The International Business Times last week held an exclusive interview with Todd B. Crosland, Chairman and President of Interbank FX, one of the most exciting Forex brokers in the US.
What is your professional background?
In the 1990's I owned a medical device business called Surgical Technologies, Inc. that I took public on the Nasdaq National Market System. It was sold in 1996. Since that time I run a real estate development company and a large manufacturing company that we owned.
I started Interbank FX in the year 2000 with stocks and options trading. In 2001 I bought a program to do currency trading. We brought the technology and hired some programmers. In 2003 we made our technology available to the general public. Since then we have grown the company to around 40,000 customers in 150 countries and an approximate one trillion dollars a year trading volume.
Do you focus more on US clients or do you also focus on Asian and European customers?
Well, about 40 % of our customers are from the US. And we have around 30 % in Asia and around 20% in Europe and a small part in the Middle East and Africa.
Do you have also offices outside of the US?
We do. There is an office in Beijing, another one in Seoul and one in London as well. This summer we will open an office in Sydney.
I took a look at the Interbank FX products; and it was very wonderful to see that you are offering services that you don't have with normal brokers. One thing is quite amazing is the DEBIT CARD on your trading account. Your clients can use the debit card globally. Could you tell me more about this?
Sure, as we started Interbank FX we wanted to offer customer focused products. We received many inquiries over the years. You know for international clients you have a wire transfer fee of around 25 dollars. And it takes two or three days to send a wire. So we came up with this international debit card. Our customers can transfer money through the debit card. First of all it is free. There is no charge. And second it is almost immediate. So you can do your trading during the week and on Friday you can withdraw your money with your debit card and then enjoy weekend. It is a very convenient way for our customers.
Wow, that's sounds very amazing. Does it mean that the Interbank FX customers have all their trading accounts and can go shopping with the debit card? How many customers use the debit card?
Oh well, I cannot tell you an exact number. But there is a significant percentage. You know it depends on the country. In Central America and in China it is harder to wire money. There it became the preferred way for our customers to do business.
What about the banks you work together with; there are two banks Zions Bank and Payoneer. Does it mean that your customers have an account with one of these banks?
No. With the Zions Bank they have to have an account. But in order to get the new global debit card with Payoneer the customer just needs to have the trading account with INTERBANK FX. Once the customer has a Live Account with Interbank FX he is automatically qualified to get the debit card from Payoneer. The new global debit card is very easy for the customers to use.
This week I downloaded the demo account from Interbank FX. It is MetaTrader4 upgraded with many customer indicators. I took a look to the tools. You support the traders with quite a lot of trading tools like Pattern recognitions. Could you tell me more about your trading tools?
Sure, we spent a lot of time and effort on developing tools for our customers. We developed many different technical indicators and also pattern recognition systems to help our customers to learn more about the market and to give them the confidence when they make trades that the trades are going in the right direction.
CPR - Candlestick Pattern Recognition:
And Interbank FX did a lot of effort in order to give trading education to the customers. I loved to see some of the videos from Raghee Horner on the Interbank FX Youtube Account. Can you also tell me more about this?
It is important to us to have successful customers who want to stay with us for many years. We have a lot of customers who have been with us since the very beginning. The more education we give to the customers the better they become in trading. Our goal is to build a customer base with education; we have the dome accounts. We have live webinars every day; the customers can ask questions. And this is very important to us. It goes hand in hand with our business model: to provide the best trading technology for customers. And so they make money and our goal is to have them as customer of Interbank FX for many years.
Link to the education videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/InterbankFXvideos
Do you have the education only in English or also in other languages?
Right now it is in English. Our office in Beijing will make it available soon also in Chinese.
What about Korean? You said that you have an office in Seoul. Do you have many Korean clients? And how do you handle the Korean regulations?
Yes, we have many Korean clients. Korea is a little bit different because of the regulatory environment. Let me explain to you. You know that Korean citizens are not allowed to open an account with foreign brokers. They cannot open an account directly with an overseas broker. They need to open the account with some Korean companies. Interbank FX has products with partners in Korea. We have the biggest broker in Korea; we have Hyundai Securities, Eugene Futures and many more. We provide actually 7 Korean brokers with our trading technology.
That is very interesting for us. IBTimesFX has a Korean edition. And we know that the Korean traders are not allowed to open an account with foreign brokers. What would you advise them?
Well that's the law. We have many competitors they allow Korean nationals to open an account with them. But Interbank FX beliefs in obeying the law. If you call Interbank FX from Korea and you want to open an account we just distribute you to one of our partners. Interbank FX will not open directly an account with Korean nationals.
Would you tell our readers more about the strategy of Interbank FX? Where do you want to grow in the next 3 years?
Well a big change we saw in 2008 was that the credit markets were in melt down. And that created wide volatility in the financial markets and of course in the currency market as well. So in the last 3 years we saw with this higher volatility that some people were more successful in trading than other people. I believe that the volatility we saw in the last years is a challenge for most traders. For example we saw that a couple of months ago when the risks for Greek bonds became higher; more and a more people come to the currency market and increase the volatility. You can see that the currency markets become more attractive versus the equities and the commodities markets.
In the next three years we believe that individual traders will continue to evaluate the currency markets and diversify their portfolios away from equities and bonds. In the next 3 years we will see more people begin to trade with currencies.
What do you think is the reason why people go away from equities?
Well, I think there are a couple of reasons. If you look at the trading with equities, you need to consider a lot of information like earnings growth. But there could be also some scandals like we saw in the last few years. Companies can go bankrupt. But these you don't have in the currency market. For example the Canadian Dollar can never go bankrupt. And the market is very liquid to open and to close your trades. With some of the equities you don't have much liquidity. The fact that the currency market is traded 24 hours a day and that there is a global community of trades make the FX market very popular.
What can you tell me about the customers from Interbank FX? Do you have smaller retail clients or more sophistic traders?
Mostly we have smaller retail traders. But we have also smaller hedge funds who are trading with us. But we are having more retail traders. It might not be their full time job. Many of them consider trading as a hobby.
How would you say that Interbank FX will change in the next two or three years?
Well for the last 7 years, we were more focused on the US market. Now we are in the final stage of our regulatory approval with the FSA in the UK. So, from July we will be able to offer for our clients outside the US products like CFD's, Spread Betting, Trading on Indices. We will probably do also Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's).
For costumers in Asia we are now working on registration with the Australia Securities which is the government regulatory body in Australia. So, we will be able to offer similar products to our Asian customers out of our Sydney office.