Want to recruit sales and retention staff, or even a new director and to know the challenges? We talk to Sivan Peled, specialist FX headhunter

The requirement for skilled human resources across all aspects of the electronic trading industry is a continued consideration for many businesses within all sectors of the FX industry, whether it be programmers within the broker solutions business, or sales and marketing executives within retail brokerages. Albeit a global business, certain regions of the world have […]

The requirement for skilled human resources across all aspects of the electronic trading industry is a continued consideration for many businesses within all sectors of the FX industry, whether it be programmers within the broker solutions business, or sales and marketing executives within retail brokerages.

Albeit a global business, certain regions of the world have become renowned for being home to a skilled workforce with deep and extensive knowledge in specific areas.

For example, London’s interbank giants and non-bank liquidity providers and prime brokerages are a bastion of sophistication; highly polished, plate glass corporate giants which house some of the most knowledgeable industry figures, all of whom are highly sought after.

North America’s major financial centers of Chicago and New York are home to the world leaders in exchange technology, listed derivatives and a long standing electronic futures sector, within which innovations occur on an industrial scale, and Cyprus, the destination for retail forex brokerages, has a skill base which is disproportionate to the island’s size, making recruitment somewhat of a painless exercise as so many experienced people reside in the Eastern Mediterranean nation.

סיון פלד
Sivan Peled, CEO, PELED HR

Israel has a burgeoning fintech startup scene, and over the last 10 years, many of the technological solutions that power retail FX systems have been developed and designed in Israel, a nation known for its programming and research and development success stories.

Many introductions and requirements for new staff have thus far been conducted largely via recommendation and by advertisement, and the specialist recruiters in this field have been notable by their relative absence, however today, FinanceFeeds met Sivan Peled, CEO of PELED HR in Tel Aviv, Israel, a specialist in placement for the fintech, FX and high technology businesses.

Ms. Peled seeks to utilize her international experience to be able to provide high quality staff to the FX industry, and explained her company’s ethos.

“I have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, and have spent many years in the field of recruitment and placement, and in recent years I have accumulated extensive experience in the banking and financial market” explained Ms. Peled.

“I was director of personal banking and business in one of the largest banks in Israel, and have also spent a degree of time in Miami and Texas in the United States, where I recruited for major banking institutions.”

“Today I run my company on an independent basis, providing specialized recruiting for international financial institutions. My clients include companies purchasing and logistics, international forex binary options firms and technology vendors, and I recruit people who speak a series of languages, including English, Arabic, German, Italian, Spanish, and French” explained Ms Peled.

Cyprus requires high skill-sets: Relocation of candidates on the agenda

“We are currently recruiting a number of people wishing to relocate, mainly to Cyprus and Eastern European countries” said Ms Peled.

“The My Vision as a business is to provide a solution for employers looking for employees across a range of skillsets and would be a good fit for the various industry functions, with credible levels of skill and good work ethic.”

How did you identify a need for a specialist recruitment service for the FX and binary options industry, and what specific areas will you concentrate on in terms of skill sets?

Everything begins and ends with the demands of brokers.

Usually there is a high demand for workers in sales and marketing. Retail sales departments of FX and binary options companies especially have a lot of demand for sales and retention professionals, and also there has been a higher demand recently for department heads in sales and marketing.

Today, the hottest job market is retention management, as well as account managers that work within retention departments.

The binary and forex industry must maintain stable lifetime value of customers, and many companies find it difficult to keep the retention and post sales process stable. As you know, a weaker retention department can result in higher costs and cause a very significant impact among online marketers.

This is especially the case in the binary options sector, where retention is the name of the game and it is very difficult to maintain lifetime value of clients for more than four months.

Forex is a different story, and many major brokers maintain retention personnel for many years, but in general, maintaining a strong retention desk remains the weakest link.

In terms of recruitment, it is an in-depth process and I invest a lot of time in identifying skills and interpersonal skills, patience with customers, systemic vision, personalities and depth of experience and I check all recommendations and who has provided the recommendations as well as all of the brokers within which a delegate ever worked. I have a special method to identify skills for people within retention departments.

This method is called “the 13 questions”. I have 13 questions I that I ask, which are occupational and psychological questions that primarily examine the reliability and quality of service and sales staff, made up of particularly challenging questions.

How difficult is it for firms to recruit staff in middle management to junior management positions these days, especially on sales floors where cost of operations is very high for many FX brokerages, and staff turnover is high, meaning that many companies have to take a loss if a member of staff leaves the company shortly after joining?

The main problem in companies is a problem common to all brokers in the industry worldwide, especially in some parts of Europe and Israel.

This is a difficulty in which, in certain regions, many companies have experienced in finding staff that transfer from some smaller firms in less well regulated jurisdictions as there are lots of companies in the industry do not work in the manner required by many recognized regulators, and do not have the time or resources to educate professional managers, have brokers who promote sales people to become managers after three months without any tools, no strategy and worst of all no experience !!!!

