You have managed to create a firm that stands out in a very competitive marketplace. Have things gone as you expected in terms of how you originally planned the development of the business?
I set up Gold-i in 2008, having spotted a gap in the market – at the time there was very limited specialist technology available for retail brokers.
I started off with a very clear vision of what I wanted Gold-i to achieve – which was to disrupt the market by developing innovative software to help MetaTrader brokers to operate more efficiently, more profitably and manage risk more effectively. I wanted to bring a level of professionalism to the retail market, in terms of products and service.
Whilst the market has evolved significantly, our focus remains the same. We continue to push boundaries with innovative products to help MetaTrader brokers to make more money, cut costs, reduce risk and differentiate from competitors.
We have grown much quicker than I had originally anticipated and also in a very different way than I had envisaged. When I set up Gold-i, I thought our client base would be largely London-based brokerages. I had not predicted the global interest in our products and I certainly wasn’t expecting China to be such an important market for us. I had also not expected to have such a broad portfolio of products at this stage. As an agile company, we’ve been able to adapt quickly to broker requirements and market needs – and this has been key to our success.
How has your role changed from a few years ago when you were a much smaller enterprise?
Initially, I was involved in every aspect of the business at a very tactical level – from product development and recruitment through to planning, new business and marketing. As the business has grown, I’ve been able to appoint an experienced management team to take responsibility for the core business functions. My role has changed to being far more strategic, looking for our next growth opportunities and also ensuring that our corporate values disseminate across the organisation as we expand.
How would you describe Gold-i’s corporate values? How important has your ethical approach to business been in helping the firm to achieve success?
I created a set of values from the outset so that all employees would understand ‘the Gold-i way’ of operating. Our values include always going the extra mile for clients, treating everyone with respect and always acting with integrity.
There’s one value which particularly stands out, which is ‘Wear the loud shirt’. This not only reflects my dress sense – anyone who knows me realises that I have a flamboyant wardrobe! – but it epitomises our ethos as a company. We like innovating, being different and pushing boundaries. This approach has helped us to succeed and also have a strong identity in an increasingly competitive market.
We are also very proud to be able to support our local community. In 2015 we set up the Gold-i Foundation for Innovation to provide grants to help local charities to push boundaries and fund new initiatives. This has been a hugely successful initiative involving a number of people from across Gold-i in helping to select and visit the charities we support. Our employees really value working for an organisation which is philanthropic.
In fact, keeping our employees engaged is a key focus for me. I want people to enjoy working at Gold-i and to feel valued for the contribution they make to the company. We have a number of initiatives to help create a fun working environment, resulting in motivated employees and a low staff turnover. This obviously has a knock on effect on our business success and provides continuity for clients.
Gold-i already has offices in the UK, China, Japan and Turkey. What is Gold-i’s growth strategy? Where are you planning to increase your footprint and what are the key areas of focus for the next year?
The market is so dynamic, particularly given the macroeconomic events of recent times. This makes it very difficult to predict how existing markets will develop or where new markets will appear. We are, however, always looking at new opportunities within the FX market and beyond. We regularly attend trade shows around the world in order to gain greater insight into overseas markets and we set new strategies accordingly. We are already reaping the benefits of setting up our own office in Shanghai. We set up the office in China for two reasons – firstly, we saw a real growth opportunity in terms of market potential and secondly, because of the different time zones between the UK and China, having a presence in Shanghai has enabled us to strengthen our 24x7 support offering.
Over the next year, we see significant growth coming from our Chinese office and we will also be looking at growth opportunities globally.
Gold-i has an impressive in-house development team and an ongoing focus on innovation. Are you planning on launching any new products over the next year to push boundaries further in the industry?
Our in-house development team are always striving to produce interesting products and features to help Gold-i retain our place as one of the world’s leading integrators. We’re excited about the potential opportunities available with the integration of MetaTrader 5 and are spending a significant amount of development time on our MT5 product portfolio.
One of the areas we’re focusing on is visualisation and data analytics. With products such as Visual Edge and our Matrix dashboard, we’re hoping to lead the way in helping brokers to understand the data behind their trading operations. Our aim is to provide them with an easy way to access greater business intelligence so they can devise relevant strategies to increase their profits and maximise opportunities.
Please bring us up to date with a brief overview of Gold-i’s current portfolio of software products and highlight which products are of particular interest and why?
Our MT4 Bridge and MT5 Gateway – both of which provide access to over 70 Liquidity Providers and include risk management features – are market-leading ultra low latency smart routing products.
Other popular products in our portfolio are the Gold-i MAM Pro for MT4 and MAM Pro for MT5 which enable brokers and money managers to assign multiple sub-accounts to a single master account and offer more flexibility to IBs. We have a flat rate monthly licence fee for our MAM products, making them the most cost effective MAMs on the market. We’ve seen a rise in sales of the Gold-i MAM Pro for MT4 over the last year and particular interest in our recently launched MAM Pro for MT5, which we see as a real catalyst for the uptake of MetaTrader 5.
