Silicon Valley’s leading lady: OANDA Managing Director Natasha Lala says “We are at the heart of the fintech boom”

Futuristic electric cars, fintech startup incubators and avantgarde new media. California’s Silicon Valley is way out in front with the development of the world’s latest must-have gadgets, lifestyle accessories, online mobile applications and is the darling of the Millenials. Why, in that case, does the electronic trading industry not look west? Most platform vendors are […]

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Futuristic electric cars, fintech startup incubators and avantgarde new media. California’s Silicon Valley is way out in front with the development of the world’s latest must-have gadgets, lifestyle accessories, online mobile applications and is the darling of the Millenials.

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Natasha Lala Managing Director

Why, in that case, does the electronic trading industry not look west? Most platform vendors are not even based in the United States, let alone the number one development center for every modern aspect of life…. except for one. OANDA last year established a research and development headquarters in Silicon Valley, led by the company’s long-standing technological leader, Natasha Lala.

FinanceFeeds today spoke with Natasha Lala to find out the advantages for the company of being totally West Coast when it comes to the new generation of proprietary technology.

When OANDA decided to establish its operations in silicon valley, what was your initial response to being asked to lead it, and how important was this for the FX industry as the leader of a technology focused firm?

I was excited for the company, as establishing this operation in Silicon Valley puts us right in the heart of the financial technology boom. The move is a natural one for us – from inception, OANDA has put technology at the heart of its business proposition. We were one of the first companies to apply Internet-based technology to address gaps in the retail FX market and we continue to put a strong emphasis on research and development in order to best serve customers. Having a physical presence in Silicon Valley will expand our technological capabilities further and help open up several business opportunities that have been building for us in the region.

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OANDA’s proprietary fxtrade platform

No other FX firm has set up its technology center in the biggest hi tech center in the world. Why is that, and what is OANDA’s advantage?

A: Technology is democratizing the financial industry and FX is no exception. While major players have traditionally concentrated their activity and physical presence around major financial centers, putting technology and innovation at the heart of your FX business sometimes means breaking away from the pack.

Silicon Valley provides access to cutting-edge technologies, concepts and opportunities and having a presence in the area will undoubtedly push us to look at our business in new, fresh ways. Although we may be the first FX platform to set up shop in the region, it already has an impressive track record for financial technology development. And while the financial centers of the world foster competition, Silicon Valley inspires collaboration – our work there will play a key role in driving the next generation of FX technology innovation.

What is your vision for the next year ahead, and how do you keep OANDA’s products ahead of brokers that simply buy in off the shelf systems and use a sales model to produce revenues?

“Collaboration is everything when it comes to technology development” – Natasha Lala, Managing Director, Solutions for Business, OANDA

A long time ago, we recognized we develop our best ideas when we listen closely to our clients’ experiences and build a dialogue with partners that bring exciting capabilities to the table. Our partners share our vision of pushing the technological envelope and we will continue expanding this roster in the months ahead.

Client feedback is especially invaluable because this is their passion, their livelihood and to deliver them a strong user experience, we constantly have to take their needs, ideas and suggestions into consideration. Having the ability to take their feedback and incorporate it into products and services in a rapid fashion has been a real competitive advantage for us. You’ll see this reflected in our next set of offerings, which we expect to hit the market in the next few months.

 

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