FMLS 2022: TFB’s Albina Zhdanova discusses MT ban, impact of FTX collapse on FX brokers
Tools for Brokers, a leading software developer for FX brokers, sees “great potential” in expanding White Label solutions and is looking at various business segments where it plans to expand, Albina Zhdanova, the company’s COO, told FinanceFeed in an exclusive interview at the Finance Magnates London Summit 2022.
Albina is responsible for all client-related activities at TFB, where she oversees the company’s global strategy, and also manages the London office. Thanks to her longstanding experience within the industry, she has led the company’s expansion into overseas markets tapping into her sales and management talents. Specifically, Albina was instrumental in the launch of three offices in China, Cyprus, and the United Kingdom; while simultaneously optimising the work for different departments and the organisation as a whole.
We started our conversation by asking Albina about Tools for Brokers’ recent partnership with Match- Trade Technologies.
The executive explains that the recent collaboration effectively expands TFB’s White Label offering with the addition of Match-Trader (MTR) platform. She added that acquiring the MTR license aligns with the growing interest among brokers in the diversification of platforms offered to traders.
Overall, this kind of partnership empowers the company to provide high performance, flexibility, and an excellent trading experience. Additionally, MTR appeals to White Label brokers that need advanced features, and it offers a free trial version of the application which allows forex providers (brokers, prime brokers, and other LPs) to test and evaluate all functionalities.
Match-Trade’s flat competitive fee structure also enables forex brokers to manage and predict their technology costs. The company’s offering caters to various brokers’ needs ranging from hosting services and MT white label solutions, data feed, to bridge and aggregation technology and risk management system for A Book and B Book brokers.
“We decided to go with a much straighter platform, because they are very friendly towards the white label clients, providing a lot of possibilities, good terms for the partnerships, where you are actually feeling as a partner. We have been working with them on other aspects like liquidity, so we know about their quality, how they provide support, new functionalities, customizations, and how they are looking at the market and bringing in new things.”
Albina further elaborated on Match-Trade’s client office forex CRM, which helps brokers optimize the entire sales and onboarding process, as well as allows reducing operating costs by automating the most important business operations.
What does that mean for your clients going forward? How can they utilize these services, FinanceFeeds asked.
Albina believes that this alliance would provide their clients with vast branding opportunities to stand out from the competition. She also underscores that the offering is available for brokers of all sizes. Wanting to meet different clients’ expectations, Match-Trade offers the platform both as a White Label and a broker’s own server. The first package provides a genuinely hands-off approach as the entire setup is taken care of. For those in need to have complete control over the brokerage business, they can choose the full server license.
“So for the companies who want to kick off their brokerage business, for example, as a white label, they can take the basic offering, and actually, this will be even smoother for them because they will have all this packaged inside and all the headache of technical matters will be taken away. In fact, they’re very straightforward, and in a very short time a broker will be up and running and start onboarding clients.”
The trading world has been evolving with various challenges within the ecosystem. Back in September, news had surfaced that the popular trading app MetaTrader (MT4/MT5) has been banned from Apple’s App Store. Now, a scramble to find a replacement application is rippling across the FX and CFDs industry.
We wanted to get Albina’s take on this matter and how she sees things playing out going forward; namely, how does the ban impact MT brokers, and what can be the alternatives available?
Albina acknowledges that Apple’s latest controversial move came as a huge surprise to brokerages who depend on MetaQuotes’ software for their business. But after two decades of success, the MT4 and MT5 ban could be an opportunity for some brokers to refresh their offering, at least to avoid putting all eggs in one basket.
The noise around the ban is, unsurprisingly, due to the immense popularity of MT4 and MT5. Nevertheless, Albina stressed that MetaQuotes needs to improve corporate communication with their clients as when you run a service-based business, the relationships you establish and mutual understanding are key to stand the test of time. That’s why in order to build and maintain long-lasting ties with their customers, MetaQuotes needs to invest in the way they interact with them.
As for the alternatives, she thinks that trading platforms that qualify as MT4 and MT5 alternatives need to develop the right tools to enable a seamless integration.
Albina further explains that “The big advantage that metal MetaQuotes have is that they have all other technology providers already around them. So when a broker wants to start a business, it has everything already in place. But when you’re going with a new provider, you need to collect partners by yourself. That’s why I’m saying that MetaQuotes needs to communicate properly because the worst thing you can do is to stay silent in such turbulent times. However, I think there is a potential that they will improve that kind of communication because you just want to know what will happen with your platform tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, brokers are hopeful that MetaQuotes will resolve the situation. Otherwise, it could provide an opportunity for them to take a fresh look at the other technology solutions available in the market.
“I think what’s going forward depends on the steps of both MetaQuotes and other platform providers, each of them separately, because we see how they behaved when everything started to happen.”
Crypto is big news – and while it was not the main theme at Finance Magnates London Summit 2022, there’s definitely a buzz around FTX’s collapse that’s impossible to ignore.
We asked Tools For Brokers’ COO about her personal opinion on what’s going to happen with the crypto market going forward?
Albina highlighted that not everyone is on the same page with regards to what exactly happened. But she believes that we urgently need to see more maturity in the infrastructure space of cryptocurrency markets. However, Albina downplayed the impact of dwindling interest in crypto on trading volumes at pure-FX brokers, or even those offering both asset classes.
“Yeah, there are a lot of assumptions about what’s going to happen from what we’ve seen. Contrary to the belief that many brokers have been so much interested in adding crypto next to FX, most of them had it just to show that they have a widened offering. But the volumes were not massively impacted, at least for us, assuming that the downfall has impacted a different audience.”
“This minimal impact could be attributed to how crypto trading actually works. If you are a crypto trader who wants to invest in digital assets, it’s unlikely you will be using FX platforms because it’s a different wallet, and a different calculation system. And in my opinion, providing crypto CFDs is not really trading on the crypto.”
From a different perspective, Albina predicts that retail platforms are getting hit as the cost-of-living crisis tightens pockets of amateur traders, possibly ending a pandemic-era boom for the sector. In other words, higher inflation is squeezing traders’ budgets.
The trend is being replicated elsewhere, but Albina says that for many investors it may be more important than ever to continue to put their savings in long-term investment vehicles.
With the backdrop of a dampening customer appetite and a broad-based market slump, it’s also a good time for investors to make a thorough background check on their broker for the safety of their funds.
“Given the high inflation rate across the world, traders will become more cautious. I think that they will be checking more about different backgrounds of the companies, how long they exist, what is their license, where they are? Are they renting a house in the Bahamas and living there altogether? It’s a very volatile time in terms of politics and economics. So I believe for the next couple of years, people will be more cautious and will not have so much spare money anymore to invest. Even if you have a surplus of money, you probably will invest it with longer time horizons, rather than actively trading.”
To conclude, we thanked Albina for those valuable insights. Our last question was about the main themes she expects for the industry in 2023.
TFB COO said that for much of the world there has been hope for some time that the worst shocks from the Covid pandemic are now behind us. In Asia, however, there are important reminders that risks to the economy still remain.
In Europe, on the other hand, she thinks that there is a lot at stake as assets across the spectrum have been affected by the geopolitical tensions. As a result, investors have sharply increased the protection they buy against macroeconomic shocks, hedging for a potential wider conflict in Eastern Europe.