Interview with Jiri from B2B Sales department
Hi Jiri, thanks for taking the time to talk. For starters, can you remember what your beginnings in the trading industry were?
Hi David. I can, even though it's been a long time. I took the very first steps almost 15 years ago. I started some time in the middle of high school with a demo. MT4 was the top solution at the time. It flashed at me, the charts flying up and down. I was completely drawn to it. The first more serious attempts at live trading then took place at university, and then it led me to the actual FX-related work in several different companies, where I tried out several roles, from classic Sales work on the phone, through Retention manager to my own business with connections to international partners.
Then you went away from the trading area for a while, even though you stayed within the finance industry. What pulled you back then?
Yes, the original idea was to go do something calmer. E.g. financial advisor. But I never completely gave up on trading as such, and the calmer financial advisory role was too boring in the end :-) And then, after I got out of one bad period, it drew me back to trading somehow intuitively.
Do you trade or actively invest yourself today? FX or some other instruments?
I both trade and invest. I am no longer as active in trading itself as before. I enter the market about 5-6 times a year and try to catch some bigger movements on FX pairs. I trade smaller capital and small volumes, and don't use the leverage almost at all. To be honest, I do it more for fun. As the matter of fact though, I know a lot of traders and our clients, who trade mainly for fun and it is their hobby, and in my opinion there is nothing wrong with that. I'm currently somewhere around my initial account value.
And then I regularly invest in our ETF portfolios - Global Stocks and Dynamic, where I invested since the very beginning of this product and I'm doing great. I have accounts attached to a few Strategies too, including Perpetuum Investments, whose provider you just interviewed. Here, I'm in the plus too. So you can actually say that I am a far more successful investor than a trader, but as I say, I do not mind at all. :-)
Today, you lead a Sales team focused on developing business partnerships with external entities. Can you describe the normal working day of a member of your team?
The guys on my team are keepers, hard-workers and creatives. They actually have no other option, they have no assigned tasks, which they must complete after arriving to the office. Nobody gives them any ready-made contacts, makes appointments for them. Their own activity affects their result and working day. They are dedicated to finding new business opportunities, leading meetings and developing existing partnerships. The day is also greatly affected by the fact that something is constantly happening in distribution and with business partners, and it is necessary to respond to this and come up with constant new solutions. Each new partner usually means a new unique request, idea or approach and it takes time to service and manage this, but at the same time it's always a new challenge and we love it. Part of the agenda is also about working on project management related to business and it is true that we are actually more busy in this regard now, but sales and business development is always in the first place.
How did your team work during the spring lockdown, did that limit you a lot? And are you planning any preventive measures or changes in the fall?
It didn't affect us in any way. We are used to working a lot in the online space and from home office. There are really a lot of meetings during the week. We have partners not only from Czechia and Slovakia but all around Europe, so it would not really be possible to arrange everything in person. So a Zoom, Skype or Whereby is something we have been working with for a long time and during the quarantine we were like a fish in the water. In a few cases, we even helped our external distribution network partners to set up processes so that they could actually start doing business online themselves. Otherwise, we are not planning preventive measures, we are running in the home-office regime more, and we do not have so many personal meetings in the office and give less high-fives to each other. But that's about it.
What did you work on during the last quarter? Can the clients look forward to any news now?
We mainly worked on the PurpleZone and its new miniFX Strategies tab. It contains trading strategies that have a reduced minimum deposit requirement to only 100 EUR / 2,500 CZK. We are thus responding to the increased demand during the first wave of Covid, when a lot of our clients wanted to invest in strategies, but they were discouraged by too high deposit requirements, which didn’t allow them to diversify enough. So we came up with the idea of opening it up to smaller investors.
We hope that the number of strategies in this category will increase in the future, because it is not just about reducing the minimum deposit. Not every trading style is suitable for smaller accounts, so it is also necessary to find suitable providers and that is our job. Colleagues Peťo and Dominik excel in this. We believe that this could work well in combination with our ETF Portfolios, where we have reduced fees to a minimum too. A one-time larger investment or a regular monthly investments in ETF Portfolios + a smaller investment into the more speculative alternative that forex strategies undoubtedly are, can bring investors a very interesting investment mix that they will not find anywhere else. Our two business developers Adam and Adam would be able to explain it to you very enthusiastically.
For traders, we are preparing a couple of interesting collaborations with partners who have sophisticated education systems and can pass on the quality know-how or a unique trading style. And our clients will then have certain advantages with them. By the end of the year, we would like to present two such collaborations, where the greatest driving force behind these projects for our department is my colleague Lubo.
I believe that if all of this can be realized as we intend, it will all have a great added value for the clients and at the same time it will make the work easier for us and our external partners in distribution. Fingers crossed.
And will you reveal any other plans or ideas for the future?
Look, our main aim is always to help our partners grow and build a common and successful business. This is our long-term mission and it reflects all our activities and plans for the future. We want to support our partners as much as possible through marketing and make it easier for them to onboard clients. Associated with this are changes in our existing processes and a change in thinking about distribution as such. Old and existing models are gradually ceasing to work for us and we need to find a fresh and functional way very quickly. Which is not always easy in the regulated environment we work at. But we believe that we are one step away from moving everything forward.
Great, thanks a lot Jiri. But before we finish, will you tell us what you like to do in your free time?Reading, mostly self-development literature, walks, cinema, mainly ART in Brno, Netflix, and traveling, although now it is not so easy. Plus, sometimes I can do nothing. And sometimes I even excel at it. :-)