FF Podcast Ep.28: Igor Galkin’s Companionville changing FX/CFD recruitment landscape

Rick Steves

In its latest episode, the FinanceFeeds Podcast unveils a riveting conversation with Igor Galkin, co-founder of Companionville Recruiting, which addresses the FX and CFD industry’s talent acquisition needs with an innovative approach: performance-based recruitment and preferred ghost shares.

FF Podcast Ep 28: Igor Galkin

We are excited to announce that the 28th episode of the FinanceFeeds Podcast is now available. In this installment, Nikolai Isayev welcomes Igor Galkin, co-founder of Companionville Recruiting, for a detailed discussion on a range of topics pertinent to the trading and fintech industries.

The conversation covers Galkin’s multifaceted career path, the driving forces behind the establishment of Companionville, and the innovative approaches they are bringing to the recruitment sector.

Igor Galkin is a well-known face within the FX and CFD industry, with prominent roles at GAIN Capital and Libertex up until 2021, when he decided together with HR specialist wife Olga Tunitckaia to address the recruitment gap in FX by co-founding Companionville Recruiting.

Listen on your favorite streaming audio portal or our YouTube channel.

Companionville stands out in the crowded recruitment landscape for its unique performance-based model, which only charges clients upon the successful completion of a candidate’s probation period. This approach, born out of Galkin’s extensive experience and nuanced understanding of the industry’s needs, highlights the company’s commitment to aligning its success with that of its clients and candidates.

Recruitment services under a performance-based model

Describing himself as a “jack of many trades”, Igor opens up about his journey through the industry, his diverse experience across various companies laid the groundwork for his holistic understanding of fintech management. The formation of Companionville Recruiting, as Igor recounts, was somewhat serendipitous yet filled with intention. Driven by a series of accidental but fortuitous events, Igor and his wife Olga decided to leverage their extensive network within the FX and CFD industry to establish a recruiting agency that stands out through its unique approach.

The core of Companionville’s differentiation in the recruitment market is its performance-based model. Unlike traditional agencies that charge upfront or upon placement, Companionville only invoices clients if and when a placed candidate successfully completes their probation period. Igor proudly states, “We invoice only if and when somebody that we place successfully completes their probation period, which as far as I know, nobody else does.”

Listen on your favorite streaming audio portal or our YouTube channel.

“You pay 15% of the candidate’s total annual compensation only IF AND WHEN our candidate successfully completes the trial period. We don’t believe in charging a fee to either start a search or when our candidate successfully starts work on day one,” the firm’s website states.

Raising the stakes with “Preferred ghost shares”

In a twist on traditional compensation strategies, Igor Galkin introduces the concept of “preferred ghost shares” during the podcast. This forward-thinking approach, designed to attract and retain top talent, allows employees to gain an equity interest in the company without the usual encumbrances of voting rights or access to sensitive financial information. Moreover, these ghost shares permit individuals to maintain their equity stake even after leaving the company, provided their departure is under amicable terms.

Galkin’s advocacy for preferred ghost shares stems from a desire to align employee incentives with company success in a manner that mitigates common corporate concerns around equity distribution. “This new type of equity option is getting a lot of attention with the clients that we’re discussing it because it’s giving them an opportunity to attract people that normally would not even be in the workforce at all,” Galkin explained. “I would be very skeptical of a CEO candidate or a senior manager candidate that if given a choice prefers to take the lower risk option without equity to just maximize the base salary. If I were the hiring manager, I would seriously think: do I want to hire this individual?

Listen on your favorite streaming audio portal or our YouTube channel.

He continued, “The problem with equity historically has been that companies don’t like the idea of somebody becoming a shareholder and then remaining a shareholder after they leave, which is why phantom shares were invented”. Explaining the difference, Galkin noted that with preferred ghost shares, the talent doesn’t have to sell those shares upon departure, provided they leave on good terms. “Companies forget that their biggest competition is not the competition, it’s private enterprise. The top candidates are not always leaving for a competitor. They’re launching their own companies,” Galkin stated.

A shift towards a more global talent pool in the FX and CFD industry

Igor delves into the specific challenges and opportunities he has observed within the FX and CFD industry’s recruitment landscape. He notes a significant shift towards a more global talent pool, marking a departure from the industry’s previous concentration in predominantly English-speaking countries. “Over the past 20 years, things have really, really changed,” Igor observes, highlighting the increasing diversity in fintech executive backgrounds.

Leadership philosophy and mentorship are topics close to Igor’s heart. He emphasizes the importance of viewing management as a service to one’s team, rather than the other way around. By fostering growth and providing guidance, Igor believes in unlocking the potential of his team members. “I really focused on developing the people that were entrusted to my care,” he shares, underlining the impact of mentorship on both personal and professional growth.

Listen on your favorite streaming audio portal or our YouTube channel.

The podcast also touches on the contrasts in hiring practices between the US and Europe. Igor points out the evolving dynamics, where the fintech industry is seeing a more level playing field in terms of talent distribution globally. “A disproportionate percentage of the fintech executives would be coming from predominantly English-speaking countries…But over the past 20 years, things have really, really changed,” he reiterates, emphasizing the global nature of today’s fintech talent.

“Cyprus is great…it’s kind of like Miami, but without the drama”

Igor’s decision to move overseas was driven by the regulatory shifts in the US that impacted the FX industry. This move not only marked a significant turn in his career but also offered him a broader perspective on life and work. Igor reflects on this transition, saying, “I left not by choice. I left by necessity,” highlighting the blend of challenge and opportunity that this change represented.

The comparison between life in Cyprus and New York reveals Igor’s adaptability and appreciation for diverse cultures and lifestyles. While he harbors perpetual homesickness for New York, the quality of life in Cyprus presents a compelling case for contentment. “Limassol is great. Cyprus is great…it’s kind of like Miami, but without the drama,” Igor comments, drawing parallels between his past and present homes.

The episode concludes on a lighter note, with Igor sharing anecdotes about his passion for motorcycle riding. Although he has since traded sports bikes for a more settled lifestyle, the spirit of adventure remains. “Oh boy. So as one of my former coworkers said, I have too many people calling me daddy. So I had to give up the sports bikes,” Igor chuckles, reflecting on the shifts in his hobbies alongside his professional journey.

Listen on your favorite streaming audio portal or our YouTube channel.

Listeners are invited to immerse themselves in this engaging discussion on the FinanceFeeds Podcast, where Igor Galkin’s insights illuminate the intricacies of fintech recruitment, leadership, and the balancing act between professional ambition and personal fulfillment.

Sponsorship opportunities on FinanceFeeds Podcast

FinanceFeeds is the world’s premier online news publication for the global online trading industry. Our podcast series opens up new sponsorship opportunities for companies looking to tap into our niche audience. For more information, please email us at [email protected].

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