Michael Ayres

ROSTRO Financials Group: A firm on a mission

May 2024 in Partner Content

ROSTRO Group (ROSTRO) is a diversified and full-service fintech and financial services group focused on financial markets and prime brokerage that is set on a mission to effect change in financial inclusion at a global level. e-Forex spoke with Group CEO of the fast-growing group, Michael Ayres, to discover more about the essence of its business, the key products and services it offers and the ambitions for its future.

Michael, please tell us a little about when ROSTRO commenced operations and the different entities within it. 

ROSTRO was founded in 2021. It was created as a new holding company that would cover every single type of client in the sector, catering to all financial audiences and servicing all kinds of trading and investment requirements. 

We wanted to take a forward-thinking approach to investment and the provision of broader financial services. When Roger Hambury and I first sat down to draw up the details of Rostro, we knew one thing for sure: we wanted to create an all-inclusive ecosystem that would service every level of market participant. So, we set off to create a group that was designed to create sustainable end-to-end solutions. We imagined a group whose collective proposition would enable us to deliver an unrivalled product range. By taking this inclusive approach, we gain valuable diversification that ultimately insulates the business from short term market uncertainty. 

Today, this is something we deliver through our Scope Markets retail proposition, as well as with our Scope Prime, Direkt Prime and Direkt Prime Liquidity institutional divisions. We see ourselves as a leader when it comes to inclusive accessibility in financial markets. As such, our journey of evolution will see us develop and deliver a wider range of financial products and services in the future. 

What range of products and services does ROSTRO offer? 

From Rostro, our services currently fall into four categories – brokerage, OTC market making, DMA execution services, and custody services. 

Through our institutional brands,  we are able to cater to a wide and diverse range of institutional clients from broker-dealers to hedge funds and commercial institutions. We don’t just provide multi-asset liquidity, technology and risk management solutions – through our ecosystem of financial expertise, we are able to tailor every aspect of our propositions to build bespoke solutions clients need to scale their own businesses for better performance and revenue potential. 

Scope Markets, Rostro’s global retail brokerage arm, is our diversified, multi-asset financial services brand that offers trading and investment services. Scope Markets is uniquely positioned to benefit from the Rostro ecosystem. We provide access to over 40,000 markets and, depending on the entity, enable trading via a suite of powerful platforms such as MT4, MT5, CQG, IRESS, and Bloomberg.

As a business, we understand the benefits of taking the best technology and constructing as much of the ecosystem we need to support our operations. We believe our responsibility to our continuously growing client base is to target the emerging markets which we believe are currently underserved by the wider financial community. 

We leverage our ecosystem to provide the products and services our clients need. This enhances our focus on becoming a one-stop solution, allowing us to cater for all – ensuring that we continue to grow a sustainable business that can weather all market conditions. 

What types of clients is ROSTRO working with? 

As a business, we pride ourselves on offering solutions for every level of market participant in the ever-evolving landscape of financial services. As a result, we’re working with regional banks, broker-dealers, hedge funds, family offices, asset managers, HNWIs and individual retail customers to ensure they have access to the tools they need, whether that’s to meet their own business needs or to support their own network of underlying clients. This is all underpinned by our model of inclusivity, which is designed to ensure we can cater to a continually broadening client base.

We are hugely grateful to have the support of Roger Hambury, the company’s owner and founder

You have put together an executive team of very experienced industry professionals. What advantages has that given you? 

We are hugely grateful to have the support of Roger Hambury, the company’s owner and founder. He has been a leading figure in the FX and Derivatives space for the last three decades, with the result of delivering the big-picture view supported by deep sector knowledge, whilst we also benefit from his proven entrepreneurial spirit in the sector. 

Our Group COO, Jason Rewse-Davies, also has more than three decades of experience from a “TMT” (technology, media and telecoms) blend of sectors, which is hugely helpful when it comes to having a multi-brand group that reaches beyond financial services. We know that technology is at the heart of everything we do and harnessing its potential will be critical when it comes to delivering the ROSTRO Group of the future – one that actively looks to extend its reach by focusing on accessibility and inclusivity, in turn tapping into far broader markets.

And then my own experience of operations, risk and indeed running a number of globally regulated brokerages means I can provide first-hand knowledge when it comes to understanding how the core processes of the group work on a daily basis. 

Scope Markets our diversified, multi-asset financial services brand, offers trading and investment services

The three of us are supported by a fantastic management team with decades of experience of their own in various areas of the financial services business. We have a team of experts, having built start-ups, led multi-national groups, and spearheaded business units for a variety of globally recognised market leaders. We now bring all of this together as Rostro. 

How have you gone about it trying to differentiate ROSTRO from other firms operating in the market? 

With a passion for innovation in finance, Rostro’s mission from the start has been to remove friction and distance between the individual investor and the financial services ecosystem.  We enable every level of investor via market access, product range and user experience to exercise choice and take action to make, invest and manage money within financial markets. We have put agility at the heart of our operating structure, looking to leverage both our market knowledge and the regulatory footprints of our subsidiary companies. We’re not afraid to push the envelope and as a result, look at opportunities that some other participants may be quick to shy away from. 

We hold an ethical responsibility to the community and environment where our business is based

What’s been your strategy so far for expanding your footprint within both the financial services and technology sectors? 

Within financial services, we have been growing primarily through business development. We have now broadened our focus to include product development, having recently hired a highly experienced industry veteran as Group CTO, Ben Swann, who is leading our path in building client led solutions to enhance the experience of customers on both the retail and institutional level. We are licensed in 6 jurisdictions, with more to come, as we put the combination of regulation, technology and company culture together. 

Where and in what ways will you be focusing your efforts this year to grow the business further? 

As with many in the financial services sector, we recognise the fast growth potential that is currently being seen in the Middle East, most notably across the GCC states as they liberalise access to financial markets. Our overall approach is to ensure we adopt a global and holistic view of market opportunity rather than simply following the topical trend of today. We have plans to expand in SEA, GCC, Africa, and through the global operations we have implemented. Local licensing, funding solutions and customer service is the key to our plans. 

The model of inclusivity and catering to a continually broadening client base future-proofs and future-fits the businesses under the Rostro umbrella.

What’s your long-term vision for ROSTRO and how ambitious are your plans for the future?

We want Rostro to be a gateway for financial inclusion. We know that there are a lot of underserved markets globally when it comes to financial services. It’s perhaps too easy to be complacent about this when you’re in London, Dubai or Sydney and can easily find solutions for most financial challenges. But once you look beyond this, the gaps in financial services provisions can be significant. This is what we’re looking to help address across the globe. 

Inclusivity is what Rostro’s purpose is built on. We want to house the world’s most all-inclusive ecosystem of financial services. What we are seeing in the wider finance industry is a convergence of financial sectors and functions with consumers expecting these services more and more to be fused into multi-functional propositions. 

The Rostro B2B2C ecosystem is not just for retail traders, it’s not just for institutional traders, it’s not just for hedge funds, or money managers, but it’s totally inclusive of everyone who wants to participate in financial markets. The model of inclusivity and catering to a continually broadening client base future-proofs and future-fits the businesses under the Rostro umbrella. 

We are invested in our promise of improving the ways people relate to their money and Rostro will continue to grow and expand to include more functions of the financial services sphere that deliver value to every level of client.