Tom Higgins is founder and CEO of Gold-i with experience in financial technology spanning over 25 years. With an in-depth knowledge of the trading technology industry, Tom set up Gold-i in 2008 after spotting a gap in the market to enhance the FX trading process for retail brokers. As the inspiration and driving force behind Gold-i, Tom has played a major role in disrupting the retail FX market, giving opportunities to brokers across the globe and has now extended the firm’s focus to the institutional market, using his market insight to continue to drive innovation.
2020 - What a year!
I remember back in 2019 BC (before Corona), we decided to invest in upgraded firewalls and higher Internet bandwidth just in case we needed to all work from home due to snow. That was a good (and lucky!) call, as we were then perfectly set-up when we did all have to work from home. I am writing this in a small room at home with a couple of dogs under my desk and cat on top, you can’t do that in a real office! My four children are coping pretty well, with three at school and one at University. This virus has shown just how adaptable the human race is, we just get on with it and do what is necessary.
Personally, I started running in lockdown #1 (and am now addicted), and I get to see the children and my wife every day, which is fantastic, but I miss the buzz of an office, and can’t wait to go back in 2021 AC!
A look back...
They say in life that there are only two certainties: death and taxes. In FX, there is definitely one certainty, and that is regulation. The strict ASIC regulatory changes may have been delayed, but they have not been watered-down and will have a major impact on the Australian retail FX market, much as the ESMA changes did in Europe. With a doubling of volatility, this should have been a year of massive volumes, but with Covid-19 bringing so much global uncertainty, this has not happened. In February and March, everything went completely mad, but then calmed. Brokers have seen a massive increase in account openings, but only a small increase in volumes, which is odd.
The main thing that changed my life was the lack of being able to see our lovely clients for food, drinks (FX people do like to drink!) and at trade shows. A virtual trade show just does not cut the mustard and although they save so much time, no business actually gets done either!
The other thing we had, sort of forgotten about, was Brexit. I hoped it would just go away, but, unfortunately, it has not and as I write it is in its final throws. Brexit seems so irrelevant now with the shadow that Covid-19 has left, but it will greatly affect the lives of the younger members of society.
Could there be time for any more insanity? Oh yes! Trump ensured that the soap opera that is the US political system has continued to provide daily excitement. Will it ever end? I think it has destabilised the US of A and created a massively divided society. When Borat #1 came out it was shocking, but Trump now no longer shocks and is normal – which is very strange!
The last thing that changed my life, and those of most other people who use electricity, are Zoom and Teams. “Zoom” has become a verb in common use, and even my 95-year-old mother can do it. I must say that I do prefer seeing people in real-reality and not flat 2D Zooming.
Biggest achievements & struggles
From a personal point of view, my biggest achievement had to be seeing my eldest son start University following in his old man’s shoes and reading Computer Science! But on the other side, I very much struggled with not being able to see my 95-year-old mother in person when she needed her family the most.
Despite all of the upheaval, at Gold-i, we managed to carry on innovating with three major launches.
- Crypto Switch 2.0 launch – Now with 10 Institutional-grade Liquidity Providers giving deep liquidity with tight spreads across a large range of coins.
- MatrixNET growth – We added an impressive six FX Prime of Prime Liquidity providers to our Matrix NETWork. Our broker clients now get access to a wider range of liquidity, at an amazing price.
- MAM Pro massive upgrade – Mid-year we released a major upgrade to our MAM Pro for MT4 & MT5. Extra allocation mechanisms, higher performance, and an enhanced Graphical User Interface all give the Money Manager a better user experience and attracts more business.
Looking ahead to 2021 - Q&A
What are you most looking forward to?
Getting back to the office and hugging close friends, well, maybe anyone!
Where do you think the market is going?
- Bitcoin is going up, then down, then up, then down, then ….
- Cable is going up
- FTSE is going to 8000
- The Happiness Index will go off the charts!
What are your hopes for Gold-i in the upcoming year?
We can all be back in the office and have a massive staff party and I can go out and have the best lunch with my amazing clients!
Looking back on 2020 I am so pleased that our industry has managed to achieve so much with everything good, bad, and ugly, that has gone on. We have learnt to work in new ways, increased our family-time and still managed to work. So, what will 2021 bring? Well, volatility will remain at a higher level as we will be properly post-Brexit and seeing how a Biden presidency will work-out with all the poison pills that Trump will leave. The virus will fade away through the year and we will meet again.
What to invest in? Nappies! There will be a huge baby-boom after all this time at home with nothing (nearly) to do.
A thank you note to clients...
I just want to end with a massive thanks to our amazing clients who have had to put up with us working from home and the occasional child/dog/cat/chicken (in my case) appearing on-screen! Thanks to you we have grown our business this year and maintained the vital quality and exceptional support that we are renowned for. 2021 will be amazing and I wish you all the best of success.
Tom Higgins, CEO