Companies which engage in this practice then wonder why the sales department or their marketing fails. There are lots of good managers with skills that can rise to a good standard, but if middle management also experiences this problem, and executives are not reliable and not leaders by nature, this is the aspect that can cause the most damage, especially in a small company with a small budget.

Essentially, the recruitment market is is flooded with managers, laid-off executives, and directors that have resigned due to the brokerage that they operate having closed because of lack of funds or even worse, having been closed down by a regulatory authority.

The challenge is to find someone who is a leader, someone who is really reliable and comes with reputable recommendations.

There is often a problem in ensuring the longevity of sales representatives in companies. Many brokers sometimes apply very harsh sales pressure, or or do not pay attention to problems which can affect motivation, or sometimes omit to teach them how to improve their work for better results, and therefore representatives leave, meaning that brokers have to recruit all over again, which is very expensive and detrimental to continued quality of a department. – Sivan Peled, CEO, PELED HR

Research published in the 1999 in the United States based on a study conducted on 10,000 employees stated that what motivates an employee to remain at work is not just the financial remuneration, but the working environment that nurtures the success of individuals, lets them grow and learn in an environment in which their career can develop, an environment where there is a possibility to promote and challenge.

Most employees want to feel part of something and be challenged and developed, as this is a matter of self-fulfillment in life which comes from the survival instinct which remains from the early days of humanity.

Certain regions have specific talent pools for the FX industry. Cyprus is renowned for a skilled workforce in all areas of retail FX from technology to brokerage, Chicago for institutional executives and London for the interbank and liquidity provision sector. How do you plan to provide specific regions with quality candidates and how great is the demand?

Today I am able to respond to all the countries you specify. It is of course very important to take into account the organizational culture in each country and the local cultural requirements of each country.

Skills and abilities and can be found region in the world from which you want to run an operation, but the US broker has a different organizational structure to, for example, a broker in Cyprus, and therefore completely different skillsets are required.

In Cyprus you can find people with skills in sales and service, but in America, for example, there is an emphasis on customer service skills. For example, companies in New York, such as FXCM or GAIN Capital will have different requirements for sales staff, and will be subject to different labor laws, regulatory structure and customer facing solutions than, for example FxPro in Cyprus or a mid sized spread betting company in London.

When I choose a director in America, I’m looking at management skills, but I’ll look at the local features of that specific business sector and ensure that a leader can adapt himself to suit the customer requirements of such a business. Similarly, US regulatory manager must be not only familiar with the culture of the American administration, but also that of Cyprus, Australia, and Britain at the same.

What do you think is the most under-skilled and under-represented area in this industry sector?

I had previously had this experience with many brands in the binary options sector. For example, many of them had been working in a less than professional manner and did not even want to return profits to customers. In some respects, the massive increase in the number of brands in the binary options market has impacted the reputation of many brokers which are good and large, purely by association.

Today I am taking only clients with existing regulatory structure and which have been at least 2-3 years in the industry and know how to work with suppliers of manpower and appreciate the best service. I am currently working with regulated forex and binary options companies in recognized jurisdictions which understand the correct method of operating a business.

How flexible are today’s candidates in terms of relocation and industry sector diversification?

Today I see a fabulous movement of skilled professionals who are willing to work hard and believe in their career and want to work in an atmosphere in which there is an international culture, and want to live abroad.

In 2015 it was possible to see significant growth from 2011 in emigration and relocation from Israel to Europe (mainly to Cyprus and England), and from Europe to many other parts of the world. Many people today want to see the world, want to work and enjoy the international lifestyle. People understand the significance of the brief life and want to try new things and new experiences in various countries around the world and then they receive an offer from the work place to carry out business relocation so they choose to take the opportunity for better or worse.

I know of families who migrated from Israel to Cyprus, and I am also personally involved in relocation projects, as there is always growth, and the world continues to become smaller and ever connected.

In terms of engagement, what type of longstanding contracts do you look for in order to supply staff to FX companies?

Call Center Managers
Shift Managers
Conversion sales
Retention sales
Compliance Managers
Mrkating Directors
Web designers
Admin positions

You have a lot of experience in Israel. Do you think FX and binary options brokers are having harder time hiring people now with negativity about it in Israel that has been all over the newspapers?

In Israel, it is always difficult to find representatives especially to work in retention departments. The best and most longstanding companies know how to ensure loyalty within the best staff, however you can always find good quality representatives, regardless of the media coverage recently.

Good account managers can be hard to find, but there are ways to find them. You’re right, however, it is difficult to begin to develop further in the wake of all the recent reports. It is a case of knowing who to recommend, and which companies to recommend them to.

What is the next step for Peled HR in terms of growth?

I have big dreams for the development of PELED HR. This year I decided to upgrade the recruitment process to assist candiates with relocation and hope to continue serving corporate clients and candidates alike with the best opportunities.

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