Interviewer: Riga Gaming Congress (RGC)
Speaker: Patrick O’Brien (P. O.)
RGC: You represent an Investment broker EXANTE. Please, tell more about your company’s activities.
P. O.: Founded in 2011, Exante is an Investment broker for professionals. We provide investors with direct access to stock markets at institutional rates, and assist our customers with co-locations and market data to satisfy the demands of state-of-the-art algorithmic trading. For example, investors can trade stocks online from the US markets to exchanges in Europe, Asia and Australia directly, and most importantly from a single account.
RGC: One of the reasons why your service is popular is the automated trading platform with numerous modules. Please, tell about its advantages for customers.
P. O.: Yes, at the heart of EXANTE’s trading technology is its multifunctional Automated Trading Platform (ATP): a state-of-art tool for manual and automated trading. Exante developed ATP from scratch, without using third-party solutions. This guarantees its fast, stable and reliable performance. EXANTE ATP provides our clients with fast data feeds, fast data executions, and 24/7 tech support. In addition to trading on the ATP, our clients also use it for the real-time monitoring of their account summaries and trades. EXANTE ATP supports the trading of all financial instruments provided by us.
RGC: How has EXANTE managed to establish itself in the European and Asian markets?
P. O.: Firstly, we hired highly skilled professional Account/Relationship Managers to work within different markets especially in Europe, giving our clients accessibility and 24/7 service. With a global presence in London, the Netherlands, Latvia, Zurich, Malta and Dubai, to mention but a few we have our finger on the pulse to what is happening on the ground. With an office in Singapore, Exante is currently expanding our focus on this market, as we believe the potential is uptapped and we have many partners who want to work with us.
RGC: Why is it beneficial to conduct business in Malta? Please, illustrate your answer with the experience of EXANTE.
P. O.: In no small part, Malta’s rise into the ranks of Europe’s leading finance centers has been driven by the island’s reputation for stability, predictability and security, which has made it an exception among other global financial centres, all reasons that attracted Exante. We were looking for a country with a robust, EU-compliant regulatory framework, diverse ecosystem and deep talent pool, which would allow us to find opportunities easy. Compliment that with a strong banking system that for us was of the utmost importance.
RGC: How do you assess the potential of gambling in Latvia? What, in your opinion, restrains the market development and how these problems can be solved?
P. O.: Latvia is in transition from positive results of 2016, the gaming industry is ready to enter a new zone. However, changed government policy towards the gambling sector challenges not only its development but also its existence within legal environment. Market analysts are trying to find out whether the gambling business provides Latvia with benefits or whether its development is indeed related with harmful consequences for the country. Personally, I believe Latvia needs to embrace change and open up its doors to more lenient procedures to make sure they learn from other gaming hubs through Europe.
RGC: Would you reveal the secret how to make money on binary options? Which assets are the most profitable today?
P. O.: Binary options are like a stepping block in financial engineering: no matter how knowledgeable, no one can consistently predict what a stock or commodity will do within a short time frame. Will Apple shares go up or down in the next 10 minutes? Unless there has just been some major announcement from the company, there is no way to even guess at that. As for the most profitable asset today, I would say Bitcoin and US Equities round the world also gaining as well as bonds.
RGC: Five years ago, your company founded the world’s first cryptocurrency hedge fund — Bitcoin Fund. Is it beneficial to invest in cryptocurrency today? What are the risks?
P. O.: Virtual currencies have been playing an increasingly significant role in finance, with investors around the world buying the digital tokens and driving up their value dramatically. True, Exante were the pioneers with the most Successful Bitcoin Fund in History. For example, take Bitcoin. When a currency loses value, its purchasing power goes down and leads to paying more money to acquire the products. In the end, it is like a tax on what people have already acquired, which may not be enough at the same time. With Bitcoin, the system is infinite and therefore no need to worry of the money getting finished. By the year 2050, it is estimated that there will be in circulation one Bitcoin to cater for 500 people globally.
As for risks, well everything has a risk.
RGC: At Riga Gaming Congress 2017, you will take part in the panel discussion «Latvia & Malta: where innovations meet laws, a parallel with the situation in Latvia». Please, tell more what issues will be touched during the discussion? Whom do you recommend to attend the discussion as a listener?
P. O.: Latvia and Malta share a common ground and we can learn much from each other. Malta is regarded as one of the leading international hubs that regulate remote gaming effectively and responsibly. In fact, the island has become a benchmark of how i-Gaming should be regulated. Malta maybe a small country on the world stage but one with a big influence.
Latvia’s Gaming Sector is mature in nature. I think the major emerging opportunities for Latvia are in online and mobile gambling, which is growing in enormous pace. Latvia has one of the fastest Internet speeds in the world and rather low labor costs and I think the regulator needs to look at new ways to open up windows of accessibility to potential investors in this sector.
I recommend all with within financial or gaming sectors to attend, be it potential investors and developers, as well as innovators and startups or those who want to learn about what’s happening within this arena.
You will be able to discover more about Latvia’s gambling potential on October 12 at Riga Gaming Congress 2017. Registration for the event is already available.