FMLS 2022: Gavin White, CEO of Invast Global talks London, inclusiveness, data, execution quality
The Finance Magnates London Summit 2022 gathered the global trading industry at the Old Billingsgate on 21-23 November. It was an opportunity to meet old friends, new people, learn new trends and strike deals.
We spoke with Gavin White, CEO of Invast Global, about the move into the United Kingdom, company culture, Brexit, replacing technology vendors, execution quality analysis, the FX global code, and their ability to use data to derive new financial instruments.
It was at events like these that Invast Global executives built their relationship with GMO-Z.com. This eventually allowed the Australian headquartered Prime of Prime to reach a deal to acquire FCA-regulated GMO-Z.com Trade UK, a milestone move for the broker. “FMLS has been central to the industry for ten years and has a strong role in strengthening networks and knowledge,” states White.
Company culture-a strength to attract UK talent
“Invast Global has been present in the UK for quite a while, catering to broker-dealer and hedge fund clients. In order to have permanent staff serving these clients, the firm needed to be licensed. We searched for a long time for an acquisition target and were lucky enough to come across with this deal with GMO-Z.com,” he explains.
“As Australians we are naturally friendly and approachable and have a real passion for inclusiveness. Our flat plan, egalitarian approach and supportive environment has successfully attracted young talent to the company – 60% of our staff are under 28,” explains White. “This demographic cares intrinsically about social values. That’s why we’re attracting the great talent we have,” he explained.
Questioned about Brexit and the influence of the United Kingdom in global finance, the chief executive disagreed with the view that this has diminished the influence of the finance sector and reiterated the importance of London, “This is where the best talent is based, alongside technology. We see the city as an important hub for investment banking and institutional hedge funds. London is, and always has been, a financial services hub with a lot of innovation and incredible talent,” he said. “We want to attract the smartest people in areas of quant, mathematics, and data analysis and a lot of them are in London.”
While Invast Global has arrived at London to best serve the investment banking and institutional hedge fund space, the Prime of Prime broker opened an office in Cyprus last year because of its undeniable importance in the broker-dealer space.
New core technology for full redundancy, security, and data
Gavin White then spoke about the company’s efforts to replace its legacy systems with oneZero’s solutions: “We were at risk of spreading ourselves too thin by trying to be everything to everyone and with all vendors. We spent a lot of time and effort, I have to say, to analyse the platforms. Some were very simple in their commercials and oneZero was one of the most complicated in terms of their commercial proposal but I’m glad we stuck with them because it ended up being exactly what we need.”
Replacing vendors allowed Invast Global to put everything into one platform, making it much more stable. “Full redundancies, both in terms of server, geolocation and data redundancies.
“oneZero was the best at providing the full redundancy and security aspect”, he continued, adding that the new technology partner is constantly improving its product, namely with the recent launch of the execution quality analysis tool.
“They are ahead of the field and we like that. We want our broker clients to know. We want them to have the ability to analyse and see us against our competitors. That was another strong reason why we chose oneZero,” Gavin White stated, pointing to the tool that allows broker clients to check against its competitors. “That’s what we want.”
Call for brokers to analyse execution quality
Speaking of execution quality, the rise of the FX Global Code was widely applauded by the industry and big names such as Invast Global signed up to it, “the problem is that it is voluntary.”
“It will grow and become a very important central part of the industry that you can rely on, but at the moment, it’s difficult given there is no mechanism to ensure that people are following it,” he said, adding that’s why brokers need to make sure they have systems themselves to know they’re doing the best for their clients with best possible liquidity and execution.
“The FX industry needs to get to a stage where big investment banks, LPs, non-bank LPs say, ‘we’re not going to deal with you until you sign [the FX Global Code]’. We’re not there yet but it’s gaining momentum,” he added, pointing to expected developments in the next 12 months.
“It is not the old days of OTC with no data feeds”
Data has become the buzz word within the FX industry and, according to Gavin White, it is because times have changed, and brokers need to understand that multi asset pricing and execution is needed.
“It is not the old days of OTC with no data feeds. There are data feeds associated with these instruments. We’ve got tens of clients that are very much of the opinion there is no free lunch with multi asset data and people are paying and signing up to the licenses to the exchanges.
“It’s been one of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the industry in the last couple of years: the acceptance that there needs to be transparency in market data usage,” he continued, adding that there’s real value being created, including the usage of data to derive new financial instruments. Watch this space. Invast Global is truly global and clearly thinking that way when it comes to product.