Financial services have always been in a constant state of flux, and currency markets are no different, writes Dennis de Jong, Managing Director UFXMarkets Europe
Within the long and expansive history of financial trading, the forex industry is still relatively new and maturing. Without doubt, the internet was the largest development for this industry and online trading continues to thrive.
In addition to growing in popularity, it is also developing and changing as it grows. As a large scale global brokerage, UFXMarkets is in an ideal position to watch these developments. In today’s marketplace, few industries can afford to remain stagnant and online trading is no different. The way in which the company keeps up with these changes can make the difference between failure and success for traders.
With the advent of online trading, short term investing was brought to the masses. Until the late 20th century, currency trading was something that only large institutions like governments, banks and major corporations could realistically take part in.
Of course, even that only began in 1875 with the adoption of the gold standard. As currencies began to measure themselves against the precious metal their value relative to each other could also be calculated. Gold was replaced with the dollar after World War II, with the Bretton Woods Agreement, which also created international regulatory bodies.
Although this agreement eventually crumbled, economic regulation was already in place and the foreign exchange system was standardised. 1973 is considered the year that marked the beginning of modern currency exchange for profit. However, until the monolithic growth of the internet, it was not actually accessible to most traders.
The forex market has come a long way but, as with any online industry, it is still very much in flux. Many of the evolutions evident within the market have been mirrored in other growing areas of ecommerce.
Trading brokerages like UFXMarkets must keep up with the developments in order to best serve traders around the world. Doing so not only allows the firm to stay ahead of the game, while giving traders the best possible opportunity to succeed and grow.
Like many industries in today’s global economy, a company’s ability to compete in far-flung markets is becoming more and more important. Forex companies should make the most of their expertise by operating on an international basis. Although different markets will require different language resources and are likely to take advantage of different time zones, many features of a forex platform will be the same from one country to the next. The ability to expand and still provide niche services will be an important factor contributing to a broker’s stability.
In recent years, UFXMarkets has been testing that ability. From their London office, UFXMarkets coordinates its international efforts in 12 worldwide support centers allowing its clients a highly personalised service in addition to the 15 languages already available on their platform.
Most importantly perhaps is an infrastructure to support continued expansion. Specifically, the company has a franchise program that lets entrepreneurs with local knowledge provide services on the ground. This means that UFXMarkets can provide traders with the resources and security of a large global company while fulfilling regional needs.
As much as they have to go to where the clients are, forex brokers also have to be prepared to go with traders who are on the move. Every year, more and more time is spent by traders on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, which are now able to handle just as many activities as desktop or laptop computer. This is especially important in the world of online trading. Forex markets are open 24 hours a day. That means constant price movement. The more connected traders are, the more closely they can monitor open trades and the more likely they are to be ready when opportunity arises.
UFXMarkets’ uses the proprietary ParagonEx platform. This software is entirely web-based, meaning that it can be accessed from any device with internet access. This makes online trading a much more flexible experience, and much more readily available to retail traders. Additionally, ParagonEx has developed a UFXMarkets app, making that platform even more convenient for mobile use. The Android app is already completed and an iOS app is in the works.
Parallel to the growth of mobile computing has been the growth of social media networks and their use in numerous industries. In forex trading, this is primarily used to find out more about what other traders are doing. In some cases that means following successful traders, while in others it means a simple exchange of ideas between trader and broker. This can be used as a way to troubleshoot strategies, or garnering inspiration.
UFXMarkets has developed a number of different partner programs that allow expert traders to recruit and support their own clients. Additionally, they are meeting their Traders where they already are by setting up a community on Facebook. This will allow traders from around the world to easily connect to each other to exchange experiences and advice.
This development is not reflective of general technological developments, and is limited to the forex industry. More and more forex companies now offer a range of assets, including stocks or commodities. This variety serves to bring in traders of a variety of expertise and interests. It also allows brokerages to provide a wider range of local interest assets.
This is not a new trend for UFXMarkets which currently offers over 30 currency pairs and over 60 assets, including stocks, indices, commodities, currencies and CFDs. Most recently, the company has added several Russian stocks, and made Twitter available immediately after the stock’s IPO.
While these are the most important trends within the forex industry, a brokerage that hopes to succeed will have to constantly be working to improve and refine its services to provide the best to its traders.
UFXMarkets has won Best Professional Trading Platform, Best Broker Western Europe, and Best Customer Service, in the 2014 Forex Report Awards.