Our risk management and business intelligence tool, Visual Edge, is another key product. It provides brokers with unparalleled insight into their trading operations across all asset classes – there really is nothing else like it on the market.
Our Matrix liquidity management platform is another outstanding product – a real game-changer in the industry. It’s super-fast and flexible, fully integrated with MT4 and MT5 and offers multiple routing and aggregation methods. Matrix enables brokers to aggregate incoming liquidity feeds and offer their own liquidity out to clients. I think Matrix will become one of our most significant products moving forward.
How are you growing your business in the EMEA region? What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you face?
I spend a lot of time in key territories in the EMEA region and work closely with a number of partners who have an indepth understanding of the key territories. We are seeing increasing demand from brokers in Cyprus and are also looking into opportunities in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland and Bulgaria where the market is really evolving. Although I’ve spent some time in Dubai over the last year meeting clients and prospects, I tend to do web chats with brokers in other parts of the Middle East as the market is fairly spread out across the region. Breaking into the Middle East market is certainly a challenge we are looking to address.
How is Gold-i addressing the specific needs of the Turkish market?
Turkey is an important market for Gold-i and we have made a significant investment in addressing the specific needs of Turkish brokers. We spend a lot of time building strong client relationships, have adapted our products for the local market and offer high levels of technical support in Turkish.
Last year, we hired our first Turkish speaking developer and this year have expanded our support team with an additional Turkish team member.
Why should business intelligence software be considered essential for all brokers and not just a niceto-have?
There’s so much data in a brokerage that there’s no way a human can analyse it quickly enough to have a real-time sense of any impending issues, opportunities to make more money or reduce risk. If they can’t see the key metrics that are driving their trading business then how can they plan properly and maximise their profits? The exceptional insight available from a tool such as Gold-i Visual Edge enables brokers to have a complete overview of their trading operations. It provides a comprehensive picture of their up-to-the-minute P&L, exposure risk or client trading profiles and also enables them to monitor and remove toxic clients and spot unwanted scalpers. Brokers using Gold-i Visual Edge have experienced a range of tangible business benefits, particularly in terms of risk management and increased profits.
How important is it to clients that you have an office in Shanghai?
It’s really important. Having a physical presence in China is very important to local brokers – they like to come to the office to meet up and sign contracts. We offer a localised service in China, with a Chinese speaking technical support team and an in-depth understanding of broker requirements in the region. In a relatively short space of time, we have built a good reputation in the local market, with strong credibility and have an excellent foundation in place for significant growth in 2017.
Which products are of particular interest to brokers in Asia?
Given the large number of IBs in the region, our MAM Pro products are particularly of interest. We have also seen high demand for the Gold-i IB Profit Share, our MT4 plug-in which allows real-time profit share to be configured for any number of client groups or individual clients and any number of agents/IBs.
What does the QA process involve at Gold-i?
Essentially, it involves a very rigorous testing process for all our software. We take QA very seriously at Gold-i and have a strong process in place. When new developments, products or enhancements are launched, they have been through a rigorous internal QA procedure involving test cases, test plans and test reports. When releasing a new bridge integration, for example, before carrying out the integration partner’s conformance test we will have completed an internal testing process spanning 2-3 weeks to ensure the product is operating as required. This is usually far more detailed than the conformance tests and provides a smooth transition into production environments.
Gold-i is renowned for its high levels of service and 24x7 product support. How do you maintain this level of support as the company expands globally?
We have two main support hub offices; one in the UK and one in China. Critical to our high levels of support is strong communication between these two teams to discuss and – if the need arises - hand over any ongoing issues to ensure our clients receive ‘follow the sun’ support.
To reduce manual overheads, we use automated monitoring tools for service availability as well as for capacity management for our Managed Service clients. This ensures that clients are always informed of their current host and service status and can address any pressing concerns to prevent issues from occurring.
What traits do you look for when recruiting a Gold-i employee?
What initiatives do you have in place to make Gold-i a great company to work for? One of the most important aspects of our recruitment process is to select candidates who match our corporate values. Gold-i is a rapidly growing, dynamic organisation and, as such, we recruit candidates who are selfmotivated, driven and are strong team players with a passion to help us to grow the business. We provide excellent career development opportunities for the right candidates and a great working environment.
In terms of specific initiatives, we have a Fun Committee, run by volunteers from across the company who organise social activities such as our Summer Fete and International Food Day. We’ve also introduced Charity Days, enabling all employees to have two additional days of paid leave to help out at a charity of their choice.
We’re preparing the company for our next growth phase and having a motivated workforce who are proud for work for Gold-i is critical to our future success.