It was a Cupid’s bow for business and it worked. The afternoon session was more convivial though, in part because ShiftForex treated every table to 12 year old Macallan Whisky. Instead of moving on when the bell rang after five minutes, folks lingered. As Ian McAfee, Shift Forex CEO, put it, “If speed networking turns into networking, then so much the better.”
Earlier in the day, Jack Drohan, of the New York law firm Drohan Lee LLP, headed a panel on liquidity, credit and confidence that grappled with the reverberations from Swiss National Bank depegging the Swiss Franc from the Euro early in the year. Drohan noted, “The pooling and segmentation of liquidity is largely a function of end user preferences. If a high frequency trader is willing to operate under a last-look arrangement in return for tighter spreads, this should remain a negotiated matter.” He added, “The SNB event, however, illustrates, that the contractual obligations underlying a live price have implications not only for market risk, but for counterparty default, credit, and even systemic risk.”
Innovators Inquisition—a clone of ABC-TV’s Shark Tank— returned with investors: Brandon Mulvihill , FXCM Pro, Jim Brown of Long Ridge Private Equity, Phil Harris of True Currency and Doug Nelson of Devonshire Investors. Panelists followed two-minute pitches with some friendly grilling.
Dan Schleifer, CEO, pitched his Chart IQ as a, “seamless, flexible and beautiful charting tool that takes in news, trading signals and data and allows the user to identify, analyze and execute trades using drag and drop.” He added that, “We display data, we don’t produce it,” adding, “with Chart IQ, you can see how the algos are working.”
Julio Faura, cofounder of Arthika Trading Solutions, explained that his products target traders, hedge funds, brokers and banks that don’t want to develop their own platform. The Madrid-based company’s Arthika Currency Trader product can be connected to all major FX venues through cross-connects or dedicated lines in order to minimize latency. It can also be deployed in any data center running on top of dedicated standard servers—typically high-performance Xeon servers.
Jubin Pejman, managing director, announced the expansion of FCM360. The company, a well-established high-speed, low latency infrastructure provider for FX brokers and traders, has added e-commerce hosting and PCI 3 compliant credit card clearance services to its product mix.
Setting FCM360 apart from the competition, Pejman said, “FCM360 offers both business acumen and technology,” adding, “By the time you come to us you have talked to 10 other companies that could not deliver the entire service suite and you know where you want to be. Those 10 just did not deliver what you needed.”
Competitors include Amazon hosting, which Pejman says lacks financial cloud services expertise. He told panelists and attendees, “When we bring on a new customer we scale our cloud for their specific business needs. Customers can pay us between 5-10,000 dollars per month for a fully supported service. Amazon charges 15 grand on top of your hosting fees for tech support and doesn’t care about your business. It’s a worthless proposition.”
Crypto’s also featured
Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Casey and coauthor of “The Age of Cryptocurrency” with Paul Vigna (St. Martins Press, New York, 2015), led the discussion on Bitcoin. During the session, panelist Daniel Gallancy, CEO and founding member of SolidX Partners pointed out, “If you are looking for stability, Bitcoin is not a safe bet.”
Jaron Lukasiewicz, CEO of Coinsetter added, “Bitcoin is making inroads when it comes to transferring money globally—it is already showing signs of displacing MoneyGram and Western Union at a quarter of the price.”
For those who have trouble grasping, “the blockchain” as a stabilizing factor, panelist Todd McDonald of R3 said, “Bitcoin is backed by economic incentive not by math.”
The monetary idea sparked by what one FX observer called “geeks and libertarians” is gaining ground. Throughout the discussion, panelists commented about how readily they now call Bitcoin a currency.