For the March Forex Summit we profiled Brokeree, which is among several companies that are helping to establish Estonia as the IT Capital of Europe. We also take a look at vulnerabilities of the electric grid from the perspective of contributor Llewelyn King, veteran journalist and commentator. There are also highlights of news that matters to the forex community and alerts to upcoming forex events ~ The Editors.
Brokeree boosts Estonia’s role as EU’s new IT center.
Estonia is fast-gaining a reputation as the heart of IT in Europe and, part of the credit goes to Elina Bagautdinova, chief commercial officer, and Andrey Kamyshanov, CEO, who co-founded Brokeree in the capital city of Tallinn just 18 months ago.
Elina and Andrey teamed up to fill a void for the forex community by creating MetaTrader custom solutions and off-the-shelf plug-ins. In so doing, they have turned Brokeree into a MetaTrader 4 and 5 solutions powerhouse.
Metatrader 4 and 5 are perhaps the trading platforms of record for foreign currency traders. Companies, such as Brokeree, create custom and plugin solutions to enhance the platforms’ capability.
Clients universally credit Brokeree’s success to the founders’ gift of being able to combine their extensive technical know how with superb communication skills.
Mika Liebkind, COO of Finland’s FinFx Trading Oy, put it this way, “I find it very impressive that my often complex ideas that I haven’t been able to describe technically have been understood and turned into well-functioning software. The fact that such a highly technically savvy company also possesses great communication skills is rare and something I very much value.”
Elina’s and Andrey’s credentials include working with Tools for Brokers in Saint Petersburg, Russia just prior to founding Brokeree. Their goal was to create a company that would fill some in some of the voids in broker solutions.
We spoke with Elina from her office in Tallinn.
Q. How did you come up with the name Brokeree Solutions?
A. We were searching for a memorable name and came up with Brokeree Solutions as it combines broker with belonging to Estonia.
Q. Who is your dream client – by description or name and why?
A. There are people who are always trying to make their businesses run easier and better, they have some ideas but don’t know exactly how to make it happen. These clients are open to discussion and working together to create a new solution or edit an existing one to improve it. During discussions and by working side-by-side, we always teach each other something new, generate new ideas and embrace the meaningfulness of what we do.
Our dream client is a client with imagination and, happily, we have such clients.
Q. How did you come to establish Brokeree in Talinn, Estonia?
A. There are several reasons for that including founder citizenship and transparent legislation. It’s also attractive for our clients and guarantees reliability and safety, as we are an EU country.
Q. Your clients have a lot of nice things to say about you when it comes to developing plugins for them. Can you tell us about a particular project that you are proud of and why?
A. You know, our clients also like us for not saying much about projects we do together—that’s why some solutions are not published online at all. But thanks to them we have a broad product line: even if we create a standard tool, our clients come up with ideas to include additional functionality.
For example, our Trade Copier plugin has become a multifunctional solution that supports a variety of copy modes.
Q. Tell us about Liquidity Gateway for MetaTrader 4?
A. This is one of the projects we created with the help of our customers. MetaTrader4 Liquidity Gateway is the ultimate solution for executing broker clients’ trades. Brokers can either hedge all the trades at a liquidity provider or B-book some of them based on flexible rules.
The Web-based control panel gives the administrator full control over the execution and routes.
Q. It looks like crypto currency (Bitcoin included) is here to stay. What do you see in the future for Bitcoin?
A. It really is here to stay, but brokers and traders are still looking cautiously at it due to lack of liquidity compared to classic currencies and commodities. However, interest is continually increasing, so it is just a matter of time until crypto currencies become mainstream in FX.
Q. Your Percent Allocation Management Module (PAMM) plugin is now under development at Brokeree. When can we expect it and what will it do for money managers?
A. PAMM is to be launched in the near future, but right now we cannot give you the exact date because extra time may be needed to create such a huge solution. When it is completed, PAMM will help forex brokerages organize their investment management functions and it will be available both as a server plugin or as an application.
