.

FinanceFeeds had the opportunity to speak with Ilan Azbel at iFX EXPO LATAM 2024. We explored several intriguing topics about the evolving landscape of trading technology and the integration of AI in trading analytics. Ilan Azbel provided insights into Autochartist’s journey since 2001, the evolution from a desktop application to leveraging APIs and advanced communication tools and adapting to the diverse needs of traders across age groups and regions.

The Rise of Autochartist

​​In response to a question about the key milestones and challenges faced by Autochartist over its 23-year history, Ilan Azbel, the founder and CEO, described the journey in two primary areas: technical advancements and core analysis capabilities.

“In the history of a 23-year-old company, I think there’s a lot of challenges. One of the major challenges has been the technical advancements. When we first started the company, we had a Windows application that ran on your desktop through which you could get all the analyses. Then it moved to the web, and now it’s moved to APIs, SMS, push notifications, and emails. Automated marketing systems, CRMs, and social media have been another ball game altogether.”

He stressed the importance of adapting to changing technology and distribution channels, especially in engaging younger audiences, who have different expectations and preferences than older users.

Regarding the core analysis capabilities, Azbel discussed the evolution in the types of data and analysis that traders demand: “On the core analysis side, looking at the actual analytics and projections of markets, it’s been a challenge to be able to talk to any type of trader. So, 20 years ago, technical analysis was it, right? And then suddenly, news and social media became a big thing. Economic events, company valuations, and so on. There are so many different types of ways that traders trade. It’s also been a big challenge to keep up with the demand for the different types of analysis and content from the actual traders themselves.”

How to maintain trader engagement

Ilan Azbel spoke about effective strategies for maintaining trader engagement, noting the significant shift in communication over the past two decades from traditional methods to more dynamic and diversified approaches to effectively reaching and retaining traders.

He began by comparing past and present methods, stating: “Again, coming back to where we started off 23 years ago, it was something you would browse to in your Windows application or on the internet. These days, when we’re helping brokers attract customers, firstly, it has to be done on social media. Putting up a website doesn’t do anything. They have to find the website somehow.”

Azbel highlighted the crucial role of social media in the initial stages of engaging potential traders and underscored the need for active engagement strategies that meet users on various social media platforms

He elaborated on the evolution of engagement methods: “You need to engage on social media. Then, once the trader is on board, you need to engage through not only emails, like it was 10 or 15 years ago, now you have to send push notifications, you have to send SMSs, you have to send messages on Telegram, and WhatsApp. The latest craze right now has become Discord. So trader engagement has been a big challenge for us and a technical challenge, but also been quite exciting, because we see different age groups, regions, moving to certain types of communication channels.”

AI or a coin toss?

Regarding AI’s impact on market sentiment and potential effects on market rationality, Azbel provided a nuanced view of its role in financial markets and its broader applications. His insights reflect a skeptical view of AI’s capability to improve market predictions but acknowledge its significant utility in enhancing operational efficiency within companies.

Azbel began by framing the context in which AI has gained prominence: “I think that the term AI has taken over media, and it’s taken it over in the media industry, video creation, image creation, content creation. And obviously, the industry we’re in; financial markets.”

Azbel addressed the specific application of AI in financial market forecasting: “We’ve done extensive mathematical analysis on the use of AI in actually projecting markets, and they do no better, unfortunately, than 50/50 flipping a coin. I don’t think AI will solve your investment problems from a pure analytics and forecasting perspective.”

This statement captures his skepticism about the effectiveness of AI in market prediction, suggesting that despite advanced technologies, AI’s performance in forecasting market movements is no better than random chance.

Furthermore, Azbel explored how his company integrates AI to enhance various business functions: “Our company itself is embracing AI for other things: to get more productivity from our developers, to assist our editors and our writers in creating more variety of content, for helping our graphic designers and create more amazing concepts for images.”

This application of AI is positioned as a tool for increasing productivity and creativity within his company rather than as a direct tool for market analysis. Azbel sees AI as beneficial in supporting backend operations and content creation, enhancing the company’s efficiency and output quality.

Finally, Azbel touched on the cautious approach toward AI adopted by large, regulated financial institutions concerned about compliance risks: “Speaking to the large brokers in the world, many are keeping a distance from AI at the moment, worried that AI might produce non-compliant or incorrect statements, for which they could be held liable.”

AI will mimic human beings in 10 to 15 years

In his response to the fourth question about the future integration of AI in our daily lives and operational activities, Ilan Azbel reflected on his personal history with AI and the significant changes that have enabled its current and future applications.

“Interestingly enough, many people don’t know this, but I have done some graduate studies in the field of AI. That’s what, close to 30 years ago.”

He mentioned the limitations he encountered in those early years due to the scarcity of data available for training AI models and how this has dramatically changed with the digital explosion and increased data capture capabilities: “In recent times, the data sets have absolutely exploded, and so I think there have been some technical improvements in the actual mathematics and algorithms of AI. The sheer volume of data sets that are being used in AI to train the models has been immense.”

Concluding his thoughts, Azbel expressed confidence in the future integration of AI across various aspects of life, predicting that AI’s mimicry of human behavior will only become more pronounced as data availability continues to grow: “I think it’s inevitable for AI in the next 10, 15 years to mimic human beings so closely, purely because of the amount of data that we’re monitoring and training the AIs with is immense.”

As Autochartist wrapped up its participation at iFX EXPO LATAM 2024, Ilan Azbel’s insights undoubtedly enriched the discourse on trading technology and artificial intelligence within the financial sector.

The anticipation for iFX EXPO LATAM 2025 is already building, promising another opportunity for industry leaders to converge, share breakthroughs, and shape the future of trading in Latin America and beyond.

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