So, another Limassol iFXExpo has come and gone. Booths were visited, business cards were exchanged, glasses were clinked, and now we go back to our respective offices and to business as usual. The event’s organisers did a superb job as always; everything ran smoothly and the various talks, panels and workshops were moderated with the professionalism that we’ve come to expect. The parties were also great fun and everybody I spoke with thoroughly enjoyed the event.
The keynote address by Panos Lamprakos from Google Greece was among the most interesting talks. He revealed some intriguing online trends including the upsurge in searches for alternative investments over those for forex trading, and the fact that in Q1 more people used Google to search for bitcoin prices than for any fiat currencies. He also spoke on the importance of tracking potential clients throughout the entire life-cycle of their search and across all of their devices. It was, however, interesting to see him stumped after a member of the audience questioned the value of Google Analytics for brokers when no data is available to them if their clients are signed in to their Google accounts.
One of the boldest statements came from Integral president & CEO Harpal Sandhu, who proclaimed that the future of money is not in fact bitcoin, but something like PayPal. He was one of the more self-assured and erudite speakers at the expo and probably one of the few in attendance truly cognizant of the disruptive effects that bitcoin can potentially have on the industry.
As far as the booths went it was the same curious mix of brokers throwing their promotional weight around and service providers making promises of increased volumes to market makers, the elephant in the room being that their systems ought to be good, but not too good. The ghost haunting the expo was definitely the lack of market volatility over the past twelve months, which has caused a drop-off in volumes and a general sense of uncertainty as to how to proceed. Overall the event had the feel of an industry at a crossroads, which was made all the more palpable by the fact that binary options exhibitors were out in full force, outnumbering the FX brokers. Indeed in certain areas of the expo you could have been forgiven for thinking you were at an online gaming conference.
We have discussed this issue repeatedly over the past few years, and having seen the forked path that lies ahead we have been emphatic regarding the direction we believe the industry should be moving in. For us the only way forward is to eliminate everything that is giving the industry a bad name. To focus on building strong relationships with clients by offering them the opportunity to trade in a fair and transparent environment without conflicts, to provide them with resources that help them hone their trading skills, as well as all the support they need to stick with it. We believe that to continue to blur the line between trading and gambling can only hurt the industry in the long run. This is why we have foregone short-term gains in favour of building a strong product offering geared at serious traders and investors, all while also doing everything we can to make the forex market more accessible to new traders. In fact our new SuperTrader platform fills all of the above conditions and has been benefitting from recent search trends for alternative investments. It may not be the quickest path to profits, but we believe that it will serve us in the long run.