Some of the benefit for money managers include flexible money manager fee options, flexible allocation modes and user-friendly GUI tools. In addition, all investor trades show up in the terminal.
There will also be no limitation on the money manager’s account and small investor share support is included as well.
Those interested in the launch of this product may contact Brokeree at email@example.com.
The electric grid—a lesson in disruptive technology
by Llewellyn King
Llewellyn King is a veteran publisher, television producer and writer, who was the founding editor and publisher of The Energy Daily
Management theory says, “Stick to what you know. Don’t stray from you core business.”
That’s all well and good, but what happens when the core is changing and it’s no longer a reliable source of profit and continuity?
At the top of my list of companies that didn’t make changes fast enough is one that is still around, but is far different from the ubiquitous giant it used to be: Western Union. Until change swept away its core business, this was the company that had an iron grip on the business of leased wires, cables and telegrams. Western Union was the communications giant of its day, but it was overwhelmed by disruptive technology — technology it failed to grasp achat viagra naturel. Gone are the days when it was a household word and anyone who wanted to move anything electronically, from newspaper copy to birthday wishes, used Western Union.
Today it’s a money transfer service. Western Union could not have foreseen the Internet, but it could’ve grasped it. What’s more, the telegraph business began to falter just about the time the overnight package business exploded. So here’s the question: Why didn’t Western Union, which already blanketed the country with offices and messengers, gravitate to the parcels delivery business?
The answer is that the history of old-line companies adjusting to new realities is not good. Being willing to change and changing are not the same thing.
Fast Forward to Today
These are issues that are beginning to buffet the nation’s electric utilities, as they face the disruptive effects of new technologies.
So far the winds of change are blowing lightly, just a zephyr. A conference in Washington on April 9-10, organized by Public Utilities Fortnightly, will examine the issue of the disruptions that are transforming the industry. Ken Silverstein its editor-in-chief, tells us, “My own research is showing that people at all levels of all utilities are thinking about the new energy paradigm. But thinking about it and acting are two different things. Some utilities are really moving aggressively, and others are far more deliberate in their approach.”
The immediate agents of change encroaching on the electric utilities are rooftop solar, installed by homeowners, and micro-grids, where a group of alternative generators are linked together and hook into the utility grid as one entity. The conference will also deal with how microgrids and other technologies impact security.
Silverstein adds, “On top of all these changes, the utilities have worry about cyber security and whether micro-grids add to the threat of attack. Our conference aims to examine all of these issues through the eyes of utility executives, consultants, financiers, technologists, and regulators. We have assembled a ‘Who’s Who’ of the best minds from the industry.”
Rooftop solar generation is growing exponentially, pushed by tax advantages, politics and the preference of individuals to embrace green alternatives. Large vendors, such as SolarCity, have made a business of leasing rooftop collectors to homeowners. Self-generation often makes economic sense, particularly if surplus electricity can be sold back to the electric grid: a practice called “net-metering.” But net-metering is distressing to the utilities because the self-generators have become customers of convenience and don’t contribute to the maintenance of the grid on which everyone relies.
Long term this means high rates for those who can’t go solar, like apartment dwellers. This challenge to the economics of the grid comes at a time when the utilities are implementing their own changes in the form of the so-called “smart grid,” which incorporates remote meter-reading and data collection on user habits, and offers the chance for the utilities to offer customers advantageous off-peak rates, known as “demand-side management.”
The Washington conference is likely to hear how some utilities are hoping to embrace the changes while others are hoping that regulation will save their core business. Among those big utilities that have embraced the changes that are coming is NRG Energy, a holding company which owns two utilities, and San Diego Gas & Electric.
New players on the horizon suggest that rooftop solar may just be the beginning of what is shaking up the traditionally staid utility industry. These include Google and Tesla Motors, which are both investing in the renewable future and which may not care who they push aside.
The question for the utilities: Can they adjust fast enough to save the economics of the grid and honor their obligations to serve? They might want to ponder the words of David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, who said: “It is dangerous to leap a chasm in two bounds.”