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The Broker Business Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Opportunities

ifx expo cyprus

Held on Wednesday the 6th of October at the iFX International in Cyprus was the panel ‘The Broker Business Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Opportunities’. Directed by Finance Magnates Editor and Podcast host, Rachel McIntoch, this panel included Gold-i's Founder and CEO Tom Higgins, Manuel Heyden, Daniela Egli, Mahmood Noorani, Christoforos Theodoulou and Lilian Appenheimer.

The online trading business has been around for decades, with new technologies and developments continuing to disrupt businesses and markets at a staggering pace.

Watch the panel below or read Tom’s specific answers to key questions.

What was the most significant challenge that Gold-i has faced in the past 12 months?

Well, I think anyone that has young children would've found that home-schooling was probably the most significant challenge - my respect goes to all of the teachers – a lot! 

So, it was relatively easy to transition to moving the team to work from home technically as everything was in place; however, getting people to come back has been the challenge. 

I struggle to think innovatively when staring at a screen with other people on Zoom; I find it really hard. My management team and I have found it difficult to plan things strategically and think about innovation remotely. We all prefer to stand in a room together with a whiteboard and talk to each other. 

Saying that, we've had the best year we have ever had because more people were sitting at home, in front of a screen with nothing to do, which drove people to start trading and wanting to change things. There has been much change. People have really been thinking about what they will do with their businesses now they've started going back into the office, which has brought a brilliant opportunity to us. 


What trends are you seeing develop in how you do business and what's to come?

Question everything from everywhere. Many businesses are saying, 'I'm going to look at everything I've got. Am I paying too much for my platform?' After sitting with the same provider for years, some are paying far too much for technology, as prices have gone down generally. We've seen many people switch from MT4 to MT5; I think the new pricing model has helped that. There has also been LP changes and technology changes. The market seems to have finally woken up and are now assessing many areas of their business. 


For those with systems that have integrated technology such as AI, how has this helped grow and serve clients?

I spoke to someone a few months ago, and they've developed a system that would listen to the morning notes from CEO's – not the words, but the intent on how they spoke. So, for example, when Elon Musk says something about his numbers, how he speaks can determine whether he believes it or if he's saying it based on something else entirely. This technology can then produce signals sent to Hedge Funds to Buy and Sell based on the intent of what he meant, not the words actually said. 


How have alternative assets entered the mix of new technology?

We've seen this happening. People don't just want to offer FX and a few interesting indexes; they now want to offer other things. The Crypto world is sort of on one side, and the FX and CFD world is on another, but they are getting closer to each other. One area that we like to focus on is bringing those two worlds together with our products. 

We're also powering the distribution process behind the AllStars Trader alternative asset platform, where you can bet on an index on a footballer, cricketer or tennis player, and the pricing comes from a Market Maker and is a leveraged instrument. It's an entirely new idea, apart from Football Index - which was a retail-only product. It's getting huge interest already, I think we have twelve different businesses testing with us before it's even gone live. It allows you to bring alt assets into one platform with one margin account, which is what people want to see. 


How have changes in the market over the past 12 months affected the business that you do? What were the adjustments made? 

There has been a shift, which I'm now seeing daily, to Cloud technology being used for hosting rather than dedicated data centres. People are saying, 'I have to be in LD4 or LD5 because that half a millisecond difference is really important' when they don't think about their client that is two hundred milliseconds away in another country. This throws away the flexibility that Cloud can give your business, which is the enormous ability to scale up or scale down, more CPU's, more memory for an irrelevant bit of time, that in the grand scheme of things, doesn't make much difference.

If your entire business is centred around the one millisecond or half millisecond end to end, it can matter. But not many companies are, in fact, like that. Therefore, Cloud technology, AWS, gives you so much flexibility to scale, add, and adjust to the demand very quickly. 


What is the one thing that you want brokers or others in the industry to pay attention to or know within the next 6-12 months?

Stop building things you can buy off the shelf and focus your resources on things that are really key such as AI or education, which can help differentiate you in the market. Use that resource to create something that will give you an edge. 

About the author



Gold-i is a global market leader in trading technology, helping hundreds of multi-asset brokers to transform their trading operations with robust liquidity management solutions, award-winning MetaTrader Plug-ins, business intelligence tools and all with the best support in the industry. Gold-i has won over 20 trade awards in recognition of its innovative products, commercial success and future potential, including a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2014. Has been recognised as one of the most influential Fintechs in 2018 and 2019.