From FXCM and Boston Technologies to stand-up comedy and FX industry consultancy with Jonathan Baumgart

“Why did the professional trader get food poisoning? He got too close to the raw spreads!” – Jonathan Baumgart, CEO, MoneyMatters.pl

Do we all have to be so serious all the time? Not if comedy is mixed with institutional FX and broker technology!

Jonathan Baumgart is a stalwart among North America’s retail FX brokerage and technology provision sector, having spent five years at FXCM in sales, as well as launching the firm’s Berlin ofice in 2010, before joining Boston Technologies as Director of Training and Development in 2010 before leaving in 2012 to found his own consultancy business.

Boston Technologies, the now-defunct FX brokerage technology solutions provider run by George Popescu, was a major force among end-to-end brokerage solutions until its demise in January 2015, and there couldn’t be a more distinct diversion from the conservative, suited technology sector that we all know and love to the light-heartedness of stand up comedy.

However, for Jonathan Baumgart, a combination of the two dominates his career.

jonathan-baumgart
Jonathan Baumgart

Today, FinanceFeeds spoke to Mr. Baumgart, who now lives in Poland, about his consultancy business, and his venture into stand up comedy.

After leaving Boston Technologies, you founded your own consultancy. What aspects of experience in the FXtechnology sector does this draw on and what firms utilize the consultancy?

Working at Boston Technologies gave me a new perspective on the industry that I wasn’t exposed to when I was doing retail sales for FXCM. Because BT was in the broker set up and liquidity business, I was exposed to all the components that are needed for a successful brokerage launch.

I leverage this knowledge, my network of contacts, and overall experience to provide consultation services mainly to new and recently formed brokerages. I am able to provide a solution to literally every need my client might have, whether it’s IT, liquidity, incorporation, and even translation assistance.

What was the rationale behind founding Atomiq consulting and MoneyMatters.pl, and your notably charismatic personality combined with an understanding of the full infrastructure that an FX brokerage needs from liquidity aggregation to risk management, to CRM and trading platform are an interesting combination for providing consultancy. What anecdotes can you share about this?

Anyone with experience in this industry will tell you that the rules, players, and services are constantly changing. Most of my clients are either new or just starting off, making it a challenge to not only put these pieces together but stay on top of them.

A good example is a client contact I made who was interested in marketing / lead generation services. I connected him to a partner but it didn’t end up being the right fit.

We stayed in touch though; from time to time he picked my brain. Lo and behold, we are now working together on a different deal and he also connected me to a current client. This is a good example of how the relationships I form often lead to a win/win type of scenario down the road.

I love a good laugh, and have had some vey amusing ideas about how to entertain what is sometimes a very conservative and corporate audience. Would you elaborate on your stand up comedy, the inspiration behind it and if you would ever combine comedy and your experiences in the FX industry

In an industry as stressful as FX, I think humor is badly needed to releive the pressure. I’ve always had a creative side to me but paying the bills comes first so in my spare time, I enjoy writing creative stories, blogging, and doing the occasional stand up.

I enjoy making people laugh and most of my jokes are from conversations with friends.

Now that industry events are more common, I wouldn’t mind giving a short stand up skit. In fact, back in my FXCM days I used to write jokes for our daily email updates, which were for the most part HR acceptable.

A personal favorite was: “What is Ben Bernanke’s favorite cereal?” “Credit crunch”  (Applause please! – Ed.)

What’s the whole ecosystem like in Poland these days and how well can you provide international service?

The FX industry in Poland is tightly regulated and dominated by a handful of mostly local players. I chose Poland due to it’s physical location which is great for travelling, cost of living, and time zone advantage. The time zone allows me to catch clients before markets close in Asia, all of Europe of course, and my contacts in the states. Poland also has a wide pool of talented, hard working individuals who I’m gracious to consider part of my team.

Yesterday, Jonathan Baumgart performed live in Krakow, Poland. Here is the full routine. Enjoy!

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